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ContinuousWave: Trips and Rendezvous
Isle Royale Aug 4-10
|Author||Topic: Isle Royale Aug 4-10|
posted 07-19-2007 07:00 PM ET (US)
This is not confirmed, I will report soon if I'm going or not...if anyone else is interested, please let me know.
Crossing from Copper Harbor, MI (59 Miles of open Lake Superior).
posted 07-19-2007 08:23 PM ET (US)
I'm in....you have e-mail
posted 07-19-2007 08:44 PM ET (US)
The trip is on then.
Departure point for Me and Pat: Copper Harbor on August 4 or 5 (Weather dependent).
I'll post a link in a minute to the planning pages from the event two years ago.
I know it's short notice - but anyone who is interested is welcome.
posted 07-19-2007 08:53 PM ET (US)
See http://continuouswave.com/ubb/Forum7/HTML/000484.html for some planning information that should assist you.
This is an exciting, beautiful, wild place. Looking forward to seeing folks there.
posted 07-20-2007 10:48 PM ET (US)
Dave and Pat,
The last trip to Isle Royale was an experience that we will never forget. An expedition, so to speak. Truly a wonderful place.
Highly recommend the trip to anyone so inclined.
What part of the island will you be exploring? I Wish we could make it on this trip again but have other priorities right now. I'm sure I'll have the chart out by the end of the week-end.
A few photos of the last trip:
You guys should have a great time.
posted 07-23-2007 12:11 AM ET (US)
I registered my reservations for Isle Royal National Park tonight on Line.....
posted 08-01-2007 01:54 PM ET (US)
sounds like great fun. How long of a trip is it from the MN side?
posted 08-01-2007 10:01 PM ET (US)
It's about 20 miles from Grand Portage, MN to Windigo, on the south side of the island - it's about 35 miles further northeast on the island to Belle Isle, which is our rendezvous point on Saturday evening.
Are you interested in joining us?
posted 08-01-2007 10:03 PM ET (US)
I'll be driving right by Kenosha on my way up there on Friday evening.....let me know if you're interested.
posted 08-01-2007 11:31 PM ET (US)
I'll be leaving the Metro Detroit Area around 7:00AM on Friday heading for Copper Harbor, let me know if there are any takers to join the trip.....
posted 08-03-2007 04:38 PM ET (US)
I think it would be fun to go, but It wont mix with my schedule.
Too much traveling for work next week that I cannot miss.
I always thought that it would be a fun trip to take but was concerned I did not have enough boat to make. I used to own a Dauntless 18 and upgraded to the Eastport late last summer.
I presume one must must be prepared to stay an extra day or so if the weather turns sour.
Did you have any difficulty making arangements for docking facilites or camp sites?
posted 08-04-2007 02:18 AM ET (US)
I've done it in a 22 outrage several times. Dave is doing it (again) in an 18.
You can't reserve dock space or campsites ahead of time, but it is never an issue. Boaters who have set up and are camping in a shelter have priority at adjacent docks, but the main attraction is that there is hardly anyone in the park.
posted 08-11-2007 04:32 PM ET (US)
Time and money, Time and Money....Please post some pictures and narrative of the '07 Isle Royale trip ASAP.
Hal of Waseca, MN
posted 08-12-2007 03:18 PM ET (US)
I just arrived home today, Dave Pendeleton, Dave Buckalew, and I all left the Island from Chippewaw Harbor on Friday Morning, a day early because of a forecast of high winds and possible storms.
Buckda & I arrived at Copper Harbor in about 1 hour 45 Minutes, it wasn't as smooth as the Glass we went across on the previous Saturday. On our return we had 1.5 - 2 footers and some wind, it was a real nice run.
Anyway, for those of you from the Great Lakes and surrounding Area who have not been to Isle Royal, It is a Must Do Trip! We had basically clear sunny skies, warm weather, great Boating, Great Viewpoints, and great people, it was quite crowded on the Island with both hikers and Boaters, we met a variety of characters. Including Chaplain Hoagy, 73 years old, from Houghton Lake, Mi. He made the trip from Houghton, Mi to Rock Harbor, Isle Royal in a 1967 16'7" Boston Whaler with a Marine Radio, NO GPS, a Car dash mount Bubble Compass (which was mounted too clsoe to his speakers, thus redering it useless)Having left Houghton, Mi at 10:00PM (not a misprint)and stopping in the middle to drift and contemplate the universe, and then continuing his overnight cruise to Isle Royal.
A more complete trip log will be forthcoming with photos. I took 359 Pictures, and Buckda & Dave Pendelton were both in the mid 250's photo wise......
All I can say is "What an Awesome Cruise"
posted 08-13-2007 10:42 AM ET (US)
The trip went better than any event planner could hope for – we had great weather, great people and a great time.
There were two minor hiccups – one at the beginning of the trip – Pat’s trailer problem – and one at the end – Pat had a moment of pause before the return crossing when his engine momentarily wouldn’t push past 2,500 RPM. Other than that – everything went very well. Very few biting insects, the wildflowers were in bloom, the raspberries were ripe and sour and the temperatures were nearly perfect – warm enough in the afternoon to go shirtless and swimming if you wished, and cool enough at night to shut down the mosquitoes and sleep well.
The stars were brilliant and the call of the loons haunting. I’m working on a full trip report, however, it may take a few days to complete.
posted 08-13-2007 11:05 AM ET (US)
I wish I could have gone with you guys - I was watching the perfect weather with envy - however I would have gotten called back early as I suspected.
But now that all that is beehind us, I'm going to head up to the island for 4 or 5 days at the end of the week. Anything specific I should keep in mind? What was gas on the island?
posted 08-13-2007 11:20 AM ET (US)
We missed you as well.
Fuel is 4.039 on the island. The lake superior campsites are very full due to an algae bloom on Lakes Richie and Chickenbone, which caused hikers to move to the lakeside campsites to get water. Moskey Basin was completely full plus three groups; McCargoe Cove was completely full including tent sites and Chippewa Harbor was completely full including group sites - one latecomer in a 20 foot bayliner bowrider had to sleep out at anchor he arrived so late. We had 7 boats on the dock at Belle Isle and all shelters were full. McCargoe Cove had 4 Boston Whalers at the dock - the island at Brady Cove was full. Duncan Bay shelters were full but the tent site was available...we rafted at the dock and Dave P. anchored out. Merrit Lane was full as was Caribou Island and Tookeres Island. Daisy Farm appeared to have some dock space but we skipped it and hit Moskey Basin and were the only boaters there for the first night. We did a reprise there for a second night and added one boat with no personnel on board (they took a dingy to Chippewa Harbor and hiked back to the main boat the next morning). Many of the anchorages had at least one boat anchored out - there were two anchored in Moskey Basin and about 5 in Chippewa Harbor.
Clearly, Mid-August is the "busy time" at the park.
Bugs were slow. I used the rear curtain on my 18' Outrage one night, but the rest slept under the shelter with the rear of the boat open to the night air.
posted 08-13-2007 12:19 PM ET (US)
I have nearly 300 pictures of my own to go through, so here is just a small sample of some that jumped out at me.
As stated above, the trip was very enjoyable. I was a bit dismayed by the number of people and boats in the Park, but it was bearable.
Other than that, no complaints.
posted 08-13-2007 12:20 PM ET (US)
Sorry, I forgot to make my link hot...
posted 08-13-2007 02:31 PM ET (US)
I'm really surprised the place was so busy. I've never seen it like that, though I've never been first week of August. I have been mid-July and not experienced that. The hikers needing to be by the big lake would explain some of the crowds, but not all, as Belle Isle is boat only.
$4 gas isn't so bad, all things considered.
I was in the Apostles a week ago today - just ran over from Silver Bay for the Day, and was commenting on how quiet it was. Everyone must have been on IR.
The lake out my office window is pretty rough today...
posted 08-13-2007 03:48 PM ET (US)
I think the fish were biting, the calm conditions made it great for wreck diving and the hikers on shore drove the kayakers out to the islands. They were having a full house nearly everywhere we went. I haven't been up there enough times to categorize it as unusual, but it was certainly unexpected.
$4 gas (89 octane) isn't so bad except when you could buy it on the mainland lower down for around $2.95. It was $3.35 at the dock in Copper Harbor, which isn't too bad.
We also saw the 80 ft Berger Motoryacht "Northlander" at Copper Harbor - now that's cruising in style.
posted 08-13-2007 03:57 PM ET (US)
Make that "Burger" Motoryacht. What a classy boat. There was also a nice Wilbur 34 (Maine built boat) in the harbor that evening from LaPointe, WI in the Apostle Islands...and a nice little 34' Grand Banks "Baby Grand" out on the island....some nice watercraft!
posted 08-13-2007 08:51 PM ET (US)
The first two days:
Friday, August 4, 2007
10:00 PM CST Meeting up with Pat in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Gaylord, Michigan, I’ve fully fueled my new Ford F150 tow vehicle and we’re ready to charge onward to Copper Harbor. I’ve set the pace at around 70 MPH. It is faster than I normally tow, however, we’re behind schedule and traffic is light and the weather is clear. In about an hour, we find ourselves crossing the Mackinac Bridge. As we cross the center span, 200 feet above the lake below, I look to the East out to Mackinac Island. A nearly full moon is blazing and has lit the area in full, eerie light. The lake is flat calm. I remark to Pat on the radio that if we get up to Copper Harbor and it’s still dark, I’m game for crossing at night. Foolish me, I always forget how big the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is!
Saturday, August 5, 2007
4:30 AM – we stop again at Baraga, Michigan for more fuel – the price ($2.85/gallon) is too hard top pass up. Pat pumps his boat full of fuel. I top off my tanks in the boat and the truck and we press onward.
5:45 AM – I’m driving dangerous. The sky in the east is brightening and I’m having trouble staying awake as we navigate the winding road north of Houghton into Copper Harbor…but I know we’re almost there…just a few more miles.
6:15 AM – we roll into the Copper Harbor marina facility as the sun breaks over the horizon. We pull to the ramp and begin loading the boats.
9:15 AM – after loading the boats, re-checking provisions, launching the boats and storing the trailers and tow vehicles, we buy a the last two bags of ice at the marina and start the voyage in a flat calm.
9:35 AM – as we clear the Copper Harbor buoy, I note the time and the sea state – there are small ripples on the water from a gentle breeze near shore, but further offshore, the lake is like glass. There is a gentle ½ foot swell left over from the previous day’s wind…enough to entice a gentle bounce in the boat as we spool up the outboards and begin our crossing at around 30 MPH. My twin 90 HP engines humming along at 3,400 RPM.
I look to the clear water to port and notice the reflection of the moon facing me in the glass-smooth surface. I look over at Pat’s 22’ Revenge, running alongside me with nearly perfect spray patterns coming from the chines. I look over and can see the grin on Pat’s face.
The 56 mile crossing slowly becomes monotonous – after a long overnight drive up to Copper Harbor, the travel fatigue is getting the better of Pat. I notice him crossing my wake back and forth several times (later he tells me that he actually nodded off it was so smooth!).
At one point, I look down at my depth finder: 913 feet deep, running at 30 MPH and 53 degree lake temperature.
The trip continues on – and Isle Royale looms on the horizon. Excitement returns with the return of the isle.
12:30 – after stopping at Rock Harbor for a few forgotten provisions, Pat and I divert to Raspberry Island to stretch our sea legs and for a picnic lunch. Our destination this afternoon is Belle Isle on the other side of the island, but for now, we need energy and a brief walk.
Back on the boats, we beat it to Belle Isle – I’m following waypoints and we’re running smartly. The plan is to get to the dock and settle in for the afternoon and await the arrival of David Pendleton in his 23’ Conquest, TAMPICO. After arriving at the island and securing the boats to the dock, I take a nap on a nearby picnic table, while Pat explores the island. I wake to the smell of diesel fuel in the fresh air. It rouses me from my nap enough to cause me to look up at a large cruiser waiting to dock. It is a dive boat, chartered to dive on the many wrecks of the area. We make room for them at the dock, and soon , the dock is filling up with new boats and no sign of TAMPICO. Eventually, David arrives and we have a grand total of 7 boats moored fast to the T shaped dock with three boats 3 slips rafted 2 deep and Gambler, in the sling behind two commercial dive boats.
Twilight falls and the curtain raises on a celestial display second to none. First Venus appears in the SE, then Mars, chasing Venus (he’ll chase her all week, never catching her). The brighter stars appear and then, our Milky Way galaxy appears in vivid detail. I say my goodnights and retire under the canvas, leaving the rear curtain open to allow the cool night air into my comfortable berth forward….It has been a long day and I quickly drift to sleep.
posted 08-13-2007 09:20 PM ET (US)
Hey guys, welcome back!
I'm looking forward to hearing about the trip this week-end at Torch Lake. Nice narrative Dave.
David P. - Glad to hear Tampico was back to the island. One of these days we'll catch up with each other.
Pat - Truly a magical place. Glad to hear you enjoyed it.
I think Isle Royale is the most unique destination in the State of Michigan. It has a little bit of everything in the way of accommodations for everyone in a wilderness setting. A high percentage of the people that I've talked to that have visited the Island return many times. Great place for Whalers, it brings out the versatility of the boats.
posted 08-13-2007 09:55 PM ET (US)
The Northlander's regular berth is at the Madeline Island Yacht Club and I know the Wilbur as well.
posted 08-17-2007 11:00 AM ET (US)
Pictures, I want more pictures!
We're camping on Stockton this weekend instead - the girls want to come along and my wife has commitments that mean we cant stay out more than the weekend, but still on the Lake, just a different national park...
posted 08-20-2007 09:23 PM ET (US)
Here are a few photographs from the Isle Royale 2007 Trip, hpe everyone enjoys them, more to come....
posted 08-20-2007 09:41 PM ET (US)
Sorry folks, I just realized that when I loaded the pictures from beginning to end, they ended up posted last to first, so they're backwards, back to photoshop school for me
posted 08-22-2007 10:00 PM ET (US)
The narrative continues...
Sunday, August 6.
The day dawned bright and clear and breakfast at the dock found us having bacon and eggs on the Coleman stove.
After a brief walk around the island, we pack and stow our gear and head out toward McCargoe Cove. It is a beautiful day, and we idle along down the Amygdaloid channel at no-wake speed, enjoying the scenery.
10 miles or so later, we arrive at the entrance to McCargoe. We see an old 17’ Whaler at the Birch Island dock and comment about it to each other on the radio. Just then, I realize that this is probably “Hoagy” who had mentioned he was going to be up on the island when we were. I just couldn’t remember the name of his boat. I scanned 16 and actually heard an interaction between “Visitation” and the Amygdaloid ranger station. Visitation! That was the name of his boat.
When he cleared the channel, I hailed him on 16 and asked him to switch to 68 where Pat and Dave could overhear our conversation. The dock at Birch Island was full, and we invited him down to the dock at the base of the cove. He gladly joined and as we were tying up at the dock and Hoagy joins us in his 1967 Boston Whaler 16’7” with customized woodwork and a newer Johnson (Suzuki) 4-stroke 90.
Hoagy is 73 and a retired preacher man. These days he’s a prison chaplain and lives in the mid-lower Michigan area. He came to Isle Royale alone….at night…..in his boat…..from Houghton (70 miles)…..with no GPS…….and no working compass. Hoagy is one of the most colorful characters we will meet on this trip….and, perhaps, is among the most colorful characters I have met. Ever.
Not that I’m alone in that estimation of the man. Virtually everywhere we will go on the island, we will meet up with some hiker, boater or visitor who, upon being told we spent some time in McCargoe Cove, will ask – “Did you see that old guy in the little blue and white Whaler?” Hoagy certainly has an impact on people he meets.
Chaplain Hoagy joins us at the dock and soon we’re talking shop – about Whalers and whaler projects and such. There are a group of young men on the dock – they’re hikers – friends and a few cousins all camping together. It’s a warm day and they’re taking advantage of the sunshine to go for a quick refreshing swim. Soon one comes over and asks Hoagy if he will take them fishing. He agrees and shortly two guys and Hoagy are out in the boat casting for pike.
Pat, Dave and I busy ourselves around the boats. Pat is working on rigging a rain shelter for his cockpit aft of the helm and I help him out with that for awhile. Dave didn’t sleep well the night before, and takes full advantage of the relaxing atmosphere and gentle breeze to take a nap aboard TAMPICO.
Later Dave breaks out T/T TAMPICO – an 8’ Zodiac inflatable with 2 HP air-cooled Honda outboard. Cool!
I’ve been reading Bonnie Dahl’s Superior Way cruising guide and let Dave know it’s time to explore the cove. We go for a quick ride around the bottom of the cove and then proceed to explore up the small creek at the base of the bay.
When we return, it’s pushing dinner time and we begin to make meal preparations. Hoagy and the boys aren’t back yet and we wonder how the fishing is while we eat our dinner. The rest of the boys are up at the campfire talking quietly and looking hungrily at us.
Just as we finish dishes, the little Whaler returns with three successful fishermen – the young guys hooting their success loudly to their campmates – 5 pike, two are 29 inches. The group quickly crowds around the dock, photos are taken and three other boys grab the fish and begin cleaning them enthusiastically. I wander over to make sure they’re doing the job properly, while the other guys get their camp stoves out and begin making preparations for a dinner feast (There are literally MOUNDS of meat from this successful trip – and it ends up providing two meals for the seven guys).
After watching these guys struggle to prepare these fish, I can take it no longer. I quietly walk to my boat and grab a fresh onion, a clove of fresh garlic, cooking oil, my frying basket and saucepan….and some of my special batter mix. Returning to the campsite, I take my turn in showing these guys how to prepare a fresh catch!
Soon all bellies are full and tight and the conversation is flowing freely…the remaining fish fillets are securely in a cooler aboard TAMPICO for the night and the stars are blazing.
After quite an evening of conversation, where we learn that several of the boys were actually classmates of a CW Forum member, it’s time to turn in. I crawl into my berth and quickly fall asleep.
posted 10-19-2007 09:31 PM ET (US)
The next morning, I get up slowly. The rigors of work leading up to the trip, the marathon drive to get here, late nights and fresh air have finally caught up with me. When I do rise, Pat reports a wolfprint at the end of the dock...
As we get ready to depart, we say our goodbyes to the guys from Battle Creek and to Hoagy and idle up the channel toward the main lake.
The entrance to McCargoe Cove is guarded by a shoal with necessitates a 170 degree turn to exit to the lake. Once in the open water, we trudge at displacement speed up the Amygdaloid channel to Crystal bay, where there is an old fishing camp that the NPS has taken over. We idle in to the dock and explore the area briefly, taking lots of pictures.
After a brief lunch at the dock, Dave breaks out the Zodiac again, and we three load up into the dingy to explore the rest of the cove. It's a nice day - semi-overcast this morning, but the sun is breaking through and the cove is calm and the water is a deep green. Suddenly, I'm compelled to nearly fall out of the dingy as I stand up and look overboard! We've just trolled right over a sunken boat that is nearly perfectly preserved, laying bow toward the shore, the bow in about 5 feet of water and the stern in approximately 20 feet of water.
Stop! I yell.
Dave turns the dingy around again for another look and Pat and I snap photos as we pass over the wreck several times.
"Good reason to own a Whaler!"
"Let's get going guys"
Back in the boats, we head on to tonight's destination, the tip of Blake Point.
On the way, I take a detour into Five Finger Bay to explore this intriguing area (Definitely worth more time at another date).
Dave has skipped the bay and is abeam the mouth of Duncan Bay as Pat and I exit Five Finger Bay - "Come on up here guys!" Dave calls on the radio.
We kick it into gear and run on plane to catch up.
Suddenly, my starboard engine dies and I fall off plane. Out of Gas!
I've burned the first 25 gallons from my Tempo deck tank - 99 Miles on the GPS.
After switching tanks to the main belly tank, and priming the motors, I am back on plane and rounding Blake Point with the others. Someone is at "our" dock (In an older Aluminum fishing boat with 200 HP E-TEC Motor).
We circle up for a quick GAM:
Dave is not so sure he doesn't want to backtrack to Duncan Bay if it's full.
I offer to run back and hail them on the radio.
As I approach the narrows, I can see that there is another person at the campsite. NUTS!
It's getting late, and if we don't get a dock soon, we'll be stuck back at Rock Harbor or on the boats overnight at anchor. I'm getting hungry, and would prefer to be at a dock where we can cook.
I grab my binoculars and look down to the bottom of the bay - no boats!
"The narrows is full, but the campsite at the bottom of the bay is clear" I report.
"We need to make a decision" - from Dave
"Let's do it" says Pat.
We head down and raft up at the Duncan Bay dock (Pat and I - Dave anchors in the bay and runs to shore with the dingy).
Dinner is saved!
I break out the Rum and Coke and the cook box and we set to work cooking Chicken Breasts, Broccoli and a bit of milk.
The bay is still and we get set for bed under a starry night sky.
Sorry for the VERY Long delay in continuing this narrative. I'll try to get another installment for the very long next day before the week is out....
posted 10-20-2007 10:26 PM ET (US)
The morning in Duncan Bay dawns with high overcast skies. This has to be one of the quietest places on Isle Royale - as there are no hiker trails to this campsite - it is accessed via boat only. There are some kayakers in one of the shelters but this family has been very quiet.
Pat and I fire up the coleman stove and Dave P comes over in his dingy. We get started on a large breakfast of bacon, eggs, and potatoes.
After breakfast and the dishes are done, we all set out for our destination for tonight: Chippewa Harbor by way of a stop at Snug Harbor (The Rock Harbor Ranger Station), the Rock Harbor Light and Edisen Fishery.
When we arrive at the marina at Snug Harbor, we see that aluminum boat with the 200 E-TEC and I strike up a conversation with the owner. Pat finds a fellow who has recently re-gelcoated his Montauk and strikes up a conversation...we do some shopping for souvinirs, resupply the coolers with ICE and Pat and I add some fuel - I re-fill my on-Deck Tempo Tank in case it is needed.
In the midst of this, the Isle Royale Queen is getting ready to depart (We meet up with the boys from BC as they wait for the ferry) and the RANGER III is coming up the harbor. We stick around and watch the RANGER unload a few small fishing boats from her bow deck and snap photos.
Back on the water, we beat it south to Edisen Fishery and Rock Harbor Light. After the obligatory tour of the fishery, we walk the short path to the lighthouse, and of course, take TONS of photos of this very picturesque light, and climb to the top...some 80 rickety wooden, 150 year old spiral stairs and a ladder to the top!
Back in the boats, we head to Chippewa Harbor. At the entrance, we realize that the docks are full - and there's no room for us. We explore the inner harbor, but a short consultation reveals that neither of my travel companions is keen on camping out tonight on the hook with no access to bathroom facilities. Besides, we haven't eaten dinner!
It is right about at this point that Dave P reveals an engine "problem" aboard Tampico. I don't remember exactly the nature of the problem, but it had to do with a sound and a perception that the engine temperature was higher than it should be. With this worry, and the docks full, we decide to head back toward Caribou Island, where we'll be much closer to help, if necessary. We work our way back up the shore toward Rock Harbor, and finding Caribou Island full, decide to head to the docks at Moskey Basin. The hour is getting late, we're all hungry and Dave is worried about his boat...and we all have a worried feeling that Moskey Basin may be full.
I had never stayed at Moskey Basin before, and not being 100 percent familiar with the location of the dock, I grabbed my binoculars and scanned the southern shore for sign of boats tied up. I saw nothing and radioed to the rest of the group that we were clear.
Arriving at the abandoned dock, we soon learned that the campsites were chock full of hikers - but the docks were clear, so we were good to go.
We got tied up and began dinner preparations post haste.
After dinner and dishes, we took some time in the rapidly falling night to view a slideshow of photos taken so far.
After the show, we sit quietly in the cool night air, hoping that the Northern Lights will reveal themselves and provide another show. The sky is brilliantly clear and Pat suddenly notices that the stars are perfectly reflected in the mirror-smooth surface of Lake Superior - the stars are so brilliant, that it looks like you are walking in space - with stars above and below you!
I'm pretty sure we also saw the Space Station cruising by.
One note to the FAA - time to re-route whatever jets you have going right over Isle Royale! They're high up, but they really ruin the feeling you get up there that you're a voyageur, exploring the waters of Lake Superior in search of Fur, Copper and riches!
The night is still, but the air is cool - we had mosquitoes briefly, but the bats came out and did pretty good, then the temperature fell below 50 degrees and knocked them down completely. I sleep aboard Gambler with the rear curtain open to the night air for the third night on this trip.
posted 10-21-2007 02:57 AM ET (US)
My "problem" ended up being a stuck thermostat. The noise I was hearing was a ticking from the thermostat housing.
As luck would have it, it was stuck in the open position thereby making the engine run colder (not hotter).
Had it been the other way around, my trip would have ended up very differently.
I replaced it when I returned.
posted 10-22-2007 06:58 PM ET (US)
The setting at Moskey Basin, besides the campsites being completely full due to water quality problems on the interior lakes of the island, is so tranquil that we unanimously agree the next morning that we will stay here for another night. Dave P has not been sleeping well and wants to do some housekeeping aboard his boat, so he stays put at the dock while Pat and I board GAMBLER and make a run to Lookout Louise for an afternoon hike.
When I woke that morning, I could hear some splish-splashing behind the boat, and I quietly crept out from under the shelter to find 3 otters playing in the water, eating a fresh whitefish breakfast on the shore.
The day is sunny, warm and still - but the bugs aren't bad and so Pat and I run up the very long Rock Harbor and over into Tobin Harbor to the dock near Hidden Lake that marks the trailhead for a 1 mile climb to Lookout Louise.
Along the way, we enjoy the beautiful natural beauty that is the interior of Isle Royale, transitioning from Northern Boreal forest along the lake, to northern Hardwoods of Beech, Birch, and Aspen trees further up in the interior (Isle Royale is an "upside down" ecosystem, with the cooler temperatures along the lake providing adequate conditions for Boreal Forest (found 800KM further north into Canada), and the warmer interior thick with hardwood forests.
This walk is also a nice example of what's great about this Whaler community - as I met Pat a few years ago via this site, and he has since become a very good friend through our boating activities...we continue to connect and build our friendship via our conversations on this hike.
At the top, we stop to enjoy one of the truly spectacular views of the Island. To the north, you can see Thunder Bay, the Sibley Peninsula (with some binoculars, you could probably make out the old mining island if Silver Islet, where nearly 40% of the Silver mined in North America came from tunnels dug deep under Lake Superior from this tiny island. In the mirror-finish of Lake Superior in the distance, a lone sailboat makes it's way toward Thunder Bay, sails furled, chugging along under power.
There is not much else to be said.
On the return, we enjoy a sampling of nature's bounty by munching on the wild rasberries found in abundance along the trail.
Back aboard the boat, we make time back to Rock Harbor...
At this point, I need to make a correction: it was this day that we encountered the boys from Battle Creek waiting for the Ferry.
We're back to the dock in Moskey Basin just in time to see the hordes of campers and hikers enjoying the refreshing cool of Lake Superior. I'm not kidding, it looks like a day at the beach in Duluth! There are at least 30 people in the water, mostly children, splashing around and enjoying the warm afternoon sunshine.
Another boat has joined us at the dock, however, the owners have departed in their dingy for Chippewa Harbor, where they will stay the night, leave the dingy, and hike across the island back to their main boat and thence back to Chippewa Harbor to retrieve the dingy. You have to really like hiking to do something like that!
Pat and I take a short hike along the shore, exploring the rock formations near the dock. Dave later joins us.
We make dinner preparations and go through the motions of preparing food and then doing the dishes....and Dave and I speak with a father of young children who look like they're preparing to sleep under the stars at the base of the dock (The campsites are still full). Fortunately, a ranger arrives and makes sure everyone is accomodated with a space to sleep that won't inpinge on the enjoyment of the park for others.
The sun sets, and the stars come out...but soon are obscured by high clouds. No display of the Northern Lights...and no "space walking" on the dock for us tonight!
The temperature stays warm and the mosquitoes begin buzzing as I crawled under the forward shelter. Not wanting to completely enclose the boat, I light a mosquito coil and drift off to sleep...
Last day on the Island up next...then the journey back to civilization....
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