Saturday, October 26, 2013

Release Date 7/14/2013

Released the message on the ferry halfway between Isle Royale and Grand Portage on Lake Superior. I was on my way home from a really cool 8 day canoe trip inside and around Isle Royale.


 The entire island is a national park and the number of people who visit it is limited by the ferry service that runs to and from Minnesota and Michigan.

We did the classic canoe camping thing where we loaded all our gear into two canoes which we paddled in the lakes, and “portaged” on hiking trails between the lakes.  

The ferry ride from Grand Portage took all day since it first landed at the West end of the Island, Windigo, then went on milk run around the island picking up and dropping off campers to leave us at Rock Harbor after about 8 hours of traveling. We spent the night there, and then headed out on the ferry again the next morning to Malone Bay to begin the trip. 

We did a short portage into Siskiwit Lake and started to paddle. The wind was 15 knots or more right into our face, and the canoes were so heavily loaded that they started to take in water over the bows so we had to stop after less than a mile and make an early camp for the night to wait for the wind to die down. This was a bit of a drag, but were able to get up and going before the wind picked-up the next morning and make up for the lost time.

Early in the trip when windbound exhausted and cold, the troops turned against Tim when we accidentally dumped the pasta on the beach.

We then camped for 2 days in Chickenbone lake. We did some catch and release fishing one evening and caught a few Northern Pikes. This was kind of a buggy boggy lake, but it was raining and we stayed 2 nights to wait for better weather.

Next we portaged through the island out to Lake Superior. We picked-up a food drop from the ferry that we had arranged and spent a night on Birch Island and a really nice campsite. Although the campsites are much nicer, and the scenery is really amazing on the “big lake” the weather is much more touch and go, especially for heavily loaded canoes.  Conditions that were no problem for a sea kayak were no paddle days for the canoes. The water is below 40 degrees in Lake Superior, so a capsize would be a very “serious situation” since we weren’t wearing any exposure protection. Baths were quick and painful...

We next spent 2 nights at Bell Harbor where were again wind bound and prevented from really paddling for one day. This was a really nice spot with great campsites and hiking, and very few other campers.

We managed to catch and eat fresh lake trout here.

After that we paddled and portaged back to Rock Harbor to finish out the trip, and had a long all day boat ride to get home.

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