Isle Royale, May 2007

Day 5

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Friday morning greeted us with bright sunshine, a strong breeze and a temperature around 45 degrees. After breakfast we packed up all our gear and left it inside the shelter so the only thing left to do was grab the backpacks and board Isle Royale Queen when it came time to leave. With the packing complete, we swept out the shelter and walked over to the Stoll Trail. The Stoll Trail is roughly a 3.8-mile trip out to Scoville Point and back. It splits into two branches near the Rock Harbor Lodge and then merges back into one trail about 0.6-mile from the end. We hiked the southern branch on the way out to the point. This part of the trail was rugged, traversed several rock outcroppings and ran parallel to the Lake Superior shoreline. When the trail came to an end we were left standing on the island's gray, rocky, vegetation-free point surrounded by water and great views all around. We could see several small islands and rocks jutting up out of the lake as well as two small cabins nearby. I later learned that the cabins used to be private residences but were now under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service and were used for the Artist-In-Residence Program at Isle Royale. The program provides an artist a place to live for a certain amount of time while they work on their specific type of art such as, painting, photography, drawing or poetry. In return the artist donates some of their work to the park for permanent display. This eastern-most point of the island was very rugged and rocky but had a beauty all its own. A small rock monument with a plaque stood all by itself at the point. The monument stands as a lasting tribute to the efforts made by Albert Stoll Jr to preserve Isle Royale as a National Park. It was rather windy out here but the bright sunshine made it feel very comfortable. We took a few photos and enjoyed the wide open vista before heading back to Rock Harbor.

We hiked the Tobin Harbor Trail on the way back which was quite a study in contrasts when compared to the trail that brought us out here. This trail was much more level and did not contain as many boulders and outcroppings. It was a nice trail with very scenic views of Tobin Harbor. On the way back we saw two loons diving for fish and swimming leisurely in the harbor. The entire round-trip hike only took two hours, including the time we spent at the point. When we arrived back at the shelter we sat on the rocks near the shore just on the other side of a small ridge behind our shelter. The sun was shining brightly, the water was a nice shade of blue and there was a cool breeze blowing through the harbor. It was a great way to finish off the trip!

At 1:45 p.m. we shouldered our packs and hiked over to the dock. I looked through a couple books in the shop and spoke with Ranger Karena Schmidt for a few minutes. Karena, like many of the other rangers I have talked to over the years, was a good person to listen to and had interesting things to talk about. Karena said there were 21 wolves and 385 moose on the island this year; the moose's numbers were down dramatically from the previous years.

Eventually, we noticed a flurry of activity at the end of the dock and realized that it was time to leave. We carried our gear over to the ship and climbed aboard. At 3:20 p.m. the ropes were removed and the Isle Royale Queen eased away from the dock and headed toward Lake Superior. The ride was a bit choppy for about the first hour but then settled down for the remainder of the trip. To pass the time we played a few hands of Euchre with the father and son we met on the island the first day and arrived at Copper Harbor at 7:15 p.m. As I stepped off the boat several great moments from this trip flashed through my mind and I was thankful for another great hiking trip at Isle Royale.

Final count for the day: A couple loons in Tobin Harbor and many nice sights.

Miles Covered Today: 4.6
Total Trip Miles: 39.0

This page last updated on 02-25-2016 @ 11:26 AM