First Responses – Katherine’s Trip to Isle Royale

My trip out to Isle Royale started out pretty well. Looking back, I know I looked and acted pretty nervous… but once I got going with the trip my nerves settled (a bit.. I think). Like I briefly said before, overall the trip went really well. I’ll do my best to give a good run-down of the trip in this post, but I will also continue to add more facts and random things as I think and remember them.

Views from the Ranger III … a solid, classy, beautiful boat …

The boat ride out on the Ranger III was smooth for the most part, just a few waves. I was able to go over my hiking plan, which switched and was better than it ever could have been. A fellow employee and I got off at Mott Island an explored around the Isle Royale Park Headquarters buildings around there for a while. After that he took me via small fishing boat to Moskey Basin. Along the way we stopped to look at the Edison Fishery and a lighthouse on the island. (check out the park map on this page – http://www.nps.gov/isro/planyourvisit/index.htm# ) I stayed there my first night, the first night spent in the LLBean tent I won through their 100th Birthday Gear Giveaway. The next day I had my first real day of hiking, traveling from Moskey to McCargoe on the Northern/Northwestern side of the island. This was when I really learned about the up and down trails, and variety of footings I would have for the trip. Overall the hiking was nice, although I was very ready and glad to make camp that first night. Arriving early afternoon I was able to put the shell of my tent up, and got “stuck” laying there for a nap. A bit later that afternoon I woke up and unpacked more things, and made my way down to the water for a quick dip and some cloths rinsing. I enjoyed chatting with the other campers – some going more “rustic” than others (from here you could easily come by boat too) – filtered water, and got to know the neighbors from the tenting area of the campground. Fish were being caught, and a good group of boy scouts were enjoying what the night had to offer. A bit later in the evening I went on a hike (with one of the tenting neighbors – Rick). We hiked about a mile from the campground (SO much nicer without packs) past the Minong Mining area, to Pine  Mountain. We watched a bit of the sunset here before leaving to hike back down to camp. From there we took some more photos at the bay, and I headed to bed to rest up for the long day I would face as the sun came up just 8 short hours later. Thursday morning I woke up feeling my legs a little more strong (or just tired? Smile) and more pumped up for the day. I knew it would be a long one, but that I had two points I could stop at. I hoped with all I had that I could hike smartly and get to the further one (and nicer hike), so that kept me going. I was alone on the trails for most of the day, which was actually pretty nice. When looking at the map, you can see some of the steep parts of the trail, and this day included one of those. Thankfully though, by the time I reached it I had in my head it would be terrible, but also how far I had already made it.. and that part of the climb really wasn’t that bad at all. This was when I knew I could really do this, and no matter how tough some of it got, I was on my way back to the boat and had already done so much.

Made it up to the Greenstone!

I continued on this trail along the Greenstone Ridge. There weren’t views the entire time, but some of Lake Superior and Canada (and Pine Mountain where I had been the evening before), as well as some of the inland lakes. Hiking on I made it to the Ojibiaw Lookout Tower. This tower is now used as a weather station, and was a good spot to stop for some views and a good snack-y lunch time. The trails until then had been a good mix of shade and sun, lots of flat even rock trails, and break points when you needed them.

A view from the tower, at the trail to come (well, the first tiny part of it)

View from the tower..

After the tower was the last push to the campground at Three Mile. At this point I was just ready to sit and enjoy the day, but that would be a few more miles. I only got a little turned around at this point, but only had to backtrack and look for stacked rock trail markers for a bit. After finding the trail and tackling a very long boardwalk over a marsh, I made it to the campground and set up camp. It was pretty late in the day, but I still had a great time meeting some wonderful women I was camping next to, and spent some time that evening enjoying the water that was around, taking star photos (which resulted in observing more than photos) and getting some of the sunset (again, mostly just ended up enjoying it).

A calm evening at three mil…

The hike from Three Mile Campground to Rock Harbor was short, so I did leave a little later than I had been. I spent about two hours on the trail, taking the Tobin Harbor trail into Rock Harbor. It was a pretty easy hike, especially because I knew I was close to coming come (again, I wasn’t waiting THAT bad to get home, it just simply nice knowing that I had made it and did it on my own).

I arrived to Rock Harbor and was able to get a shelter for the night which I shared with some other people I had met earlier in the trip. It was great not having to completely clean up camp the next morning, and got to see how one of those would be. It was pretty neat – after so many nights in the tent it was actually a little too open for me, although I knew everything was completely okay. That evening I enjoyed lots of time lounging, reading, watching the Ranger III come in (and unload a few boats). Then dinner prep, more hanging, and sleep before the big day on the boat.

Unloading boats from the Ranger III

Hmm… went else.

The boat ride home went very well. Before boarding I met/ran into the Artist-in-Residence that just finished her time on the island.. I was lucky enough to get to talk to her for a while on the way home, and show her some things from the boat once we got closer to Houghton/Hancock area. She was such an inspiration and a really great way to end the trip talking about the next steps and what was to come with everything i’m looking at doing.

For now i’m going to post this, and think about what else I could post… again, I had really hoped to get this up sooner, but with my computer and internet issues that i’ve had, it has made it extremely difficult. I hope to get photos up on Flickr – so check there soon too please. Also – if you have questions specifically about the trip, PLEASE post them in comments or into the post box.

Now… time for more Olympic opening ceremony!

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One comment on “First Responses – Katherine’s Trip to Isle Royale

  1. Mom of Katherine says:

    Tell us the story about meeting up with the leader who gave you a patch — from his old uniform.

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