Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Isle Royale National Park

Our day starts at 4:50 AM in order to get ready & leave for the 75 mile drive to Copper Harbor to sail on the Isle Royale Queen IV. This national park is accessible only by boat or seaplane & is challenging to visit to say the least! More people visit Yellowstone in one day than visit Isle Royale all year!

Once there, you either walk or boat, no wheels of any kind are allowed. Most people backpack in for a week or two. It’s a long ways to go, so once there most people stay & enjoy the visit. I was surprised by the number of people visiting for the second & third time. Aside from birds, the prominent wildlife are moose & wolves.

Our boat awaits us

Our boat ride takes 3¼ hours. Leaving promptly at 8:00 AM we arrive at Isle Royale National Park at 11:15 or so. I think it’s a pretty smooth ride, but some passengers need to stay on the bow.

Eye catching poster available in the gift shop

Inside the ticket-gift shop, I find several eye catching posters. There is no room in Popeye for posters, so I take a picture of the one I like the best.

The anxious crowd waiting to sail

People come & the attendants earn their keep getting traffic started. Only a few cars stay for the day as we do; most stay for a week, and some stay for two. This makes parking cars in a certain order imperative.

We make a wake

Soon we are off, and Bob takes a great picture or our wake.

The beauty of Copper Harbor

I think the light is perfect as we leave Copper Harbor. It is a pretty time of day.

Land ho!

It’s a long time before we sight land. This is the first picture I get as we near the national park.

A park Ranger reads us the rules

As we come ashore, a park ranger greets us, separating people who are staying just for a day or one night in the hotel. People who are backpacking are issued permits. The rest are shown the way to the only accommodations on the island.

Views along the shore

The only facility available on Isle Royale

Prior to starting our hike, we grab a quick & very expensive lunch at the only dining room. I hear one backpacker say his food bag alone weighs 35 lbs!

Bob finds the trail

After a lunch of melon & fish (few choices are available & apparently there are no veggies) we embark on our 2 mile hike. Bob finds a good sign showing the way.

New friends, Jake & Frank

The boat was filled & we shared a table with this grandfather-grandson team who are on the great circle tour of Lake Superior. This was a very special stop for them on their week long journey. They were able to stay for 1 night.

The following photos show a few kayakers out in the bay & Bob & I hiking the trails. Wish we had more time.

This looks like fun!

Honey on the hiking trail

Bob checking the sign post for the way back

Honey stops to enjoy the view

All too soon, we have to depart at 2:45 PM. This photo shows the lighthouse as we return to Copper Harbor.

The lighthouse returning to Copper Harbor

After our return, we take the scenic ridge at the top of the mountain to get a bird’s eye view of Copper Harbor.

View from the ridge

On the way home, we stop at Eagle Harbor as we are told they have a really great light house. You can judge for yourself!

Eagle Harbor Lighthouse

Coming next: The Agawa Canyon tour train on the Algoma Railway, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, CA.

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