May 22, 2013

The Waterfalls: Porcupine Mountains Take Two! (Day 1)

By P.

Agate Falls
Since our first backpacking trip to the Porcupine Mountains three years ago, we've been wanting to go back (despite being eaten alive by mosquitoes). Of course, one reason or another prevented us from doing so. And now, it's three years later and we decided to just go for it and started planning our second trip.

Taking a few lessons we learned from our first backpacking trip, we made a few adjustments when planning our second trip (four days and three nights of wilderness adventures!). We planned a trip early in spring, hoping to beat the start of the mosquito season (since mosquitoes ruined our first trip). Instead of backpacking the entire trip, we decided to camp and just do day hikes. Along with us this time were my two sisters and our dog Mumu.

Day 1 - May 17, 2013

On Bridge Overlooking Agate Falls

I loved taking rests along the mini waterfalls and rivers during our first backpacking trip. So, this time, on our way to the Porcupine Mountains, we planned a driving route to see two waterfalls along the way, which was totally worth the extra hour or so of driving.

First Stop: Agate Falls

Our GPS took us on a slightly different path so we actually ended up on a bridge overlooking Agate Falls rather than down by the actual falls.

Mumu did not like being on the
bridge overlooking Agate Falls.
Hiking Down to Get a Closer
Look at Agate Falls

Mu was much more adventurous
than Mama liked ...
but she was so happy. 
Agate Falls
Wolf Print
Second Stop: O Kun De Kun Falls

To reach O Kun De Kun Falls, we had to hike for a bit. Along the way, we found some interesting things.

First was a wood tick. These little insects like to jump onto you from nearby leaves and other forest foliage then dig into your skin for a meal.  This specific tick is a wood tick and for the most part harmless though some ticks spread disease and could possibly cause infections. Best to check yourself regularly and remove them before they get a chance to make you a meal.

We heard the falls a far ways before actually reaching them.
Nature Lessons
O Kun De Kun Falls
O Kun De Kun Falls
O Kun De Kun Falls
O Kun De Kun Falls
Setting Up Tent
Setting Up Camp

With a wet dog in tow, we made our way to the Union Bay Campground, which is a modern campground located right along Lake Superior. It's ideal for RVs and there were yurts available as well but we found  it too crowded. Okay. There were plenty of spots to pick from among the yurts and other campers but we didn't want to be around other people. We wanted to be one with nature! So, after some driving around, we ended up at the Union Bay Rustic Campgrounds.

Setting Up Tents
Mu busy exploring.
After setting up camp, we decided to take a short hike to explore our surroundings. While the girls and Isa were setting up the tents, I started preparations for dinner.

Dinner Menu: Campbell's Chunky Classic Chicken Noodle Soup and Baked Potatoes
Noodle Soup Boilin'
Taters Cookin'
Our food theme for this trip was SIMPLE and EASY. Nothing is more simple and easy then opening a few cans of soup (three to be exact) and pouring the contents into a stainless steel pot to be heated over an open fire. Surprisingly, it didn't take more than 15 minutes for the soup to come to a boil.

After washing the potatoes, I simply double wrapped each spud in aluminum foil and tossed them into the fire. While we waited for the potatoes to cook, we enjoyed the soup (Delicious! Especially after a long day of hiking.) and even had time for a quick hike to explore the area surrounding our campsite.

We were amazed to find patches of snow in the middle of May!
There are streams and little waterfalls everywhere!
After exploring the area around our camp, we came back to cooked baked potatoes! [Bring an oven mitt. It will make things much easier.] To add more flavor, we topped our potatoes with butter and Oscar Mayer Real Bacon Bits, adding a bit of salt and black pepper to season.
Easy, Simple and Delicious!


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