UP Overland Adventure – Day 2
After a night of decent sleep from the sound of the waves of Lake Superior and the increasing rain, we awoke to gray skies and steady rain. We decided against cooking breakfast and focused on packing up camp and getting on the road. Packing in the rain has to be the worst part of camping. Knowing we still had two nights of camping ahead of us didn’t help. The mud from getting stuck on day one was now wet again and made for some messy packing.
We started by heading south on half dirt, half paved roads, toward L’anse. From there we headed north toward Houghton/Hancock. I tried to run the JK through a car wash, but the rooftop tent left me about 7″ too high. The mud would have to stay for now.
As we crossed the bridge into Hancock, we made a couple of tricky turns to find the trailhead of the Lake Linden route. The trail starts off leading through the city. It’s pretty interesting, and you get a feeling of “should I be here” as the trail crosses lots of roads and driveways. The trail was a mix of dirt, rocks, and puddles. The rain was sort of a blessing in disguise as it made the trail a bit more fun and added a little more challenge to it.
By midday, we were again running behind. One of the most important “lessons learned” on this trip, was making our daily routes too long. I had kept it around 150 miles a day, but with slow going on trails, roads on the map that didn’t exist, wrong turns, and wanting to take in the scenery…it all adds up.
Speaking of scenery words can’t describe the beauty of the Keweenaw Peninsula. Combined, my fiance and I took over 4500 pictures. As the trail turns North, the woodland gets thicker and looks like a different world. Some places have a long drop straight down on both sides. Rivers frequently run right next to the trail, and the views let you see for miles.
We had been traveling only about 15 mph down the trails and needed to make up some time, so one of our group, pulling a teardrop trailer, decided to jump on the main highway for a bit and meet us further down the trail since he couldn’t travel much faster on the bumpy trails. It was a good thing because not much further down the trail was a steep rocky incline that was made much worse by the rain.
We continued for a while down the trail, but our fun was ended when the trail (keep in mind this is a state route, which allows vehicles of all sizes) was blocked, only allowing ATVs. So we ended up jumping onto the high way and meeting up with our 4th rig.
We started heading north on dirt roads, towards our evening’s campsite at High Rock point. I had read high clearance vehicles are recommended to make it to this site. It was good advice as it wasn’t long before the roads quickly became muddy trails with puddle after puddle, which was pretty fun. Due to the increasing rain, many of the hills had small rivers running down them and deep ruts that added to the mayhem.
Finally, we made it to the end of the trail which splits off into different fingers. Each finger leads out to campsites right on the rocky shore of Lake Superior. It was everything I had expected, except for the 4-5 foot waves and 30+mph winds that were a bit of a surprise. We set up camp, behind a bit of tree to help block some of the wind but it did little to muffle the sound of a jet engine sounds of Lake Superior 20 feet from us.
We were able to get some wood together and get a fire going despite the rain and spray from the waves that didn’t want to let up. We settled in early that night and settled for a nice, albeit damp bed, and a movie downloaded to my GPS tablet.
Later the rain did let up enough that I was able to fry a little venison over the fire for a late night snack and enjoy a few cold beers before calling it a night.