Saturday, May 22, 2010

Isle Royale - Week Two (Part II)

*Note: If you have not read the first two Isle Royale posts, please skip down two to "Isle Royale- Week One."

Day thirteen: Caribou Island to Lookout Louise - 8 miles. Up again early on a bright sunny day. Instead of heading back West to the Ojibway tower, we all went East to Rock Harbor, where the Queen IV docks. It was so nice paddling there when we knew we didn't have to meet the Queen right away to go home.

That day was so beautiful, we paddled with no sleeves! Rachel and I even parked at Three Mile beach for a suntan. Ahhhhhh, no bugs. Then the boys finally met us at Rock Harbor. We filtered water and each packed a night bag for Lookout Louise.

We only had to paddle across Tobin Harbor for half a mile. Our big, strong boys agreed to let us girls sit in the middle of their canoe with the backpacks while they paddled through the glassy harbor. We pulled up at Hidden Lake -- a lake I sure would have never found! They say that's a sure place to see moose, but since bad moose charm Amanda was along, we saw none. None the whole trip, in fact... I didn't just forget to tell you about about them.

Rachel and I then paddled the empty canoe back to Rock Harbor to retrieve the spices for our last dinner on the island. They boys laughed as they watched us zig and zag. We were not good at steering at all, but at least we had a great time!

Rachel made us spaghetti on the bridge, our most unique dining spot of the trip. Then we headed up to Lookout Louise. That was the most awesome trail I saw on the whole trip. Rock faces and bulges surrounded us and lead the way. We even passed Monument Rock, which Rachel thought looked like a castle.

And the view at the top wasn't bad either! We looked over Canada and the five fingers of the north side of Isle Royale (see below) just as the sun began to set. What a place for our last night! We even got to watch the skyline of Canada slowly light up as the sky darkened. We all found a spot to lay on by the cliff, threw down our sleeping bags and slept under the stars during what must have been the warmest night we had.
Day fourteen: Lookout Louise to Rock Harbor - 2 miles. Rachel woke me up as pink stretched across the sky. We caught it shimmering above the lake, but I wanted to see Mr. Sun's bright face, so I trekked back south to where I thought I would get a view by the top of Monument Rock. Watching that bright ball of love shine through the trees was worth the hike. So beautiful and quiet!

By the time I got back to Louise, the rest of the crew said they were getting ready to head back down. But Craig and I went for one last adventure West part way down the trail toward Mount Franklin. We found some bilberry bushes and watched a rabbit. So sweet. Then continued on down the magnificent trail of boulders.
We all met back up at the bridge, and the boys paddled us back to Rock Harbor on another calm day. We had hours to spend there since we left so early. Rachel and I traversed the rocky shore and the boys fished. When the Queen pulled into the Harbor, Rachel and I did the Cancan for the boat like we do at the Harbor Haus. We only earned a couple funny looks.

There is something to be said about coming off that island with friends from home coming to get us. The captain and some other Harborites came over and asked about our journey. It definitely eased me into the trip back home.

On that final day I thought I was at peace with leaving Isle Royale, but as the ship left the dock, I missed it instantly. I still do. I know we are going back next year with a new route in mind.

And one thing I'm grateful for (among millions) is that I have a new appreciation and sense of wonder for Copper Harbor. There are so many places here I have not yet explored. Remembering my enthusiasm for each spot on the island I was eager to visit, I will keep my list handy for all the places right around me that I need to see. Hopefully I will get to tell you about them soon!

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