Continued from Isle Royale National Park: Day 2
Sunday morning was gloomy and rainy as we headed east from the Daisy Farm campground. We had spent the previous two days hiking in relatively good weather, and the heavy rain was somewhat disheartening.
The eastern stretch of the Rock Harbor Trail was a bit treacherous in the foul weather. Tons of slick rock surfaces, tree branches, and water-polished stones littered the trail, providing ample opportunities to sprain an ankle or slip and fall. Water collected in countless deep pools, threatening to soak our feet or trip us up with unseen obstacles.
Despite the challenging trail and unpleasant weather, we were treated to a short visit with a snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus, Leporidae) in its brown summer coat. We had seen several of these before this point, but this particular one was more relaxed in our presence and allowed me to take a picture.
After several miles along the Rock Harbor Trail, we crossed over to the roughly parallel and much smoother Tobin Harbor Trail.
By this point the rain had stopped, and the easier trail allowed us to enjoy the scenery more.
Along the way a number of common mergansers (Mergus merganser, Anatidae) swam along the harbor shore:
After covering eight rough and rainy miles in four hours, we were beat by the time we reached Rock Harbor. We dropped our packs in a wooden shelter, ate, and rested for a while. Before long, however, we were eager to get back out and see more. We decided to hike out to Scoville Point, about two miles east of Rock Harbor.
The bare rock was drying off in the wind, making the trek to this scenic point a little easier. The waves from Lake Superior battered the rocky coast here, creating a dramatic scene that made the hike worthwhile.
Here there’s also a memorial to Albert Stoll, Jr., the person most responsible for getting the Isle Royale wilderness preserved as a national park:
The return hike back west presented more great views:
By the time we returned to Rock Harbor we had completed almost twelve miles that day. Despite that cold wind off of Superior, that night I slept like a rock. The following day we would be heading back to civilization, but as with the trip out here the weather would again interfere.
Day 3 Summary:
1) Daisy Farm to the Mount Franklin Trail via the Rock Harbor Trail (4.2 miles, minimal elevation change)
2) Rock Harbor Trail to Tobin Harbor Trail via Mount Franklin Trail (0.5 miles, modest elevation change)
3) Mount Franklin Trail to Rock Harbor via the Tobin Harbor Trail (3 miles, modest elevation change)
4) Camp at Rock Harbor
5) Hike to Scoville Point (4.2 miles, modest elevation change)
Total: 11.9 miles, modest elevation change
Continued with Isle Royale National Park: Day 4/Epilogue