Wednesday, September 17, 2014

September on Isle Royale

Sunset reflection on Duncan Bay (click on photo for larger image)
September is an exciting month on Isle Royale.  Fall colors start to appear, the visitors start to become scarce, the weather begins to get wild, there is a crispness in the air, the moose are in the rut, the wolves are roaming far and wide... 

We were able to get out on a 3-day canoe trip in early September.  We portaged over the Greenstone Ridge and spent the first night at Duncan Bay.  The second night was spent at Belle Isle.  The weather was quite warm and sunny for a couple of the days and cool and windy for the other.  We found blueberries by the fist-full on one of the outer islands. 

Soon after our return, a massive storm from the arctic descended onto the island.  Winds topped 40 mph and waves in the open lake were 14-17 feet!  Since this storm, temps have struggled to make it to 50. 

The stars have been out of this world.  One night, we saw a green band of light hovering in the northern sky.  Northern Lights!  Another night, we listened to moose in the rut calling just across the harbor.

Our time here is limited and we are making the most of every day.  On September 19, we will make the journey back to the mainland and gear up for the next adventure...
A canoe on the Greenstone Ridge?  Yes, we are half way through a crazy portage...which is even crazier with a 2 year old!

Portage from Duncan Bay to Five Finger Bay

View from Belle Isle

Jasper and his friend, the frog!

One of the outer islands
Isle Royale Lighthouse - Menagerie Island

Greenstone Ridge

Late afternoon light

On the way up to the Ojibway Tower

Ojibway Tower

Sunset along Tobin Harbor


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

August on Isle Royale

Moskey Basin on a warm, summer day
 With August, came lots of beautiful, sunny weather and warm temps.  We even went swimming a few times...although we weren't in the water long!  There were lots of medicals and several search and rescues.  For one, a US Coast Guard helicopter came in to transport an injured hiker to the mainland. 

We had a wonderful visit from our friends Laurie and Loren from California.  While they were here, we got out on a number of excellent hikes and also boated all over Rock Harbor channel, exploring the lighthouse, Edison Fishery and the moose/wolf researcher's cabin. 

We got out on several overnight canoe trips and Susanna did a two night, solo backpacking trip in to the interior of the island.  This was the first time she was away from Jasper for a night!  It worked out well for both!  We canoed around Blake Point in total calm one evening (while camped at Merritt Lane).  It was wild to be canoeing in this area known for it's extremely wavy conditions.  The loons were very active and sandhill cranes often called from the ridgeline across Tobin Harbor.   
Jasper exploring the wild and rugged shoreline of Lake Superior

Rock Harbor Lighthouse

Ranger and Jr. Ranger!

Rescue of an injured hiker

Moonset and morning light along Tobin Harbor and the distant Greenstone Ridge

Our California connection!  Laurie and Loren come for a visit!

A happy day along a wild shoreline near Rock Harbor

Canoe trip near Merritt Lane

Early morning light from Merritt Lane Campground
Morning mist on Hatchett Lake on Susanna's solo backpacking trip
Jasper exploring near Scoville Point

Late August sunset from Tobin Harbor

Monday, September 15, 2014

July on Isle Royale

Ranger III at Rock Harbor
 We made it out to the island on July 4.  We were SO excited to move in to our new home and have an island wilderness out our front and back doors!  There are 165 miles of trails on the island as well as countless water routes for canoeing and kayaking. 

Here we are in Rock Harbor...our new home!
The beginning of our time was very stormy and foggy.  We spent a bunch of days hiking in the local vicinity and then warming and drying up in our cozy home.  Gradually, the weather improved and we began to journey in to the backcountry, mostly by canoe.  Jasper seemed to take to canoeing quite quickly.  He loves boats, throwing rocks in the water and looking for bugs...he's in the right place!

We ended up doing two backcountry canoe trips during July, both in Rock Harbor channel.  The first was to Threemile Campground and the second to Daisy Farm Campground.  On a different weekend, we were dropped off at Daisy Farm and then did dayhikes from there. 

The wildflowers were spectacular and the berries were coming on by the end of the month.  Every day in the month of July had an adventure and we lived up every moment!

A foggy start to our time on the Island
A spectacular day on the Stoll Trail
Orange Hawkweed

Jasper leading the way in our canoe
Rock Harbor Ranger Station

This moose was right outside our house!

Three-sided shelter at Daisy Farm, our first backcountry experience on the Island this summer

Wow!!  What a day for paddling!

Our canoeing set-up with Jasper in the bow in front of Susanna and all our gear in the middle

Loon in front of Middle Islands Passage

Canoeing near Daisy Farm

Sunset on Tobin Harbor

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Life in Northern Michigan...

Looking North from on a lonely beach along Misery Bay, Lake Superior
 We spent from June 29 to July 4 in the Keweenaw Peninsula.  Most of that time was spent frantically going about getting ready for the remainder of the summer on Isle Royale...but we did have time for some fun too!  We spent the first two nights with our friends Don and Gene at their beautiful place on the shore of Lake Superior at Misery Bay.  We waded in to the cold water and enjoyed the cumulous clouds that rushed on by.  One of the evenings there was a rather dramatic thunderstorm over the water.  The sunsets were out of this world.  It was a wonderful welcome back to the North.
Looking South from a lonely beach along Misery Bay, Lake Superior

Sunset from the cottage

Don and Gene's lovely cottage at the edge of Lake Superior

Thunderstorm to the North!

From Colorado to the North Woods of Michigan

 Our long journey to the North Woods of Michigan began again after our week of relaxation in Colorado with the family.  We continued east on June 27th, leaving the glorious mountains of Colorado and driving out on to the plains.  Our route took us in to Nebraska and up to Valentine (Northern Nebraska) on the first leg.  That evening, a powerful thunderstorm rocked our hotel with hail, strong wind and wicked bolts of lightning.  Jasper happily slept right through it.  We happily watched from the safety of our hotel room on the third floor. 

We continued on in to South Dakota, which was surprisingly beautiful.  Small, yellow flowers covered the grassy hills.  Round hay bales dotted the landscape.  Everything seemed alive and well.  We crossed the Missouri River and continued on through eastern South Dakota and in to Minnesota.  We angled up through beautiful farm fields and scattered forests and rivers to the tiny town of Milaca, where we spent the night. 

On the last day of our journey, we crossed the border in to Wisconsin.  We stopped at the St. Croix River for Jasper to throw rocks.  Hello, mosquitoes!  We met up with friend Rori for lunch in Minong and then continued through the forests of Northern Wisconsin.  Finally, we crossed the border in to the state of Michigan!  By evening, we had made it to our friends house on the shore of mighty Lake Superior.  Yes, Michigan!!
Thunderclouds building over Northern Nebraska

Round hay bales in South Dakota

Missouri River, South Dakota

Southeast Minnesota

St. Croix River, Wisconsin

Jasper and Rori

Welcome to Michigan!!