Isle Royale National Park, MI

Carved and filled by ancient glaciers, Isle Royal National Park is located in Lake Superior. It has no paved roads and it’s one of the least visited parks. I can see why, it’s not easy to get there. After flying into Minneapolis and driving for 6 hrs, we took a four seat sea plane to the island. Another option would be to take the boat, but that’s another 2.5 hrs, compared to 35 min with the plane. We landed in Rock Harbor, and immediately took a boat tour to historic Edisen fishery and a lighthouse.

Isle Royale from above

Isle Royale from above

Boat tour to Edisen Fishery

Boat tour to Edisen Fishery

One of the many lighthouses on the island

One of the many lighthouses on the island

In the same place, less than a mile away, a couple of researchers are studying moose. They have a wide collection of antlers. Their concern is that the island is over populated with moose because the number of wolves is decreasing.

Huge collection of moose remains

Huge collection of moose remains

Moose skull and antlers

Moose skull and antlers

The hike to the northern most viewpoint was a good introduction to the island’s nature.

The northern most point on Isle Royale

The northern most point on Isle Royale

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Sunrise at Rock Harbor

Sunrise at Rock Harbor

Rock Harbor is the only place on the island with a restaurant. So we took advantage to have some real food that doesn’t come in a wrapper or package:) They were serving fish from the local lake.
The sunset on the first night was spectacular. The water was still as a mirror.

Chilling at the pier

Chilling at the pier

Sunset at Rock Harbor

Sunset at Rock Harbor

Rock Harbor, Isle Royale

Rock Harbor, Isle Royale

That changed after the sun went down. All the rooms in the lodge have a view to the lake. They do not have AC, so the only way to get some cool air is to keep the windows open. I had a hard time sleeping because of the wind and waves on the lake. That was a preview of what to expect the next day, when we took the boat to the south end of the island. 4.5 hrs of vigorous rocking was no fun! Thanks to Dramamine and my ability to sleep on moving vehicles I was OK. There were a few people who fed the fish on the way.

Finally, we made it to Windigo, where the only options are either camping or staying in one of the two primitive cabins (outhouse and water outdoors, common shower facilities).

Primitive cabin on the South side of Isle Royale

Primitive cabin on the South side of Isle Royale

The cabin is quite nice. Relatively new, could sleep 6 people, has a grill and they give you all utensils that you might need. They also sell frozen meats and canned stuffed. Our meal that night consisted of grilled pork chop and breast of chicken accompanied by southwestern spiced corn and bean salad and rosemary and olive oil crackers :)

Tons of bunnies - one of the most vicious animals on the island :)

Tons of bunnies – one of the most vicious animals on the island :)

The highlight on the south side of the island was the hike to the viewpoint to Feldtmann Lake. The destination was not the greatest, but the journey took us through a forest filled with berries. It was a smorgasbord of all you can eat raspberry, blueberries, thimbleberry and red currant! The most delicious hike ever!

Hiking through berry "infested" Isle Royale

Hiking through berry “infested” Isle Royale

Berry galore

Berry galore

To heal our tired feet from all the hiking we went to the pier and dipped our toes in the chilly but refreshing water of Lake Superior and waited for the sunset, which was pretty blah on the second night because of the clouds.

Freezing cold water of Lake Superior

Freezing cold water of Lake Superior

Waiting for the sunset

Waiting for the sunset

Next morning, we hopped on the first flight out and off we went to the next destination.

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