Isle Royale Travelog

Journal - Day 5

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Friday, August 17, 2001

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! It stopped raining around midnight and we woke to a clear blue sky. We had hoped to leave early enough that we might see some moose in the cove, but after drying what we could, grabbing a quick breakfast (cocoa, coffee and Power Bars) and packing up the tent, we hit the trail around 10:45. We met a couple near the rest room who were from Gurnee, IL. They were in their early 50's, staying on their sailboat which was anchored in the cove, and were going to tackle the Mt. Franklin Trail.
Lane Cove
A sunny Lane Cove
We all took off together but soon parted when they stopped to look at the cove and we kept on. It was beautifully sunny and warm. We hiked on, keeping an eye out for moose, but still no luck! Just prior to the Mt. Franklin climb we met a man from Bloomington, IN (with a New Orleans Saints sweatshirt on -- Ditka-fan?) He was very nice, out for a day hike from Lane Cove. He had a journal and a pen with him so it seemed he was out recording some of the grandeur. When we hit the base of Mt. Franklin, we knew we were in for a tough climb. On the way down yesterday, we kept reaching "bottom" only to find we had further down to go. I counted the ascents this time -- 6 total!! The second (coming back) was definitely the worst -- so steep!
view of lake from Mt. Franklin On the ascent, we stopped whenever we felt the need -- sometimes at the base, sometimes halfway through. I don't think it took us as long as either of us thought it would. At the top we gave each other congratulatory hugs and kisses. We did it!
We rested at the top, took off the pant-legs from our convertible pants and hydrated ourselves. Not long after, the couple from the sailboat joined us. Chatting with them, we learned they had sailed the boat up from the Chicago area, along Wisconsin's shore, along the southern shore of the Upper Peninsula, up the Saint Mary's River and on over to Houghton where they came over to Isle Royale!!! They took an early retirement and are now traveling around on their boat. When they head back, they're following Lake Superior's northern shore. What a life!!
After Mt. Franklin, we headed down to the Tobin Harbor trail. Going downhill is much harder than going up -- if your boots don't fit you perfectly, which ours didn't. But we were glad to be headed to the Lodge and that carried us. Heading across a clearing with many rocks, we met up with a couple whom we recognized -- Derek the Interpretive Ranger (not in uniform) and a girl (his girlfriend?) who had camped at Daisy Farm the same night we were there. They were going berry picking. He asked if we had seen any moose yet and we told him no, and he replied, "Just wait."
moss-covered tree stump
Moss-covered tree stump along the Tobin Harbor trail
We were SO happy when we reached the marker for the Tobin Harbor trail -- by then our feet were getting pretty tired and sore. The Tobin Harbor trail is 3.0 miles long, and we felt every step. At the head of the trail, we stopped so Mark could change the mole skin he was using to protect his blisters. I took a picture of a really beautiful tree stump that was covered with moss, and we also saw a downy woodpecker in an old pine tree, seeking an early lunch.
A couple parties passed us while we rested and everyone was very friendly. We started on the trail and were feeling pretty good but our feet started hurting about a mile along. We were still looking for moose with no luck. When we reached the marker for Suzy's cave, only 1.2 of the 3.0 miles, we were feeling very sore. Mark's blisters were hurting (beyond the general sore feet) and my left ankle had a sore spot that the boot kept rubbing. But soon to come, it was worth it.
Just up the trail from the Suzy's Cave trail one of the two groups that passed us on the trail was stopped and looking in the woods: at a bull moose! He was beautiful. About 100ft into the woods, he was stopped and just eating. He had good sized antlers. We took pictures but we don't know how well they will turn out because there were so many trees between us and him. He was so big though! a very hard-to-see moose
A very-hard-to-see moose in the woods
Ranger III docked at Rock Harbor
The Ranger III docked at Rock Harbor
We finally continued on and were close to hobbling when we reached Rock Harbor. We stopped in the gift store right across from the Ranger station and bought a couple Heath ice cream bars from the Concessionaire, then we sat down and rested our feet. After 10 minutes or so we went on to the Lodge. While waiting to check in we went in the smaller gift store by the lodge and bought a couple t-shirts to wear to dinner. We checked in, went to our room, and immediately took showers! What a great feeling -- to be clean!
After showering, we rested! Around 5 we started getting ready for dinner, then headed outside to wait in the sun. We were around the 5th table seated. It was an amazing meal: Cajun Trout (fresh from the Edisen Fishery), onion soup (for Mark), salad (for me), rolls, wild rice, steamed veggies (not to mention the veggie appetizer plate that came before the meal!) and blueberry cobbler for dessert. Oh, and don't forget the Leinenkugel's Northwoods Ale and Arcadia Angler's Ale! Well worth three days out for a dinner like that! We were sated, and happy. Rock Harbor lodge dining hall viewed from charter boat dock
A view of the Rock Harbor Lodge dining hall, from the charter boat dock.
We went to get our fleece pullovers, then we went for a little walk. We saw where the Rock Harbor employees' quarters are, and where (we think) the Harbor's generator is. Tomorrow morning we plan to walk to Smithwick Mine. We won't waste this last 24 hours!
M.V. Sandy on evening cruise
The M.V. Sandy heading out for an evening cruise
It started to rain when we were sitting on the charter boat dock after dinner so we went back to the room, set things out on the (covered) porch to dry and watched the waves. While we were sitting out on the porch, we saw one of the water taxis heading out of the harbor, likely taking people on a sunset cruise. What a good day it has been! We went to sleep about 9:30, after pulling our stuff in from the porch. Mark set his watch alarm for 6:30 so we wouldn't miss breakfast.
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Isle Royale Travelog
Conceived and developed by Alexandra Van Doren and Carol Whittaker
Photographs by Alexandra Van Doren
Text by Carol Whittaker and Alexandra Van Doren