Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Our Backpacking Trip on the Superior Hiking Trail

  Our family is planning on going on a backpacking trip in late August out in Glacier National park. Backpacking is something Ken and his family have done a lot of but I have only gone once and the kids haven't at all. So this is a new adventure for us though we have done a lot of other camping. Since we are doing a six day trip out there we thought it would be good to get a little practice in first. So this past week (Thursday through Saturday) we went over on the North Shore of Lake Superior on the Superior Hiking Trail. Kitchi (our dog) got to go with us too which he very much enjoyed!

The picture above shows the kids and Kitchi ready to head down the trail. I have lots of pictures to share so here we go....
 We started out by climbing up. Our starting place was at Castle Danger for those familiar with the area. It was really pretty.
 The packs did feel a bit heavy at first. Mine wasn't to bad but Jonathan and Aaron struggled with theirs some.
 Ken tried to help them with a lot of adjusting and they finally did get them to feel okay. But no matter what you do it is work to carry a pack.
 Some of the rocks that we were climbing on. It was pretty fun.
 Then we left the rocks behind and were going through the woods and nearly the whole trail was covered with mud. There was standing water in many, many places. We weren't quite expecting that. We did the best we could to stay on (or very near) the trail without getting a total mud bath. Megan and Jonathan kind of gave up and just tromped straight through. Kitchi didn't see any reason for avoiding the mud either.

  We saw a lot of pretty trees, hills and flowers while we walked.

Upon getting to camp (after going 5 miles) we were tired, hot and dirty and we were hoping that the river that we were next to would work for swimming. That was not to be. The current was to fast and getting in and out of the water would have caused us to get super muddy all over again, we struggled enough to get water out to filter without getting super muddy and then we had to walk up a slippery, muddy hill to the campsite. Megan was ready to go home to a hot bath. I helped her to wipe up a little bit and get some clean clothes on and then she felt quite a bit better about life.
 We had fun that night anyway even if things weren't quite like we had imagined they would be. Our supper was good though not as filling as we had hoped as when we were using the tiny backpacking stove and Mara stirred the potatoes into the boiling water it fell off and spilled much of it out. Kitchi enjoyed our loss and we still had enough to eat so it was fine. I had brought along a pudding mix for dessert which everybody enjoyed and that filled up any leftover hungry places. Megan had Kitchi do the first step in the dishwashing. :-) We did wash them more afterwards!
 The next day as we hiked along we did find a place where it worked to wade in the river. Aaron was happy about that. We were also able to filter some more water. In that same area we found some wild strawberries to pick. Yummy!
 We stopped for lunch near some cedar trees. Some looked like they had swings. The girls tried them out. Megan had been missing her swing.
 The boys were more interested in eating lunch.
 The bark on the trees was cool.
 There were a bunch of butterflies around.
 Later that day Megan and Kitchi found a spot to rest along the trail.
 That day we came to Fifth falls which was quite lovely.
 The cool water felt good on our feet!
 Mara and Jonathan had fun exploring some little caves in the cliffs.
 On the trail again!
 Then we discovered that part of the trail was closed - we would have to go on a detour! This took us to the bike trail near Gooseberry falls and the Lake. It wasn't nearly so shaded and we got pretty hot.
 The kids were pretty tired and a little discouraged. How long was this hike going to be after all? Would we have enough water? We ended up stopping at a business to fill up our water so we could stay hydrated.
 We did see some beautiful flowers! We so loved being able to see all the Lupines blooming.
 We finally found an access to the Lake from off of the bike trail. It was so much cooler down by the lake. It was a beautiful place to rest and cool off! We found quite a few agates and other fun rocks too.
 Kitchi did some swimming.

Then it was back to hiking again.  We finally left the hot bike trail (after a couple of miles or so there) and walked on a dirt road for a mile and a half. Then we were back on the trail for just a bit and there was the campsite. But oh no! There was somebody already there. Would there still be room for us? Would we need to walk another 4+ miles to the next campsite? We were tired after our 8.5 miles of hiking and it was already 5:30 pm.

Thankfully there was still room for us! The young couple that was there (we thought there were more at first as they had a tent up, a hammock and a tarp hung up with stuff under it) were more than happy to share. They were really sweet and fun to visit with.
 I got supper cooking. Both evenings I had picked wild greens and added them to our supper. Cleavers was the main green that I used. It was fun to add that big of extra nutrition and flavor. Supper was a pasta mix that I found inexpensively at our bread store. I added the cleavers, some chicken that can in a packet from Wal-mart and some cheese that was already quite melted from our trip. It ended up being super yummy and everybody enjoyed it. We had plenty so there was even some for Kitchi. He liked that much better than his dog food.
 The next morning we packed up again.
 We were able to hike up on the ridge looking out over a big stretch of woods and then the lake. It was beautiful! We would have loved to take more time to enjoy it but there was a thunderstorm that was coming and we didn't want to be caught up on the ridge during that. Ken kept us marching. :-)

 A little note on my pack above. I was able to use my Dad's pack that he got before he was married and he took to Jamaica and to the Yukon Territory. It worked very well for me too.
 While up on the ridge we did find quite a few delicious strawberries. I would have loved to have had more time to pick as that was the best patch of wild strawberries that I have ever seen. I would also love to be back there for blueberry and juneberry season! They weren't ripe yet but there was a lot of nice green berries.
 We came by Split rock falls. It was really pretty from either the top view or the bottom. The weather was still looking very threatening though so Ken kept us going.
 We made it to our destination down by the lake where there was a tunnel under the road that we could keep safe and dry in if necessary and where Ken would need to meet the shuttle driver later that afternoon. We had made it over 3 miles in less than 2 hours.

We looked around at the lake (which was really chilly as the storm threatened overhead) and we found some fun rocks. Mara found a cute rock that looked like a tug boat.

We ate our lunch as the weather started to clear (before it had even dumped anything). After eating we had a couple of hours to spare before the shuttle would come so we decided it might be fun to go back up to the falls to look at them better. It was 1/2 mile hike so we didn't really want to take our packs if we didn't have to. So we hid them in some bushes with a tarp over them.
 Up to the falls we went.
 How pretty! All the water looks red/muddy because of all the iron in that area.
 Mara climbed up a mossy cliff and made a little fairy house.
 Aaron had fun climbing too. Megan is the green and red dot over on the other side.
 Here I zoomed in on her. It looks like she is practically in the falls but she isn't really.
 Another picture of the falls.
Then back to the lake again. It was nice to just rest a while. Kitchi took some long naps too.

It was a fun trip. There were challenges to be sure but I would do it again in a heart beat!


Greg and Donna said...

Looks like your family had fun! Lupines are gorgeous!

Amy and Mark said...

What beautiful nature pictures!! Thank you for sharing!

Glacier National is on our bucket list so I look forward to reading about that trip as well!

Nola said...

How fun! I have done a 7 day backpacking trip (before kids) on a trail along Lake Superior (in Ontario, Canada). It was amazing. I would like to do it again with my husband and kids. We hope to when they are older. I LOVE Lake Superior. It is my favourite Great Lake! Its just so gorgeous. However it is not a good lake for swimming...too cold! My husband and I camped along Lake Superior for part of our honeymoon since I loved it so much.

Nola said...

And also, aren't the lupines gorgeous? They are growing all along the roadsides and fields right now in my area. They are so beautiful!

SpicingUpIdaho said...

We have never done a backpacking trip although we have camped many times! I enjoyed reading about your adventures, and how exciting that you will be visiting Glacier National Park, it is a beauty! I will look forward to heard all about your adventure there too :)

Abbi said...

Thanks everybody! We did have a lot of fun and are very much looking forward to our trip to Glacier. I am sure I will have lots and lots of pictures from that trip!

Nola - that is pretty neat that you like Lake Superior too. I would love to hear about your 7 day backpacking trip. We also honeymooned near Lake Superior but we stayed in a cabin as our wedding was in December. That is indeed a cold lake. We were just thinking about that today because a friend and I are planning a trip to Cleveland on Lake Erie and she wanted to go swimming in that lake and I said sure but I would last very long at all if it was anything like Lake Superior.

I do also just love the Lupines! I want to get a bunch planted at our place.


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