Our Isle Royale Adventure: Day 1

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Another cold morning as we depart the ferry.

I can’t stop shivering until we eat our bagels with PB&J, which also helped calm the stomach besides warming the body.
It was a good thing we had gotten the recommendation in Grand Marais to visit the local Coop and buy some Ginger chews.  I think they helped keep us from getting seasick on the ride over.  We settled on our shortened itinerary:

  • Day 1: Windigo to Lake Feldtmann (9.0 miles)
  • Day 2: Feldtmann to Siskiwit Bay (10.6 miles)
  • Day 3: Siskiwit Bay to Huginnin Cove (15.5 miles)
  • Day 4: Higinnin Cove to Windigo (4.3 miles)

We were on the trail before 11AM and did the 9.0 miles to Lake Feldtmann in under 4 hours.  That bodes well for the 10.6 tomorrow and 15.5 miles Wednesday.

While cold and foggy for much of the hike, it was still beautiful.

I saw 8 or so different flowering species of plants in bloom.  While stopping to take a few pictures at one point, the boys saw our first (and as it turned out, only) moose of the trip.  It was a fair distance in the woods and startled as the boys came up on it, so only Eric got a really good look; Joey just glanced it fleeing.

Walking along a ridge at one point, a monarch butterfly left its flower and flew at my shoulder for 20 paces or so before meeting up with a fellow butterfly and heading off in a different direction.  We had a nice, albeit brief, chat.

Another ridge and the fog began to clear off.  Joey talks of families of animals like ungulates while Eric of soil types and soil horizons.  What a treat to be here with these young professional naturalists.  We see snowshoe hares, wolf scat (it was very hairy), moose scat, a hairy woodpecker, various mushrooms and flowers, and experience many different micro-climates.  It’s a wonderful first day of hiking on the island!

Lake Feldtmann campsite

We pull into a great campsite.  The sun came out and dried off our gear.  We made our meal of chicken soup as everything dried out and as we tried our hand at a little fishing.

After dinner, we walked the 0.8 miles to Rainbow Cove on Lake Superior.  It was quite nice in the sun and after skipping rocks, Eric and Joey set off on a hike down the beach while I whittled and read some from Aldo Leopold’s “Sand County Almanac”.

At Rainbow Cove

I had a nice talk with one of the Moose/Wolf researchers who were on an extended stay at the Lake Feldtmann campsite about their research.  They were seeking out Moose carcasses and had a lead on one along Feldtmann Ridge — a hiker had seen it fall off the ridge a few days before and they thought there was a way to get down to it.

Clouds began to occasionally obscure the sun and the breeze took a turn so that it came directly into the cove.  But Eric had borrowed my Keen’s for their hike so I could only make my way a bit up the beach into some shrubbery.  There I meet up with some Warbler playing in the bush.  The boys watched an Osprey cup its wings and hover, had some fun poking around the shoreline and taking pictures, and talking to a nice couple also staying at the camp.

Back at camp we made blueberry muffins and Oolong tea, tried a little more fishing, and then settled in as the light rain started again.

Our Isle Royale Adventure: Day 2 ->

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