Your best bet for treating large volumes of water? The Sawyer Complete Water Filter System – 2 Liter ($90, 14 oz., sawyer.com). This gravity-fed device cleanses two liters per minute while you are free to do other stuff.
For the strongest siphon and best flow: 1) Let the output tube from the “dirty” water bag fill completely before attaching the filter, and 2) Make sure the hose is fully elongated to harness the maximum pull of gravity.
Bonus: The “dirty” water bag is puncture resistant, and can be toted full for an additional two liters of carrying capacity. Plus, the filter is easy to backwash when it needs cleaning. See backpacker.com/gravityfilter for a primer on cleaning and repair practices.
While the Porkies reach the height of their beauty in the fall, the winter offers unmatched solitude and a chance to play in some of the largest snow accumulations east of the Rockies (about 200 inches annually). The park’s 87 miles of designated ski trails come with wide-angle vistas of Lake Superior and offer quiet glides through snow-cloaked pine forest. For an intermediate six-miler, follow the interpretive trail south from the visitor center and the Nonesuch Trail past the downhill ski area to the Superior Loop, with stop-in-your-tracks views of the big lake. Take the Deer Yard Trail to circle back to the visitor center. Make it a weekend: Reserve a space and go rustic at one of the park’s ski-in cabins (michigan.gov/porkies, book a year in advance).
The Porkies are home to 35,000 acres of never-been-logged giants, the most extensive tract of old trees east of the Mississippi. In Michigan, Eastern hemlock were originally harvested for the tannins in their purple-brown bark, which were used by the leather industry. But the tree’s brittle fibers made it less-prized as timber. With the saws buzzing elsewhere—and thanks to a moist, shady microclimate—hemlock elders, some standing 100 feet tall and topping 600 years old, still reign in the U.P.