McCormick Wilderness

Joined
Sep 19, 2011
Messages
105
Location
SE MI
McCormick Wilderness
5-19-2012
Group Members: Kaine and Ben


Such a beautiful place. Maybe that is why it is so hard to reach its interior, especially by canoe. Where the water was deep enough it was a lot of fun with the scenery that I love. Never thought I would love to see beaver dams so much.

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Baraga Creek is just that a creek. With as dry a spring and a light winter it was to shallow and boney to canoe through. It took us more than 3 hours to go less than 2 miles. Dragging and lining way more than paddling. Thankfully it was really nice and warm. Stubbing our toes, slipping around on boulders from softball sized to basketball sized was no walk in the park.

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If we were more experienced we could have portaged to the Baraga Lakes. To dense for us. Than we we would have had to portaged all the way down to White Deer and Bulldog Lakes, kind of nixing our plans. We called it a day and a trip when we reached a boulder strewn section that we saw no end to.

Our turnaround point
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We made it out in less than 2 hours. Non the less I had a lot of fun and I am glad to have made the attempt. At least now I know as well.

A couple of lessons we learned. Mostly more research. Maybe there is a reason there are no McCormick paddling report to be found. Some sort of shoe to walk through creeks like this. I used an old pair of low hiking shoes that were pretty much wrecked to begin with. Every time I stepped back into the canoe I brought two shoes full of water with me. I needed some sort of sponge to rid the boat of the water. This has been on my list for a while but is one of those small details that all ways escapes my mind. Now on to the next lessons to be learned, oh I mean the next adventure.

Thanks Kaine
 
W

Willis

Guest
I see a head net in that one pic. How bad were the black flys?
 
Joined
Sep 19, 2011
Messages
105
Location
SE MI
All the bugs were really bad. The flys were around if the wind was not blowing. The mosquitoes were around until the temps cooled off. Lucky for us it was a windy week in the UP. Not so much for all the fire fighters though.
 
Joined
Sep 19, 2011
Messages
105
Location
SE MI
Also forgot about the ticks. They were out as well. I lost track of how many I pulled off myself and out of my tent (in the 30's). I was afraid to sit down anywhere near anything but dirt. My experiences with mosquitoes is a lot of Deet will keep them away. So between the Deet and wind it was bearable for me. Not so much for my buddy though.
 
Joined
Sep 19, 2011
Messages
105
Location
SE MI
Its funny you mention the Adirondacks. My sister is moving to upstate NY at the end of the summer. I plan to drive out there to visit her late next spring. While there I plan to do a little tripping in the Adirondacks. Most likely split my 6 days between hiking and canoeing.
 
Joined
Mar 24, 2015
Messages
114
I'm planning on doing a couple recon overnight hikes with this early spring. Would like to figure out how do-able it would be to portage into Lower Baraga Lake, then portage into Upper Baraga Lake, and continue up to Island Lake.... The part I want to take a closer look at is the river/creek between Island Lake and Bulldog Lake. If you can make that you might as well go to Lake Margaret, and could essentially do a nice big 4 or 5 day loop ending with a 3.5 mile portage back to the truck from White Deer Lake. A lot of work, but it'd be a cool trip knowing you'd probably see nobody except on your way out.
 
Joined
Sep 19, 2011
Messages
105
Location
SE MI
Based on my Baraga Creek attempt, I can see you running into issues (low water, dense forest, swamps) between Upper Baraga and Island Lake, and bony unrunable water between Island and Bulldog Lake. I would suggest you reverse your route and do the 3.5 mile portage first see how far you could make it. You might be able to drag, line, or portage back down Baraga Creek. The trip would be a lot of work especially because you can not use any thing with wheels.
 
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Messages
32
Location
Keweenaw Peninsula in the UP of Michigan
The McCormick Wilderness is a wonderful area. Full of wildlife. I've never portaged in, just hiked along the edges. However, a friend has managed to get his Grumman 17 into the Baraga Lakes and other lakes in there. I don't know his route, but I can check into it. Getting my canoe in there is something I've wanted to do for a while. The region begs for a pack canoe of some sort. I wouldn't want to haul my aluminum boat up there! Even my RX solo is heavier than I would want for this trip.
 
Joined
Mar 24, 2015
Messages
114
Roadends, The way the snow is melting I'm hoping to do an overnight hike in by the end of the month to scout out possible routes, hopefully I find something, but I feel you're probably right. Cabin fever may have me delusional.

UPpaddler, I have a friend that got his 80lb canoe into White Deer/Bulldog and Margaret Lakes before. He had friends with him, and I'm not sure if they had any great plan behind their effort. Even if I don't find a route I'll probably end up portaging in my canoe for a weekend at some point with minimal travel beyond what lake I decide to put in at.
 
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