Monday, September 1, 2014

Isle Royale Vacation August 18th-29th

This is the 9th year consecutively that I have gone to Isle Royale on a backpacking trip.  The friends that I go with change from year to year but the peacefulness and scenery stays the same. This year we decided to leave a day early and take our time and visit some state parks and other places in and around Duluth MN on our way.  This year there were 5 of us in all.  Gary Hiltabrand, Ron Bengtson, Joe Jakupcak, Kevin Cleary and myself.  Group photo to follow.
Everything that I took is pictured here.  I weighed it all before I left, 37 pounds.
Famous lift bridge in Duluth

Display in the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center.  This shows the depth of all of the Great Lakes.  The darker the blue the darker the water.

Notice who built this ship-- French Explorer Rene Robert Cavelier Sieur de La Salle
We went to the Duluth Trading Company.  Bought a new purse/ bag here.
Gary was hoping to carry this chair in his pack.
Did you know that Bob Dylan was from Duluth MN?
From the left - Gary, Ron, Kevin and Joe.  All enjoying a cold one.
It was a great finish to a long drive.
Look familiar?  We have one of these at Starved Rock.  Carver is Peter Toth

Our First park we visited was the Gooseberry Falls State Park.  Many photos to follow


How long do you think these would last at Starved Rock?
Going up

Gooseberry State Park was also a CCC project


Palisade Head - sometimes there are rock climbers. We weren't lucky enough to see them while we were there.

Gary on the swing bridge

Kevin on the Swing bridge

We stopped by the Naniboujou Lodge to check it out
Check out the colors!

Judge C.R. Magney State Park Home of the Devil's Kettle

It is a mystery of where the water on the left goes.  It goes in but doesn't come out?

We stayed at Ryden's the night before departure, only a few miles from Canada

I'm all packed, waiting for the call

Getting ready to board the Voyageur

The fun is just beginning.  Gary and Kevin are resting up!

Finally on the Island after a 2-3 hour ferry ride.  While we were hiking throughout the upcoming week it rained 3 times.  Fortunately it rained only at night.  We never had to pack up, put up or walk in the rain. Most of the time we were hiking it was overcast.  This was great considering if the sun was out more it would have meant higher temperatures.  I didn't think I would have any great view photos. Sunrise and sunsets were minimal. Still some great photos.
From the left: Kevin, Joe, Gary, Edna and Ron. We take a group photo in front of the sign every year.
Berry identification chart at the Visitor Center

We are on our way.  First stop Feldtman Lake campground

Red Elderberry

Slugfest- Wild Sassparilla
Just so you know a slug is a homeless snail and they were all homeless.  (that is what Kevin Cleary said)

Raspberries, very tasty
Bunch berries, edible but not very tasty

Moose bones off the trail- these bones were here our very first year also.
Red Baneberry, it also comes in White
Campground map - We stayed at group #1
Home Sweet Home- My tent and my stuff
Feldtman Lake

Feldtman Lake looking to the left- early evening
On the outside of Gary's tent was this Dragonfly

We built an extra day at Feldtman Lake whereas we walked to Rainbow Cove.  These rocks were slightly warm to the touch.  Great place for a nap.

Kevin relaxing at Rainbow cove
Gary, Joe and Kevin relaxing and talking about the variety of rocks here.

I took advantage of the many raspberries.  I also had some in my morning oatmeal
Some of us took a walk up a ridge so we could see 
Feldtman Lake.
View from the Ridge
Our Campground was all the way to the left. Gary stayed back, but we couldn't see him.

View of Feldtman Lake from the ridge
They have no poisonous snakes on the island and many types of Garder snakes.  This one I found by our campsite.
Ron and Joe getting ready for tea
Dried Beef peppered gravy over an everything bagel.
 Yumm, Yumm
Typical trail

Burl on tree
Small stream going across the trail
Joe just loves these bridges over creeks
Bbbrrrreeeeaaaakkkk as Gary says!
This was my best lunch ever.

After staying at Feldtman Lake campground for 2 days we hiked back to Washington Creek Campground for 2 days.  We stayed at Shelter 1 and campsite 2. We did a dayhike to Hugginnin Cove on the second day.
Home sweet home again.  I always set it up the same.  That way I know where everything is.
View of Washington Harbor

Saw this little snowshoe hare on my way to the restroom.  He didn't even move, he just stayed there munching.

We went on a day hike to Huginnin Cove campground.  We had lunch while we were there, but on the way we stopped at the old Wendigo mine site.
Old Wendigo mine cabin
This is the first time we seen a bull moose (male)

We happened to see the Voyageur go by during lunch
From a moose
Huginnin Cove
In the past we overnighted at #1, so that is where we had lunch

Rock face on the trail back

We went to Huginnin on the 3.9 and back on the 3.1
Back on the Greenstone Trail heading to Island Mine

Island Mine Campground, we stayed at Group #1
Ron, Gary and Kevin right after tea time.

Pepperoni and cheese pizza

Of all the campgrounds we stayed at, we only had 1 campfire.  You can only have campfires at certain places, this is one of the few.  I planned in advance to have pepperoni & cheese pizza.  Kevin found a flat rock and we put it on the edge of the fire pit and grilled the pizza.  I had 2 and made Kevin one.  Excellent!  We went to bed that night and it POURED rain.
We have these near Ottawa Canyon.  We call them horsetails
The highest point on the Island is on Mount Desor.  There is no view (too many trees obscuring the view).  It is marked by this large rock in the trail.

I love the clouds in this photo
On the Greenstone headed to South Lake Desor Campground

Map of South Desor Campground, we stayed at Group #1
My campsite at North Desor
Lake Desor
Kevin relaxing on his air mattress in Lake Desor
Relaxing after dinner by the lake
Ron telling us our nightly stories
Kevin, Edna, Ron and Gary at our only Sunset
Our only sunset (South Lake Desor)
On our way to Malone Bay Campground we were on the Ishpeming Trail going to break or lunch at Ishpeming Point.
Love the moss and roots on this downed tree
Breaking at Ishpeming point
Ishpeming tower
Kevin arriving at the Tower
Gary is happy to be arriving.                                                           Or is he just happy it's lunch time?
Gary is just making sure we are heading in the right direction!

Great photo of all the White Birch trees
Blueberries were plentiful on the trails this time around.  I ate all the berries here.
This was once a pond
In rocky areas there are rock towers called Cairns that mark the way.
Thimbleberries are similar to raspberries but a little bit tarter.  They were also plentiful this year.
One of many signs of beaver activity.

Some of the trails are boardwalks.  Some boardwalks are high off the ground and some are right near the water.
Where is the trail?  Follow that Cairn!
Rose hips
We were almost at the Campground when we found this remnant of a moose.  Notice the hair and hoofs on the legs.

Isle Royale also have Eagles.  We saw quite a few this trip.  I just couldn't get a good photo.
Once we got close to the Campground there were signs to go to the Ranger Station.  Because of Government cutbacks, there hasn't been a Ranger here for a few years.
The first night I stayed at Group #1 and the second night I stayed in Shelter #4 so I didn't have to pack up a dew coated tent.
My campsite at Malone Bay campground
Who's who?  Edna, Ron, Gary and Kevin
Not really a Sunset, but a great view!
Sunrise or as close as we got.  How many shades of blue do you see?
In case you were wondering..... all the campgrounds had a few Privies.  They will be stocked with toilet paper if they are accessible by water by Rangers.  Most of the time, we had to bring our own.

Turtleheads - They grow in swampy areas and are in the Snapdragon family
You can barely see them.  Tiny light blue flowers
Shasta Daisies

Since we were at Malone Bay for two days, we went on a day hike.  There was a waterway from the Siskiwit Lake to Lake Superior.  There was a trail that ran most of the way.  This is where these flowing water / waterfall photos were taken.

Lake Siskiwit flowing toward Lake Superior

Inside this cabin are books about the island you could read along with a few chairs.  There is also a Journal that you can write in when you visit.  We were here on August 23, 2009 and wrote the following.....

Malone Bay from our Campsite

Malone Bay at Sunrise, or as close as we could get it

We were waiting for the Voyageur to pick us up at the dock at Malone Bay

Voyageur pickup

View of Malone Bay from the water

Rainbow Cove from the water
Approaching Windigo to pick up Joe.  We were hoping to jump off for a few minutes to get lunch.  Not happening.
Windigo dock
I think Joe is anxious to see us.
The "America" shipwreck about 4-5 feet below the surface.
Time to come home

When getting in the car to leave on vacation, it seems like we will be gone a long time.  When you are in the car going to the destination it seems like such a long time.  When we start hiking the 10+ miles each day it seem so long.  The days and nights really flew by.  I will always treasure the time I spend on Isle Royale whether it is the past, present or future.  There were times on the ridges and also when I look out at the scenery that I just marvel at all creation. Many times I was on the brink of tears and was glad I was hiking by myself, just a few minutes behind or in front of my friends. You may think some of the photos are breathtaking, but let me tell you, they are 10 times as breathtaking when you are there.  I find myself in prayer very often while hiking.  Most of the time they are prayers of thanksgiving, for my friends, health, family, opportunity, my job and the beauty that is constantly surrounding me.  I hope you all enjoyed the photos and narration as much or almost as much as I did.  Just so you know, I am still planning to go for year 10 next year.  

I will leave you with this: Wherever you may hike or walk, just put one foot in front of the other.  It's all about the experience not the destination.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I really enjoyed reading about this journey and viewing the photos. What an amazing way to commune with nature!