Weekend Away in The U.P.

In the spring of 2019, my wife and I spent a long weekend exploring the central portion of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Neither of us had ever spent time there before and didn’t know where to start. We turned to Airbnb for a little help picking a location. We knew we wanted a secluded setting with easy access to hiking trails and the water. We lucked out with the perfect setup.

We found a cabin on private property that used to be a small hunting outpost for the previous owners. A lovely young family had purchased the farm and acreage a few years prior and turned the secluded cabin into a rental. The cabin was located right on Moss lake and nestled into the southwestern corner of Hiawatha National Forest. We had a half mile of private lake front access and the national forest right out the back door. Perfect.

Our view across Moss Lake from the cabin

The cabin itself was quaint, a single room log cabin style with four bunk beds, gas powered lamps, and an old wood burning stove / oven combo. There was also a solar charged battery hookup with power outlets to charge a phone or laptop. The most unique feature was a wood burning sauna right behind the cabin.

It was the first weekend of May and the weather for the UP was about what you would expect, highs in the mid 50’s and lows in the 30’s. We unloaded the car and setup the cabin with all our gear. I started a fire in the stove and cracked open a beer. This was going to be a great few days away. We brought the dogs with us and they loved the area too. They immediately hit the lake for a swim and sniffed around the perimeter of the camp. That first day we explored the trails around the lake, built a bonfire, and did some reading on the front porch.

Day two I was up early, right around sunrise. I threw on a few warm layers and my boots then opened the front door to the cabin. There were five or six deer standing right in front of the cabin and bolted through the trees as soon they saw me. The dogs took chase through the woods, but soon gave up and came trotting back to me. We walked down to the lake and watched the sunrise from behind the cabin. Back inside, I started a pot of coffee and waited for Mazie to wake up.

Later that morning we drove north through Hiawatha National Forest and the miles of pines on the way to Munising. We hiked along the southern shore of Lake Superior. It was a sunny day, but the wind off the lake was really sharp. We stayed along the upper trails of the bluff and peaked down at the teal blue water with small ice floats gathered along the shoreline.

After our hike we walked around downtown Munising, exploring the shops and stopped at a bar for a beer.

Back at the cabin that afternoon we started another fire in the stove, then went out on the lake for some paddling and fishing. The cabin host supplied two kayaks and a small row boat. We spent a couple hours on the water casting Mepps spinner baits hoping to stir up a bass or pike. We only landed one small pike, which we threw back.

After dinner that night I started a fire in the sauna and let it heat up. It didn’t take long at all and within about half an hour it was warm enough for us to enter. We ladled water over the hot rocks and filled the sauna with steam. I was shocked at how well that little fire heated the whole structure. Impressive.

The next morning was dark, rainy, and cold. The rain lasted throughout most of the day so we spent time napping, listening to music, and reading in the cabin. It was a perfect lazy day and a great way to end our relaxing weekend.