Isle Royale, May 1999

Day 3

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Wednesday morning was awesome. Birds were singing, the air was warm and the sky was glowing with sunshine. However, on Isle Royale it appears nice weather goes hand-in-hand with winged creatures of every kind. There were mosquitoes, black flies and other insects flying around our campsite, but we were thankful the black flies were not biting, at least not yet! We had some oatmeal for breakfast and began to repack our backpacks. We took our time getting ready since we had a short hike today. The plan was to hike the short distance (approximately two miles) to the other side of the lake and spend a good part of the day fishing at the east end of Lake Chickenbone. Before we began our hike we talked to a couple people on their way past our campsite. They told us they had just come from the Indian Portage Trail on the north side of the lake where they had encountered a moose grazing along the trail. The hikers said it did not appear to be bothered by their presence and they actually had to wait for it to move off the trail before they could proceed.

Our hike to the East Chickenbone was rather easy with only a couple small ascents. Our hike led us through a sparsely wooded area and across a couple small streams where we saw a few more wolf tracks in the mud. The East Chickenbone campsite was a bit different from the last two we stayed at in that we had to hike a short way (about a five minute hike) before we reached the lake. This meant every trip we made to the lake would include taking the water filter and bottles so we had enough water for cooking, drinking and washing. We set up the tent at site #1 and unpacked a few things. A short time later a boyfriend and girlfriend came by and told us they had just seen a moose along the trail a short distance from the campsite. It appeared as though we just missed the moose because they were several minutes behind us on the trail. We talked for a couple minutes before they continued on past our site to find a site of their own. A short time later they returned to our site and told us the moose had wandered up near their campsite and was grazing down the hill from them. We walked down to their site and watched the cow moose walking around and grazing. We took a few pictures and then went back to our site to relax. While I was in the tent retrieving some fishing supplies I looked up and saw the silhouette of something on the outside of the tent. It looked too strange to be a leaf stuck on the corner so I went out to investigate. When I got outside I discovered the odd shape was a large moth. I quickly got hold of my camera and took a picture. I had never seen a moth like this before. When I got home I did some searching on the internet and discovered that it was a Luna moth.

We eventually made our way down to the lake and fished for a while. Even though we didn't catch anything we had a good time relaxing by the lake and talking about the trip to this point. The weather was nice and the lake looked like a giant sheet of glass as the treeline along the shore reflected off the surface of the water. We returned to camp and cooked up some tuna helper for dinner. The bugs had been tolerable today after a couple applications of DEET, but I eventually had to break out my headnet and walk around in order to keep the black flies away from me while I ate. The following day we talked to a couple hikers who said they had not thought to bring a headnet. They claimed they would have paid us each $50 for our headnets because the bugs and black flies were so numerous and annoying. After dinner we hiked back to the lake and fished until sunset. I donated a couple lures to some submerged logs and Ken managed to hook a pike (appeared to be about 18"), but it got off the line about two feet from shore. While we were at the lake I heard some rustling in the trees and turned around to catch a quick glimpse of an orange tail with a white tip disappearing behind some trees. A few seconds later I observed a fox emerging from the underbrush about 50 feet away. I quickly grabbed my camera and waited for the animal to wander by location. It eventually made its way across the trail and down to the lake. By now it was only a couple yards away from me and I managed to get a couple pictures before it scurried away. This was the only fox we saw on our trip but we talked to a couple other people who had a fox come into their camp. They said the fox was not afraid of them and it attempted to come right up to them for food until they finally had to chase it away.

We wanted to make sure we were on the trail early Thursday morning because we had approximately 11 miles to cover, so we packed away as many supplies as we could so there would be less to do in the morning. The temperature reached about 75 degrees today and we had clear skies. Even though our hike to East Chickenbone was short, it was a warm one since we had the sun beating down on us. I noticed that we went through a quite a bit more water during today's hike than we had the previous days. I went to bed early so I would be well-rested for tomorrow's long hike. The tent was filled with a bright glow from the full moon overhead as I lay in my sleeping bag wondering what tomorrow would bring. As I was falling asleep I could hear the haunting cries of a couple loons swimming around out on the lake.

Miles covered today: 2.0
Total trip miles: 18.8

Day 4

This page last updated on 02-25-2016 @ 11:21 AM