My 2017 trip to Isle Royale National Park

Discussion in 'Backpacking' started by Zac Swank, Mar 9, 2018.

  1. Zac Swank

    Zac Swank Tracker

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    Just after the 4th of July of 2017 I went to Isle Royale National Park. I took an inner city group of kids out of Kalamazoo, MI. I was Hired on by the nature center in Kalamazoo to run this trip. It was a great group of kids that I took up. None of them had ever had a Pastie before. Which shocked me as being from Michigan that they had never had one or even heard of them. So I took them to get one a Pastie while at Tahquamenon Fall. If you ever look them up make sure to look up Pastie food, or google will show you some NSFW photos haha. We got to our camp ground in Handcock, MI and it was a horrible place. Just go to the State Park up the road from it. It's a lot cheaper. The next morning we took the ferry boat from Houghton, MI to Isle Royale. It's about a 5 hour trip and it takes you to Rock Harbor, the northern part of the island. It's absolutely beautiful! If you want to take a ferry to the southern part you need to leave from Wisconsin. Our first day we hiked a couple of miles to the Daisy Farm camp ground. A bunch of nice wooden shelters had been built by the park service. It even had a mest netting to keep the mosquitoes and animals out. The only down side is that it was raining. It didn't stop raining for 3 days...it was horrible. Everything was soaked, the kids were soaked, EVERYTHING was wet. The last full day is when it stopped raining enough for us to dry out our gear. But it still wasn't enough to dry out everything. We even brought gear with us to keep things dry and it wasn't enough. The point where we got wet was at Chicken Bone East group site. It's in a slight bowl that you can't notice until it fills with water. So, there I was, in my underwear, digging a trench to get the water out of tents and off our gear. Even the tarp I put up wasn't enough to stop everything from getting soaked. The last full day on the Island was nice and warm. I went down to Lake Superior and took a nice bath to clean up and clean my clothes as well. I don't care if the kids smelled funny, but I wasn't going to smell weird. Pro tip: the washer and dryer at the docks cost a lot of money! The trails along the lake shore are usually mud. You don't have much of a chance to see a Moose. The lake shore campsites have shelters! The inland camp sites to not. And only a few sites have fire pits. Make sure that the water sources are worthy of filtering water. Some of them are not worthy of filtering or even boiling. So check with the park service. Water purifying tablets are a waste of time, just get a good filter. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!
     
  2. mjh

    mjh Supporter Supporter

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    Isle Royal is remote....not easy to get to....great that you took some kids there!


    Went there dang almost 30 years ago now.....did loops around the southern end....fox were plentiful.....lots of moose alive and dead....the live ones you watched out for even thought they were having a hard time at the end of winter....we went in May which is early season there.....the dead moose....well you smelled from afar when the wind was right......or eventually when you got close enough.....a friend went a year or two before us at moose peak...3000+- moose.....we went I think the numbers were around 1500+-


    good times.....another place I need to get back to.......we went out of MN....
     
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  3. RavenLoon

    RavenLoon axology student Supporter

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    It sounds like you have some long-lasting memories. Isle Royale is the least visited of the national parks since it is so remote. I spent a summer there assisting in some research on moose. I saw quite a few of those but I never saw a wolf there all summer. I drank water straight from Lake Superior unfiltered all summer with no ill effects. Some of those inland lakes there have the largest leeches I've ever seen.
     
  4. Primordial

    Primordial MOA #40 Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Pasties go on your nipples, a pasty is what us Yoopers eat ;)

    Sounds like you had an awesome time! I spent a week on Isle Royale back in 2008. There were still wolves then.

    I ran out of water at Chicken Bone too....that hole had enough sludge for me to fill a bottle though. Some places had toxic algae blooms and chicken bone was one of those places that they said might have toxic water.

    Sounds like a good experience. Those hardships make such trips all the better in hind sight!

    Not a lot people go to that mysterious island. I'm glad you did and took some others along for the hike.

    Thanks for sharing.
     
  5. zelph

    zelph Guide Vendor

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    The copper mine history is awesome. Isle Royale is on my bucket list. Thanks for sharing your wet experience. :)
     
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  6. scottmm2012

    scottmm2012 Supporter Supporter

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    Ah, I hope the kids didn't go away with a "muddied" experience. Our daughter wanted to got on an "Explorer" trip, back-packing and camping and it rained every day they were there until we picked her up. She had a miserable time and she is still reeling from it. I'm slowly getting her interested back into the outdoors but if a rain cloud appears, we're back to square one. She told me she cried herself to sleep on the third night, it made me feel so bad for her and I was very upset with the college aged guides. But what could they have done, really? I told her it can only go uphill from that experience.
     
  7. mugsy

    mugsy Guide

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    hopefully before i kick off i will make it their myself
     
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  8. Zac Swank

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    Chicken bone is filterable in the spring/summer. Once fall hits the bloom is to great to be able to filter. There are currently 2 wolves on the island but they are related so heavily that when the reproduced the pup was heavily mutated and did not make it. Is it "Pasty" as more than one? because I've always seen it as "Pasties" and I am from Michigan as well and have seen it both ways. I guess it depends on how you skin the cat. Either way, it was amazing there. I think next time I'll kayak the island.
     
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  9. Primordial

    Primordial MOA #40 Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Pasties is the plural of pasty. Its how you pronounce it that makes the difference lol.

    Kayaking the island would be cool.
     
  10. Sbrody

    Sbrody Supporter Supporter

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    Good story! Thanks for sharing. I'd like to visit Isle Royale some day.
     
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  11. Sbrody

    Sbrody Supporter Supporter

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    Good story! Thanks for sharing. Too bad it rained so much. I hope to visit Isle Royale some day.
     

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