Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park – June 2018

Porcupine Mountains

Hannah – 5 years old – Backpacking Trip #3

After our first spring Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park trip one year earlier, all of us moms and kids said we definitely wanted to return to the Pinkerton Trail and stay at the Little Carp Cabin again the following year.  However, there was one hiccup… one of the moms was going to be having a baby three months before our next trip.  Although I wouldn’t put it past this particular amazing mom to strap a backpack to her back and a baby to her front to go on a hike, the thought of carrying out all of those diapers seemed less than appealing to all of us.  So we were down to just the 4 of us – 2 moms, 2 kids. 

Hiking In

The hike in went smoothly and the kids fell right into step as they had done last year.  With only two of them, now ages 5 and 6, we traveled pretty swiftly through the tall forest and over the streams and rivers.  After unpacking our sleeping bags and filtering some Lake Superior water with the Platypus GravityWorks 4L Complete Water Filter Kit (paid link), my friend, Katie and I started building a fire to make dinner. That night we made steak, asparagus, sweet potatoes, peppers, and carrots while sipping on Sutter Home’s finest White Zinfandel. 

dinner and wine
Katie showing off our dinner and drinks

The kids were off exploring the woods and seeing if their favorite hideout spots were still there.  They had found a big crevice near the edge and decided that a bear must live there. We could not always see them, but could hear their giggles occasionally, giving us comfort that they were not too far away. We did have some ground rules though – they were not allowed to go down by the lake without an adult. This particular cabin sits high up on a ridge and the trail down to the lake is a little steep. They seemed to find plenty to explore up on the ridge.

Hannah discovering the local “wildlife”

A Long Day Hike

The next day was beautiful.  The sun was shining but the morning was pretty cool by the lake.  The kids were up and ready to do some day hiking.  After breakfast, we made PB&Js, filled water bottles, packed snacks, and dressed in layers for our day hike.  We started toward the Big Carp River on the Lake Superior Trail.  Once we reached the Big Carp River Trail, we took that up river.  The wind was blocked away from the lake and as we walked, we were all slowly removing the layers we had on. 

Hannah hiking along the Big Carp River

We had gone about 2.5 miles so far, meaning our round trip would be 5 miles, which is the furthest these kids have ever hiked in a day!  We decided we should probably take a lunch break when we happened upon a gorgeous spot with a lot of sun shining on the rocks by the river.  By then, we were all in shorts and tank tops.  We dipped our feet in the water while snacking and the kids took turns taking pictures of each other and playing on the rocks. 

Hiking on the Lake Superior Trail

Surprisingly, the hike back to the cabin came with very few complaints.  The kids did awesome and the moms were happy they made it that far and that we didn’t have any rain yet that the forecast had suggested.  But little did we know… it was right around the corner. 

Rain and Warmth

Hannah and her friend adding comments and drawings to the log book

We had just arrived back at the cabin and were unpacking our gear from the day hike when the rain started.  The kids decided to write about our day hike adventure in the log book and then got out the deck of cards. However, they eventually were getting restless – even after that big hike!  So we put on our rain coats and headed to the beach!  A little rain isn’t going to stop these kids from throwing rocks into Lake Superior for hours! 

One of the best things about having a cabin to return to is the ability to dry out.  Most of the cabins have lines hanging up so you can dry your wet clothes.  We returned to the cabin and started a fire in the wood burning stove.  We made dinner and called it a night.  We all lay in our sleeping bags, listening to the rain fall.  The kids were zonked and fell asleep hard and fast.

Lake Superior
Lake Superior

The hike out was again a wet one, just like the previous year.  We didn’t take breaks and made it to the car pretty early after packing and cleaning up.

Lessons Learned

Kids can hike further than you think!  And having a warm cabin to return to after spending hours in the rain is incredible and highly recommended.