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Trip Report: Isle Royale

Well since so many of you had responded so eagerly, encouraging me to go to Isle Royale for my backpacking trip I thought I would let you all in on what you missed out on! ;-)

The drive up on thursday took about ten to eleven hours from the time I left campus to when I arrived in Copper Harbor, MI where I got a room for the night (over looking the bay) and where I would take the ferry across the next day.

Friday morning turned out to be a beautiful, cloudless, warm day making for a smooth 4 and a half ferry ride across Lake Superior to Isle Royale. I met three other guys from the Detroit area on the boat and we passed the time talking and playing euchre. The water was a beautiful deep blue with a little green and was so clear you could see down about 20 feet! Upon arrival on the island, everyone was given a talk on the rules, etc. While gearing up to hit the trail a red fox passed through visitor center compound (the first of many animals to be seen). I hiked 7.5 miles along the coast to Daisy Farm campground with the three guys I met on the boat and camped there. The trails were rocky but not strenuous and the conifer stands reminded me of the coast of Maine. Around dusk a couple of Loons (northern water birds) came down to the cove and were fishing and calling.

Saturday I said my goodbyes as I was headed to a different campground than my new friends and headed out on the trail. It proved to be another beautiful day in paradise with a clear blue sky and a high around 60 so I hiked in shorts and a tee shirt (the nights got down to the upper thirties). Ate lunch at Lake Richie and hiked over to Chickenbone Lake only seeing about 5 people on the trails all day. I changed my original itinerary and camped at East Chickenbone campground 11 miles later, arriving at about 4pm. I set up camp, took a catnap and headed down to the lake to try some fishing. Arriving down there I scared some waterfowl and was greeted by a great little lake. No more than a half hour into fishing I caught a 20" Walleye, content (and extremely surprised) with this I cleaned it and cooked it up for dinner. The best fish dinner I have ever had not to mention the best trail meal ever as well. My friends from the boat also independantly from me changed their plans and ended up at the same campground. Jealous of my catch they headed down to the lake and caught two 24" Northern Pike (one of which they later cooked). While fishing we saw two Moose, one of which came down to the water not more than 50 feet from us! We also saw a Beaver and more Loons not to mention all the songbirds, red squirrels and rabbits I saw along the trail all day.

Sunday I headed back north on the Greenstone Ridge Trail for a windy and chilly but beautiful 11 mile hike. The Greenstone is the highest ridge on the island and there are many bluffs and overlooks such as Mt Ojibway and Mt Franklin where you can see the northern end of the island and the rest of the archipelago as well as the Minnesota and Canadian shore. I hiked into Lane cove campground by 6 and took a nice nap. After dinner I fell asleep listening to the waves lapping on the beach and the loons calling.

Monday morning left more to be desired as it was quite chilly and raining. I made the 8 mile hike back to the Visitor center soggy from head to toe only to find out the boat would be late due to 6 foot seas from the wind the day before. The boat ride back was not at all as pleasant as the one to the island with 4 to 8 foot waves making half the passengers (myself excluded) seasick. It should have arrived back at Copper harbor at 7:30 but didnt arrive till 9 pm where I got a room and found dinner.

All in all it was a great trip, I would reccomend it to everyone to go sometime! The colder weather probably helped keep the crowds and bugs away but it was definitely worth it! Probably one of the most beautiful places I have ever been and one of the best backpacking trips I have taken! While on the island I heard no man made noises with the exception of a couple of seaplanes. It was well worth the money and long drive/boatrides. I took over 200 pictures and I will get them posted soon. If anyone is planning on going later this year let me know, I wouldnt mind going again.

See Pictures from this trip


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