Today would mark the shortest driving leg of our trip and our scheduled meet up with the UP Overland 2015 (UPO2015) crew at High Rock Point (47.4267, -87.7142). To start the day, we covered several trails around Cliff Range before hitting tarmac and heading northeast. As we moved along the shores of Lake Superior, the beauty of the lake, the terrain, the waterfalls and many of the buildings in the area overwhelmed us. I have to admit, my mind wanted to call Lake Superior “the Ocean” on more than one occasion– the immense size of the Lake simply plays tricks on your mind. We passed through Eagle River and stopped at Poor Rock Abbey’s Jam Pot to pick up some thimbleberry jams—Rae made a point that we needed to get something for Mom. If you’re in the area, I recommend you take some time to stop at the Poor Rock.
We moved on to Copper Harbor where we stopped for various provisional items such as water, and beer (the essentials). At the Brickside Brewery, we ran into our first UP Overland crew—introductions were made, vehicles were eyeballed, and directions to camp were discussed. After a short while, we scattered everyone to their vehicles and Luke lead a convoy of 6 or so trucks towards High Rock Bay Road. The road to the lakeside campsite was well traveled/maintained to the point that a few sedans passed our group on their way back to town.
As we arrived at camp it was apparent that the site was also a destination for other travelers looking to get away from the world—I chuckled at the idea that we’d come so far only to find a site that yielded somewhat cramped camping accommodations. As early arrivers for the UPO2015, Rae and I quickly deployed our camp right along a 15ft cliff next to Lake Superior.
The OzTent RV-4 really kicked some butt during this trip! Rae didn’t provide much in the way of support setting up/breaking down camp, so to build out camp pretty much on your own (for 2 people) was a breeze. Additionally, the NEMO Helio Pressure Shower paid dividends removing multiple days of dirt and grime—highly recommend this portable shower system!
After dinner, the UPO2015 group started to assemble at the point to build a campfire and various greetings were had (most of which were folks catching up from UP02014). The assortment of rigs and people was tremendous. All makes and models were represented with the group—Lexus, Toyota, Jeep, Ford, Nissan, Suzuki, Honda, Land Rover, Chevrolet—it was great to see the different overland rigs and the personalities that came with them. Of those unique personalities, it was a pleasure to meet Brett Ratell and to check out his Tacoma, I really appreciated Joe Chmelar’s CJ5, and it was great to meet and check out Michael Smith’s Range Rover Classic—great truck!
As dusk approached, we were buzzed by a small Beechcraft on its way to an unknown destination while monster dragon flies zipped around from tent to tent. Near the end of the night, Jeremiah Johnson arrived into camp with his Suzuki Samurai—what an entrance he made! The Samurai was outfitted with large HID lights that pierced the darkness as he pulled into camp—it was great seeing a rig of this size being used as an “overlanding” rig!
As we concluded the night, the anticipation and excitement was palpable as everyone was ready to tackle the trails the next morning and see what the UP had to offer.
Some items of note:
- The UP is loved and utilized—if you’re making the trek to the UP in the summer, be prepared to check out numerous campsites before finding one to yourself. It was surprising to me (and maybe naïve to think) that we found so many people out during the middle of the week, camping and enjoying the area.
- Bring your Trasharoo/trashbags—For the last 10 years, I’ve been taught and practiced ‘Tread Lightly” while camping and overlanding. It was a bit of a shock to see the amount of trash left by others along the trail and at various sites. If you can, please try to pack more out than you brought in.
- Cell Service—Spotty in a majority of places but available depending on your carrier. I think the folks using AT&T had better coverage than Verizon Wireless.