Shaving Ounces As we all know, a low pack weight matters when backpacking, especially when an excursion extends beyond a long weekend. The lighter the pack, the more pleasant the hike. Of course, the moments spent not hiking are also important. Without appropriate gear, a backpacker risks discomfort, dehydration or heat exhaustion as well hypo-Continue reading “Thinking Light”
When I think about how I want to spend my sixties and seventies and after, it is certainly not sitting behind a desk or in a physician’s office getting diagnoses and medical treatments to ward off the results of sitting too much. Of course, maintaining health into one’s senior years does require addressing issues toContinue reading “Why Do I Share Backpacking?”
Of Backpacking Isle Royale through the Lens of Another’s Eyes From the 9th through the 15 of September, Michelle, Duane, and I backpacked Isle Royale to some new realizations. As with all hikes, Duane and I had expectations and routines, but each person who hikes with us offers new insights simply because of their uniqueContinue reading “Moose, Wolf, and Other Views”
Isle Royale in a Cool Late August Hiking Isle Royale is a great experience at any time of year, but Lara, Jennifer, and I had an exquisite experience with the cool weather in late August this year. We arrived on the Queen IV at Rock Harbor, caught a hop on the Voyageur II to ChippewaContinue reading “Women Rocking the Hike”
Hiking Isle Royale the First Time Probably the most fun hike for me is one where newcomers to the sport of backpacking join me for a first hike on Isle Royale and exceed their own expectations–and have a great time doing it. This past weekend Lynn and Gil did just that. They jumped in, gotContinue reading “What Success Looks Like”
My friends are hiking the Minong, and I am not! Duane, Gregg, and Michael have been hiking across the Minong Ridge Trail for the last few days, and we all know that trail is my favorite. You can be sure that I am wishing I were there with them, crossing the beaver dams between WashingtonContinue reading “Backpacking Envy”
From Start to Finish How does one get started backpacking? Duane always says, “just book a boat.” Yes, just book a boat. If you need more help, book a guide. Then buy a backpack and a good pair of boots. When you book with Wise Old Man of Isle Royale Guide Services, we match youContinue reading “What Our Guides Do for You”
Seniors Hiking As we age, we face the inevitable judgments about our abilities to engage in vital activities, yet these activities are necessary for us to remain vital in our senior years. The pointed commentary comes at us from all sides, from healthcare professionals, to those who mean well but don’t understand the importance ofContinue reading “Am I too Old to Hike? Are We? Are You?”
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?”
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”
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”
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”
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?”
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 . . . ?”
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?”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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?”
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.
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.
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”
Since I began talking about women’s solo hiking and women hiking on Isle Royale, I received a lot of feedback, some heated and some not. The heated responses invite me to develop thoughts on people, including women, staying safe while hiking Isle Royale. This past summer as I was returning from my Minong Ridge TrailContinue reading “On Women, Safety, & Hiking Isle Royale”
I work with a lot of women who are really fearless. They reach across to students who struggle with self confidence and they give them what they need to feel good about themselves. They coddle, nurture, push, support, chide, encourage, engage, and whatever else is necessary to ensure that the students develop the prowess theyContinue reading “Why Women Would (Not) Hike”
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.
Once you have decided on your itinerary, you are ready to think about all of the things you are going to need while you are on the island. Here, we are sharing an overview of what you will need, and we provide direct links to our free courses to help you examine each topic in more detail. Remember the courses are free, and they provide you with needed information and connections to help you to make sound decisions for yourself about what you will need for your particular backpacking itinerary.
Shelter is Not an Option–it’s a necessity! Shelter of some sort is a necessity on Isle Royale. You need shelter from cold, wind, and rain. Rain storms can come quickly and last for a few days. Temperatures can get really cold, with temperatures dipping into the 20s or even the teens. In many of theContinue reading “Sheltering on Isle Royale”
The Chippewa Harbor to Rock Harbor hike is one of our favorites because of its leisurely pace, which allows for time to explore attractions on the way. We get to tour along the coast of the island by ferry for spectacular views of the rugged shore from the boat and then hike back along the bays and shorelines, through the forests and over the rocky escarpments for stunning views of the water.
The Greenstone Ridge Trail traverses the ridge from Hidden Lake Dock to Windigo, some 45 miles away, and can be done in either direction. The trail provides views of the vistas to the north and the south of the island. It brings hikers from Lookout Louise into the Washington Creek campground. To join an adventureContinue reading “Rock Harbor-Lane Cove-Daisy Farm Loop”