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Exploring the 'Old Forest' with knives, axes and hobbits


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I just took my family to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to explore the Sylvania Wilderness by canoe. It's only a couple hours from my house but it's like entering a new world. Sylvania is a special wilderness area that protects a system of kettle lakes and old growth forest. The lakes are close to each other and easily portaged with a nice light weight canoe. My kids are young so we decided to keep it easy and paddle out to only one campsite with one portage. We paddled the entire length of Crooked Lake and portaged over to Loon lake where we set up camp and then spent a couple of days exploring the hoary 'Old Forest' around us. I kept getting visions of Middle Earth while we were there with the giant old trees and mossy, green landscape littered with bogs, mushrooms and my hobbit children finding mischief. I took along some recently completed implements such a Viking style axe and a big camp knife with black oak scales (forged from 5160).. as well as my 'Little Goblin'.. a composite pattern welded utility blade I made for myself (cracked in quench). I wanted to do more 'action' photos with my work.. but as the camp photographer AND blade user.. I didn't get all that much. Oh well. It was an amazing trip.

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Loading up our 18' kevlar canoe with gear on Crooked Lake:

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Looking for the portage to Loon lake in a vast wild rice bed:

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Camp on Loon. They weren't kidding about 'Loon Lake'.. I was practically kept up all night by their eerie calls.

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An ad hoc meal with Bisquick and cheese on the pie irons. I highly recommend this.

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The 'Crooked Lake Cutter' (inspired by J. Knight's Sooke Mountain), the 'Little Goblin' and a Viking axe. I could have left everything and just used the 'Crooked Lake' for everything.

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My son with a little axe I made for him. Every year I sharpen the bevels a little more. Eventually I will harden it. :-)

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The best seat in the house:

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In the 'Old Forest':

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Hobbit Feet:

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A peat bog:

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Some 'shamrocks' and other pretty things:

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Dead Man's Fingers:

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Foraging raspberries on Deer Island Lake:

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Getting swallowed up by 'Old Man Willow' (actually a gigantic red pine):

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Getting back to 'topic'.. another look at the 'Crooked Lake' making wood:

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Preparing to portage back to Crooked:

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Portaging:

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Done:

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Thanks for looking!

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You are helping your kids to be "ABNORMAL" that means they will think Mom and Dad are cool and kids their age are weird. It means they can do things besides text, game, and whine. Thanks for bringing back good memories! I'll have to start on the Grand kids soon! Youve got some beautiful kids.

great tools and Photos too!

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Great fun! Abnormal kids are the best. Mine spent today digging "bunkers" re-hafting a throwing hawk. Carving spoons and making fire with flint and steel. Just your normal/abnormal day. My son Knute has been after me to make him an axe like Logan's ever since the Hammer-in. Gives me an idea for a project tomorrow.

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You are helping your kids to be "ABNORMAL" that means they will think Mom and Dad are cool and kids their age are weird. It means they can do things besides text, game, and whine. Thanks for bringing back good memories! I'll have to start on the Grand kids soon! Youve got some beautiful kids.

great tools and Photos too!

Nice way to put it! And thanks for the comments.

 

Troy..I've met your kids and you are doing it right!

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Looks like fun! I haven't been in the Upper Peninsula since Kennedy was President. Just as beautiful as I remembered. Great-looking culery. Oddly, I was more fascinated by the idea of a Kevlar canoe. It's taken me a while to wrap my head around the idea of fiberglassing plywood kayaks, now they spring THIS on me!

Maybe I'm in the wrong century.

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I'm of a fan of combining technologies across centuries... :-) Any material is better than aluminium for a canoe in my opinion though.

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...and I'm off to investigate Pie Irons!!

Haha... I wasn't using them in the conventional manner in that picture. I wasn't sure how the Bisquick would cook through so I just used them individually. They are normally closed and most folks use bread. Make sure you buy a set that is actually IRON.. not aluminum. Or you will also have an aluminum bloom in the bottom of your firepit.

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Beautiful photos. I was up there when I was a kid once, I still remember how nice it is there. I'm jealous.

 

(By the way Scott, did you get my email?)

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Beautiful photos. I was up there when I was a kid once, I still remember how nice it is there. I'm jealous.

 

(By the way Scott, did you get my email?)

 

Yep... I just looked back and found it and replied!

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Awesome pic" Scott it appears you are truly blessed! Be well

 

Kip

Edited by Kip Kaiser
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Looks like a fun time for everyone, the last picture says it all, and brings back memories

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