Porcupine Mountains residency, October 2017
In October 2017, I spent two weeks as artist-in-residence in the PorcupIne Mountains Wilderness State Park of Northern Michigan. I lived in a small timber frame cabin and spent my days exploring the vast forest of old growth hemlock, sugar maple, and yellow birch. I wrote three songs inspired by the landscape and history of the park. A ringing THANK YOU to the Friends of the Porkies, who created and sponsor this wonderful program.
The towering old growth sugar maples made a lasting impression on me. Midway through my residency, I took a long hike into the middle of the wilderness area and camped on Mirror Lake. The sugar maples were blaze yellow at this time, bright flags in the green forest canopy.
In the lobby of the Porcupine Mountains visitors center, a ping-pong table sized relief map shows Government Peak as one of the high points in the park. I was a little crestfallen when I reached the summit though, because the thick forest growth blocks out any kind of dramatic vista. Eventually, I found a little window between trunks, and caught a blue glimpse of Lake Superior.
Though it was rainy on most days, my 7 hour hike into the park interior was sunny and warm. I actually waded into the very cold Mirror Lake when I arrived at my camp site, remembering instantly that winter was only weeks away.