ipl Isle Royale Travelog

Isle Royale Travelog

Journal – Day 3

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Wednesday, August 15, 2001

We never had dessert — in fact we went to sleep at 6:30!! Mark woke up around 9:30 and couldn’t get back to sleep again until midnight but I slept through until morning. Mark got up around 6:15 and I woke around 7 am. Through the night, Mark heard, not one, but two wolf howls. Lucky! We got up and had breakfast (oatmeal & coffee & cocoa) and then packed up and hit the trail. Goodbye Wintergreen House!*

*At the base of the trail to our shelter were 3 or 4 wintergreen plants.

Sunrise at Threemile Campnground
Sunrise at Threemile campground
A Common Merganser swimming near Threemile Campground
A "Common Merganser" swimming near the shore of Threemile campground
We hit the trail and took off for Daisy Farm, 4.2 miles away. We were the first on the trail from Threemile. It was beautiful. Overcast, and about 60 degrees when we left. Before I get too far from camp though, we did see a little wildlife before we left. I was down by the water when I heard and saw a duck flying toward me. I got a shot of it just as it landed in the water only 10 feet from me. It had a long skinny beak and a small crest on top of its head; a little research on the Internet back home found that it was a common merganser. Later Mark saw three ducks with red heads by the Threemile dock. Finally, I saw a muskrat swim under the dock when I was sitting enjoying the view. (Not to mention the loons we heard and saw as we walked.)
Back to the trail — it was much easier than yesterday’s trail: lots of tree roots and rocks but a little less rugged. The trail ran along the water most of the way, dipping inland 3-4 times total.Hiking on Daisy Farm Trail
Negotiating the rocky Daisy Farm Trail
We saw moose tracks, some moose poop and some wolf poop (looked just like any other dog’s poop, but more organic.) We passed maybe 8 people coming from the opposite direction. It was overcast for much of our hike, but only sprinkled a short while; it didn’t start to rain until we got to Daisy Farm.
A shaft at Siskiwit Mine
One of the shafts at Siskiwit Mine
About 2/5 of the way to Daisy Farm from Threemile is an old abandoned copper mine named "Siskiwit Mine." It’s well marked, and has log-railings to prevent someone from actually entering the old mine shafts. When we saw the mine, it was filled up with water and old leaves and branches. It’s amazing to think that people have been coming to this island for thousands of years to mine copper!!!
We saw a number of boats on our hike to Daisy Farm; as we passed by the National Park Headquarters (across the harbor, on Mott Island) we saw the enormous Ranger III docked there, most likely dropping off supplies to the headquarters.The Ranger III, docked at the National Park headquarters om Mott Island
The Ranger III, from Houghton, MI, docked at the National Park Headquarters on Mott Island
Fishermen in Rock Harbor
Fisherman out trolling in Rock Harbor
A little farther down the trail, closer to the Rock Harbor Lighthouse, we saw a small fishing boat out trolling.
We haven’t seen a moose yet, but we’re keeping our eyes open. So far the hiking’s been good. We’ve got our packs to where they’re comfortable, and our boots are getting worn in. We stopped about halfway down the trail to take a rest and have a snack. While we rested, right by the shore, one of the other boats that bring people to the island (the Voyager II from Grand Portage, MN) passed by and people waved at us from the boat.Taking a snack break on the trail
Grabbing a snack along the trail
Lake house at Daisy Farm
Our "Lake House" at Daisy Farm
When we reached Daisy Farm, around 11:30am, we got another shelter, 50 feet from the lake — we dubbed it "Lake House" — and close to the pit toilets, too. It was raining off and on so it was nice to have the shelter and not worry about having to dry our stuff the next day. We had some lunch (Mountainhouse Hearty Beef Stew — very good) and then took a nap (something about all that fresh air!!)
After our nap, we took a little walk around the campground to see what was there. Daisy Farm, like Threemile, has a dock which boats can hook up to, and also from which the island’s water taxi service will pick up and drop off people. The campground is one of the larger and busier ones on the island and has a good number of shelters and many tent sites. During the summer, there is also a Park Ranger who lives at Daisy Farm, in his/her own cabin just a bit down the trail from the campground. The Daisy Farm Ranger presents programs on Wednesday and Saturday evenings for all those who wish to attend.Water taxi at Daisy Farm dock
The M.V. Sandy water taxi at the Daisy Farm dock
Bulletin board at Daisy Farm
The bulletin board at Daisy Farm
We learned from the bulletin board close to the dock that in fact the Daisy Farm Ranger had just left for the season, and were disappointed since we were staying there on a Wednesday night. We also learned from the bulletin board that Daisy Farm has a "camp fox" named Ransom who likes to steal anything that is left out by campers, including food, clothes, boots, binoculars, etc. Every once and a while the rangers come across a stash of human gear out in the woods and they know they have found some of Ransom’s treasure!
In the afternoon we tried to decide what to do the next day. We were contemplating two options: continuing on with our original itinerary by going on to Lane Cove on the north side of the island, or heading back to Rock Harbor to take advantage of the rental canoes and other tours one could take from the Harbor. While thinking it over, we took a day hike out from Daisy Farm up toward the Greenstone Ridge. It was still raining off and on, but it was not cold, and it was so quiet out in the rain in the woods that we didn’t mind getting a little damp.
waterfall A small waterfall we saw on our day hike up to the Greenstone Ridge.
One of the boardwalks that you frequently find on the trail; most don’t have railings, but this one was over a fairly deep gorge.Boardwalk over a gorge
When we got back to camp, we found out that in fact there was going to be a Ranger program that night. While the Daisy Farm Ranger was gone for the season, they were sending one of their summer interns over to provide the program! So that evening, we went down to the beach and attended (Interpretive) Ranger Derek’s program on Lichen. It was very interesting, and we learned much more than lichen facts; we found out that the berry-filled poo we had seen on the trail belonged to a fox. And that there’s a library on Mott Island. What a cool summer job, to work on the island!
We had Oriental Chicken & Chicken Teriyaki for dinner, with Raspberry Crumble for dessert. Yummy! We thought about moving from our shelter to a tent site (to get away from the loud group of college guys in the shelter-site next to ours) but stayed put. We were very glad later that night when it started raining around midnight.
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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