Javier: the division 3 (ultimate frisbee) championships are in Appleton this weekend. I plan to go see that instead of the division 1 tournament. That opens me up for backpacking.
Andy: I think you know I’m in.
Jamie: awesome… out of my church commitments, so would be down. I would love to go – the porkies are awesome!
Patrick: enjoy the trip! and make sure you see some amazing rainbows (and avoid the stable flies!)
Ray: I’m pretty sure Becky and I are out, but our gear is up for grabs if anyone (even Jason) wants to borrow it.
Katie: As much as backpacking has always been my absolute favorite - I think at 37 weeks pregnant, the doc might frown on it :)
Javier: doctors don't know everything. We'll just bring a blanket we don't mind ruining. It'll be fine.
Angela: I'm pretty sure Becky AND Katie should go... like Javier said, we can always bring an old blanket. :)
Becky: Lol! I think Katie and I would both also require a real mattress and at least 2-3 full sized pillows each. I think we would need to bring a couple of pack mules on this trip! :)
Katie: Oh Becky, just wait... I'm up to 4 pillows now!! Two behind me (so I can sleep propped up), my body pillow, and one for my swollen feet!! :)
And the fact that it takes me half an hour to walk around the block - baby coming is probably the least of our worries!
Angela: Got that, Javier?
2 mules, 6 pillows, 2 mattresses, and a route that allows "flexibility" in terms of distance traveled per day.
Katie: Don't forget scheduled potty breaks every 30 minutes! :)
Am I forgetting anything Becky?
Javier: Good news. So far, these all seem like reasonable requests. I think we can make a deal.
Friday: since Andy and Tammy were both able to leave early on Friday, we dubbed them “Team Shady” and sent them on ahead to secure a camp site. They were able to do so without a hitch, and set up the girls’ tent at a nice, bug-free site to kick off the weekend. Team “YesIAmAwesome” (Javier, Jamie & Angela) left later on Friday and after a few near misses (almost left food the flatbread and the salmon quinoa in the freezer – eep!) arrived at Lake of the Clouds in the dark. Before heading to the camp site we took time to enjoy the view; in the moonlight you could see the water and trees and just be happy to be in the north woods.
Saturday morning we skipped breakfast to get a halfway decent start on the trail. This would have stood us in good stead had we not found new and exciting off-trail ways to reach our destination. We were never lost, precisely, though the trail definitely was for quite a while. The picture is of a log “bridge” we crossed – the point where we THINK we parted ways with the trail!
It was on this part of the excursion that Jamie found a leg bone of some animal and thought it a humerus situation. Things started being less humorous toward the end of the day when we were getting tired, running low on water, and finding every potential site already taken. When we finally did find a site a mile from our original destination, Andy ripped off his shirt and did a happy dance. Unfortunately Tammy was the only one there to witness it, so we can only take her word for the awesomeness. The rest of us probably would have done happy dances too, but we were too tired to do much but focus on food and camp setup.
Javier still managed to plunge into Lake Superior. It was cold! So the rest of us didn’t get much more than our toes in. Jamie and I had found some leeks growing along the path, so it was fun to fry those up and try ‘em out. We ended up out on the Lake Superior shore, cooking dinner and watching the sunset, and just enjoying the waves and the beauty.
Sunday morning we got a bit of a slow start (but at least no skipping breakfast!!). Once we were on the trail we were able to make great time. Even with stops for wildflower identification and pauses for beautiful rocks on the shore, we made it to our next camp site by late afternoon. We ended up at the same site that the group had camped at five years earlier – where we first encountered the notorious stable flies! Thankfully not a single one showed up for our entire time on the shore. It’s a lovely site and it was great to have leisurely camp setup. I found time to hop into the water and get my Lake Superior fix for the weekend, Javier, Andy and Jamie got a lovely fire blazing, Andy and Tammy worked on getting us all drinkable water, and we all just enjoyed being comfortable on these stone slab chairs that had been set up at the site.
After the boys left, it is my sad duty to report that a small, innocent spider caused a ridiculous amount of furor (might have been less had the thing had the decency to die once it had been squished!) in the girls’ tent before its body was callously dropped outside the tent.
It ended up raining pretty hard for much of the night, but both tents stayed warm and dry enough to ensure no crabbiness that a warm cup of coffee the next morning couldn’t cure. Blueberry pancakes didn’t hurt either! The lake was gorgeous after the rain, and only reluctantly did we find ourselves back on the trail walking away from it all. After a stop at Henry’s Never Inn for an authentic Yooper lunch of burgers, fish & pasties, the two teams made a successful run back to the Fox Valley.
Things LostI’m guessing we generally lose a thing or two on any trip, but on this one for some reason we really racked ‘em up. If you run across any of our long-lost things – well, you know where to find us!
- Saturday we lost the trail for 2-3 hours. We stuck close to the Big Carp River, but the trail went far afield before returning to the river, and to us. Devious!
- Saturday night, Jamie lost her head lamp. We looked all over the tent, only to have her find it the next morning. It was under her sleeping pad. Of course!
- Sunday morning our nearly empty camp garbage bag disappeared. It had been in the bear bag the night before, but we looked through everything and never found it. Strange!
- Javier lost two new shiny carabiners at that same site – maybe a crow found the site while we were down by the Lake? Odd!
- Sunday night Tammy (who has the same headlamp as Jamie, and presumably didn’t want to be outdone) lost her headlamp. It too was found later, but the pattern raised some questions. Suspicious!
- Monday night, Jamie, Javier and I set up the tents at Javier's place so they could be hosed off and dried thoroughly. By the next morning, the tent stuff sack had completely disappeared and has yet to resurface. Dang!