Monday, June 1, 2015

Trip Report: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, MI

    The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is one of Michigan’s natural treasures, and in early May, I got to explore its many trails and campsites over a 5-day backpacking trip. For anyone who hasn’t been, pictures don’t do it justice: I had wanted to hike Pictured Rocks for so long and spent hours poring over trail maps and guide books, but even professional photos don’t capture how amazing it is. I looked over hundred foot sheer cliffs onto floating chunks of ice in Lake Superior. I hiked the path of waterfalls cutting through sediment deposits every color in creation. And I did it all without even leaving the state.

    Every summer, Pictured Rocks swells with visitors taking in its scenic views and picturesque formations under cloudless UP skies. But in spring? Well, it rains. A lot. Getting wet is the kiss of death to any backpacker not packed dramatically warmer than they expected: cotton holds water and chills as water evaporates, and even those without the requisite layers of technical garments can find themselves in danger from the cold and wet.

    The second to last day, it rained from sun up to sun down. Thankfully, I had packed enough layers to keep my body warm and dry. My feet stayed right as rain thanks to my Danner Mountain Light II boots with a Gore-Tex liner. While we don’t sell them at Bivouac, they are a fantastic all-weather backpacking boot that have saved me from the elements time and time again.

    That night, another piece of all-weather gear came through in an unexpectedly big way. My Black Diamond Storm II headlamp kept my hands free to assemble and disassemble tents in any condition thanks to its waterproof construction. I had used it every night of the trip to assist myself and light the way for others, but its real value came during the torrential rains. It’s now a personal must-have for any future backpacking.

    I spent an amazing five days in Pictured Rocks. Even through monsoon rains, I’ll never forget the sights and sounds of one of Michigan’s most incredible places. I highly recommend the full backpacking experience, but if you choose to go, remember two major things: pack warm and pack right. Bring enough of the right layers and choose the right weatherproof gear to get through any conditions – then, get out and enjoy Pictured Rocks!

~Nate A. -Men's Technical Apparel


Planning a trip? Want to get more insider tips and travel recommendations from Bivouac's expert staff? Read about our adventures to Canyonlands National Park (UT)Chicago (IL), and Mt. Adams (WA), or click here to go back to the Bivouac Blog!

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