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