Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Mt. Arvon - Michigan High Point

I had a continuing education seminar in Madison, Wisconsin in late June and flew into Milwaukee a few days early in order to spend some time in Northern Michigan and Northern Wisconsin. I arrived in Milwaukee about 6:45 a.m. and set out in a rental car on I-43 north along the shores of Lake Michigan to Green Bay, then Hwy 141 north through Wisconsin into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to the town of L'Anse at the base of Keweenaw Bay and the Keweenaw Peninsula on Lake Superior, over 300 miles and 5 hours later. Mount Arvon is in the Huron Mountains, 12 miles east of L'Anse.
A picture taken later in the day from the west side of Keweenaw Bay, looking at L'Anse on the other side and Mount Arvon further east. 
I was listening to NPR much of the drive and had several of the jarring emergency alert system warnings interrupt the programming forecasting powerful storms in the Upper Peninsula with the potential for 70 mile an hour hurricane force winds and hail the size of silver dollars that could blow the roofs off houses and damage vehicles. The announcements were giving place names that had no meaning to me, but I knew they were within a local radius. Before the day was over I heard over 10 of these alerts, with varying winds speed estimates and hail sizes. The first alerts occurred while I had sunny skies, but as I left L'Anse and took the circuitous 24 mile drive to Mount Arvon, much of it down dirt logging roads, the sky got very dark and rain as hard as any I can remember began to pound down. I did have a few second thoughts about proceeding, but pushed on.
A school in Arvon Township viewed through my car window. School was not in session, but it was so dark that the automatic lights were on. 
The road from L'Anse pushed north to the Skanee Road bordering Huron Bay, a fjord separated from Keweenaw Bay by the Abbaye Peninsula, then east and then south into the interior of the Huron Mountains which frankly don't seem much like mountains. There were only a few sections of the road that had any kind of a significant grade to them and only for short distances. Fortunately, the road was well marked and the brunt of the storm in the area I was in occurred during my drive.
My windshield wipers were on the fastest setting and still struggled to give me a clear view. Fortunately, I did not experience any of the severe winds or hail.
As I neared Mt. Arvon the rain began to subside.
As I arrived at the parking lot for the Mt. Arvon summit, and I use the word "summit" rather sheepishly, the rain was only a trickle. After I walked about 100 yards to the summit, bypassing puddles and mud, I found a flat area with a high point sign, a mailbox with a high point register, a picnic table and a bench. A couple that had waited out the storm in their vehicle was in the vicinity. The elevation of Mt. Arvon is 1,979 feet. 
A sign pointed in the direction of the summit.

A muddy trail led up through the trees.
The summit.

I watched the couple take a trail down to the side and eventually followed them and found another bench with a lookout through the canopy revealing Lake Superior about 8 miles to the north.
The bench and some blue from Lake Superior shows through the trees.
It was nice to be able to see through the green canopy.
Huron Bay, followed by the Abbaye Peninsula, then the water of Keweenaw Bay
I decided to see if I could drive north and catch a closer look at Lake Superior. I eventually got a glimpse of Huron Bay and the Abbaye Peninsula through some trees on private property and found some beautiful flowers along the way.
On the drive back out, without rain, I got a better view of the lush green. 
At lower elevations lush ferns blocked the view into the forest.
Beautiful flowers

Finally, I got a glimpse out on to Huron Bay.
As I have found on other high point journeys, the fact that the high point is an easy walk does not mean that there is not an element of adventure in reaching them. The heavy rains and severe storm warning forecasts were more adventure than I wanted on this day. I felt fortunate to find Mt. Arvon and do it safely. 


  1. First time you've ever had to swim to a summit. It's a good thing I wasn't along, whining about safety from my seat in the car.

  2. Sounds like an ordinary summit trip turned into an exciting one. Beautiful scenery.

  3. I made the mistake of trying to get to Mt. Arvon from the south. We got within a mile of it but eventually all the logging trails were so washed out, we were on foot and even then, several of the logging trails just ended or were blocked. So if anyone reads this, DO NOT attempt getting to Mt. Arvon from the South, it is IMPOSSIBLE. Even though Google Maps showed me a path. Next time I will try getting to it heading east from L'Anse.