Benjamin Chait

Isle Royale

6 September 2023

Yesterday evening, I felt accomplished. We were sitting at the ‘lodge’ at Windigo, having trekked over 50 miles over a three night, four day through-hike across Isle Royale National Park. We were a bit tired (and sore!) but grateful for a few days in the wilderness.

Just getting to Isle Royale can be its own adventure. Visitors typically start in Minnesota or Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and either boat in by ferry or fly in by seaplane. We chose a seaplane, and made a quick hop from Hancock, Michigan to Rock Harbor.

Lake Superior out the seaplane window Scoville Point on approach to Rock Harbor Rock Harbor sign

Once we assembled our gear, purchased camping fuel (which couldn’t be carried on the plane) and acquired water, we started out. This island is gorgeous, and we had clear-as-blue sky while we walked along the shoreline, stopping to say hi to fellow trekkers and to enjoy the views. We spent our first night in Moskey Basin.

Looking southeast toward the outer islands and Lake Superior Island view A few of the many, many boardwalks in the park So much green and water Moskey Basin sunset

Day two took us from the south side of Isle Royale to the Northern edge where we spent the night at Todd Harbor. To get there, we had to traverse across the island (including the main ridgeline which bisects the island). Unlike the previous night, the camp site was empty when we arrived — giving us the chance to make camp at Todd Harbor’s single shelter, which felt quite luxurious. By evening, only one other party had made it to the site, and we shared a campfire, some stories and smores.

Lake Richie Todd Harbor sunset Sunset colors Shelter view the next morning

Our third day had us cut back toward the Greenstone Trail and the main ridgeline, right in the center of the island. One trip highlight was stumbling across a beaver pond, where the dam itself was the hiking trail. While we lingered, we got to watch a 🦫 beaver at work, swimming around the pond and nibbling on some wood to add somewhere to the structure. We made camp at South Lake Desor and enjoyed the landscape.

Beaver pond with the den in the center Beaver swimming South Lake Desor

We woke early on our last day to get moving before the day’s heat. We got to enjoy sunrise from the trail, and encountered a 🫎 moose munching away. A few hours and many steps later, we were sitting outside the sole shop enjoying a beer and waiting for our outbound seaplane to take us back to civilization.

Tree line at dawn Moose eating some plants Benjamin and Cara at the Windigo sign

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