Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, MI

Our first backpacking trip! We headed to the UP for a 4 day adventure of camping and kayaking.  Munising, MI was a great basecamp with hotels, kayak rentals, and a knowledgeable ranger station.  After this trip, we knew we were hooked on backpacking; and most importantly, that we could rough it…together.

Our ambitious plans to drive up after work and car camp the first night were quickly foiled by a chilly rain  so we opted for beers and a hot tub at the Munising Days Inn.  Starting fresh on day two, we checked in at the ranger station to find a good route and secure permits.  We also stopped by Northern Waters Adventures to inquire about kayak rentals.  We decided on a 2 day, 1 night backpacking loop to start off, and then a 3 day, 2 night kayaking trip out to Grand Island to close out the trip.


We left from the Chapel Road TH and headed northeast toward Chapel Beach on an easy, well-marked trail.  The weather was a bit gloomy but the scenery was beautiful and the trail was very mild.  Arriving at Mosquito Campground, we found an amazing rock ledge beach as well as a sandy beach to play on.  The clouds parted for a bit in the evening, just in time for happy hour and dinner.

The campsite (#1) at Mosquito was nice, relatively private, close to the beach, but did not allow camp fires.


The next morning, we hiked out and headed to Northern Waters Adventures for our “certification” course so we could take a rental kayak on a multi-day trip.  The course was pretty informative for the most part and the instructor, Muir, was extremely engaging and knowledgeable during the hands-on portion.  That afternoon we loaded up our tandem kayak and set off on the second half of our journey.

The paddle to Grand Island was scenic and we took our time exploring the various arches and caves that dot the shoreline bluffs.

kayaking, camping, rain, spring

The campsites on Grand Island were first come first serve, but there were not many people out due to the weather.  Campfires were allowed so we set up camp and had a cozy evening around the fire.

Finally some sun!  Our last full day was beautiful and we capitalized on it by paddling across the bay and north to Miners Castle.  Despite the headwind, it was fun day of paddling and hanging out on the beach.

The last day of trip we were again greeted with rain, so we packed up our wet gear and battled the wind back to the mainland.  The kayaking was a new adventure for both of us and definitely worth repeating!

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan, Upper Peninsula, kayaking, camping

All packed up and ready to head home.  Damn that kayak looks good on our truck!

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