The Outside World, In and Around Duluth

Isle Royale – Day 4

Tuesday, May 25.

Have I mentioned yet that this trip was not a practice in ultralight backpacking? I think my pack was about 50 pounds or so as we headed out. We were all carrying field guides, homework, spare stoves, spare filters, etc. It wasn’t too bad, though, since we never hiked for too far in any single day, and we were taking our time.

That said, Tuesday was still a long day – we hiked 11 or 12 miles, from Lake Desor to Todd Harbor:

Lake Desor to Todd Harbor

At most intersections, the National Park Service has placed these helpful trail guides:

Trail Marker

Funny story – later in the trip, one of the rangers was talking to us about these, and he told us that, in the spring, the old markers – the ones that had been planted in the ground – had been just mangled. They think the moose were using them as scratching posts. These are perfect, because the moose will knock it over, and then they just pick it back up.

Back in 1936, a logging company engaged in slash logging, where they felled trees, limbed them, and then left it all until winter, when all the bogs and wetlands would be frozen, and it would be easier to haul the wood out. Unfortunately, 1936 was also a summer of heat and drought. In July, some of the slash around Daisy Farm caught fire, and by the time it was extinguished, 1/5 of the island was burned.

White Pine Skeleton

This white pine was pretty close to Lake Desor, and at about the farthest southern extent of the fire.

We did a bit of wildflower ID en route. This was a new (to me) and interesting flower:

Purple Virgin's Bower

A type of clematis, Clematis Verticillaris. It was fun starting to learn the Latin names of plants and animals.

Because it was a long day, Tom said that he’d make Thanksgiving for dinner. Mashed potatoes, stuffing and turkey gravy over it all. Very good. And for dessert:


Excellent end to a long day.

While Tom was cooking, we were all off journaling and reading. I was tucked under a cliff, right on Lake Superior. It was idyllic, until a cold front blew in. It was eerie – it was a straight line wind that made a line on the lake, and was coming straight in at our campsite. It looked like a line of rain (although the rain missed us), and when the line reached us, the temperature must have dropped 20°F in just a moment. Very cool. No, cold.

That cold front ended up making Thanksgiving dinner that much more enjoyable. And it made for a darn good night’s sleep.

Next stop: McCargoe Cove


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