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.

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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.

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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.

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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.