A Short Jaunt on the Lake Superior Trail

Getting into the woods with my uncle hardly ever means roughing it. Don’t get me wrong, we did hike 5 miles in to a spot of Lake Superior, so we did something. And considering the circumstances, I’ve been looking forward to this trip for a while.

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My Pictured Rocks backpacking trip last November wasn’t supposed to be a solo trip, but my uncle needed emergency heart surgery (he’s fine now, he’s obviously on this trip). After the surgery he made me promise that we’d do a “consolation trip” as soon as he healed.

It’s been six months but I’m not sure spending 3 days backpacking in temps of lower 40s by day and mid 20s by night (not to mention the wind chill never really getting above freezing) is really doctor approved. But for a guy who was bedridden all of cross country ski season I don’t think no was an option.

So back to roughing it… Food is always central to any trip with my uncle. Night 1 was his meal to cook.

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Makes my night #2 fire-cooked tacos look downright pedestrian.

The trip itself was fairly mellow. Walk in to camp on the Lake Superior Trail from the Pinkerton trailhead on day 1, go for a day hike up the Carp River on day 2 and walk out day 3.

The weather up the Carp River Trail was actually very pleasant, near 60 and not windy. Probably would have made the most sense to camp there but there is a certain draw to being near Lake Superior that I can’t shake. The sun was out in the afternoon and even with the wind chill it was nice to look out over the lake, or as my uncle put it “it’s fairly pleasant in the sun, with five layers on.”

I’m not entirely sure what the story is with this, but it makes an appearance at every camp my uncle makes.

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New Years in the Porkies

Back to the Porcupine Mountains. Crazy how much difference a month can make. Full winter mode now and today it’s a walk in snowshoes back to the Union River Hut. Not quite enough snow for grooming but more is forecast for tonight so fingers crossed for some good skiing.

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Day 2 brings in more snow (yay!) and also the rest of our group for a New Years celebration. Groomers were out rolling (but not tracking) the trails so we have some skiing. Let it be known that the woodstove in the Union River Hut is either on full steam ahead or off. Someone from our group got a little overzealous loading the stove with wood before bed and I woke up in a sauna.

New Years Day the sun was out and we had really nice conditions for skiing. Hardly any activity on the trails besides us and plenty of new snow to ski through. We spent most of the day exploring and enjoying the trails. The West Vista lookout is a tough climb but well worth the views (my phone battery died so no pics).

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The last night it was just 4 of us in the hut. Matt and I decided to do one last sunset ski up to the East Vista Overlook. After the sunset we started making our decent back down and stopped outside a warming shelter to get our headlamps out. While we were digging in our packs the door of the warming shelter opened a crack and a man called out “I’ve got a nice fire going in here...” (me: skeptical/possibly creeped out) “...also if you want to help me finish this 6 pack of Hopslam….” Matt turns to me, raises his eyebrow and bolts into the hut. I follow. After a good hour of “helping” our new friend and enjoying the cozy cabin we ski out by moonlight to our hut.

If you go: