I’ve been absent for the past week because I was in the UP (upper peninsula) of Michigan with my friend Jim. Although we visited several places, the focus was on a four-day trip to Isle Royale National Park.
Isle Royale attracted us for a number of reasons. It’s one of the least-visited national parks because it’s so remote. Since it’s in the middle of infamous Lake Superior it’s accessible only by ferry, seaplane, or private boat. Even then, the volatile weather and unpredictable lake conditions can make getting there a challenge.
Once on the roughly 45 by 9 mile island the only modes of transport are by foot or by small boat. In order to preserve the pristine northwoods wilderness, no wheeled vehicles are allowed. 160 miles of rugged backpacking trails cross the island, linking primitive and isolated campgrounds often 5-10 miles apart. A handful of kayak/canoe campgrounds also dot the shores. Traveling the island requires a certain level of planning, fitness, self-reliance, and motivation. I found the challenge appealing.
In addition to the solid blanket of trees and other plants, wildlife abound there. Beaver, red squirrels, snowshoe hares, loons, ducks, geese, swans, and many other animals are present. Unlike the rest of the UP, no black bears or whitetail deer live there. Perhaps the best-known residents are the well-studied wolves and moose. The wolf population was at nine individuals when we visited, so we had no expectation of seeing any. I read there were about 400 moose, however, and we did our best to see one of those giant beasts.
This was by far the longest amount of time I’ve spent at a single national park. For that reason I decided to break this down day-by-day.
Continued with Isle Royale National Park: Day 1