Traveling Ted is a blog that takes readers along on my adventures hiking, canoeing, skiing, and international backpacking. Many blogs focus on one aspect of backpacking, but I tackle both the outdoor adventure side and international exploration as well.

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Thirty-two years ago to this very night a young man in Barrington, Illinois was not getting much sleep on the eve of his first adventure in the Porcupine Mountains State Park. I was nine years old, and I was going hiking with my dad and a friend in this Michigan State Park.

Lake of the Clouds Porcupine Mountains

Posing at the Lake of the Clouds in the Porcupine Mountains State Park in Michigan – Excited to be on my first adventure

We rolled out of Barrington on Friday evening after school. My dad and his friend were both teachers. The plan was to drive all night and get a start on the trail early in the morning. We took turn sleeping in the back of our Chevy Van. I was of course too young to drive, so I slept most of the way.

On the way up there it spitted snow, and I remember how excited I was that it was only October, and I was already seeing snow. I boasted that I was the first person in my fourth grade class to see snow that year.

We arrived early in the morning and headed straight towards Lake of the Clouds. This may be the most photogenic lake in the world when the leaves are in their fall color bloom.

Porcupine Mountains State Park Michigan

Enjoying the scenic Little Carp River in the Porcupine Mountains

We then hiked for two nights in the backcountry of this awesome state park. The Porcupine Mountains straddle Lake Superior and one of the best trails is the Lake Superior Trail.  We camped one night along the Little Carp River and one night along Lake Superior.

The first night we camped along the Little Carp River, and I still remember the camp spot. All night long we were treated with the soothing roar of the rushing water as the river had an appointment with Lake Superior, which was just a few miles away. There is nothing like camping next to a mountain stream with the omnipotent sound of water crashing over rocks. It is the last sound you hear before going to bed and the first sound you hear when you awake in the morning.

Little Carp River meets Lake Superior

My dad and I cross a bridge where the Little Carp River meets Lake Superior

We had a campfire and stayed up telling stories while making smores. I was hooked after this night and fell in love with the outdoors. Over Thanksgiving of the same year, we hiked the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. The trips have just kept coming ever since this first one in Michigan.

Thirty-two years later and not much has changed. Once again tonight I will be sleeping thinking about tomorrow’s adventure in the Porcupine Mountains State Park. One difference, besides the fact that I will be carrying a much bigger backpack, is I will not have much trouble sleeping. Although I am excited about the hike, sleep comes to me pretty easy these days.

Another similarity is I again may be the first person in my fourth grade class to see snow. Temperatures on Saturday look to go down in the upper twenties with snow flurries possible. I will be huddled around a campfire with a flask of whiskey hoping the bears stay away.

Photo credit Steve Warble

Stay tuned,


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