Isle Royale National Park

Isle Royale National Park

The drive up to Grand Portage was uneventful. There was a heavy fog that stayed with us the entire way, especially along the shoreline of Lake Superior. I was sure it wore Alan out. 

We stopped for lunch in Grand Marais at a little restaurant called The Twisted Fork. We each had the catch of the day sandwich, which was pretty good.

In Grand Portage we stopped in to register our campsite then drove up to the Grand Portage National Historic site Visitor Center to learn a little bit and get our passport book stamped.

We set up camp at the nearby casino’s RV camping area, made friends with another class B RV couple then had dinner and called it a night.

The next morning we were up and out very early so we could catch the Voyageur II over to Isle Royale. I made sure to take some Dramamine-like medication (a “less drowsy” formula) before we left.

Boarding started at quarter of eight and we were there well before then. The dock looked rickety as hell and the boat looked like it was well-weathered, but both held up just fine.

There were about twenty passengers heading out on the two hour ride to the island. The captain hollered roll call, and as he did the callees were allowed to board the boat. There was an upper, more exposed, seating area, and a lower, more protected, seating area. Since it was cold out I chose the lower area.

We were warned by the captain that the seas would be about seven feet and the going could be rough, and everyone was asked to please go to the back of the boat if they felt the need to feed the fish (seasick for you non-boaters). 

It was definitely rough going. One of the passengers in our cabin area looked a bit green. After a while the captain came in and spoke to him out of concern. The man produced a ziplock bag and assured the captain that he would either make it aft or use the bag. He used the bag. 

I’d had my eyes closed about then, enjoying the swaying and keeping my equilibrium from going south on me, but there was no missing his being sick. He was loud. Alan likened the sound to that of of a sick moose in heat. We felt bad for him.

Once we docked at Windigo on the Island everything went smoothly. I offered the sick passenger some of my Dramamine and he gratefully accepted for the return trip.

We headed straight to the visitor center after a short speech by one of the rangers, got a pin, sticker and a long-sleeve tee for me, then waited for the ranger-led hike at 10:15.

The hike was a ½ mile, 45 minute educational hike. We learned about the ecosystems and how moose impact them by stripping the trees bare, we also learned about frilled mushrooms and how they are delicious fried with garlic, we finally found out that the trees with bright red berries are Mountain Ash, and that there are 2,000 moose and 15 wolves on the island. They are working on introducing more wolves in order to regulate the moose/wolf populations and keep the island’s ecosystems in balance.

After the ranger-led hike we continued on the trail and ended up back at the dock. From there we walked down another trail to see if there were any moose in the creek near the campgrounds. There weren’t, but it was a perfect opportunity to have our PBJ sandwiches and carrots.

After three hours on the island we re-boarded the boat in the same order as before, grabbed some seats in the lower cabin where the seasick passenger was conspicuously absent, and rode back to Grand Portage. This time the seas were rougher, but I’d taken another seasick pill at lunch and I missed most of it because I kept zonking out. Alan on the other hand, did not fare as well and his stomach was upset the rest of the day.