Porcupine Mountains, Night 4

As my wife and I waited at the Buckshot Cabin, we started to hear the telltale sound of thunder again. I walked over to the lake and saw that there were some small thunderheads moving in from the lake. Nothing too terrible, but we were concerned that Mike was going to get soaked again.

Thankfully, the rain didn’t last long, and for Lisa and I, the cabin was a beautiful place to wait it out. There wasn’t any wind, so we were able to keep the windows open and enjoy the smell of fresh rain in the woods. Soon the rain let up and we started checking out what time it was. It was then that we realized that Mike should be back any time now, but we weren’t seeing any sign of him. I realized that we never made any plans for how to handle an emergency, without any cell phone connection, so I made the decision that if Mike wasn’t back by 7pm we would pack up the cabin and hike back out to the car. The assumption was that if something had gone wrong and he wasn’t able to hike down after his run, he’d just wait in the car.

Soon enough though he came down the trail, ready for some supper. He had managed to get back to the car just as the rain started, so he decided (wisely) to just wait out the rain before heading out on the hike. After almost 18 miles of running, and a 2.5 mile hike to the cabin, he was justifiably wiped. We started up a dinner of pancakes and sat down at the table to enjoy one final camp meal. I enjoyed a beer while we ate, and then headed to bed to finish my second book of the trip.

Morning came, and I was awake early (as usual). I headed down to the lake to get a nice sunrise pic (in the header above), and then we started our packing for the trip home. Maybe it was a bit of caffeine in my system, but the hike out to the car went super smooth, and I was feeling on top of the world. We managed to hike UP the hill 12 minutes faster than it took Lisa and I to hike down. We arrived at the car and drove back to the modern campground for a quick shower before the long ride home.

IMG_20180806_090941.jpgI feel like I learned a LOT on this trip. Mike was an excellent guide, and taught us solid Leave No Trace principles. I also learned about what I like and don’t like, and how I’d plan the next trip that we take.

Some of the lessons:

  • ALWAYS pack for rain. It doesn’t matter what the weather forecast said two days ago. Always bring your pack cover.
  • I know how to poop in the woods now.
  • Packing gear for both back country camping and running is tough. Many things are shared, but when you’re running long distances in the woods, you need the right gear.
  • There’s a lot you can do for food beyond just dehydrated camp meals.
  • You don’t need as much as you think you do, and you can get by with a lot less.

Overall, this was an amazing adventure. It wasn’t much like a vacation, because we were working hard a lot. But, it was something incredible and memorable. I commented to our group that it felt like running an ultramarathon. It was tough and difficult, but incredibly fulfilling. I just needed a few days to recover when I got done!

I’m not sure what the next back country trip for us will be. We’ve got some camper trips coming up soon, but at least we have all the right gear for when we want to venture out again. I’ll be posting some reviews of our gear in future blogs, as well as a list of all the things we brought. I’m very happy with almost all of our gear, and frankly, I don’t think we need to change much.

This was an incredible adventure, and I’m so happy that we did it. It’s OK that it was tough, because the memories will last for a lifetime.