This past weekend a group of students led by a couple of Teaching Fellows spent a day volunteering with the Friends of the Porcupine Mountains. The Porcupine Mountains are an enchanting place that was made even more magical by the bright reds and yellows of peak foliage. We arrived on Friday night and set up our tents just in time to get a glimpse of Lake Superior before the light faded from the overcast sky. The clouds were a familiar sight, as fall here has been an almost continuous drizzle of rain, punctuated by short, sweet, and much-needed glimpses of the sun. In fact, we had almost ceased believing in its existence at all. However, that didn’t stop us from waking up early the next day and groggily making our way down to the lake shore. There were still a lot of clouds in the sky, but the sun shone through enough to give us a beautiful display of bright pinks and reds as it rose. Satisfied, we headed back to pack up camp and get ready for a day of trail work.
Conserve School has been recreating and volunteering in the Porcupine Mountains for years. Just this semester, two different groups spent at least a couple days of their exploration week trips in the Porcupine Mountains. It is a place that we hold dear, and we always try and help out when we can.
For this trip, our goal was to work alongside other local volunteers to clear the cross country ski trails before winter. To get to the trails, we took the ski lift up to the top of the ski hill and headed back from there onto the cross country trails. The trails were wide and more than a little wet from all the rain. It was a cold day, but the sun had already shown its face once and the work kept us warm. The forest was dense with bright golden leaves, and before we knew it our work was done and we were heading back to the top of the ski hill. As we approached the chairlift, the clouds parted again and we were rewarded with blue sky, bright rolling hills of fall foliage, and a view of Lake Superior at the bottom of the hill. Despite the cold and the mud, we had an amazing trip filled with laughter, s’mores, exploration, hard work, and awe.