The following is a true story, only the names have been changed, to protect the guilty.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Isle Royale

I've had this trip on my radar so long that the map I bought years ago is out of print. It still worked just fine for the short route "G" man and I did on his first day of summer vacation. It was actually a four day weekend as the trip length is dependent on the schedule of the ferry service. It took me 37 years to get there. It took "G"man only 9, he celebrated his birthday out on the island on our third day. I did not have a gift for him since I didn't want to carry anymore than I already had in my backpack, so he ate lots of candy instead. For those that don't know, Isle Royale is the largest island in Lake Superior and is approx. 45 miles long by 9 miles wide. It is closest to the Minnesota border in the United States but is officially part of the state of Michigan. It was developed in the 1800's for logging and mining, but became a National Park in 1940

Just like his mom, doing handstands for a picture.
The night before we got on the boat, "G"man insisted we have a fire on the beach just like the "Man Trip"

We caught the ferry early in the morning out of Grand Portage and arrived five hours later at our camp site. The island is only about twenty miles out but we had to stop at Windigo to let some people off and do a short orientation of the Isle Royal National Park back country rules. From there we traveled another three hours north east up the northern shoreline. The boat only goes about 14 miles an hour, but is fun to travel on.

We were dropped off at McCargoe Cove and stayed the night there in a three sided shelter with a bug-proof screened front. This was quite luxurious compared to a tent and was no additional cost to stay in. They are first-come, first-served.
These shelters are what we stayed in the first and last nights

This is one of about 40 frogs or toads that were captured during the trip
After setting up in the shelter and eating, we decided to take the .8 mile hike to Minong Mine (copper) and check it out. The mine has been closed since the late 1800's but had lots of tailing piles to wander through and some shafts and adits to check out
Small piece of copper found at Minong Mine

From inside Minong Mine adit
The second day we actually had to do some backpacking, 5.6 miles to be exact. Our planned route was to cut across the island the short way. The short way is only ten miles, the long way of the island is a little over 40, way more than we were up for.We got to Lake Ritchie early and had time to swim and get to know our neighboring campers.
That is one huge leaf !

Boardwalks or bridges were common in the low swampy areas
The third day was a little shorter at 4.5 miles, and deposited us on the shore of Lake Superior at Chippewa Harbor. In it's day it was a commercial fishing village. Remnants of past goings-on were apparent.  A small building still remained and is called the "School House" although it was not actually school house. Along the shore is lots of broken pottery, glass, and random pieces of rusted steel parts. We also saw the remains of a series of docks.
The "Schoolhouse"

The last night out
The Voyaguer II picked us up around 9:30 am Tuesday, we had a really good time but were ready to go home. We still had a five hour ride back to Grand Portage. The scenery was awesome but the water was rough compered to the initial trip out to the island, I sat in the back the whole time to keep the horizon in sight and avoid getting sick. G man did fine with the rough water and even got a nap in.
Bring us home

On the bow

Kurt, blowing chunks on the way back
Not wanting to waste any opportunity, upon landing we took a tour of the fort at Grand Portage and also the High Falls on the Pigeon River before going home. We both had a great time and look forward to more high adventure trips.
Grand Portage

High Falls on the Pigeon River

1 comment:

  1. Love it!! It's been a dozen years since I've been to Isle Royale. What a great place to take a kid on an outdoor adventure.