Isle Royale, September 2001

Day 3

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When I awoke on Thursday it was 8:30 a.m., the sun was shining brightly and the morning air was chilly but refreshing. I took a quick stroll down to the harbor to see if there were any animals out for a morning drink, but the harbor was calm and deserted. I returned to camp and had some oatmeal and a granola bar for breakfast. After breakfast we filtered more water, packed up the tent and supplies and hit the trail by 10:20 a.m.

The trail began to climb a bit after we left Todd Harbor, but the hike was not very demanding. Before we knew it we had covered the 1.4 miles to the junction of the Hatchet Lake Trail. Most of the trail meandered through forests of Birch trees, which made for a pleasant hike. At the Hatchet Lake junction we met a single hiker who said he had been on the island for since Labor Day and that he was going to be leaving on Monday. He had spent the previous night at Hatchet Lake and was heading for Little Todd Harbor as well.

From here the trail made several ascents and descents to and from the top of the Minong Ridge as well as taking us across a couple streams. The Minong Ridge Trail eventually leveled off and we hiked for quite some time through a Birch and Aspen forest. We stopped for lunch in a valley at about 12:30 p.m. It's amazing how very simple foods can taste so good on the trail -- the bagels with peanut butter, a pop tart and Gatorade really hit the spot. The break lasted only a short time before we were back on the trail heading toward tonight's campsite. We arrived at Little Todd Harbor at 2:30 p.m. and discovered that single hikers already occupied the first two sites. Site #3 did not look very nice so we ended up at #4 which had an open, level area for the tent and a fire ring, but no picnic table. I've come to discover that a picnic table is one of those items that are not necessary, however, it makes life much easier and more relaxing around camp.

The first job, as usual, was to set up the tent and unpack supplies. We quickly became acquainted with a swarm of large flies that inhabited the area around our camp. We had to make a tactical retreat to the beach in order to escape the flies because it would have been unbearable to co-exist with them around the campsite. The beach, only a couple yards away from our site, consisted of countless small rocks worn down by years of exposure to the sand and rolling surf of Lake Superior. A short distance down the beach was an old, weathered log that made a nice place to sit and write in my journal.

For dinner we returned to camp and cooked up some chicken stew, Raman noodles, and dehydrated corn which tasted like it had just come off the cob. After dinner I decided to take advantage of the fire ring, however, I was only able to get small fire going because most of the dead and down wood was either damp or waterlogged. After struggling with the fire for about an hour I gave up and let it burn out. When the sun dipped below the horizon and dusk began to settle over the campsite, Ken watched as a fox wandered by him down by the lake, but I never saw it from where I was up near the tent. I eventually made my way down to the jagged rock ledge between our camp and the beach. I sat on the rocks and watched the surface of the water ripple under the cool breeze that was blowing in off of the lake. It was a relaxing end to a nice day. When it became too cold to sit by the lake we returned to the camp and sat around the now glowing embers of the bon fire. While we talked about the agenda for the following day Ken noticed that four to five bats had decided to visit our site for dinner. I stood motionless in the middle of the camp and watched as the bats flew literally only inches in front of my face as they dove erratically for bugs. We turned in for the night around 10:30 p.m. During the night I awoke briefly to the tinny, high-pitched sound of light rain hitting the exposed piece of Tyvek we used as a waterproof tarp under the tent. Eventually, the drizzle turned to a heavy, steady rain. As I drifted off to sleep I could only wonder how wet the ground and vegetation would be by morning.

Miles covered today: 6.8
Total trip miles: 13.7

Day 4

This page last updated on 02-25-2016 @ 11:23 AM