Thursday, October 8, 2015

Northern Highlands American Legion State Forest Backpacking Trip

Our daughter's school day off for teachers in-service training provided a perfect October Friday to head out for a family backpacking trip. We headed to the Northern Highlands American Legion State Forest, stopping near in Boulder Junction for lunch at the Outdoorsman before heading into the woods. The Outdoorsman appeals to my daughter with its chickens, goats and rabbit out back. The restaurant features home baked pies and farm fresh eggs. They sell homemade goods and other artsy finds. A cute place to stop.

We entered the State Forest at the Concora Road parking lot, and found two nice uphill spots to camp for the weekend. Interesting noises including a buck making aggressive calls which sounded much like fabric ripping, kept us entertained by night and even sent my husband out of the tent at 1:00 am to ensure the food bag still hung safely between the trees. Fresh scat finds in the morning proved to us we weren't just hearing things. By day we did a little bit of hiking, but mostly enjoyed being in camp during this time of colorful maples and crisp autumn weather.

Making friends with Mr. Fluffy at the Outdoorsman.

A little extra walkabout with Mom to enjoy the fall colors.

My gorgeous camp kitchen.

Manitowish River near Fishtrap Dam - our water filtration stop.

Fishtrap Flowage.

Our daughter practices guiding.

End of trip photo.

Hearing loons calling each evening, one of my favorite things about traveling north, and the gorgeous red and yellow maples win my vote for trip highlights. Our daughter enjoyed finding "clues" about animals including feathers, scat, and the like. She didn't much enjoy finding a lovely blue jay dead in the trail. My husband enjoyed the opportunity to test his ultralight Tarpent. I didn't care for continually sliding into the corners and am certain we would have gotten wet had it rained, but I suppose the weight factor is the main attraction with this type of product. 

Map of our trip.

The figure 8 portion of the hike requires about 6 miles (9.7 km) of hiking, and with a free permit backpacking is allowed out of sight of the trail and water. We only hiked about 7.8 miles (12.5 km) this trip, the trip being less about making miles and more about being there, camping, and motivating our daughter to carry her pack just a littler further. The over night lows were a brisk 29°F (-1.7°C) Friday and a warmer 37°F (3°C) Saturday with no precipitation. A perfect time of the year to layer up, grab a hiking stick, and go for a walk.


Breakfasts - Oatmeal with dehydrated fruit and nuts, cheese, sausage
Lunch - Freeze dried creamy noodles and beef meal, apples and peanut butter
Dinner 1 - Freeze dried chicken fried rice meal, apples and peanut butter, and peas
Dinner 2 - Dehydrated chicken gumbo with Minute Rice and freeze dried corn, apples and peanut butter
Snacks - Beef jerky, nuts, goldfish, cream of chicken soup, lollipops (aka bribes)

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