This weekend felt like a bonus weekend – did we fall into an alternate universe that gives us 70 degree days mid-October? It’s a little worrisome when you think about it too much, but in the meantime, we thought it best to make the most of it, anomaly or not. While embarking upon a Boundary Waters canoe trip is definitely doable after work on a Friday, this time of year it is a little harder as it gets dark about 7 o’clock. So, we pulled out the handy book, Camping the North Shore by Andrew Slade, and looked at what our options would be. And yes, I do find his books helpful, even if you can find much of the info online – we like his Hiking the North Shore, too.
We’ve camped at a good number of the local campgrounds and camping options, but one we hadn’t tried yet was Crescent Lake. It’s about an hour drive from Grand Marais, just off The Grade (the only other road that gets you out of Cook County after Highway 61). I had heard quite of few good things about the lake in regards to fishing and the campground sounded pretty good, too! It is a Forest Service campground, managed by the staff at Sawbill Canoe Outfitters. $18 a night and you can pay by check upon arrival – about half the sites can be reserved and the rest first come, first served. As we hemmed and hawed about where to go for most of the week, we missed our opportunity to book online (4+ days in advance). But, it did make it a bit more adventurous and allowed us to check out all the open campsites
Our book had some advice on campsites, but in the end we drove through the campground and found a great one for our needs. #14 wasn’t a far walk from where you park, but it had nice tree cover between the road and site providing privacy and lake shore access. This is important with a country dog that likes to announce any passerby with a bark (or several).
While the forecast called for really warm weather on Sunday, Friday night was quite chilly. We’ve learned in the past that our dog can get cold in the tent this time of year. So, Maya got her own sleeping bag this time. She didn’t seem to mind once she got all tucked in. As a dog that doesn’t get to sleep in our bed, she usually takes advantage of us all sleeping in the tent together, with a morning wake-up lick. We’ve also discovered that whenever we are near a body of water camping (which is usually the case), we have to bring a towel to dry off the dog. Otherwise, we’ll end up with wet everything in the tent from a wet dog. It’s hard to know what Maya likes better while camping: swimming or chasing chipmunks.
Her other favorite camping past time: swimming. The dock had a gap in it that we didn’t think would be good for dock jumping, but we found this little spot along the campground trail. This may have been Maya’s last swim of the season.
The lake itself is a pretty one, especially this time of year with the fall colors. On Saturday we took the canoe out for a few hours to fish. We saw a few others fishing while we were out, including this fisherman. We didn’t have much luck in terms of catching fish, but enjoying the beautiful weather and scenery was success for me. My hubby did catch a small mouth bass from shore near our campsite.
Have you taken any fall camping trips? Share your favorite spot or tip in a comment!