This was by far our longest, hardest hike. The logistics of hiking on an island in the middle of the world’s largest fresh water lake, and the continual grind on our older bodies really does make me proud. Our remaining sections are all things we have hiked before and/or are shorter outings, so this is the night we can finally take in an enormous exhale.
Yesterday, I skipped our blog (and will return to write it) because we double two of our nights into one after seeing the weather forecast for thunderstorms. Isle Royale had proven to be very dangerous when you get cold and wet and the weather turns for the worst. It is very hard to get warm in 40 degree weather when everything is soaking wet. In order for gear to dry out, you’ve really only got one option: sunshine.
Speaking of sunshine, that is also another great way to freshen up clothing that you’ve worn on the trail for days at a time. The ultraviolet radiation kills bacteria and somehow has a way of revitalizing your clothing.
Anyhow, today’s crowning achievement was the bushwhacking and mosquito survival that occurred on the 7 mile stretch of Ishpeming trail once we left the easy going Greenstone Ridge headed for Malone Bay. With no wind, some stretched felt like we were running from zombies. The constant hum of mosquitoes in our ear and buzzing around any open skin we had was ridiculous. The zombie comparison was confirmed when we arrived at our shelter and counted 95 mosquitos hanging to the outside of the mesh screen just waiting for a chance at our brains. We knew the hatch out would happen sometime while we were here all June, and I think we hit the mark today.
The trail was easier overall on our bodies today and our feet seemed to do much better. We moved very quickly down the trail. Perhaps we are getting in a groove and stronger, or trail conditions were just that much better. It is hard to tell.
We had 2 great animal sighting today, which was refreshing after seeing nothing on the Greenstone. We were face to faced will a cow moose today heading our way on the trail. She stopped and we stopped, then she rerouted around us through the woods, content with our presence. Near dinner time, I caught a fox walking the beach line from the shore in front of our shelter. He was a blaze of yellow on the rocky shore and just as I’d hoped, he came and patrolled the campsite just long enough for me to snag a quick video as I was waiting for him. A thunderstorm has rolled in this evening, which confirms our decision making to double our miles yesterday and get to the safety of the 3 sided shelters. The fog has closed in on the lake and the islands have all disappeared. That puts an end on our longest, hardest section of this month long adventure, and I am relieved.