Wise Old Man Can Help! It’s daunting to arrive on Isle Royale with no experience. You don’t know the terrain, the challenges, or how to plan for your needs, and the environment is remote which creates additional challenges. Wise Old Man guides can help. Six things you need to know: First, temperatures vary greatly betweenContinue reading “Don’t Have ISRO Hiking Experience?”
Category Archives: Uncategorized
Basecamping on Isle Royale
Six Best Choices Base camping on Isle Royale allows for a slower and more peaceful experience than backpacking. There are six excellent choices for base camping on the main island, Including Daisy Farm, Moskey Basin, Chippewa Harbor, Malone Bay, Windigo/Washington Creek, and McCargoe Cove. Regardless of your entry point, you will need to coordinate hopsContinue reading “Basecamping on Isle Royale”
Getting Lost on Isle Royale
To Sit, or Swim, or Think When I have had a particularly engaged year with too much work which comes with great satisfaction from the devotion of too much energy to the success of others, I stop. I simply stop. At summer, I stop. Some say, “to smell the roses.” But that’s not what IContinue reading “Getting Lost on Isle Royale”
Finding Yourself on the Greenstone
Five Reasons to Hike the Main Spine of Isle Royale The Greenstone Ridge Trail traverses the island from end to end. Starting at the Hidden Lake Dock in the east and progressing to Windigo on the western end of the island, the Greenstone Ridge Trail affords the quintessential experience of Isle Royale. While there areContinue reading “Finding Yourself on the Greenstone”
Don’t want to backpack? Basecamp
Ten Reasons to Basecamp at Washington Creek Campground at Windigo Not everyone who goes to Isle Royale wants to backpack, and–let’s face it–lots of people can’t afford to stay at the lodge or the camper cabins. The alternative is to base camp, but where? There are many options which I addressed in another post, butContinue reading “Don’t want to backpack? Basecamp”
Too Old to Hike? Probably Not
4 Considerations for Senior Hikers on Isle Royale Isle Royale is a great place to hike and backpack, and it’s not only for the young. Backpacking is about endurance and preparation, not speed. Our national parks are for all of us, seniors included. You should check with your healthcare provider to make sure you areContinue reading “Too Old to Hike? Probably Not”
Hiking in Moose Rut Season
Let’s talk a Moose Rut Hike. What is it? We plan late season hikes each year, just prior to the close of the season to take advantage of the opportunities to see moose at the height of their prime competing to pass on their genes. As the summer season comes to a close, the matingContinue reading “Hiking in Moose Rut Season”
Moose Mommas & Their Calves
Join us on June 1 through 5, 2023 Each spring, we like to get out in early June to view the calves. Early in the year, the cows are really protective of their new young that are teetering around on unsteady legs. In 2021, Duane met a calf still unsure of its long legs onContinue reading “Moose Mommas & Their Calves”
Why Hike Isle Royale?
It does something for each of us. We all have our reasons. Many people hike Isle Royale as part of their plans to visit every US National Park. Others run the trails because it is their way to experience the outdoors. Yet others want to get away and experience the rugged off-trail backcountry experience. IContinue reading “Why Hike Isle Royale?”
Are the Bugs Bad in . . . ?
On Isle Royale Maybe it’s buggy in June. Maybe not. In the earliest parts of June, it’s not likely to be buggy, but as the season progresses and the weather warms, the breeding season for mosquitoes and other bugs comes into full swing. Are the bugs bad in July? June, September, August? Everyone asks thisContinue reading “Are the Bugs Bad in . . . ?”
What’s in a Boot?
My Foot, of Course! Let’s face it, I have wonky feet. Well, I think everyone has wonky feet. We have long toes or short toes, high arches or flat. We have lumps and twists and bulges that make our feet unique and uniquely hard to fit for comfortable hiking. On Isle Royale’s rugged trails, myContinue reading “What’s in a Boot?”
Mishaps and Lessons
Over our decades of hiking Isle Royale, both as park visitors and as guides, we have learned from our mishaps and inconveniences, and we actively apply the lessons learned. Tuck and Roll We had been hiking all day, coming from Daisy Farm and were planning to camp at West Chickenbone. The cold driving rain continuedContinue reading “Mishaps and Lessons”
Scamps: Isle Royale Foxes
Isle Royale foxes both annoy and delight. Even while they can prove to make a hiking excursion really uncomfortable by digging in your pack and eating your food or running off with one or both of your boots, I have to admit that they are the cheekiest and most entertaining bandits on the island. WhileContinue reading “Scamps: Isle Royale Foxes”
Favorite Moose Moments on ISRO
Duane and I have had some moose encounters over the years. Seeing them in the different contexts is at least one of the reasons why we visit and revisit Isle Royale. The most volatile encounters concern cows and their calves, but no moose should be taken lightly. Nose-to-Nose Thinking of the momma moose and herContinue reading “Favorite Moose Moments on ISRO”
Good Information Can Keep You Safe
Evaluate Your Sources If your information source can’t pass a CRAP test, it is not a good source. Crap is an acronym for Currency, Reliability, Authority, and Purpose, and evaluating your sources of information using this analytical tool can ensure you have the right information to plan a safe excursion on Isle Royale. Currency addressesContinue reading “Good Information Can Keep You Safe”
Feeling Good on the Feldtmann Loop
A challenge often passed by for the end-to-end experiences The Feldtmann Loop is perfect for those arriving on Isle Royale from Grand Portage via the Voyageur II or from Houghton via the Seaplane who want the full experience but don’t have time for an extended stay. It can be done as a stand-alone in fiveContinue reading “Feeling Good on the Feldtmann Loop”
Base camping, inter-island hopping, & accessible experiences
Ideas for visiting Isle Royale without backpacking When we think of Isle Royale, backpacking, kayaking, and boating come to mind, but not all people want, or are not able, to backpack in order to experience the beauty of this national park. Campground hopping can be a perfect option. It requires a sufficient amount of timeContinue reading “Base camping, inter-island hopping, & accessible experiences”
What about Malone Bay?
This trail creates options. Malone Bay is located at the end of the Ishpeming trail which you access from the Greenstone Ridge Trail at the Ishpeming Point or by Voyageur II if you come by boat. It is a favorite of fishermen who dock with their own vessels. It is also popular with people travelingContinue reading “What about Malone Bay?”
To Solo or not to Solo
What’s the difference? The choice of going it alone or going with friends or a guide is one that requires some thought, one that has consequences for all of the choices you make when you set out on an adventure. Last year, I hiked the Minong Ridge Trail twice in the same season, once aloneContinue reading “To Solo or not to Solo”
Let’s Do the Greenstone Ridge Trail!
While there are any number of opportunities to use the Greenstone Ridge Trail to get to other points on the island, for example out to Chippewa Harbor or toward Lane Cove or Malone Bay, it is the primary means to hike the length of the island. It also provides an exit from the Minong Ridge Trail for those who choose to go from Todd Harbor to Hatchet Lake, instead of going to Little Todd or North Desor.
What about that Minong Ridge Trail?
Let’s face it, more than any other trail on Isle Royale, I love the Minong Ridge Trail. Why? Because it’s difficult. It may be the most difficult trail on the island. Yes, there is the Feldtmann Loop which is not for slouches. There is the hike out to Malone Bay, which is ass-kicking when doneContinue reading “What about that Minong Ridge Trail?”
New IRNP Hiker? Assess, Plan & Prepare
Know Yourself. Knowing yourself and the island, and preparing for your adventure can make your excursion an enjoyable experience. Start with a frank assessment of your level of experience and fitness.
Women in the Backcountry of Isle Royale
When women contemplate hiking and backpacking, they have obstacles to overcome, a lot of social conditioning that impresses on women to fear being attacked. Social media reinforces those fears. Well-meaning ideas about keeping sister, mom, or daughter safe can heighten the obstacles. Beyond that, we develop self-doubts because we are so often told what weContinue reading “Women in the Backcountry of Isle Royale”
Hiking a Tough Trail with Old Friends
I love a tough trail. When I hike, I’m in my own mental space. I like the sound of my own breath and the reflective effort it takes to navigate a tough trail. My core motivation for hiking has something to do with absorbing the ambiance of the forest, or the waterfront, or cliff edgeContinue reading “Hiking a Tough Trail with Old Friends”
More on Women & Safety on IRNP
My dear friend charged me with having avoided the core topic of the post, “On Women, Safety, and Hiking Isle Royale,” a point that may well be true. So how does the potential for rape or violence against women impact hiking Isle Royale? After all, this is the central issue voiced in the responses to my first post on women solo hikers to which my follow-up intended to respond.
Days 2 & 3 Minong Ridge Trail
2022 July 3 & 4 I made it to Todd Harbor directly from the Voyageur II on Day 1, which was July 2, and set up camp. This was the easy day. On Day 2, I progressed from Todd Harbor into North Desor Campground, traversing 12.4 miles. On Day 3, I continued from North DesorContinue reading “Days 2 & 3 Minong Ridge Trail”
Minong Ridge Trail Hike-July 2-4, ’22
Day One: McCargoe Cove to Todd Harbor On July 2, 2022, Duane and I caught the Voyageur II from Grand Portage to Windigo where we were briefed on Island safety and proceeded to permitting. I reboarded the Voyageur for three hours to McCargoe Cove, the starting point of the Minong Ridge Trail, to start myContinue reading “Minong Ridge Trail Hike-July 2-4, ’22”
Isle Royale Hike in mid-June 2022
On June 11, 2022, I arrived at the Queen IV dock at 7:00 AM and checked in with Miranda at the office. I was excited for my first trip out for the year, even though the forecast was for cold and rain. I felt prepared with my cold-weather gear. Captain Ben and the crew were ready for us to board.
Kayaking on Keweenaw Bay in Lake Superior
On June 5, 2022, Duane and I got out for the third time this year in our kayaks. We had been out a couple weeks earlier when it was warmer, circling around the entire area known as L’Anse Bay, basically from the water plant in L’Anse, across to the Ojibwa Campground in Baraga and aroundContinue reading “Kayaking on Keweenaw Bay in Lake Superior”
Wise Old Man Offers Guide Services
On Wednesday, March 9, 2022, Wise Old Man of Isle Royale received its Commercial Use Authorization from Isle Royale National Park to be able to offer guide services to backpackers. Our plans start with pre-trip planning with Zoom meeting and telephone consultations as you assemble your gear and supplies followed by a pre-departure safety briefingContinue reading “Wise Old Man Offers Guide Services”
Day 10 Chippewa Harbor to Atwood Beach
We departed Chippewa Harbor with Dogger. He headed north to catch his boat from Rock Harbor, and we headed south and west out of the mouth of the harbor to our destination at Attwood Beach. We wanted to cross the open water at Siskiwit Bay if the water was calm. Had there been a challenge,Continue reading “Day 10 Chippewa Harbor to Atwood Beach”
Day 2: Huginnin Cove
An Unplanned Zero Day The rocks shielding Huginnin Cove from the big lake offered a great place to sit in the sun. Behind campsite one, I stepped from rock to rock out to the largest boulder. Sleeping Giant reposed in the background, the provincial park visible on the Canadian coast to the north. This formationContinue reading “Day 2: Huginnin Cove”
Day 1: Isle Royale by Kayak
At one’s core, though, is the need to persevere, if for no other reason, than to say you did it, that you are indeed capable. Bolstered with that bravado, we headed toward the northwest corner of the island to make our way east along the north coast, brisk wind at our backs.