Now that it has been a month since we went on this trip it is time to recap this trip before I entirely forget what happened. We got up on Saturday, September 28th at 5am to head to the North Shore for a four day backpacking trip. The trip up was rather uneventful, we stopped at McDonald's for a breakfast sandwich in Duluth and then we were on our way to Temperance River State Park. This time we used the Trikes for Life Shuttle Service and it worked out really well. Our driver was super nice and it was considerably less expensive than the shuttle we used in the past. Our driver took us to the Caribou Trail parking lot where we were starting our hike. The fall colors up there were so beautiful. I love the North Shore in every season, but fall is by far my favorite. It was an overcast day so photos don't do it justice at all.
This trip Patrick planned for us hiking less miles than our trip in May. In May we did 30 miles over four days and on this trip we did 24 in the same amount of time. Our intention for doing less miles was to actually enjoy the hike rather than going as fast as could and not stopping to check things out. Well it didn't work out that way as a few hours into our first day on the trail it started raining and it didn't end up stopping for about four hours.
We hiked for about two miles in the rain before stopping at the West Poplar campsite. At this point we needed to set up our tent in the rain. This is not something either one of us has ever done so we just did what we thought would work well and got it up without too much hassle. Before we put the footprint of the tent down though Patrick gathered some pine branches to put under the tent and that helped so we weren't setting up the tent in the mud. After the tent was up he added some more pine branches to the sides so there was a buffer between where the water flowed and the bottom of our tent.
After all this we were both soaking wet. We really lucked out on the trip as three good things happened for our first backpacking trip in the rain. One we both brought an extra pair of pants, Patrick hadn't brought these on the last few trips and it would have been interesting to go without pants for a day while the other ones were drying. The second thing was it relatively warm outside with temperatures in the 50's and being soaking wet didn't feel as miserable as it would have been had it been colder. And third the next day was really sunny so we were able to dry out almost everything that was wet by hanging everything out in the sun.
It finally stopped raining about an hour before sunset so we took advantage of that and made the dinner we planned. The backup plan while it was raining was to have Lara Bars and other snacks for dinner.
The next day we spent the entire morning rotating our stuff to have be in the optimal drying spot. If it wasn't for the rotating it would have been a super relaxed morning. By 2:30pm everything but our shoes, some socks, and underwear were dry. We had no choice to wear our shoes, but the other stuff we put in a plastic bag and it never dried out the whole trip.
Since we spent so much time drying out our stuff this was the easiest day of hiking on the whole trip. We hiked 2.1 miles to the Mystery Mountain Campsite. It was a very strange thing to see two worlds collide by backpacking through the same area we have skied at for years.
Here are some photos of the Poplar River.
Here is the Mystery Mountain Campsite. The colors were beautiful, but it was pretty close to the Lutsen resort so it wasn't as isolated as a lot of sites on the trail are.
After our short hike we decided it would be nice to have a fire that night. We gathered up a ton of wood, but ultimately the fire pit was too wet and we never got a fire started. That night for dinner we tried out a new meal. We actually bought this tortellini for our trip to Glacier over the summer, but never ended up eating it there. The combo of cheese tortellini noodles, pesto, laughing cow cheese and pine nuts was pretty tasty, so we will probably have this meal in the future.
Since we hiked so little the day before we knew that we had 10.4 miles ahead of us. Surprisingly even after 10 miles neither of us was super exhausted from the hiking. Either we are in better shape or that day of rest really helped out. It's really too bad that we had so many miles to hike since the sun was out and we saw some really beautiful fall colors. We may have even done a couple spur trails if we didn't have mileage to make up from the day before.
We arrived at the Springdale Creek Campsite around 4:30pm and got to work setting up camp. This was our favorite campsite of the trip. It was very scenic like the Mystery Mountain site, but much more isolated.
For dinner we made one of our backpacking favorites Burrito Soup. We also proceeded to eat majority of our marshmallows and the rest of our snacks. We also got a fire going so we were able to roast our marshmallows instead of just eating them cold.
Our mission for the last day of the trip was to hike as fast as possible so we could reward ourselves with Pizza Luce in Duluth. On all the trips I have taken this is the longest we have hiked on the last day. Usually by this time we are both ready to be done, so it is ideal if the hiking doesn't take too long. We hiked 6.4 miles and we didn't get to the car until 1:30pm. It was a warmer day so we were very ready to be done by the time we got to the car.
It was a good trip. We learned that if there is rain the forecast it would be worth rescheduling the trip as it is not fun to be out there soaking wet with no shelter beyond your tent. Also if we do encounter rain in the future it may be good to invest in waterproof pants and gloves because if it had been colder it would have been miserable hiking in wet clothes for longer than we did.