Our granddaughter Brianna was preparing for a 9 day canoe trip in the BWCA, so with her mother Kara, we scheduled a final practice run in the beautiful Sylvania Wilderness area.
Our five children gave me a Mad River 18.6′ Kevlar canoe for my birthday/retirement present – the perfect opportunity to test out this great gift!
The Sylvania Wilderness is an 18,327 acres protected area located a few miles west of Watersmeet in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan – just across the Wisconsin border. Sylvania is located entirely within the bounds of the Ottawa National Forest and is managed by the US Forest Service.
Friday July 14, 2017
Packed truck and drove 137 miles to the Sylvania Wilderness with a stop for lunch in Eagle River. Registered at the ranger station, where she told us that the bugs were bad at the Deer 2 campsite we had reserved, so she rebooked us at Badger 2. Unloaded truck and put in at the north end of Crooked Lake.
Paddled south and learned how Crooked Lake got it’s name. After studying the maps to get to Deer 2, I was not fully prepared to find the new camp. We quickly learned that the lakes are smaller than they appear on the maps and the portages are longer! We setup camp at the Badger 2 campsite. The camp sites at Sylvania are set back from the water and often on a ridge. You hardly notice the camps when paddling on the lakes – very pretty and pristine.
Kara and Brianna found their new bivouac tents were very small and one did not have all the right ropes – a little duct tape was needed to make them work.
Enjoyed a good dinner of Beef Stroganoff with Noodles followed by a nice sunset before a campfire.
Saturday July 15, 2017
Enjoyed Brianna’s favorite breakfast of eggs, biscuits & gravy. Broke camp and made the short paddle to the portage to Clark Lake, then a short paddle on South East end of Clark Lake and the long portage to Loon Lake. The huge mature trees made for roomy portages!
Camped at the Eagle 1 campsite. Dinner of Lasagna with Meat Sauce and enjoyed a nice campfire.
Brianna took a nap, so Kara and I decided to explore with empty canoe to the South end of Loon Lake, then a long portage to Florence Lake, a short paddle to the South end of Florence Lake, short portage to Big Bateau Lake and a longer paddle to the South end of Big Bateau Lake to visit Wisconsin. While the area of the park in Michigan is completely wilderness, we found a couple private homes and a camp in the small southern tip of the part that enters Wisconsin.
Sunday July 16, 2017
Breakfast of Pancakes & Syrup. Made the long portage to Clark Lake that opens at a large beach. A good place to rest before getting the last load of packs. The water is crystal clear – a beautiful place!
After a short paddle to the North East and the long portage to Crooked Lake
Long paddle North through the narrows we realized we were close to the truck. My sandals had broken and my feet were bleeding – tossed the sandals in the trash can. We decided to head home a day early.