Friday, June 3, 2016

Sylvania Wilderness Canoe Canoe Trip - Memorial Day Weekend 2016

Our first family canoe camping trip of 2016 in the Sylvania Wilderness in Michigan's Upper Peninsula begins with a downpour. We paddle and portage what dry makes for an easy 4.3 miles (6.9 km) across Clark Lake and Loon Lake to our campsite, Eagle 1. Our daughter, less than pleased to have been caught in the downpour without rain gear on, puts her rain jacket on over her wet clothes. She then takes 30 minutes to drag herself across the normally 5 or 10 minute portage in the rain. It is clear we should have put on our rain gear before jumping into the canoe.

We finish our portage to Loon Lake, hop back into the canoe, and set off to find the campsite. The tarp goes up, the rain slows down a bit, and everyone feels that much better. We erect the tent under the tarp before sliding it out into the rain, keeping the inside fairly dry much to everyone's delight. Our daughter is suddenly happy and cooperative, helping blow up mats and set up camp. We find whatever spare dry clothes and rain gear we can, and during the slow periods of rain we explore the site. We find a plethora of  Jack-in-the-Pulpits, mosquitoes, slugs and maple saplings. We hang out under the tarp and take our head nets off only to sip water and eat. The mosquitoes swarm hungrily.

Not pleased to be soaked on the portage trail.

Happy to be inside the dry tent wearing dry clothing.

Our campsite is home to many Jack-in-the-Pulpits.

Trying to enjoy a fire using water-logged wood.

The sun teases us a number of times between the rain, and once we get our daughter a bit dryer and warmer, the rain becomes a nonissue. A few dry clothes and a head net along with an occasional break in the rain paint a smile on her face. Soon she hums and sings. Were in business! Since it stays fairly rainy we don't go on any lengthy day paddles, which means our daughter enjoys huge amounts of attention from Mom and Dad.

Calm between the storms.

Bug nets came in handy all weekend long.

Our campsite.

A break between the rains on evening 2 allows for a nice evening paddle.

One of our roommates for the night. Even the frogs wanted a break from the rain.

Tired, we turn in around 9:30, I tell some silly stories to entertain myself and my daughter while my husband holds his ears - I am told my silly stories a lot to take. We fall asleep to the loud buzz of swarming mosquitoes and the tapping of rain on our tent. We wake up to another rainy day, and find frogs have taken shelter inside the rain-fly of our tent. We put on our bug nets, knock slugs off of everything, and get on with our day. We enjoy card games, naps, and camp cooking. In the evening the rain takes a break. We paddle around Loon Lake and enjoy the sunset. Overall, a relaxing day. Disuaded by the previous nights difficulties burning soaked wood, we turn in without a campfire.

Memorial Day sun!

A gorgeous day to paddle out. We've got a headwind, so we know we're on the right heading!

Elly the elephant made it along the entire journey without getting soaked!

All weekend we wait for the rain to stop long enough for our clothes to dry out. By the time the rain stops it's a beautiful, sunny Memorial Day morning - time to pack our our wet things and start paddling out! We hit our favorite post-Sylvania stop, Brew's Pub in Land O'Lakes for burgers and drive home satisfied with our weekend, and talking about how nice it would have been to stay longer. We head home where the cleaning and drying of wet, dirty gear and clothing begin. Before we know it, it's back to the old grind.

Map to Eagle 1 Campsite.



Meal Plan by Day

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Bacon biscuits at home.
Bagels, bacon, oatmeal.
Hashbrowns, bacon, oatmeal.
Beef jerky, nuts, granola bars, poptarts.
Water, Decaf, Electrolyte Drink Tabs, Cup-o-Soup
Ham and cheese sandwiches, carrots, and fresh fruit at the launch.
Camp pizza.
On the road at Brew's Pub.
Backpacker Pantry meal with apples and cashews.
Dehydrated chicken casserole meal.
Leftovers at home.
Dehydrated beef stroganoff.

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