I’m back from my backcountry trip to the Porcupine Mountains. I never seem to take many photos when backpacking – I’m too focused on putting one foot in front of another on the trail and on getting all the necessary chores done in camp. This morning I remembered to take one of the view from where my tent was pitched on the edge of the Escarpment, though. That’s the “Upper” Carp River down in the valley, upstream of Lake of the Clouds.
- Finding a toad orgy in a clear still pool by the Presque Isle River on the first day. Several pairs in amplexus, the females laying their longs strings of eggs, while unpaired males looked on and trilled sadly.
- A hummingbird appearing out of nowhere and landing on the hand of one of my students as she stood in our first campsite. Yes, this really happened!
- A beaver swimming by our cabin on Mirror Lake on the third night. A number of our students had never seen a beaver before and got really excited.
- Keeping a running tally of all the wildflowers I saw in bloom. Blue bead lily, trout lily, Dutchman’s breeches, Canada mayflower, starflower, spring beauty, jack-in-the-pulpit, false Solomon’s seal, sunbursts of marsh marigold, multiple varieties of trillium and anemone and violet, more that I couldn’t put names to…
- Standing on the bridge at the downstream end of Lake of the Clouds and watching the bright sparks of Yellow Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, and Canada Warbler dart from alder to alder.
- The two birds we heard calling on our last night – the soft booming of an American Bittern drifting up from the river valley below (goonk-glunk, goonk-glunk, goonk-glunk), and, after dark, a Whip-poor-will (whip-poorWILL! whip-poorWILL! whip-poorWILL!) calling from close by our camp.
There were some less-great moments, too (a thunderstorm with nickel-sized hail while you’re in the backcountry and responsible for other people’s children? fuuuun), but it was nice to have this last immersion in the North Woods before I move.
More to come. Mom and Dad, I’ll call you soon – right now my phone is charging and I think we’re going out to dinner later.