On August 12st we met at ground zero, Matt's house in Cadillac. Once Mike and Daniel arrived we decided that rather than sleeping there we'd just drive up that night. At 1:03am we piled our gear and the four of us (Mike & Daniel Surls, Nathan Dewey, and myself) into my trusty (and speedy) SHO and headed north. We made it just North of Manton (about 15 miles) before getting pulled over the first time. After checking us out and making sure we were OK dudes the troopers let us go and we pressed on.
Day 1 - Aug 13 - We took shifts driving, I made it to St. Ignace at 3:30am in the U.P. where Mike took over for a couple hours. Nathan took over at 5:50am and drove through most of Canada. We arrived in Sudbury at 8:00am (7 hours) and put on some warmer clothes. We arrived at the park at 10:00am and hit the trail. Even after waiting for me to run back to the car and fetch our trip log, we had plenty of time to make it to H7 by midday. Topaz lake is our favorite site by no small margin. Read last years Killarney log for a full description. We were walking along and the usual trail chatter happened to be about sex. Mike had commented that surveys show that the more education you have the less frequently you have sex. Matt said that he grew up he wanted to be a redneck. At that instant John walked over a hill and asked "What's that about Rednecks?" John was wearing fatigues and a nascar tshirt. <gulp> To his amusement we explained the conversation. He had been circumnavigating the trail counter-clockwise for four days and was walking out. His Bivy has busted the night before and he was tired, wet, disgusted, and was on his way out to get a steak. At 1:30pm we met Paul. Paul had spent three days at Topaz lake by himself. We was in good spirits despite having endured some nasty weather. We made it to Acid Lake by 2:00pm and promptly fell in... Well, most of us let ourselves in but Mike decides to skid down the rocks into the lake and later stub his toe getting out. :-P Shortly after getting back onto the trail we marched through a rain storm but we were warm enough that we didn't care about getting wet.
Day 2 - Interior waterway (H21) - Death March Day - 14 km
We started out by playing in Topaz Lake for a while and then hit the trail. It's a LONG hike from H7 to H21 when you've got full packs. We met guys that were thru hiking it like us. They were staying at H20 and we're overly social. When me made it to H18 we stopped to eat lunch and got for a jump in the lake. H18 has a great cliff rock with a 25 foot drop to the water. Cool, we all jumped in but getting out was a little more challenging than we'd have liked. It is a nice campsite with ample room for several tents. We marched until our feet screamed at us to stop and kept on going. We got a late start leaving Topaz lake it was getting late when we finally came strolling up to the spur that juts off to our site. "Matt took off like a shot headed for camp. Very beautiful on a point that juts out into the lake. Only thing was, there were three tents there already! Canoer's were at our site." We were exhausted and there was no way we were packing up to go find another site. I was the first to arrive at the site and when Daniel made it he just looked at me with that "Please don't tell me we're walking any more" look about him. I verbally assured him (loud enough that the canoers could hear me) that this was our site and we weren't going anywhere.
John, Sheila, and friends from London Ontario where their names. They were really friendly people so we had them move a couple of their tents so we could string out our tarp and have a flat spot to sleep and shared the site with them. We chatted with them over dinner and enjoyed the company. "Matt was trying to fix the stove which wasn't working right. After much fidgeting he started to take it apart but forgot to turn off the fuel. The stove was hot enough to ignite the fuel and he set himself, the fuel bottle, and a nice patch of the site on fire." The camp became a flurry of activity but Matt's pyro skills enabled him to supress the fire rapidly and before any damage was done.
Day 3 - Three Narrows (H22) - 2 km
We work up bright and early at 6:30 and ate our oatmeal breakfast.
After the long hike the day before we really enjoyed our day of R&R. We didn't have far to go (per the map) so we took our time breaking down camp, did some laundry, and put it out on the rocks to dry. Our canoeing friends awoke around 8 and made bacon, pancakes, orange drink, and had real maple syrup. They made each of us a pancake and fet Brutus some moldy rye bread soaked in bacon grease. Hmmmm, pig fat. After breakfast they all went skinny dipping and air dried for a while. Since there were all 50+ we tried really hard not to notice.
At 11 we hit the trail hike to the top of the hill coming out of camp. We broke there for lunch and had a fox check us out. It was a beautiful animal, very healthy and Brutus thought he has found a friend. We hiked up a waterfall, that was neat. We also found a little pool of water and took a dip. It was C-O-L-D, real cold. We took turns, jumping in and racing to get our clothes back on. Brrrrrr. After getting to our site we relaxed on the rocks and sunned ourselves most of the day. Dinner was memorable, the Backpackers Panty dumplings w/chicken instantly became the standard by which all other meals were gauged. Mike's MSR polenta gained top honors in the absolute worst category. We sacked out early.
Day 4 - David Lake (H34) - 14 km
We woke up at 5:30am to sprinkles. We ate and busted down camp before it decided to rain on us. We started out with a long climb up MNM hill. MNM hill is definitely a 4-ever hill. The breeze at the top was stiff and cool, a perfect treat after climbing for that long. It was a pretty long day across the granite highways. That section of trail was mostly spent walking across ridges formed with huge rocks. It was just miles and miles of rocks. We arrived at camp at 4:30pm.
David Lake is not only large but clear and beautiful. The site had been destroyed by a fire but was relocated and the new site was very nice. The water was pretty cold and it was late in the day so our swimming was limited to: strip naked, jump in the water, lather up (with eco-friendly soap), jump back in, and then go huddle next to the fire to warm back up. Dinner was two lasagnas, the Italian one was bad, the tomato sauce lasagna was good. Matt's buttery potatoes made 3 full cups and for the first time, we were all full after dinner. There's nothing like a full stomach to go to sleep with.
Day 5 - Bunny Rabbit Lake
At 6:30am the sun popped up over the horizon and invited us to get up. After breakfast we did laundry and laid out on the rock and sun bathed while our clothes dried. As we laid there we watched a plane come in and land on the lake and taxi up to a cabin a few miles across the lake. A couple hours later it took off again and flew right over us. We all were thinking the same thing. Wouldn't THAT be nice. :-)
At 10:30 we got onto the trail and headed off to Bunny rabbit. It was just a long day of hiking. We passed by Silver Peak and didn't have much desire to hike up it so we skipped it for a later trip. This is a great little site. Bunnyrabbit lake is beautiful, the site is well located (weather wise), and well developed. We hoofed it into camp early and did a little cruising around the area. A pair of English hikers wandered in to get water so we talked with them a bit.
Day 6 - Bunny Rabbit Lake
We awoke at 6:30 and had breakfast. We gathered a bunch of firewood to last all day and then laid out and sunned ourselves until lunch time. Having all day and little to do, we were bored senseless so we did a bunch of site construction. We hauled in a bunch of nice logs and made nice double wide log benches, did a little earth moving to flatten out the tent spots and anything else we could think of doing to enhance the experience for ourselves and those that would pass through there.
Mike quote: "In the afternoon the sun came out bright and warm. So much so that we ended up taking a nap, only to be woken to the sound of a large log hitting another. Nathan was cutting firewood. He hates sawing so he lifts the half sawn log and bashed it across another until it breaks. Fatigue and hunger have made everyone cranky. L.O.S.T? Lunch Or Supper Time? We talk a lot about food. We we have, when we should eat it. What type of foods we would love to have. How next trip we will carry more food and less stuff."
Day 7 - Little Superior
We arrived early in the day to Little Superior. The lake wasn't great, pretty murky and silty. We really wanted to swim and that lake wasn't going to provide that. :-( We were all still feeling really good after our rest day and with light packs so we decided to just keep going and maybe drop camp somewhere closer to the end of the trail. We ended up hiking all the way out that night. I don't recommend hiking that far if you're hiking to have fun. He held a death march pace for a long time to make it. We got out and drove back up to Sudbury where we spend the night in a hotel.
For future reference, here's our trip costs:
Fuel (automotive): $75.82
Car munchies: $27.52
Hiking fees: $96.60
Nice dinner: $61.20