Thursday, May 28, 2015

Isle Royale in April

On April 21, I boarded the Ranger III for the first run of the year to Isle Royale.  What we found when we arrived was much closer to winter than spring.  Steady snow and below freezing temps were the norm for the first several days.  Slowly, the temps began to rise and the sun began to shine steadily with brilliant blue sky.  Thick ice covered most of the smaller bays and inlets.  This kept me from getting any boat in the water until the second week I was on the island. 

Finally, the ice began to break up and I was able to boat to Rock Harbor.  This involved weaving around ice flows and breaking through thin layers of ice, which had formed over night. 

The island felt extremely wild.  There were only a handful of us in this huge wilderness.  I saw moose, bald eagles, loons, and an otter.  I heard sandhill cranes and spring peepers.  It was a glorious time...spring in the Northwoods!

Thick snow fell much of the first several days after my arrival on April 21

Cold, but clearing up

Ranger III made it to the edge of the ice at Mott Island

My cabin on Mott Island, nestled next to Rock Harbor Channel

Crystal clear morning with pan ice across to the main island...I watched an otter cross the ice this morning!

The ice is slowly breaking up!

The outer coast

Kayaking on a calm evening along Mott Island

Sunset of April

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Life on the PCT from Tehachapi Pass to Kennedy Meadows

In late March, my brother John and I set out on an 8 day, 140 mile backpacking trip on the Pacific Crest Trail from Tehachapi Pass to Kennedy Meadows in California.  This was the last big adventure of our 7 and a half week adventure (see previous blog posts).  The terrain was more mountainous than I had imagined.  Every day, we had piercing blue times strong winds, cold temps and at times hot weather with blistering sunshine.  It was an utterly incredible 8 days as we journeyed through 5 designated wilderness areas in the lowest reaches of the mighty Sierras. 
Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

The California desert and North along the pacific coast

After our time in Las Vegas, we headed in to the great state of California.  First, we entered the wilds of Mojave National Preserve, where we found forgotten gravel roads and quiet camping.  Then, we journeyed to the Pacific, where we visited friends, camped and traveled north along US 1 all the way to McKinleyville and Redwood NP...our old stomping grounds!  After lots of fantastic visits with many friends, we journeyed back to Las Vegas before starting the next leg of our 7 1/2 week adventure!
Joshua Trees and rugged mountains in Mojave NP

Hole in the Wall, Mojave NP

Camping in Mojave NP
San Simeon State Park - along the California Coast
Julia Pfeiffer State Park

California Sea Lions at Pt. Lobos State Reserve

Roosevelt Elk in Redwood NP

Classic scene in Redwood NP

Hiatus in Las Vegas

In the midst of our 7 1/2 week adventure, we landed in Las Vegas with Susanna's parents.  It was a time of much needed recuperation, as well as wonderful company and fun adventures of zip lining, go cart racing, hiking in the surrounding desert and visiting the famous Las Vegas Strip.   
Happy times with Aba and Abu!

In the midst of a 12 mile hike at Red Rock Canyon NCA

Sunrise on the Spring Mountains to the West of Susanna's parents house

Lena and I just after our zip line adventure in Bootleg Canyon

Jasper loves his Auntie Lena!

Nighttime on the Vegas Strip

All smiles!  :)

A stare-down contest with Abu!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Seven weeks of adventure from Michigan to California and back!

Sunset in the Sonoran Desert near Tucson, AZ
 From mid February to early April, 2015, we put on over 9,000 miles on the prius, traveling in 16 states from Michigan to California and back.  We concentrated much of our time in the Desert SW, camping and spending lots of time with family and friends.  We based ourselves in Las Vegas with Susanna's parents for two different week to 10 day segments.  When we made it to California, we drove up the coast to the Northern part of the state, where we visited the Redwood Coast and our old stomping grounds.  To top of the 7 and a half weeks of adventure, my brother joined me for a 140 mile backpacking trip on the Pacific Crest Trail from Tehachapi Pass to Kennedy Meadows in Southern California.  It was an absolute amazing adventure...thank you to all our wonderful family and friends who hosted us along the way!  Here are some of the highlights of the first leg of the trip (from Northern Michigan to Las Vegas, NV)...
Jasper was enthralled by Entertrainment Junction, Cincinnati, OH
Pulling out the map on a hike at Chickasaw NRA, OK
Carlsbad Caverns NP, NM
Guadalupe Mountain NP, TX

White Sands NM, NM

Camping at the border of Coronado NF, AZ

Chiricahua NM, AZ

Sonoran Desert near Tucson, AZ

Saguaro NP, AZ

Sabino Canyon, AZ

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Winter in the Keweenaw

Spending a winter in the Keweenaw Peninsula of Upper Michigan is a dream-like experience!  Snowfalls for the winter of 2014/2015 hit 245 inches.  It was an absolute winter wonderland!  Along with shoveling pretty much every day, we went skiing or snowshoeing every day.  Jasper loved to be outside and often "helped" with the shoveling!    Here are some of the highlights...

Jasper "helping" with the shoveling!
Deep snow in our back yard

Blizzard conditions on our road in Hancock
Late afternoon of a winter ski outing

View from the upstairs of our house

Inner canyon of Maasto Hiihto ski trails

All smiles on a ski outing!

Snowshoeing south of Houghton near Misery Bay