Thursday, July 16, 2015

Hiking the Porcupine Mountains

Jules and I recently backpacked in the Porcupine Mountains, located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  Here are some photos.

Our route:

Day 1: Yellow - Big Carp Trail (8.9 miles)
Day 2: Blue - Big Carp Trail and Lake Superior Trail (6.0 Miles)
Day 3: Magenta - Lake Superior Trail and Road (MI-107) (6.0 Miles)

The mileage is not huge, but much of our route had 4-6 inch thick mud to walk through.  We also had some decent climbs and descents, as well as two "un-bridged river crossings".

The first river crossing without a bridge was not too bad, a little over ankle deep.

Big Carp River

Cool tree bark.

Almost all of the camp sites we saw had a bear pole with a second, loose pole that allowed us to hang our food bag without and ropes or tricks.  Very convenient.

Hastily set up tent in the rain on night 1.  

Big Carp River near our first campsite.  Too bad it was too rainy to enjoy it much.  Very clear water.

Some of the muddiest areas had some man-made 2x8 crossings.  Here is Jules making her way across one.   

Very cool campsites along the shores of Lake Superior.  Our trip was mid week and we saw very few people and had this great campsite to ourselves.  Julie is in the shadows looking out over Lake Superior. 

Love the stone chairs

I thought the patterns on this tree were cool.

Hello frog...

Lighting split?

We camped the second night at a spot called Lone Rock...I guess this is where the name came from.

I have a minor obsession with U.S. Forest Service signs.  When I read them, I imagine that at some point, a ranger hiked in with the sign, a hammer and some nails.  Now the sign is being useful for me. Here are a few we saw:

Day 3, we started to climb up and away from the shores of Lake Superior.  Here you can see Lake Superior peaking through the tree tops.

During our 3 days, there was only one point where the direction of the trail was a bit confusing. Thankfully, someone etched this arrow in the ground.

Does it look like the little bear is picking something out of the big bear's butt????

Hipster Bike Trailer - Modified

Three years ago Al and I built a Hipster Bike Trailer to haul goods with my bicycle.  I recently purchased a bike with disc brakes.  I love the disc brakes, but the brake mechanism interfered with the piece that attaches the trailer to the frame.

You will recall this trailer was featured on Bike Hacks Website in 2013 and again on Bike Hacks Website in 2015 (scroll down).

Below are some pictures of a $4, temporary hack I came up with to work around this issue.

This is the original trailer attachment.  In the "V" of my frame you see the black disc brake mechanism (red piece in the middle).    

I took apart the trailer attachment and bought a couple of pieces from Ace Hardware. 

Here is what I ended up with, 

Monday, June 29, 2015

African Animals

A sample of some of the animals we saw In Kenya and Tanzania.  We visited 3 National Parks: The Masai Mara in Kenya and The Serengeti and Ngorogoro, both in Tanzania.

The best wildlife I saw was the migration of the Wildebeest.  They travel East to West across Tanzania and Kenya seeking water in the dry season.


Giraffes crossing the road....


Lions - they could really care less about us being there.  Definitely kings of the jungle...



Cheetah - only saw one

Leopard - hard to get a good picture....


Cape Buffalo


Hippos - I couldn't get over how big these were...


Zebras - I learned they stand facing opposite directions so that their tails keep the flies away from the opposite's face.  It also serves to keep a watch for predators.