|Another day of action and adventure dawns in Isle Royale National Park.|
A Yellowstone tour guide once told me:
Visitors to Isle Royale don't snap selfies from scenic overlooks or drive around gawking at the sights. They don't drive at all, because the park prohibits motor vehicles. If you want to experience Isle Royale you'll have to walk or paddle your way around. Because of this, Isle Royale has one of the longest visitation averages (the amount of time a visitor stays) in the country.
Although the 45 mile-long island boasts 165 miles of trails and is dotted with backcountry campgrounds Tim and I didn't bring our backpacking gear on this trip. We stayed in Rock Harbor Lodge on the eastern end of the island. From the lodge we accessed the park's trail system, rented a canoe, and booked an excursion on the Sandy, a 30 person sightseeing boat.
In my previous post I explained how to get to Isle Royale National Park. The following photos will help to answer the question posed in this post's title.
The Sandy offers sightseeing tours to remote parts of the island and to various off-shore islands. We chose a half-day excursion on the Sandy to Moskey Basin, home to Rock Harbor Lighthouse and the Wolf-Moose Research Center.
|The Sandy (green and white boat) is docked in front of Rock Harbor Lodge.|
|The research project documenting the interaction between wolves and|
moose on the island is the longest continuous study (almost 60 years)
of any predator-prey system in the world.
|Every antler tells a story. Researcher Candy Peterson shares her stories from|
40 years of researching the moose-wolf dynamic on Isle Royale.
|The trail to the lighthouse passes through a green-glowing moss-lichen forest.|
|Rock Harbor Lighthouse heralds the entrance to Rock Harbor passage.|
We hiked trails to the east and west of Rock Harbor Lodge. Some trails hug the shoreline of Lake Superior or inland bays, others traverse the deep woods of the island's interior.
|Elevated boardwalks on the Scoville Point trail resemble balance beams.|
Here I'm perfecting my Simone Biles (US Gold-medal winning gymnast)
|Scoville Point is the easternmost point on Isle Royale.|
After reaching the point we take a break to read and relax.
|Along the Tobin Harbor Trail Tim stops to watch a loon and her chick.|
If you've never heard the call of a loon in the wild you are missing
out on one of the great things about being alive.
Isle Royale is a paddler's paradise. You can chose to circumnavigate the island or paddle the many miles of inland lakes, streams and coves.
|No, these fancy stream-lined kayaks aren't ours. The Ranger III transported these|
vessels to the island for two men from Michigan, who planned to spend a week exploring the island.
|Tim and I rented this canoe and paddled the relatively|
calm waters of Tobin Harbor.
I have to add that a unique aspect to this park is the absence of cell service. That's right, no cell service anywhere on the island, even in the lodge and visitor center. I noticed something extraordinary while walking the footpaths and trails of Isle Royale—people looking up instead of down, truly noticing their surroundings, engaging with those around them instead of with people far, far away. It was so social. And so pleasant.
Isle Royale may not have the grand scenery of a Yellowstone, Yosemite or Grand Canyon. But the entire park is designated wilderness and it's a place that invites visitors to get out of the indoors, to explore and discover the world around them.