Isle Royale – North Shore

Days 10-11

September 8-9, 2010

Isle Royale National Park

After letting things dry out a bit on Wednesday morning, I again set off on the Greenstone Trail, bound for Hatchet Lake.  The trail vegetation was much the same, but I had a couple good views of the island and the distance.  From Ishpeming Point and the trail down to Malone Bay, I could see down the island towards Superior, and vaguely make out Minnesota’s shoreline to the southwest.  When the trees opened up for a view to the north, I could see the larger islands off of Isle Royale’s coast, and bits of Canada in the distance.

The wildlife of the day was birds, though I am no expert and couldn’t identify most of them.  A couple different kinds of woodpeckers, loons, gulls, and mergansers on the lakes, and some more common (but still unknown to me) species all over.  Hatchet Lake was lovely, and there was only one other person at the campground – I decided to spend another night there, and just day-hike down to the coast, to give my feet and back a rest.

Todd Harbor

Thursday, then, was spent in Todd Harbor, which was also relatively unpopulated.  The sun was finally coming out, and sitting directly in its rays, I could even make believe that it was warm – with my long underwear on!  Nevertheless, I didn’t want to miss my chance for a dip in Lake Superior, and needed to rinse off some of the dirt and sweat of the previous days.  Brrr!   It was a very quick dip, but after some PB & J, I even sunned on the dock for a few minutes while drying off.

I walked a little way past Todd Harbor towards McCargoe Cove, to the east.  The trail was very lovely, with thick cushions of  club

Trail to McCargoe Cove

mosses, spruce and white cedars mixed with birch and aspen, and lichen on rocks and tree trunks.  I wish I could have gone farther, but it was supposed to be my rest day… and I still had to get the four miles or so back to camp.

That night, after dinner, I took a short walk along a little path that paralleled Hatchet Lake.  The other man at the campground had hung out down by the lake the evening before, hoping to see a moose, and had been rewarded – he told me that he saw one slipping into the water from a distance, down towards the end of the lake.  So I walked that way, then paused in the dusk to see what I could see, through the trees. A merganser got nervous with me standing there and flew around the lake a few times, but that didn’t seem to disturb anything else.  Every once in a while, I heard a branch snap, somewhere in the dark woods on the other side of the lake.  I guess moose are big enough that they don’t need to worry about being quiet!  My patience paid off, and  a few minutes later a dark splotch appeared among the vegetation leading down to the lake on the far shore.  The dark splotch moved slowly, with a great rustling, down ot the lake, and once the dark moose joined the dark water, I could see no more.  It was too far away and too dark to really make out, and I only know it was a moose because it couldn’t have been anything else, but there you have it… moose number two.

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