Location: TheRuckSack home page > upcoming trips page > trip page

Sierra Club Wilderness trips and expeditions
   Chapter: Michigan (Mackinac)
   Group: Central Upper Peninsula (CUPG)
   Leader: Michael Neiger, Marquette, Michigan (Web site; e-mail; bio)

Review journal no. 1, journal no. 2, and photo album from this completed trip

November 4-7, 2005


This early-winter backpacking trip will involve a cross-country trek through a portion of the Hiawatha National Forest located south of M-28, between Hulbert and Raco, in the eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This area is traversed by a north-south portion of the North Country Trail. Depending on conditions and available time, we may explore two interesting attractions located in this general area: the abandoned Raco Airfield as well as the Delirium Wilderness Tract (two lakes, a dam, and large swamp).

Raco Army Airfield

To learn more about the abandoned Raco Army Airfield as well as view photographs and aerial photos, point your Internet browser to http://www.airfields-freeman.com/MI/Airfields_MI_N.htm. In the winter the old runways are used for vehicle testing by Smithers Scientific Services, Inc., http://www.wintertesting.com/1e-raco.htm. The Raco Army Airfield area was also reportedly the site of the Fort Brady/Camp Lucas Target Range (1895 - 1945, 1951 - 1960).

The long-abandoned Raco Army Airfield is also the subject of some interesting Internet rumors about it being a "New World Order Concentration Camp," so make sure you bring your camo face paint and wear subdued gear :)

"*RACO Field* Raco field is an interesting facility. The above ground runways form a perfect triangle. Few buildings appear on the surface, but ventilators can be seen. Civilian workers report that a subsurface facility exists. Patriot intelligence gathering patrols have been stopped and turned back from the area. No publicity exists indicating what the role of Raco Field is, although something IS there. To observers, it is an "inactive WWII base." Location: 15 miles NW of Kincheloe Correctional Facility on hwy 28."

Source: http://www.patriotvocals.info

The Delirium Wilderness Tract

The Delirium Wilderness is located in Chippewa County, Michigan. It lies 22 air miles southwest of Sault Ste. Marie. The village of Rudyard lies 3 miles to the southeast. Delirium is bounded on the north by FR-3130 and 3352 and on the south by FR-3131. The Lake Superior State Forest borders the area on the east. Three miles to the north is State Highway M-28 at Raco.

Human influence is apparent in the area. Past strip cutting of cedar trees is evident in some areas of swamps. Old stumps and former roadways from early 1900's logging are also apparent. The Sylvester Dam and its access are situated within the heart of the wilderness, geographically, yet are excluded from it by the designated boundary. The earthen dam was installed about 18 years ago and is natural appearing, as is the 80-acre pond.

The landscape, which was formed from old glacial lakes, is flat to rolling, with elevations ranging from 590 to 890 feet. Two water bodies are found in the area; 80-acre Sylvester Pond and the six-acre Delirium Pond. Overall character of the land can be described as swamp.

As the headwaters for the Pine and Waiska Rivers, these wetlands serve to help recharge the aquifer, filter and retain nutrients and sediment (purify the headwaters), and provide habitat for waterfowl and furbearing wildlife species. Tree species within the area include swamp conifers, aspen, and white cedar in the wetlands, and red pine and jack pine in drier areas.

Wildlife predominant in the area includes; beaver, bobcat, otter, ducks, loons, great blue heron and some sandhill cranes. Whitetail deer, black bear and rabbits are also common species found in the area. To protect nesting areas of waterfowl species, visitors are discouraged from using Delirium in the spring and early summer.

Current recreation use is primarily hunting and trapping. The thickly forested swamps, surface water and biting insects limit other forms of recreation. For those willing to face these challenges, the area's vast acreage enhances the potential for experiencing a feeling of solitude. In wintertime, visitors may discover a greater ease of travel, freedom from insects, and quiet.

The Delirium area may also appeal to the person who appreciates and wishes to study plants and animals associated with wetland types.

There are no marked pathways in the Delirium Wilderness. Expert orientation skills are needed to find one's way into and out of the area. To fully experience the wilderness value of the area, a visitor should have a genuine interest in the study of wetlands and ability to endure some physical discomfort.

The Delirium area is administered as a part of the Sault Ste. Marie Ranger District of the Hiawatha National Forest.

Source: USFS


   Hiawatha National Forest
   Chippewa County
   Eastern Upper Michigan, near Strongs, Michigan

Experience level:
   Intermediate-level, 0-degree winter backpacking


Off-trail/on-trail rating:
   80 percent off-trail map & compass recon

Participant requirements:
   -- Notice: please review the homepage on this Web site
      for general wilderness tripping requirements
   -- 18 years old or older
   -- non-smoker and non-drinker
   -- very physically fit (good aerobic endurance)
   -- adventurous spirit
   -- proficient swimmer
   -- prior wilderness tripping experience
   -- fully equipped with lightweight backpacking gear
      including rucksack, bivouac gear, survival gear,
      foul-weather gear, rations, stove, etc.

Bivouac advisory:
   This is not a basecamp trip.
   We will move each day
   and bivouac in a different location each night,
   often deep in the bush and far from roads,
   dry & level campsites, potable water, toilets, and fire rings.

Trip info:
   -- 8 a.m. Friday to late afternoon Monday
   -- Club fee: $10
   -- Sign up by October 20 appreciated
   -- Contact trip leader to sign up, or for application form if new
   -- Review journals and photos from similar wilderness trips

Specialized equipment required:
   -- In-pocket survival kit (knife, matches, firestarters,
      compass, whistle); Sierra Club survival kits can be
      borrowed free of charge
   -- River-fording footwear

Rations required:
   -- Breakfasts--3
   -- Snacks--4
   -- Lunches--4
   -- Dinners--3
   -- Backup rations--1 full day
   -- Rations and stoves info

Additional destination info:
   Read "The North Country Trail in Upper Michigan" by Byron and Margaret Hutchins (Hutchins Guidebooks [815-633-1952], 1997)
   Read USFS North Country Trail brochures entitled "St. Ignace Segment" (906-635-5311) and "Sault Ste. Marie Segment" (906-643-7900)
   Read "Following the North Country National Scenic Trail," by Wes Boyd (North Country Trail Association http://www.northcountrytrail.org)
  Exploring Superior Country--The Nature Guide to Lake Superior by Craig Charles (1992, NorthWood Press, Inc.)
   Search destination in http://www.google.com search engine

Travel info:
   -- Driving maps
   -- Road conditions and weather reports
   -- Tourism info
   -- Road trip gear

Wilderness skills and resources info:
   -- Backpacking skills
   -- Land nav skills
   -- River fording skills
   -- Water purification skills
   -- Lightning safety
   -- Low-impact skills
   -- Backpacking links, books, & vendors
   -- Ultralight backpacking links, books, & vendors

   -- Dressing warm skills
   -- Sleeping warm skills
   -- Winter-camping skills
   -- Ice-crossing skills
   -- Snowshoe links, books, & vendors
   -- Winter-camping links, books, & vendors

Emergency contacts:
   County Sheriff: Chippewa Co, 906-635-6355
   County Sheriff: Mackinac Co, 1-800-892-6156
   State Police: Sault Ste. Marie, 906-632-2216
   State Police: St. Ignace, 906-643-8383
   Hospital: Sault Ste. Marie, 906-635-4460
   Hospital: Newberry Hospital, 906-293-5181
   Hospital: St. Ignace, 906-643-8585
   Sierra Club Outings Department 24-hour help line: 1-888-outings

Land Nav Team Info:

   Topographic maps:
      1:24,000 Hulbert, Michigan
      1:24,000 Strongs, Michigan
      1:24,000 Eckerman, Michigan
      1:24,000 Sullivan Creek, Michigan
      1:24,000 Raco, Michigan
      Note: UTM grid lines may need to be drawn on these maps
       --Topo map ordering information
       --Topo map waterproofing & GPS prep

    Forest Service maps:
      --Delirium Wilderness Tract Handout/Map
      --Hiawatha National Forest Service Map, Michigan 2001
      Order from:
        St. Ignace Ranger District
        1798 US Highway 2
        St. Ignace, Michigan 49781

   County maps:
      Chippewa County
       --County map ordering information

   2005 Magnetic declination specs:
      Magnetic declination for Lat 46° 19'N, Lon 84° 57'W:
         06° 38' west
      UTM easting grid line to meridian line deviation:
         01° 29' east
      UTM easting grid line magnetic declination:
         08° 07' west

   GPS configuration specs:
      Grid coordinate system
         1000-meter Universal Transverse Mercator Grid (UTM)
      UTM grid horizontal map datum:
         1927 North American Datum (NAD 27 CONUS)
      UTM grid zone:
         Zone 16
      UTM grid hemisphere:
         Northern hemisphere
      Unit of measure:
      Battery type:
         Lithium, for deep cold, or long-range use
         Alkaline, for 3-season use
      Battery type setting:
         Select type of battery (lithium, alkaline, or Ni-Cad);
         battery discharge-rate differences affect meter accuracy

   Misc nav setup:
      Roamer UTM plotter scale(s):
      Ranger pacing beads:
         Metric--9 100-meter beads; 4 1-kilometer beads
      Magnetic declination setting on compass:
         0° of offset

   More land nav team info


Return to upcoming trips page and read about another trip

Return to top of pageReturn to upcoming trips page | Return to home page

In God's wilderness lies the hope of the world,
the great, fresh, unblighted, unredeemed wilderness.

 — John Muir 1838-1914, Alaska Wilderness, 1890

Content Copyright © 1984-- 2005-11-30
by Michael A. Neiger

* All rights reserved *
No part of this Web page or this Web site protected by copyright law may be reproduced, transmitted, or used in any form--including graphic, electronic, Web, mechanical or other form--or by any means--including photocopying, recording, taping, Internet distribution, information storage retrieval system, or by other means--for any purpose, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages, without the prior, express, written permission of the author.

* Disclaimer *
The information contained on this Web page and this Web site are provided solely for information, illustrative, and discussion purposes. Although the author has made a sincere effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information presented on this Web page and this Web site, no warranty is expressed or implied. The author assumes no responsibility or liability for any injuries, damages, losses, or other consequences that may result from the use of the information contained on this Web page and this Web site. As with any human endeavor, omissions, inaccuracies, and errors will occur on this Web page and this Web site and the author makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the information presented or that the information presented will produce any particular result or be suitable for any particular situation, person, organization, or other entity. While corrections and revisions may or may not be made from time to time, any changes made to this Web page and this Web site are made without obligation to notify any person, organization, or other entity of any such changes. The activities associated with the information contained on this Web page and this Web site are by their very nature inherently dangerous and the information presented can not take the place of good personal judgement, sound decision-making, professional training, proper equipage, adequate physical fitness, and expert guidance by trained and experienced professionals.

Comments? Suggestions?
Dead links? Inaccurate info?
Contact the WebMaster at mneiger@hotmail.com

A MacroMedia DreamWeaver 4 and Fireworks 4 production

Web site URL -- http://therucksack.tripod.com

Return to top of page  |  Return to home page