Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Isle Royale October

Daisy Farm Trail
Isle Royale turned wilder and wilder as the month of October went on.  I returned to the mainland briefly to get Susanna and Jasper settled back in, then returned to a very quiet island.  Visitors were almost non-existent and we were down to just a skeleton crew of staff.  A handful of cold rainstorms hit with spectacular blue sky weather in between.  I got out on a number of long hikes and paddles and each time thought about the fact that I had a National Park all to myself! 
I began to hear the sound of rutting moose throughout the forest.  The big bulls were hanging around the cows and becoming irrational.  I saw one on the Greenstone one day and it looked at me and proceeded to trash a small sappling with its antlers.  I didn't stay long!  Another morning, I saw 7 moose before breakfast! 
On October 22, I cast off the lines of the very last Ranger III from Mott Island.  After that, it was just three of us on our Fall Patrol until the end of the month.  The island took on a whole new meaning of the word, "Wild!"  On October 30th, we saw a break in the weather and took the opportunity to zip back in the "Goshawk," our 27 foot patrol boat.  What a month!

Greenstone Ridge
Daisy Farm Trail

Ojibway tower

Cow and calf adjacent to Mott Island

A perfect paddling moment...

On the "Goshawk" in late October
We based out of Windigo at the end of the month

Late October sunset over Beaver Island, Washington Harbor

Isle Royale September

Lake Whittlesey

Backcountry Patrol at Wood Lake
 Blue sky and warm temps were common in September.  Summer hung on for a long time and we were even able to swim well in to the middle of the month.  I went around the Southern and parts of the Northern Canoe Loops for backcountry patrol as well as a parts of the Greenstone.  Abba and Abu came for a visit in early September and we had lots of fun boating, hiking and exploring together.  As a family, we went backpacking down to Threemile.  Jasper walked the whole way...although it took quite a bit of convincing at times!  I finished off the year with 29 scuba dives within the park, including several of the big ship wrecks.  By the end of the month, we were packed up and ready to take the Ranger III back to the mainland in early October.    
Boat ride with Abba!

Jasper on a walk with Abu and Abba

Abu near Rock Harbor Lighthouse

"Look at that!!"

Perfect calm on a day of backcountry canoe patrol!
Getting ready to start our bacpacking trip to Threemile!

Sunrise from Threemile Campground

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Isle Royale August

The fireweed began blooming in early August.  As the month progressed, the bloom rose higher and higher on the stalk, until hitting the very top.  In the last week of August, I noticed many of the fireweed had gone to seed, with no more blooms on the stalk.  This is the progression of late summer.  We often say that when the fireweed finishes it's bloom at the tip of the stalk and goes to seed, then summer is over. 

It has not felt like the end of summer yet, though.  Throughout most of August, the temperatures were hot and summer was in full swing.  We went swimming a lot, even lounging in the water at times.  Our friends Randy, Tracy and their kids Gabe and Owen came for a visit. 

Early in the month, Susanna got out on a 4 day, solo backpacking trip, covering a little over 40 miles.  During that time, Jasper and I went out on several long, day outings, exploring the local rocky shorelines and playing in the water.  Later in the month. in between wind storms, we got out on two different overnight canoe trips.  The first was to Daisy Farm and the second (in the very end of August) to Moskey Basin. 

I love this time of year.  The mosquitoes are gone, the colors are starting to change, the weather is still warm and sunny (good for swimming!), the grasshoppers are clicking away in the brown grasses on the ridges, the blueberries and thimbleberries are fantastic...
Susanna at the start of her solo backpacking trip:  Siskiwit Bay

The wild interior

That was a big one!

Sunrise at Threemile Campground

Jasper playing in the water at Daisy Farm

Sunrise at Daisy Farm

Exploring the cliffs and rocky formations on the outside of West Caribou Island

Jasper happy to play with his friends!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Isle Royale July

Mid summer came to Isle Royale with lots of calm waters with a mix of sunny and foggy skies.  The wildflowers came out in abundance.  Strawberries were blooming at the start of the month and blueberries and raspberries by the end of the month.  We had three sets of visitors:  Rori in early July, mom, dad and Mark in mid July, and Jack, Kelly and Evie in late July.  It was a lot of fun to show the island to our friends and family. 

In the end of July, gale force winds hammered the island, causing all boats to cancel for a day.  In addition, the Isle Royale Queen ran aground outside of Copper Harbor.  This all combined to make for a very busy Rock Harbor as everyone tried (unsuccessfully for quite some time) to get to or from the island.  It took over a week, but eventually life slipped back to normal. 
Foggy day for the Ranger III
Orange Hawkweek outside of Amygdaloid Ranger Station
Susanna, Jasper and Rori paddle off in to Tobin Harbor

Kayaking in Tobin Harbor
Wood Lilies on the trail up to Mt. Franklin

Excited to be on top of Isle Royale on Mt. Franklin!
Mark, Mom and Dad along Rock Harbor Channel
Happy Jasper playing with Grandma and Grandpa!
Lunch spot at Lookout Louise

Friday, July 24, 2015

Isle Royale June

Ever so slowly, summer arrived to Isle Royale during the month of June.  The leaves went from tiny to large and lush.  Temps gradually warmed and the insects started coming out.  We started slipping in to the backcountry more and more with two overnight canoe trips and many long day trips.  We saw moose in numerous places.  Jasper continues to love playing at the edge of the water, throwing rocks or watching the boats go by.  Life is simple and glorious!  Here are a few of our favorite photos from the month...
Jasper playing near Scoville Point

Tobin Harbor on a glass-calm day

Paddling out in to Tobin Harbor

More Tobin Harbor views
Calypso orchid

View from Mt. Franklin

Our little mountain climber with his trekking poles and everything!

Headnet in the backyard!

Time to go paddling!

Our canoe on a backcountry trip to Daisy Farm

We hear loons every day...
Early morning mist with loons outside of Daisy Farm
Sunset on Tobin Harbor