In January of 2007, three friends and myself attempted to snowshoe to Michigan's highpoint in mid-winter. None of us had ever been there, and had only a crude map
. Unfortunately, due to the incredible maze of logging roads, and a large amount of snow on the ground, we were largely unsuccessful, merely wandering in circles on snowshoes for nearly an entire Saturday, never getting closer than a couple miles from the top. Nonetheless, it was a fun and worthy adventure.
Karl's Lumina did not hold up as well as we hope on the snowmobile trails...
Aimless wandering through the woods. Soaking in the view (and our defeat by the mountain)
However, in November of that same year, my wife and I were able to find and get to the top of Michigan.
It was November 11, a Sunday, and we were bored. We needed to get outside, but we couldn't go too far, because Rachael had to work at 5:30. Hmm...since we lived in Houghton, MI we had plenty of options within a short distance for hikes, but there was one particular hike we had put off for some time now: Mt. Arvon. It was a bit of a long shot, about an hour travel time each way, but we decided that it was now or never.
So we made the drive on that leafless day in beautiful sunshine, along the Keweenaw Bay of Lake Superior and past the towns of Baraga and L'Anse to the vast wilderness called the Huron Mountains. It had just started to get cold in Houghton for good that winter, and we had had our first flurries of the year on Saturday. [Houghton gets around 300" of snow yearly, believe it or not!]
Unfortunately, there is a lot of logging in the vicinity of Arvon.
We started snaking back into the maze of logging roads surrounding Arvon, carefully following the instructions we had pieced together from several sources.
The roads in the area can perplex even the most experienced navigator.
Surprisingly, it is often said that Arvon might be the hardest US state highpoint to find, because of this maze of roads around it, though the route is getting better and more clearly marked by the year. Even though it had snowed a bit in Houghton the day before, it had not stuck, but to our surprise, we came across a fair amount of snow once we started to reach the higher ground in the vicinity of Arvon.
The roads started to get wet and sloppy from the fresh snow.
After forty minutes or so of careful driving through roughly 8 miles of logging roads, all the while gaining elevation and getting closer, our Lumina decided it had had enough. The road had finally become too messy to go further, and we simply needed to trust we were close enough.
The Lumina made a valiant effort.
Now it was a race against the clock. We had set a deadline of 4:00 for starting our trip back, and even that was cutting it close. It was now about 3:00 and we decided to continue on foot for no more than a half hour, so we could get back to Houghton in time for Rachael's shift.
So on we trekked through the snow, up the hill towards what we hoped was the top. After only a short while, we came across what almost looked like a parking area, and...alas! through the woods we thought we spied the summit marker. A short sprint through the woods confirmed our hopes, as we came upon that beautiful little blue sign in the woods.
Lucky for us, we had parked only about a half mile from the top. The 'summit' was merely the highest point in the woods; about what we expected.
The 'summit' of Mt. Arvon.
However, it was still a highpoint. And it was an adventure. The combination of these things made it a trip to remember. After posing for some hero(?) shots and signing the register, we were getting short on time.
Summit shot Signing the register.
It was time to leave this place. No worries though, we had our fun. One couldn't ask for a better summit day: beautiful sunshine, cool air, a foot of fresh clean snow, and my wife and best friend with me to share the experience. What a day!
And thus it came to be that we found the top of Michigan. We probably only spent a mere 15-20 minutes there, but it was a blast.
The way out...
We hurried back to the Lumina, drove back out through the mud and slop, and made our way back to Houghton just in the nick of time for Rachael to get to work. What a day. What a perfect Sunday. One couldn't ask for more than that :D