After returning from our fabulous Glacier 2004 Summer
tour, Yumi and I thought it would be a good idea to take
the entire tribe up to Michigans Upper Peninsula and
the Porcupine Mountains for the weekend. We hadnt
even had time to clean up from the Glacier trip so this
one would test our planning abilities. We were able to get
an early start on this one as I was able to sneak out of
work a couple of hours early on Friday. We were able to
leave Manitowoc by 2:15 for the 6 hour trip up. We originally
thought wed take Yumis Sienna, but it became
clear there would not be enough room for all 7 of us and
camping gear, so I threw the excess gear into my truck and
we took two vehicles. I must admit, it was nice to have
that time to myself and listened to talk radio and sang
along (poorly) to some 80s CDs.
By the time we reached our camp site
at Presque Isle campground it had started to rain. Fortunately,
the site was huge and tree covered which enabled us to get
the two tents and screen house up without getting that wet.
We quickly made dinner, took care of the dishes and went
to bed. Yumi and I slept with the girls, while the boys
yacked most of the night in the 3-man Coleman. They should
have known better but would pay for their lack of sleep
later on. We managed to survive the night of rain without
much trouble and woke to partly sunny skies with temps in
the mid 70s---almost perfect hiking weather. Yumi
and I fed the kids their donuts and milk, then got ready
for our individual adventures. Yumi would take the girls
on day hikes throughout the park while the boys and I were
going on an overnight hike--the first for Matt and Nick.
The men got their packs situated. Matt
and Nick were carrying 3200ci Keltys with nothing
much in them except for a fleece, their fishing poles, sleeping
bags and thermarests, while Todd would take the Gregory
Z-Pack I bought Yumi at St. Mary two weeks earlier. Todd
would also carry his new Coleman Exponent Inyo tent as well
as a spare stove---my ancient Svea 123---since we had troubles
with the MSR Dragonfly while doing the Dawson pass loop.
Once we got our water bottles filled we were ready to drive
over to the trailhead at the end of the Little Carp River
Matt and Nick on day one of their first overnight backpacking
By 1000 AM we said goodbye to the girls
and told them wed see them at 1000 AM the next morning.
We were off. The first thing we noticed was that the trails
were more difficult to hike than those at Glacier. Exposed
tree roots and rocks made for a difficult and slippery hike
after last nights rains. We met about 3 parties coming
off as we hiked the Little Carp River Trail towards Lake
Superior. Most looked like they had endured a miserable
night. We passed by numerous small falls that the boys enjoyed
but to me were nothing special. Had it been earlier in the
summer things might have been different and the few crossings
more difficult. For the boys first time out, it was
about right. We had about 6.5 miles to get to the Lake and
covered the ground without needing much rest. Most of the
trail was level, but when we did have to do any climbing
it was straight up the muddy trails. We stopped to munch
on some granola bars and a drink around 11:30 then continued
By 1230 PM we had reached the Lake and
our first dilemma: We couldnt find the Lake Superior
Trail. Luckily, the Little Carp Cabins occupants were
out and were able to direct us through their back yard and
to the trail. Unfortunately, the trail was not there. I
decided that we should just bushwhack down to the Lake and
hope we could find the trail up the shoreline a bit. This
worked out well as I was able to detect a small, dry stream
bed, located it on the map (I hoped) and bushwhacked back
into the woods. After about 70 yards we found the trail,
and about 200 yards later found what would be our campsite
for the night.
tries his luck fishing at the Mouth of the Little Carp
Todd and I set up the tents while Matt
and Nick collected firewood for the night. After eating
some Tuna wraps we decided to hike back to the Little Carp
to try some fishing and exploring. I got the fishing gear
set up for Matt and Nick and we were off. The fishing was
not very good. The only marine life we found were minnows
but that didnt stop them from having a good time.
While the other two were getting skunked, Todd and I hiked
upstream a bit looking for fish, but none were to be found.
After an hour of no luck, we all waded down to Lake Superior.
Matt asked if he could skinny dip. Seeing nobody else around
I said OK. Within 10 seconds of his nakedness,
Nick followed suit. Todd, the most sensible of the three
declined to join in. The naked nymphs frolicked in the water
for about a half hour before I suggested we had to get back
to camp for dinner. They reluctantly got out of the river,
put on their clothes and we hiked back to camp.
Tonight we would feast on Teriyaki chicken
and noodles. While Todd and I worked on dinner, matt and
Nick discovered someone had fashioned ez chairs from the
thin, flat rocks on the beach---complete with armrests.
Very comfortable I must say.
We finished our dinner and went down
to the Lake. The night was going to be beautiful. I excused
myself to start the fire while the boys made up some goofy
rock throwing game and talked about whatever it is 11 and
12 year old boys talk about. By 830 PM they came back up
to the fire where we relaxed and did nothing. By 930 the
lack of sleep and 6.5 mile hike caught up with them and
we all climbed into our tents for the night. Todd and I
slept in his Exponent while Matt and Nick were in the North
Face. The night was warm and comfortable and Todd and I
were able to sleep with the rainfly off the tent.
Since we had to be back at Presque Isle
about 6 miles away by 10 AM, we were up by 0615 AM. After
slamming down a quick breakfast of oatmeal we were on the
trail by 0715 AM. To say the lads lacked energy would be
an understatement. Whereas yesterday they practically sprinted
the 6 plus miles, today they needed a break every 45 minutes
or so. Todd was having a tough time with the extra weight
but gutted it out. There wasnt much to see as we were
hiking through the woods and a lot of mud. After trying
to skirt these puddles of mud for the first hour, we finally
said screw it and walked through. Luckily, most of the terrain
was flat or Im afraid we wouldnt have made it
back to the girls in time. Or so I thought.
By 0930 we did make it to the Presque
Isle River and were able to rock hop across. The only obstacle
which remained was the large staircase leading up to the
parking area. Calling up the last of their strength, the
boys forged upwards to the parking lot and by 950 AM spotted
Yumis van. I left my map on her windshield to let
her know that we made it back. We thought she must have
been hiking around the river with the girls so we cut through
the woods to our campsite which was visible from the van.
We celebrated a successful trip with
cans of Sierra Mist and high five's for a job well done.
In all, the boys did about 13 miles---not bad for their
first effort, but only a warm up for our planned 3 nighter
in Colorado next summer.
As it turned out, yumi and the girls
were attempting to hike the loop around the Presque Isle
River but had gotten lost, turning their 3 mile hike into
a 6 mile ordeal. Thankfully, they were able to make it back
without too much damage and we were able to make it back
to Manitowoc by early evening. All in all a good time was
had by everyone.