Day 6: Rock Harbor to Daisy Farm

The Mooseum at the Peterson residence

After a fine meal at the Greenstone Grill and a good night sleep at Shelter 6 in Rock Harbor, we got up early and set out for Daisy Farm. We planned to stay overnight at Caribou Island, so we paddled across the Rock Harbor channel only to discover the campground was full, so we veered back across toward Daisy Farm. The diversion definitely extending the paddle distance which, directly from Rock Harbor to Daisy Farm, would have been seven miles.

As usual, the later in the afternoon it was, the rougher the waves became. Then in evening, the waves subside with the setting sun. By this point, though, we were very little daunted by the waves, and paddled vigorously, beaching to the right of the dock on the sand beach at Daisy Farm. Here is the accompanying video of the paddle leaving Rock Harbor:

Arriving in the afternoon again, it was not likely to get a shelter, but we were lucky and found Shelter 6 available, just across the bridge over the beaver dam, so we moved right in. Six must have been our lucky number. It took us an hour to get set up, but with that done we quickly set out for the Mooseum overseen by Rolf and Candy Peterson, across the bay and adjacent to the Edison Fishery.

Rolf and Candy head up the wolf and moose research on the island, and their documentation of moose conditions are evidenced through the collection of moose skulls behind their cottage on the peninsula. The Wolves of Isle Royale by Rolf Peterson shares study results.

Me, astounded by the bones
More antlers

We paddled across the choppy water to their cottage, were treated to a view of the Mooseum, along with an informal introduction to their work and their values regarding the out of doors. The moose bones were incredible as you can see from the images shared here. You can see, too, Duane and me in our kayaking gear.

After the tour, we joined Candy in the cottage as she entertained another boater, regaling him with stories of their adventures on the island. Eventually, we all drifted toward the waterfront as a group, with reflections about the seaworthiness of touring kayaks and the Peterson’s 18-foot big water canoe.

Just around the corner from the Peterson’s residence is the Edison Fishery, the remaining buildings from a former fishing operation that supplied the residents with fish in the busier days long gone by.

Old boats at the Edison Fishery, view toward Moskey Basin
Artifacts and Antique Fishing Gear inside the Fishery

Volunteers, Mr. and Mrs. Buckley reside at the Edison Fishery‘s residence during the season, and they graciously share information about the historical site. While Mrs. Buckley visited with other guests inside the residence, Mr. Buckley showed us the workshop area with the nets, floats, and tools assembled in the shed.

Mr. Buckley was a gracious host and even joined us in speculation about indigenous plant species and the birds that enjoy their fruits, addressing specifically the red elder berry bushes which seemed to attract a variety of small songbirds. Before long, additional visitors arrived by paddle, a canoe and a couple of kayakers, so we ceded Mr. Buckley’s hospitality to the newcomers.

We were ready to return to Shelter 6 and perhaps comradery of our fellow campers at Daisy Farm.

Edison Fishery viewed from the Daisy Farm Dock
Our boats pulled up at the Fishery

Prior to 2021, Daisy Farm was a single campground which had a small creek flowing through it near the dock area. Late in 2020, beavers dammed the creek and backed up water into the campground. By early 2021, the water engulfed a significant portion of the western part of the campground, cutting it in two. The park service relocated two privies and two shelters because of the flooding.

Flooding at Daisy Farm
Our shelter which was located in the “small half” of Daisy Farm

Our stay at Daisy Farm was short, only overnight, first because this campground is a very busy crossroads on the Island, with people passing through to Moskey Basin or up onto the Greenstone Trail. Boaters also tie up at the dock overnight, occupying shelters with their boater gear which is significantly weightier than backpacking accoutrements.

With a three-day limit, the campground is also a stop-off for hikers who overestimate their readiness. They tend to relax there and heal to be ready for their return across the rocks to Rock Harbor to catch their outbound transportation. When injured, backpackers make their way to the Daisy Farm dock to be picked up at the dock by a water taxi for a price. A park ranger usually occupies the residence there and can be sought out for assistance.

Bunny that resides under Shelter Five
Beaver Dam blocking the Creek

Daisy Farm, simply put, is the metropolis of the island with the variety of passers through, human and animal. From our campsite, we observed a moose grazing a few feet from our shelter. We were also visited by a curious bunny.

Our time there was brief as our tour of the Fishery and visit to the Mooseum took all afternoon. After an easy paddle back across the harbor, we were ready for some Mountain House and a soda we still had from our stop at Rock Harbor. We were saving the Upper Michigan specialties of Volwerth’s summer sausage and Jilbert’s cheddar cheese and crackers for our next stop at Chippewa Harbor. With the kayaks, we did not have the issue of weight that hinders backpackers.

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