Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sylvania Wilderness 2017 Part I: Loons, Lakes, and Love of the Wilderness

Time in the wilderness is good for our family. It brings us closer together, and closer to nature. For our first wilderness adventure of 2017, we headed north to the Sylvania Wilderness in the Ottawa National Forest in Upper Michigan near Watersmeet. What a luxury to get away from the distraction of work, school, homework, electronics, and evening conference calls. On this trip, I showered my family with attention. I don't care if the mosquitoes bit or how much it rained, I enjoyed every minute with my family in this wonderful place, the Sylvania Wilderness.

Map to Pike 2 Campsite.

We parked at the trailhead, portaged about 3/4 of a mile to Whitefish lake, then paddled across the lake to Pike 2 Campsite. This being our first canoe camping trip of the year, we had the opportunity to warm up sleeping muscles with a wee bit paddling and portaging. I marveled at how rusty I'd grown over winter. The trip also tested my recollection of my packing list. I felt sorry I forgot to pack crushed red pepper for my husband's heat addiction, but it wasn't as bad as the time I got all the way to the boundary waters and realized I would be spending the week wearing my office shoes.

Video of our trip.

The wide, well-traveled portage trail to Whitefish Lake.

We found it! Pike 2 Campsite.

Building our fire.


A beautiful afternoon.

We were thrilled to be camped across from a swan's next and spied on the swans with the camera's zoom lens all weekend. We chased little fish near the shore and spotted frogs and wildflowers. What a beautiful time to be alive.

Whitefish Lake.

Girls paddle.

Evening #2 on Whitefish Lake.

In camp on Whitefish Lake.

Had slugs crawling on everything due to the wet weather.

Woke up to a cold day #3 on Whitefish Lake.

Pike 2 campsite is adjacent to Pike 1, and by appearances it doesn't seem that Pike 1 gets much use. We enjoyed fires between the rain showers. Typically the mosquitoes swarm thickly this time of year, but this trip they were quite tolerable. When a thunderstorm passed through, we played Legos in the tent, and my daughter, who is typically very fearful of storms, barely noticed. We also enjoyed our traditions. We took our Sylvania Wilderness sunset girl's paddle between rain showers, cooked with the reflector oven, and listened to crazy loon calls at bedtime. 

Baking in the reflector oven.

Wild flower.

Trailhead signage.

The Sylvania Wilderness is a great place to warm up camping and paddling skills for farther away, wilder adventures later in the season. We are rusty, but have our first paddle trip for the year successfully on the books. Our family looks forward to returning to enjoy part 2 of this year's planned Sylvania Wilderness adventures. Next time we'll go in a little deeper and do some more portaging to get nicely warmed up for our BWCA adventure later this year.

That's all for now, let's get outdoors and keep our wild places wild!

Soft, green moss.

Cool, green ferns

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