Wilderness Cycling

I have to compliment my tour planner and co-cyclist, Rich, on today’s route. It was stunning! If you like wilderness and quiet scenery, this is the itinerary for you. And I think even Rich was awed by the perfection of today’s ride. In fact I know so – he said as much!

After a necessary 10 miles on Highway 2, we turned away from traffic and civilization and headed into the wilderness. The first 15 miles were on a road leading to the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. It could have been a bike path. We shared the road with only a few passing cars and traveled undisturbed down the tree-lined lane as mile after mile of smooth pavement uncurled in front of us. We were prepared to find hills, which we did, but most were reasonable grades alternating between up and down.

We then turned onto South Boundary Road, which traverses the perimeter of the park. Our near-solitude continued as did our appreciation of the sun, the trees, the rivers and the wilderness. Having hiked in the area, we had vivid memories of clambering down and up the steep sides of the ravines in our path. We were relieved to find that road construction techniques alleviated such dips. Nevertheless, the road began to climb steadily, and looking into the distance we could see the high ridge of trees defining the summit – a sobering sight. It was a solid 10 miles uphill, mostly a gentle grade, but a challenging pitch at times. It gave us great pleasure to top the hill and begin our descent, which lasted 15 miles. We faced a strong headwind as we neared Lake Superior, but had no complaints mixing that with our downhill rush.

We rejoiced to see Lake Superior in the distance, and the view upon arrival was impressive. The pristine sand beach was enhanced by trees and white crested waves rolling into shore. What a difference from the rocky coastline we are accustomed to on the North Shore, yet beautiful in its uniqueness. Our final 15 miles closely followed the shore. Our view of the lake disappeared when private land intervened, but the water was close enough that we could get a glimpse of it down the driveways and periodically between properties. For us it was enough to know the great lake was there. Traveling lakeside also had the advantage of being blessedly flat. This time at the end of the day we left the hard work behind us and glided up to our motel near Ontonagon.

This trip just keeps getting better.

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