Saturday, July 22, 2023

Pinckney Blind Lake Backpacking Jul '23

Time for night #13 at Blind Lake and my second in 2023. This overnight and round trip would have a couple of firsts. My father joined for the first time to see Blind Lake. He didn't want to stay overnight this time however so he still hiked out on Friday night. It was also the first time I went in just Jonah and I. The rest of the family has been out of town this week and so this was our time to go out and explore the outdoors. The third first was that Jonah was trying out a hammock for the first time to see how that goes with backpacking.

Trip Info:
Potawatomi Trail
Trailhead Elevation: 888 ft.

July 21 Hike In
Distance: 4.35 mi. 
Elevation Gain: 626 ft.
Start Time: 6:05pm
End Time: 7:45pm

July 22 Hike Out
Distance: 4.10 mi. 
Elevation Gain: 553 ft.
Start Time: 8:28am
End Time: 9:50am

Trip Report:
For this round trip I tried to fit everything into my REI Lookout 40 daypack. I strapped tent, mattress pad and chair onto the outside. Looking at overnight lows in the lower 60s I decided to give my fleece sleeping bag liner a go again instead of a sleeping bag. More on how that went later. For food we did decide to use my Pocket Rocket stove so we brought along freeze dried foods and some oatmeal and cocoa as well. I even decided to go for another new treat, smores. I haven't done them backpacking before but figured they'd be a nice special with Jonah.

Pickerel Lake

We caravaned with my father and his jeep and got up to Pinckney around quarter to 6. In order to ease my father's solo hike out we parked his jeep at Pickerel Lake so we only had 2 miles to hike out. We then together went to the main Silver Lake parking for our start. Since we were starting after 6 we took the short 4.5 mile route in to Blind Lake. Temps were still almost 80 so it was fairly muggy on trail. The bugs were out and active but weren't overly horrible.

I really enjoyed the hike in and sharing the wonders of Pinckney's trails with my dad. When we hit junction 4 we detoured slightly to the boardwalk between the two parts of Pickerel. I always say its the most beautiful part of the whole park.

We encountered almost two dozen bikers along the hike in. I was amazed how many were out on a Friday evening, but maybe that's normal. With all the starting and stopping for bikes and also our detour at Pickerel, the hike in took a little longer than expected. It was 7:45p when we hit Blind Lake.

I immediately started the stove so we could get supper going. My dad set about gathering dead firewood so we could have a nice fire going. Jonah set about putting up his hammock on the nice poles the DNR has installed. We enjoyed spaghetti and beef stroganoff freeze drieds. We got my father going on his return hike around 845p. He packed a headlamp and planned for some hiking out in the dark. Indeed the latter half of his 2.5 miles got fairly dark on him.

Jonah and I enjoyed the campfire as well as smores. I forgot to bring a pocket knife but we still found some sticks that would work as cookers. After supper Jonah retired to his hammock and I stayed by the fire. I watched Mission Impossible Fallout on a tablet I brought. I doused the fire before heading into my tent.

Enjoying supper at camp

The overnight was a challenge for both of us. The overnight low ended up being upper 50s and I got cool with just the fleece liner. Mistake on my part. I tossed and turned for quite a long time. At one point I thought I heard voices strongly which sounded like morning. I decided to check my watch (always a mistake) and it was only 3:30am). Huge disappoint. I sucked it up and got out of the liner, put on every bit of clothes I had, went to the bathroom and read on my phone a bit hoping to restart the night. This all did help and I got some decent sleep til about 730. Note to self, unless the overnight low is 70, don't do the liner. Jonah would relay in the morning that he also got cold in the hammock. We had anticipated this possibility. He did wear warm clothes but it still wasn't enough. He is thinking sleeping bag in the hammock next time.

For breakfast we heated water and did oatmeal and cocoa. We hit the trail after striking camp which was about 8:30am. The hike out was uneventful other than the hordes of bikes and occasional trail runner.

Jonah's hammock setup

Campfire time

I have a track and waypoints from the activity all contained in the embedded Google Map. Check it out and use at your own risk.

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