08 Mar Isle Royale – Where moose are on the loose, there’s no cells phones & no problems!
Last summer I guided an overnight sea kayak adventure that will be remembered for years to come. While I’ve visited many National Parks throughout my youth, Isle Royale’s remote wilderness proves different to anywhere I’ve ever been. The peace and solitude of pristine wilderness created my favorite part of the trip – e.g. the break from technology and the lack of modern noise that comes with roads, cities, and large crowds. The only man-made noise one will hear on the island is that of a few small boats and a seaplane here and there.
During our ferry passage on the Isle Royale Queen, I saw passengers checking their phones with blank stares on their faces as they no longer had service and were completely disconnected from the modern world. Once off the ferry, my group (consisting of five clients and me) packed our kayaks and headed out to our first campsite. It was a five-mile paddle northeast from Rock Harbor. During the paddle, we saw two bald eagles gliding above, leading our way down the shoreline. Loons would also pop up in front of us and behind us every so often, reminding us of the unfamiliar environment we just entered. Once we arrived at our site we set up tents, made a scrumptious deluxe dinner of fresh white fish, told a few tales and got some sleep. We had ambitions for a 10-mile paddle the next day.
With 10-miles of beauty behind our belt, we made it to our base camp the next afternoon. We stayed two nights on Caribou Island, which provided us excellent privacy as it is only accessible by kayak or boat. It is also one of the few campsites on Isle Royale where fires are allowed, and I loved cooking our meals over the fire (while my group loved drinking their nightly hot cocoa and teas fireside, too). One morning, while awake early making coffee for the group, a bull moose appeared out of the dark woods on the island across from me. He turned out to be a peaceful visitor to have while I prepared breakfast.
Over the next couple days, we explored. We took a self-guided tour of the Rock Harbor Light House that had a shipwreck museum inside and stopped at Edison Fisheries for a tour. We learned about the Isle Royale Wolves and Moose Study, after which we hiked up to the Greenstone Ridge from Daisy Farms campground.
When not on the go, we relaxed in the wilderness and reflected. All of us agreed that the trip went by fast, but will be present in memories for years to come!
Some fun facts that we learned from park employees are:
– Isle Royale is the least visited National Park but has the highest visitor percentage return rate.
– The same number of visitors that visit Yellowstone is one day visit Isle Royale in one year.
– Isle Royale has far more moose than humans (an estimated 1600 moose live on the island).
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Need a lift to Copper Harbor? Check out our Airport Shuttle (FYI – we’re just a one hour direct flight from O’Hare!)
OUR MISSION (since 1999): To be the hub for human-powered recreation in Keweenaw County by providing essential goods and services that connect people with awe and respect to the Keweenaw Peninsula – ultimately contributing to the region’s well-being through education, stewardship, conservation and sustainable tourism.