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Sylvania Wilderness - Clark and Loon Lakes

Sep 21, 2014
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In the Sylvania Wilderness, blue skies, plentiful wildlife, and the relative lack of 4th of July crowds made the mosquitoes much more tolerable. After a wet Memorial Day in the Sylvania Wilderness, our dry Fourth of July weekend felt great - not a drop of rain, cool nights, and sunny days. Fourth - an easy, easy trip. Arriving on Saturday afternoon, we unloaded and paddled 2.5 miles (4 km) across Clark Lake to the Birch campsite. Tucked away in a little bay, not too many paddlers ventured by and we enjoyed relative privacy despite the holiday weekend and a fairly busy scene at the put-in.

Memorial weekend we paddled and portaged what dry makes for an easy 4.3 miles (6.9 km) across Clark Lake and Loon Lake to our campsite, Eagle 1. Our daughter, less than pleased to have been caught in the downpour without rain gear on, puts her rain jacket on over her wet clothes. She then takes 30 minutes to drag herself across the normally 10 minute portage in the rain. It is clear we should have put on our rain gear before jumping into the canoe.

But rain or shine, it is always a pleasure to visit the Sylvania Wilderness. Located near Watersmeet in Upper Michigan on County Road 535, the Sylvania Wilderness provides a closer to home option for canoe tripping than the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) for those driving up from Southern Wisconsin and Illinois. The portages tend to be shorter and less rugged than those found in the BWCA, and the campsites are fairly large given that the undergrowth is minimal. On the downside, the Sylvania Wilderness is relatively small (30 sq. miles) in comparison to the BWCA (1,703 sq. miles).


Clark Lake


Loon Lake


Clark Lake


Our campsite on Loon Lake, Eagle 1

This is the warmup - can't wait to take our BWCA vacation in August!

If anyone cares to read more about our quick weekend getaways to the Sylvania Wilderness:

Nice trip report and great photos. That is the first time I've seen a "true" fire pit. Are they commonly built/dug that way out there?
That pit is cool. I prefer the rock ones in Ontario where we can be the responsible adults we think we are.

nice photos on your blog!

good trip
Nice trip report and great photos. That is the first time I've seen a "true" fire pit. Are they commonly built/dug that way out there?

Yes, come to think of it all the fire pits I've seen in the Sylvania Wilderness are this style. I like your channel trailer for your You Tube channel. Nice work!
Thanks to 'the grind' even the rainiest trips are remembered a bit more sunny. This reminded me how difficult it is to sleep with frogs close to the tent. Nice write up.