Isle Royale, May 2005

Day 2

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I must have been thoroughly whipped from the previous day's hike because the first glimpse of daylight did not reach my eyes until 10:50 a.m. My legs and ankles were still a bit sore but nowhere near as bad as last night. I briefly woke up a couple times overnight and each time heard the sound of steady rain hitting the tent. The leaves were still pretty saturated this morning because every breeze brought a new barrage of water drops down from the tree canopy above. When I finally poked my head out of the tent I saw an endless cloud-filled sky and thick fog hovering over the surface of the lake. Today's forecast called for a chance of rain and thunderstorms and it sure appeared as though we would see some before the day was over.

We made a trip down to the lake for water, ate a couple granola bars for breakfast, packed up our gear and were on the trail by 12:20 p.m. We got a somewhat late start but the extra sleep was more than worthwhile. Our hike started off with the long uphill trek back to the Greenstone Ridge. The trail was muddy and slippery from all the rain but we made it without any problems. There were no exciting views during the first half of the day and we did not encounter quite as many ups and downs as we had yesterday. The temperature was probably between 55 and 60 degrees but it was rather humid. My decision to hike in rain pants instead of shorts, due to the forecast, proved not to be the wisest move on my part. It wasn't long before the non-breathable rain pants trapped enough moisture to soak my hiking pants underneath. The sun teased us most of the day by playing cat and mouse with the clouds. For quite a while we would have nothing but cloudy sky overhead and then out of nowhere the sun would make a short, bright appearance before once again disappearing behind its thick gray blanket.

It was now 2:00 p.m. and the Ishpeming Point lookout tower (Ishpeming Point is the second highest point on the island) appeared almost out of nowhere, indicating we had reached the halfway point for the day. We'd decided ahead of time that the tower would be a prime location to stop for lunch so we gladly dropped the backpacks and dug out the bagels and peanut butter. The sun had once again broken free of its cloudy shackles so we put our t-shirts over some trees to dry out in the cool breeze blowing over the ridge. The breeze cooled us down quickly and lunch helped us feel nourished enough to finish off the remaining 4.3 miles which would bring us to our campsite at Hatchet Lake.

The terrain east of the Ishpeming Point tower was pretty much the same as the terrain west of the tower with the exception of a couple locations on the ridge where we could actually see water and small islands out in the distance. At 1.5 miles west of Hatchet Lake we took a short side trail to a rock outcropping where we got our first glimpse of the lake below. This was pretty much our first nice view of the trip so we stopped for a couple minutes to enjoy the sights, the breeze and to take a couple pictures. It was roughly at this point where we began our descent toward the lake. You would think that walking downhill would be a welcomed end to the day, however, it was actually more demanding because it created more stress on my knees, ankles and feet than hiking uphill, especially since the descent was over steep, rocky ground. Just before we reached the trail leading to the campground we passed over a rock outcropping with great views of Siskiwit Lake to the south. The post at the junction indicated that the campground was still .5 miles away and it was all downhill. The trail dropped roughly 300+ feet in the first .3 mile before arriving at the lakeshore where we saw yet another signpost pointing us to the campsites another .2 mile further west. We arrived at the campsites around 5:00 p.m., scoped out the area and finally settled on site #4 because it seemed to have the best access to the lake via some rock "steps".

This campsite, like South Desor, was again situated in the middle of a birch tree forest. The outhouse was only a short distance away and it appeared as though someone had dug a trench around the tent pad to help funnel water away from the area when it rained. We put up the tent and set it on its side so the bottom would dry out while we unpacked the rest of the gear, filtered water and cooked dinner. Tonight's gourmet menu consisted of noodles and rehydrated sauce with hamburger. As the water was working its way into a boil we walked down to the lake to get more water. The rock steps led down to a small sandy area, barely big enough for two people, so we quickly got our water and went back to camp. Ken returned to the lake with his fishing pole while I wrote in my journal and kept an eye on our dinner which was almost finished cooking. Ken didn't get any fish but he did see a beaver swim past him about 50-60 feet out from shore. Dinner tasted just as good as it had smelled when the aroma of simmering spaghetti sauce was drifting through the woods just a few minutes earlier.

Today had turned out to be a very nice day. It was sunny all day but it was not too hot for hiking and when we arrived at Hatchet Lake we discovered that we had the entire lake to ourselves because nobody else was staying here. There had only been a couple stray raindrops a few times throughout the day but they were so insignificant that I didn't even bother to put my camera away; I just covered it with my shirt. The small, buzzing, winged creatures, however, hovered like tiny black clouds over portions of the trail and kept flying into my eyes and mouth so I wore my headnet for quite a while during the hike. The bugs were rather annoying in camp as well so the headnet didn't get much of a break there either. We saw a lot of moose droppings again today and a set of tracks that went right down the middle of the trail for quite a distance, but unfortunately we never saw any moose.

After dinner Ken tried some more fishing while I did a little more writing. By 8:00 p.m. the temperature had fallen to 50 degrees, only a few degrees from the forecasted low of 46 degrees, and I was becoming quite chilled. By 8:30 p.m. I had had enough of the cool night air and retired to the warmth of my sleeping bag. By 9:30 p.m. a light rain began to fall and the white noise of water hitting the tent mixed with distant calls of loons was quite a relaxing end to the day. We fired up the L.E.D. lights and studied the topo map for tomorrow's portion of trail and then I wrote in my journal until 11:00 p.m.

Final count for the day: One crane along the trail, a beaver in the lake, a single loon that flew over our campsite and a couple more somewhere out in the darkness on Hatchet Lake.

Miles Covered Today: 8.1
Total Trip Miles: 19.7

Day 3

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