From Moose Rapids, we took off headed north and hit Lake Superior at the town of Baraga. We passed several campgrounds I had noted but earlier calls had ascertained that some were down rugged, long dirt roads and not being sure of access or turn around space, we bypassed. And thus, a few miles later we headed east on highway M26 on the lower Keweenaw Peninsula. Our destination was a small state forest campground of nine sites, situated on a lovely small lake.
We easily found it down a nice dirt road and were thrilled to see only one other camper there; a family in a popup enjoying a last weekend of camping. Although we passed a fair share of RVers out enjoying leaf peeping in the Yooper, the campgrounds were all blissfully mostly empty. It might have been the weather forecast. The entire trip held temps mainly in the 40’s and 50’s, with some periods of heavy rain. We don’t mind this kind of Fall camping however, finding the days when we must remain inside a cozy experience of cooking, reading, game playing, snuggly naps, and playing with the cats. Having changed out the RV furniture to comfy recliners, and having the ability to then turn the chairs to whichever window features the best view is the bomb as they say!
As an aside, we thoroughly enjoyed this small state forest campground and definitely want to return with the kayaks at a future date. Especially now knowing they stock it with Rainbow trout!
We chose the very best Fall sunny day to drive into the peninsula’s largest town of Houghton/Hancock (pop. 8000) and are so glad we did! Cresting the hill and looking down into town I was gob smacked at the charm of it all, as white houses stood out against a brilliantly colored hillside spilling down to glistening water. It totally reminded me of New England! It only got better as we approached the old downtown section, which the town has preserved in a neat fashion, with riverside parks, free parking and marvelous old stone buildings. Even though it was a Sunday and most shops closed, we could sense that the place had a real heart and soul and liveliness to it, not seen in many towns of the UP. Maybe that’s because it has a couple of renown universities.
From downtown, we wandered across the famous old lift bridge, spanning Portage Lake, dredged in 1860. This is actually a canal made for shipping purposes, which allowed larger ships access from both Lake Huron to the east and Lake Superior to the west. This bridge is pretty fascinating as it features the main deck (car travel) and a lower one for rail traffic. Now however, the lower deck is used only during winter for snowmobile traffic—how cool is that?
This area is historically an old mining town, at one time the largest producer of copper in the country, and we were able to freely visit a couple of the ghosts of yesteryear. We always love exploring old ruins and this was no exception! We finished up our lovely sojourn in Houghton with a take-out fresh lake fish sandwich; I had whitefish and Marc had the perch, both deep fried and so yummy!
This was to be our last good weather day in the UP and although we stayed until Tuesday as now the only campers at Emily Lake, we decided to take two days heading home. At this point we were only about two hours from the WI border, crossing into Land ‘O Lakes near Eagle River; always a beautiful little town. We decided to check out a county campground at Jack Lake, out of Antigo, which was due to close that weekend. We had our pick of sites so got one snuggled up as close as possible to the charming lake. If a person could snag a few spots lakeside, some of which are first-come, some reserved, it would make for good kayaking right from camp. However, at $30/night with electric (water and dump station available), it’s not a place we would normally choose to stay given the cost and likely fullness of sites during summer. Turns were fairly tight for a rig our size and I suspect it would normally be full of families as there were many amenities, including boat launch, hiking trails, disc golf and playground. It is however, conveniently close to home at around a two-hour drive.
Arriving home, we cleaned and buttoned up the RV for winter storage and did the same thing to the garden. Our weather is rapidly turning cold and we suspect we are not far from our first snowfall, which just might arrive by Sunday. The Northwoods has already gotten its fair share and we made our escape from the UP just in time to miss their first snowfall. Alas, sorry to see season’s end but we experienced some good camping trips this summer and now must bundle up and in for our long winter.
On the home front, Marc is still unemployed and enjoying semi-retirement. He has made the conscious choice not to work at this time, due to rampant Covid numbers in this state. He has several home projects to tackle this winter hopefully, but all in all, we suspect a long, quiet winter so my updates may be few and far between. Rest assured however, when there is something to share, I will be back!