Sunday, August 6, 2023

And the answer is: D. All of the of the above. (Isle Royale Part II)

Lake Michigan in the early morning. 

Isle Royale is over 45 miles long and 9 miles wide. Coming from Michigan on the concessionaire ferry you come into Rock Harbor where there are more services. Coming from Minnesota on the national park ferry you land on the other end at Windigo. Apparently for $350/person a lot of people come by seaplane. 

Isle Royale was established as a national park in 1940.  Moose and wolves inhabit the island but we saw neither. We did see and hear the distinctive call of the loons. More than 25 shipwrecks have occurred near Isle Royale.

On Monday we walked an additional half mile after we broke camp and headed up to the Toban Trail. Longer and gazillions of mosquitos, but an easier trail back to Rock Harbor. Lots of people on the island wearing mosquito head nets. It was a lot cooler walk today at 8 a.m. Pat's knee was bothering him and he complained today that I was walking too fast. Just can't please some people.

1.8 miles from Rock Harbor was a trail heading up to Suzis Cave. The question: Why didn't we climb the steep path to Susy's Cave? 

A) We were too tired.

B) We hurt too bad. 

C) We didn't care about anything any more. 

D) All of the above.

Someone showed us a picture of the cave. Wouldn't have been worth the walk. 

Beaver attack.

Pat and I were both sore after our 2-day, 10 mile or so backpacking trip. We looked forward to a hot shower and real food. I actually slept much better in the tent than the lodge, but Pat appreciated the bed.  For the price I expected more. It was pretty basic with 1950's decor. The lodge and most services on the island are run by a concessionair, as was the particular ferry we took. Just like us, their supplies are brought in and trash carried out by boat. We won't even talk about the $20 breakfast buffet!

The guest hut with minimal wifi, sometimes. Lots of well used games in here. Nice to see kids and families utilizing them.

Temperatures were a relief, low 70's. Wild fire smoke was not as bad here as when we were further south.

A lodge building.

Ranger II above is owned by the park service. It has been replaced by Ranger III for ferry service to Windico.

On our final morning I decided I wanted to go to Scoville Point on the east side of the island to see the Rock Harbor Lighthouse. A doable 4 mile round-trip hike that Pat decided to skip. I am very directionally challenged but I only got off-trail a time or two.🙂 Saw lots of moose poo but no moose. I was a bit surprised that I only met one other person when I was going up. With just a day pack, versus the 21 pound backpacking one, I was really moving too. Even with my reflection time and snack out on the the point, I was back in a little over two hours. I did so well, a few trips on roots or rocks but not one fall, until... the end sign, "Rock Harbor," maybe 20 feet from my destination Sure enough I caught my foot on a rock and down I went. Luckily I am no worse for the wear!

Since I saw nothing else in guessing this was one of the copper pits.

At Scoville Point the log cabin on the right is used when they have an artist in residence. 

The Rock Harbor lighthouse is on the other side of Rock Harbor, lol! Nice hike and view anyway.

These ducklings were so cute! We enjoyed watching them swim around a dock, dive under it, and come up flapping, over and over again. 

We checked out the building with artwork from previous artists-in-residence.

They had coloring pages of the former artists'pictures for kids to color and display. 

You could help yourself to berries on the island. People said they were really good but we saw none. Either they were further down the path or we weren't very observant. Thimbleberries are plentiful. They look similar to raspberries but are drier with a stronger taste. 

The first Copper Harbor Lighthouse was completed in 1849 and this one replaced it in 1861.

When the Isle Royale Queen IV returns from Rock Harbor each evening the staff at the Harbor Haus Restaurant in Copper Harbor welcomes them back.


Chocolate with thimbleberry icing.

Glazed with thimbleberry icing and a giant s'more cookie for good measure!

Have to leave!

Slides in and we're ready to roll!

The last backpacking trip we took was over 10 years ago at Steven's State Forest in SE Iowa. It was epic! Krikkit came along and while we set up camp we secured her with a leash. I heard something behind me and she had chewed through her leash and was on my heels. Then when we were hiking she decided to lay down in a a cow pond. She smelled so horribly bad! We put her bed out in the vestibule but, no, she wasn't happy so she and her bed moved inside our 2-man tent. Next morning I'm on the tent floor and stinky Krikkit's stretched out on my sleeping bag and mat! 


Let's see, my knees don't support me like that anymore, but if I could squat like that with 20-30 pounds on my back I'd fall over on my face! I know because it happened to me on Isle Royale. Pat said he was tempted to just roll me over on my back and leave me! Instead he helped me up.

Same tent and backpacks.
Where are the Piepers now? Poplar Bluff, MO


  1. Oh you are still so adventuresome!!! Love reading your posts when I see them. Darned old FB, I don't always see them. You go girl!!!!!!!! Laurie

  2. Okay, now that you've visited all national parks (in the 48 contiguous states), I have a question for you and it may take some contemplation to answer it. If you could only visit one of the parks, which one would it be? And why would you choose that one?

    1. Since that's our number one question that we're asked we've thought a lot about it.😀 First, all parks are beautiful, unique and should be visited. There are a few that we question their national park designation. They need to decommissioned a few. That has been done in the past to some. Unanimously (an unusual occurrence) we agree that Acadia (we've been there 3 or 4 times) was probably our favorite. It had the mountains, hiking, ocean views, lighthouses, seafood, nice summer temperatures, carriage trails for bike riding, didn't seem crowded, and fall foliage is unbelievable. Congaree in SC is the only one that neither of us cares to go back to.