When they named Lake Superior, what other adjectives did they consider? Lake Grandiosa, Maxima Lake, Lake Stupendous...? We talk about the wild dreams we have during fitful first nights of sleep and weary muscles. Interrupted sleep patterns, routines, and new noises make for interesting nights as our body tries to adjust to the rigors of the trail. We laugh at the terrible night of sleep and our bizarre mental wanderings. Night one had been full of lots of interesting sounds. My heart smiled as the mournful sounds of the loons calling to one another filled the air. A mouse’s feet climbing the shelter screens awoke my husband and he scared it back outside after it attempted to rifle through his pack for food. Frogs set up a continuous cacophony of sounds. The wind rustled the tree tops, and the screen door of the pit toilets squeaked and smacked with every visit.
The day before we had struggled with at what point you claim the title of "experienced hikers." Is it years of hiking? Is it miles hiked? Is it the variety of locations hiked? But after that first day, I determined that the tell-tale sign of an experienced hike is the sweet knowledge and courtesy of gently placing the pit toilet lid down and slowly closing the door to a soft, low thud. Only novice hikers open it wide and let go sending it crashing into the night and waking all the other shelters. With numerous outhouse options in Daisy Farm and few shelters available when we arrived, we were forced to watch a parade of people around bed time at hiker midnight- 9:00. We came up with a disturbed game of people watching to pass the time, rating each hiker as they left the outhouse as to the level of their disgust. Few left pleased with their deposit; most were appalled and grossed out, leaving with their heads down in a hurry.
The heaviness of our packs at the beginning of this stage made our arrival at McCargo Cove welcoming, and we set up camp and told stories with the other hikers around the group firepit while watching the "McCargo kittycat" fox parade around for us and a bald eagle attempt to steal a snake that a gull had caught as it tried to eat it on the dock. We found out that the early birds of Isle Royale (hiking in the first of June) tend to be repeat visitors trying to avoid the crowds, and we swapped stories with hikers that had visited the island 7+ times. Sharing of love of the same place bonded us and we made easy friends that night.