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Part 2, Travelogue Isle Royale
If you read my last post about all the prep work it took to actually get to Isle Royale, now you’re ready to read about the six days I actually spent on the island in July of 2015. It really was a once-in-a-lifetime experience — filled with moose sightings, swimming in lakes, hiking with strangers and becoming an actual wild thing myself. I’ve heard that Isle Royale is one of the most re-visited national parks in the National Park system (meaning people go once, and then return again and again), which is pretty amazing, considering how difficult it can be to actually get to the island.
Day 1: We take the island by storm (metaphorically)
After a very smooth 6-hour ferry ride, we arrived at Rock Harbor around 3pm ready to hike! We’d heard from one of our fellow ferry passengers that the best way to get to the Daisy Farm campground — our first stop for the night — was to take the inner trail (one that parallels Tobin Harbor) to the Susie’s Cave cutoff, then hike the rest of the way on the Three Mile trail to Daisy Farm. That equaled about a total of 8 miles — no sweat for a seasoned hiker like myself. We could have taken the Three Mile trail the whole way to Daisy Farm — but we were worried the trail would be crowded and hoped that taking the inner trail would put us ahead of everyone else looking to get to Daisy Farm (which turned out to be a real thing).
Day 2: Daisy Farm to McCargo Cove
I tried to get up early to see the sunrise over Lake Superior, but ended up missing it by a few minutes. Still, it was nice to pump fresh water in the still, silent morning as I waited for the others to get up. We had breakfast and left the campground at about 10am. I had hoped to meet and talk to the ranger who lives in a cottage at Daisy Farm, but she was already gone by the time we left camp.
View from Ojibway Fire Tower
ME: “It’s too muddy, we’ll have to turn around and find another way.”
LAUREL (with a skeptical look on her face): “Oh come on, just go for it.”
ME (annoyed, stepping aside): “YOU go for it.”
LAUREL (three seconds after “going for it,” lying like a turtle on its back in the mud): “HELP ME!”
Day 2: McCargo Cove to Lake Richie
Although we were bracing ourselves for another brutal day on the trail, the hike from McCargo Cove to Lake Richie was beautiful — probably my favorite hike of the trip. We stopped in West Chickenbone (MUCH nicer than East Chickenbone) for lunch. We made it to Lake Richie about 1:30pm — the only site where we all stayed in tents. Whitney and Sarah went swimming, using their sleeping pads as floats to paddle out to a little island. Since Sarah had pulled several leeches off of her since first entering the water, I decided just to do a very quick rinse-off, then go set up my tent.
Stay tuned for Part 3!