2015 Trip 3, Isle Royale National Park, June 23
Me and my big mouth. We were hiking to Scoville Point, a five mile out and back loop. The southern loop of the trail had quite a few areas where yesterday’s rain had not yet disappeared from the trail, making us frequently walking around the water or carefully stepping on rocks. On the way back, we took the northern loop and I commented to Chris that this trail was drier then the southern one. Five minutes later, at one of the few boggy areas on the northern loop, I stepped off the trail into water deep enough to go over the tops and inside the shoe. The ground was mucky and the shoe almost came off. A shout out to Chris who helped me gain my balance without me getting completely wet. My second pair of shoes is in the trunk of the car-remember the ferry boat limitation on weight? The second pair probably weighs 10 pounds and I was saving them for North Shore hikes. Well, it is a sunny day and maybe the inside of the shoes will dry out.
But my attitude is still good. The day began early watching the skies clearing and the morning light starting to fill our room. The room faces north so we do not have a direct sunrise or sunset view. The clouds were still moving eastward as dawn came, so I did not see any sunrise colors.
The fancier restaurant only serves breakfast from 7 AM to 8:30 at the moment (their busy time is after July 4th, particularly August). We debated whether to go there or to the grill where we ate yesterday. We ran into the Edina couple going into the grill and we all agreed on the fancier dining room. This is a relative term, the atmosphere is not much different; but the menu options are more basic at the grill.
Once again the food was tasty. Our server was from Kentucky. It seems there are several friends from Kentucky working here this summer. We were the last ones out of the dining area, they had to flick the lights a few times before we got the hint to stop gabbing and get out enjoying the day.
And it is a beautiful day. Sunny sky, temps in the 60s it seems. Hard to tell with no Internet or cell coverage to check.
The trail to Scoville Point includes woods and some rocky shoreline. The trail is rocky and wet, as noted above, so the hike took us about three hours with a few stops. The mosquitoes are out in force, black flies not apparent. We tried the environmentally appropriate bug spray today. The mosquitoes loved it. There was one on my hand taking some blood less than three minutes after I sprayed the hand with the eco bug spray. Tomorrow is going to be a DEET bug spray day. We did have on long pants and long-sleeved shirts with a jacketed hood so the bugs only had limited skin area to attack. Chris, however, had her Isotoner gloves on and avoided bites there. My gloves were more for cold weather and were back at the cabin.
The views are great. Lake Superior is very clear and the blue water and blue sky made for great scenery with the rocky cliffs and green trees. There are numerous small islands off shore from Isle Royale so the view is not just endless water. We passed one old copper mine. Copper was mined here by Native Americans and traded all through the Northeast. European settlers began mining copper here in the mid-1800s and ended around 1900. It was never really profitable but resulted in the cutting of timber and establishment of some small, and brief, towns.
Fishing was successful for a much longer period of time. Commercial fishing had pretty much ended by the mid-1900s. Individual fishing still continues. Lake Superior whitefish is still a popular menu item. Resort use began in the early 1900s but the mass use of the auto diverted people away from boat trips to auto trips. In the 1920s there was initial discussion about making Isle Royale a national park, advocated heavily by Detroit newspapers. It was approved in the 1930s and the Civilian Conservation Corps made improvements here during the depression. It took until 1940 before all of the land transfers to the NPS occurred and the park was official.
We returned to our cabin around 1:30 PM and rested up. I worked on getting my shoes dry and clean; by 4:30 they were good enough to wear again. Thankfully the sun was out. So were the loons along with their unmistakable call.
Dinner was back at the grill where we reversed our orders from last night. We thought about taking a boat trip which would take us to a neighboring island where we could walk through more bogs and then watching the sunset from the boat. But the temperature was dropping, winds picking up, and cloud cover moving in. We chose to go back to the cabin and read while watching the skies.
Over the next two to three hours we had: a brief but intense wind and rain squall; dark clouds with no wind or rain; a sunny period with rain; dark clouds with drizzle; and a good downpour. Quite changeable weather.
Ed and Chris June 26