hike blog

IRNP, Day 8 Moskey Basin to Lane Cove, 10.8 miles

In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.

Alice Walker
The view from the fire tower on Mount Ojibwe looking back to what I’d hiked.

Waking up in my private little shelter to the waves gently lapping and reminding me of yesterday’s leech nightmare. No plans to swim this morning. I catch a glimpse of pink in the sky, but since I’m facing south, can only see the extraordinary show when I pop out of the shelter.

Orange, magenta, lavender and pink in a swirl of color, so present and overwhelming, I feel bathed in its glow. I quickly head back to the otter dock and then out onto the big exposed bit of Canadian Shield. The smell of coffee wafts towards me as a screen door slams but no one joins me out here where the view is miraculous.

It’s just a sunrise, but I see them so rarely from our tree lined street. Are they always this good and I am simply not attuned to them? I suddenly remember that the wise old saying about red skies in the morning, sailors take warning. This glorious morning will be followed by rain.

hike blog

IRNP Day 5, South Lake Desor to Todd Harbor, 11.6 miles

Learn to recognize good luck when it’s waving at you, hoping to get your attention.

Sally Koslow
My beat up hiker's feet on a private rocky beach looking towards the Sleeping Giant.
My beat up hiker’s feet on a private rocky beach looking towards the Sleeping Giant.

The day starts with loons calling across the lake, mournful, then in that hysterical yodeling which sounds, frankly, loony. I don’t bother packing quickly since the sky is clear and I feel no pressure to move. 

But I’m out before the boys – one of which wanders into my camp accidentally after using the outhouse, apologetic and embarrassed – and the father and son, who I walked in on as they were changing clothes, but fortunately for all of us, strategically placed overgrown ferns hid any private bits. 

The less traveled Island Mine Trail gave me flashbacks to the Te Araroa.
hike blog

IRNP, Day 4 Siskiwit Bay to South Lake Desor, 9.8 miles

A beaver does not, as legend would have it, know which direction the tree will fall when he cuts it, but counts on alacrity to make up for lack of engineering expertise.

Ann Zwinger
The less traveled Island Mine Trail gave me flashbacks to the Te Araroa.
The less traveled Island Mine Trail gave me flashbacks to the Te Araroa.

It’s drizzling and my clothes are damp from dew even protected inside the shelter. The good news is that in spite of the gloom, I can see the ridge I’ll walk ahead, double humps of tall trees. 

Jamie walks past and tells me there’s a 30% chance of thunderstorms. Christian packed the weather radio from his boat. They bring so much gear, no wonder they decide to take the day off and stay here. 

Not me! Thunderstorms aren’t going to stop forward progress as I almost immediately meet sloppy, black mud. I have the rain pants on again for the bushwhacking nightmare I’ve been warned about. Not many walk the Feldtmann Loop to begin with, and this year, the trail has seen fewer hikers and even less maintenance.

One of millions of dew covered spider webs on Feldtmann Ridge.
hike blog

IRNP, Day 3, Feldtmann Lake to Siskiwit Bay, 10.2 miles

Suddenly a mist of green on the trees, as quiet as thought.

Dorothy Richardson
One of millions of dew covered spider webs on Feldtmann Ridge.
One of millions of dew covered spider webs on Feldtmann Ridge.

It drizzled last night and my lake is shrouded in dense fog. I notice for the first time witch hair moss draped over branches of the big cedar where I hung Blueberry, hopefully high out of long black-socks-fox’s reach.  

No swimming this morning as I put on rain gear, mostly for the shrubbery car wash to come. The wind is high as I make tea and eat bars. Here’s hoping it gives me views from the Feldtmann fire tower. 

Almost immediately, I cross an oily wetland on boards, one broken and sunken, but the ranger told me it was safe if I move slowly. I tell myself it is forbidden to fall and shuffle across. 

The forest is dark and wet and I move well alone in the early morning. I know the ridge comes soon and it appears as stairs heading straight up to pines. The sun pushes through silvery and bright. Crickets with fancy wings leap out of my way as my feet walk on large stones in a kind of concrete emulsion. 

hike blog

IRNP Day 1, Windigo to Hugginin Cove, 5.1 miles

Getting the "Leave no Trace" lecture Covid-style.
Getting the “Leave no Trace” lecture Covid-style.

Delay is never denial.

Lailah Gifty Akita

We’re up at the crack of dawn since last night’s party got a bit out of control and now we need to clean and pack before leaving Karen’s beautiful home right at the edge of the water.

Karen is a follower and a friend I have yet to meet who so generously gave me the run of her empty house on rocks above Lake Superior. She’s one bad ass gal, climbing Colorado 14ers into her 70’s. Karen is my heroine.

This vacation of hiking, kayaking, cooking and lazying around was desperately needed. But now it’s time to say goodbye as we busily vacuum, wash dishes and organize a week’s worth of garbage and recycling. Richard is grumpy without coffee. Sorry, smackles, it’s already packed.

The airport isn’t far, just up the hill where we pass our favorite field laid out like a table cloth, billowing out to the massive lake below. Round hay bales sit at odd angles like watchmen of the seemingly endless horizon. 

This time though, after a week of glorious weather, we pass it under soupy skies, our height revealing just how dense the fog is sitting low on still water. 

And just as you’d expect, the news isn’t good at the tiny Cook County Airport where one masked gentleman informs me the planes were grounded for two days. Just as the words leave his mouth, Isle Royale Seaplanes phones me to confirm what we expected – weather delay, though she cheerily promises to call each hour with any “developments.”