Isle Royale Vacation Log

Recently I took a backpacking trip out to Isle Royale National Park

Day One – August 16th 2008  6.9 Miles

Left from Grand Portage MN at 8:00am on the Voyageur II.

The boat blew a head on the way to Windigo so we had to change our plans and leave from there.  Hiked 6.9 miles to Island Mine where we camped. Everyone was pretty sore and the water source was pretty scarce.

Day Two — 5.5 Miles

Hiked to South Lake Desor. The forest was mostly sugar maple when we started and as we got to Lake Desor the scenery started to change to a Birch forest. The lake was nice, there was a nice beach over by the group camp area where we could cool off. There was a pretty good wind that day and Bryan and our neighbors witnessed a big dead birch tree fall over. It kind of spooked us. Later in the night, after we had convinced ourselves it would not happen again, we heard another tree fall in the distance. We were a little nervous when we went to bed, but we made it:)

Birch Forest
Birch Forest

Day Three — 8.1 Miles

On the way out we say a Cow Moose grazing. Pretty Cool.

By this time we were pretty well acclimated to the hiking.  I think the soreness was all gone by day two.

The Green Ridge Trail started to open up into some really some nice views of the island.  There was lots of great views of the mountains in Canada. It was much more impressive than I had ever imagined.  That day Bryan rigged up a berry pickin’ container, so we spent most of the day gathering Thimble berries. After pickin’ berries all day we got to Hatchet lake late and got the last campsite. It really sucked.  The lake did not have much access to it, so we went to bed pretty early.

Canadian Shoreline from Greenstone Ridge
Canadian Shoreline from Greenstone Ridge


Day Four — 3.9 Miles

After seeing the beautiful views of the Canadian mountains we decided to hike over to Todd Harbor which is on the north side. We got there early enough to get a shelter. The spot was pretty close to the lake. I hiked over to a small waterfall about a half a mile from camp.  We laid around until the sunset. The sunset over lake superior was amazing.

Todd Harbor Shelter
Todd Harbor Shelter

Todd Harbor Sunset
Todd Harbor Sunset

Day Five — 8.9 Miles

We hiked through McCargoe Cove to East Chickenbone. McCargoe Cove was pretty exposed and busy. There was a nice dock and place to swim. We had our sights set on East Chickbone to put us closer to Daisy Farm. The east chickenbone campsite was ok, it was pretty open and in the middle of birch valley. The lake was about 1/4 mile away. Three people from Tennessee joined us because the campground was full. Pretty interesting group, it was nice to hear about Smoky mountain national park. At sundown we went down and fished.  I caught a good size walleye. I think Bryan did too, but his snapped the swivel before he could get it up to shore.

Jon's Big Fish
Jon's Big Fish

Day Six — 7.4 Miles

Hiked to Daisy Farm. There was a real nice beach there. It was pretty busy. It seemed to keep getting busier as we approached Rock Harbor.

Day Seven — 4.2 Miles

Three Mile. We got a shelter that had access to an awesome rock to just sit on and read. The last couple of days our hikes were pretty short so we had plenty of time to just sit around read, and play hour long games of crazy eights.

Day Eight — 3.6 Miles

Rock Harbor. Ahh Civilization. After craving burgers for eight days it was finally real. Admittedly I had imagined it would taste so phenomenal, but it fell really short.

Day Nine

Woke up at 7:00am for the boat ride. Pulled into Windigo about 1:00pm. Asked the boat people how long the stop would be. They said about 30 minutes. Bryan and I sprinted up to store and ordered a pizza. Twelve minutes later we had our pizza. The lady said once the boat blew its horn we would have 10 minutes. The boat blew its horn and we started cramming the pizza down. We ran down and found the boat was leaving. We had to sit there as the boat turned around. After we went through the embarrasment of missing the boat, we sat through the remainder of our 10 hour boat ride.

When you are away from modern amenities for any period of time it is amazing how much you crave them. You gain a new appreciation for a little while, but once you satisfy the craving you immediately begin to take it for granted.

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