Friday, September 11, 2015

Lake Superior Circle (Part 7)

We woke to another blue sky morning and the sound of prospective campers prowling the full campground looking for an open site in advance of the Labor Day weekend. The cards on the campsite posts alerted them to which campsites were being vacated that day. We were approached almost immediately on exiting the camper by a young woman looking to secure our site once we left. Others from her group found a site more to their liking and they left. That group was quickly replaced by another group wanting our site. We ate breakfast and packed up under their watchful eyes. Our site was immediately occupied upon our exit.

We drove to Marquette hoping to stay at the Tourist campground. It was nice but it was full. The manager looked at us like we were crazy asking if he had a vacancy on the Labor Day weekend.

We fueled up and drove on to our next objective- the mouth of the Huron River where it meets Lake Superior. Tips from Tom and the UP Overland forum took us over some back roads to a great sand beach and informal camping area where we explored a bit and set up camp. The wind was quite strong off the lake but we found a nice protected spot.

Parked near the mouth of the Huron River.

The mouth of the Huron River.

Walking on the nice sand beach.

Found a sheltered campsite.

Nicest campsite of the trip.
We noticed a fair bit of trash strewn about and decided to do a bit of campground cleanup. 

We picked up some trash around the area.

After our good deed, we had a relaxing happy hour and a good dinner.

Another campsite pic.
We took a walk after dinner down the beach, sat for a while, enjoyed another stellar sunset and went to bed.

Walking on the beach after dinner.

Sunset silouette.

Beach sunset.

I woke up before dawn and got up to watch the sun rise. I took some photos while Kathy caught up on sleep. I decided to take a shower. I heated water, filled up the shower sprayer, found a handy tree on which to hang my dopp kit and towel, pumped up the sprayer and had a nice hot shower. It was a bit brisk at 60° air temp but it felt great to be clean. I made burritos again for breakfast- hash browns, eggs, sausage and cheese wrapped in a tortilla. Remember, it is the plate you can eat! A liberal dash of hot sauce on mine. The consensus was this had been our best campsite of the trip.

Dawn at the mouth of the Huron River.

The sun also rises.

We packed up to head to the Porcupine Mountains State Park. We cut across from Baraga to Ontonagon, skipping the famed Keweenaw Peninsula. We had a memorable vacation with our kids there years ago and decided not to repeat that area this trip. We arrived at Porcupine and found hot, humid weather, biting flies and a woefully poor camping situation at the Union Bay campground- crowded, small sites with no privacy, no trees, big RVs packed in, people everywhere. The Labor Day holiday crowd was in full swing. The draw of hot showers could not overcome the camping conditions. We talked to the ranger and reserved a much better sounding rustic site at the Presque Isle unit on the other end of the park 25 miles away.

We decided to sight-see on our way to the campground so we would not have to back track. We drove to the trailhead at Lake of the Clouds- the main draw of the park and very scenic. The landscape is knock-your-socks-off beautiful. There are many hiking trails to follow in the park but we didn't do any hiking on this visit. We will return someday that is not a holiday weekend- this Labor Day holiday visit was too crowded for our taste.

Lake of the Clouds.

Another view.

We drove to the Presque Isle unit, presented our earlier purchased campsite permit at the gate house and discovered they had given our nice, wooded campsite away due to park staff miscommunication. Other sites were available but not attractive- small, open and close to neighbors, lots of people. After some deliberation, we got a refund and decided to push on to the nearby Chequamegon National Forest in Wisconsin and look for a forest service campground.

Heading for Wisconsin.

 We found one on the map- followed a few signs but never found the campground. Back to the highway- soon saw another USFS campgound sign. Followed more signs and ended up on in a nice USFS campground on Lake Namekagon. Unfortunately, campers with a big trailer showed up, set up next door and promptly turned on their generator and let their dog loose. I returned the dog to them and confirmed that they would turn the generator off at 10 PM. They were pleasant about it.

It was a very hot and humid night. We took a walk to the lake, let Rocky wade in the water and enjoyed the cool breeze off the lake. We decided to get up early and head home, stopping for breakfast on the way. It rained overnight- we were glad we had packed up before heading to bed. We had a great breakfast at the Brick House Café in Cable, Wisconsin while it poured rain. More rain during the ride home cleaned the dirt and bugs off the truck nicely. We arrived home about 1 pm- tired, glad to be home, appreciative of another completed adventure, our understanding and respect of Lake Superior and its landscapes and its people deepened. And I have finally been all around the big lake.

Camp at Lake Namekagon

Impressions: You could spend a lifetime exploring around Lake Superior. The variety of landscapes is endlessly entertaining. We will return to Canada and Michigan. Lake Nipigon has been added to the list of places to visit. Ontario Provincial Parks are some of the nicest we have stayed in anywhere. With the exception of a couple of challenging days (and what adventure doesn't have challenges?), the trip was everything I hoped it would be.

2173 miles. 135 gallons of gas- ave. price $2.91/gal. $386 total fuel cost.
Ave mileage- 16 mpg. Range between fills 15-18 mpg.
14 days, 2 countries, 10 different campsites.


  1. What a wonderful adventure you had! Thanks for taking the time to share it with us. We will go over this again and follow along on your map. These trips you share from the Great Lakes area really tug at our Midwestern hearts. We believe the cat lady is still in place bothering new arrivals. It was probably much more fun telling the story than living through it. Well done!

  2. Thanks for the comment! I really hope the cat lady has found her cat by now.

  3. Sure was a lovely adventure with inspiring photos and an interesting story. All along your journey, I was reminiscing about our trip around Superior forty years ago (that can't be, how did it happen that I'm so old!). Anyway, thanks for sharing the trip. Poor cat lady, poor cat, poor unlucky campers at the site next door. You found some outstanding campsites! And the sunset photos have really been vivid this year...out our way too. Thanx. steph

    1. Steph, time flies when you're having fun, right? I wish we could have the sunsets without all the fires. Thanks for the nice comments!

  4. Enjoyed reading your trip report, especially the places we just visited a few weeks ago. Had to laugh because I thought we were the only ones being tortured by the flies. In fact some hitched a ride back to Washington. Opened my camper yesterday and a fly flew out. My next trip report will be from a flies view point. There has to be a novel there waiting to be written. Did not realize how the fires affected the midwestern states. Most asked questions was, "how are the fires in Washington?" Did make for some pretty sunsets.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Mike, thanks for the comment (I deleted the duplicate). We enjoyed your trip report as well. We didn't see the northern lights- probably slept right through them.