Backpacking Isle Royale National Park

upcruiser

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Just got back from a quick 3 day backpacking trip on Isle Royale. The weather was incredible, sunny, 70 degree temps, and the water was awesome. For those that don't know, Isle Royale is the most remote National Park in the lower 48 and has no roads on it. The island is 45 miles long and is located 50 miles northwest of Copper Harbor, MI, the northern most point of the state. The ferry ride across from Copper Harbor takes 3 hours and we were fortunate to have small seas across and back for the most part. Here are some pictures I snapped.


Sunrise Saturday morning from the top of Mt Brockway, prior to catching the ferry over.



Pulling out of Copper Harbor on the ferry



Unloading the backpacks, kayaks, and canoes off of the ferry at Rock Harbor.


Kate, my partner for the outing, having lunch on our way to our first camp. We hiked 11 miles to Mosky Basin, the southernmost part of the the 10 mile long Rock Harbor bay.


Rock Harbor is protected by a broken band of narrow islands making it a great refuge from the often rough waters of Lake Superior.




The view from our campsite on Mosky Basin. We were seranaded by loons, a great horned owl, and a pack of wolves that night.
 

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Evening at Mosky Basin


Yours truly soaking up the morning sun after a brisk night camping.


A lone Loon doing his thing. Day 2 found us traversing south and inland on the island to the Greestone Ridge Trail that runs north/south on the island and creates the major thoroughfare. At this point, my feet were getting some bad blisters that mole skin and duct tape were having a hard time mending. I ended up hiking the last 6 miles of day 2 and 8 miles of day three in my Chaco flip flops which actually worked great!


Finding a bit of shade on the Greenstone Ridge Trail and taking in a view across to Canada.


Day 3 sunrise, back on the east side of the island at the Daisy Farm camp area. The condition of my feet mandated that we change the original plan of going back inland to the Greestone then north to Rock Harbor and saved about 6 miles by retracing 8 miles of trail back along the bay to Rock Harbor. We had a 2:45pm ferry to catch and managed to crank out the 8 miles in 3 miles including some stops to soak in the water and eat.


The boat at the dock of Rock Harbor. While the mainland got into the 90's that day, the island was only in the high 70's. Still, swimming in the cold, water of the harbor felt great.


A shot of Tobin Bay, a short 5 minute walk from the ferry dock.


Passing Copper Harbor Lighthouse on the return back onto the mainland.

Overall a great trip but we wished that we had a good week to be able to explore a bit more. The island is huge and it would take months to see it all. Next time over I'm planning on bringing my canoe.
 

Pad

Adventurer
Looks like a nice peaceful time! I love that island!
Beth & I didn't get a chance to meet your GF when we were up there,
although she kept asking, oh well maybe next year?

Pad
 
I really need to get back up there some day. I think it was in 1986 that I was there with my dad. I just about walked into a moose on our last day there and then puked my guts out on the ferry ride all the way back to Copper Harbor. I'll see if I can find an old picture somewhere.
 

T.Low

Expedition Leader
Great shots. Thanks for inspiring the memories. Back packed it and kayaked it back in the 90's. Wonderful place to be.
 

5x5

Observer
Jason,
You chumming the water on boat trips seams to be a reaccuring theme. I may still have pics from Florida. :088:







:peepwall:
 

upcruiser

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Pad said:
Looks like a nice peaceful time! I love that island!
Beth & I didn't get a chance to meet your GF when we were up there,
although she kept asking, oh well maybe next year?

Pad
Yeah, it was super peaceful, the falling asleep to the loon calls was worth it in itself. Hopefully Kate will be able to come next year but she is doing her residency and is yet to know where she'll be placed. We've just gone on a few dates at this point. We've had alot of fun, she's into practically everythign that I am, so that is refreshing.
 

upcruiser

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Ursidae69 said:
See any of the famous wolves or moose? Great photos. :lurk:
I saw tons of wolf and moose scat but unfortunately didn't spy any. It was pretty warm weather for moose over the weekend, so I imagine that they weren't moving alot during the days. The vegetation is pretty thick though and I could have walked within yards of them and not even known. The current moose population is at 650 and there are 4 current packs of wolves with one loner out there. This year celebrates the 50th aniversary of the wolf research, quite the long runing study!
 

upcruiser

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Northern Explorer said:
I really need to get back up there some day. I think it was in 1986 that I was there with my dad. I just about walked into a moose on our last day there and then puked my guts out on the ferry ride all the way back to Copper Harbor. I'll see if I can find an old picture somewhere.
I only saw a few people purge on the way back. We had 3 foot swells so it wasn't too rough. That ferry's nickname though is the "barf barge.":088:
 

upcruiser

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T.Low said:
Great shots. Thanks for inspiring the memories. Back packed it and kayaked it back in the 90's. Wonderful place to be.
I really want to paddle out there. The coastline obviously would be a much more relaxing way of seeing more of the island. Did you do much portaging when you were out there? We were kind of scouting out the portage across from Ritchey Lake, Chicken Bone Lake, etc etc, that crosses the island and they didn't seem too bad. A couple of loaded sea kayaks though might make it a bit more work. We're thinking of taking my canoe over, packing light and making the portages one trip each.
 

jeepmedic46

Expedition Leader
upcruiser said:
Just got back from a quick 3 day backpacking trip on Isle Royale. The weather was incredible, sunny, 70 degree temps, and the water was awesome. For those that don't know, Isle Royale is the most remote National Park in the lower 48 and has no roads on it. The island is 45 miles long and is located 50 miles northwest of Copper Harbor, MI, the northern most point of the state. The ferry ride across from Copper Harbor takes 3 hours and we were fortunate to have small seas across and back for the most part. Here are some pictures I snapped.


Sunrise Saturday morning from the top of Mt Brockway, prior to catching the ferry over.



Pulling out of Copper Harbor on the ferry



Unloading the backpacks, kayaks, and canoes off of the ferry at Rock Harbor.


Kate, my partner for the outing, having lunch on our way to our first camp. We hiked 11 miles to Mosky Basin, the southernmost part of the the 10 mile long Rock Harbor bay.


Rock Harbor is protected by a broken band of narrow islands making it a great refuge from the often rough waters of Lake Superior.




The view from our campsite on Mosky Basin. We were seranaded by loons, a great horned owl, and a pack of wolves that night.
Looked like a quiet and pleasant trip.:arabia:
 
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