Thursday, July 9, 2015

Isle Royale National Park

Fort Wilkins - Copper Harbor
After our stay in Marquette we went up the Keweenaw Peninsula to Copper Harbor. Copper Harbor is the northern most city in Michigan as it is at the top of the peninsula on Lake Superior. It is a tiny town and the site of Fort Wilkins which was established to keep peace at the start of the copper boom in the 1840s. The Fort is very well preserved with most of its original buildings still existing and well maintained. It's worth a visit if you are in the area.

While staying in Copper Harbor (btw - no cell signals there) we visited the fort, did some hiking, and finally completed a long time bucket list item of visiting Isle Royale. Isle Royale is an island in Lake Superior and the entire island is a National Park. Don't be fooled it you see the address as Houghton, Michigan, that is just the mailing address for the park headquarters. It is obviously remote so it is the least visited National Park due to accessibility. We took the Isle Royale Queen IV from Copper Harbor to Rock Harbor.
Isle Royale Queen IV docked in
Rock Harbor
We stayed in the lodge and did all of our hiking from there. It is very peaceful, has great hiking trails along the shore, there are no roads or vehicles and is not commercial in the least and yet the lodging and eating is fine if you aren't into backpacking. The park is celebrating its 75th anniversary but you wouldn't know it if it weren't for the little newspaper they hand out. Check it out online:  Greenstone.

As we got off of the boat the Park Ranger told us there were only 3 wolves left on the island (a male, a female and a pup) and about 1250 moose. It makes sense that the wildlife would not be near the area where there are the most people (Rock Harbor) when they have so much land. However, we were lucky and saw a cow and calf moose within an hour and a half of being on the island as we took our first hike.

We absolutely loved our 4 days there.

View along Rock Harbor trail

View along Rock Harbor trail

Moose - notice baby hiding in trees

View along Scoville trail

Copper Harbor lighthouse as we enter
the harbor on return trip

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