Isle Royale National Park

The week before Labor Day, Bob and I packed our backpacks, and drove to the UP to begin our week-long adventure on Isle Royale National Park. Bob has been to Isle Royale before, and, since then, has talked about a return trip to hike all the way across the island. This was our year!

We splurged on two things: sea plane fares to the island and one night in the lodge at the end of our trip. Both were very worth it!

650px-IsleRoyaleMapOn Sunday, we flew into Windigo, on the western end of the island. We checked in at the Ranger Station, ate lunch, and were off. IMG_0992We started hiking South on the Feldtman Lake Trail (if you’re curious, click the map above), in hopes of seeing moose. We didn’t. Saw lots of moose footprints though! IMG_1006This is as close as we got to a moose sighting…

IMG_1026The bad news: the first couple of days were really hard. The trail was not often traveled, and it made for difficult hiking. On top of that, my body wasn’t used to hauling an additional 35 pounds. As such, my knee was complaining with every step, and my feet promptly produced 4 blisters.

The good news: life was grand after those first two days. We were on the Greenstone Trail, which follows the ridge up the center of the island. The Greenstone is the most traveled trail on the island, so hiking wasn’t as challenging (still challenging enough, don’t misunderstand!). Additionally, by then, my muscles and joints started to adjust.

IMG_1039Plus, the views! Trees and lakes for days.

IMG_1088Here’s what a day in the life on Isle Royale looked like for us:

  • Wake up.
  • One of us rolled sleeping bags and sleeping pads, and the other got breakfast out and started boiling water for coffee.
  • Eat breakfast (oatmeal and brown sugar).
  • Treat blisters. Put on hiking clothes and boots.
  • Filter water at whichever lake we were staying near.
  • Return to camp. Break down tent. Pack backpacks.
  • Hit the trail!
  • Hike at least half of our day’s miles.
  • Stop for lunch (tuna and crackers). Kick off the boots and let the feet breathe!
  • Hike the rest of the way.
  • Arrive at camp. Find a site and kick off the boots promptly!
  • Set up tent. Gather water filter supplies, soap, and camp clothes.
  • Walk down to whichever lake we were at for the night. Filter water, go for a dip to cool off and wash up.
  • Put on camp clothes. Return to camp. Make dinner.
  • Relax. Bob often fished in the evenings, and I read. We played a few games of cribbage (most of which he won).
  • Sleep. Blessed sleep.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

IMG_1087

IMG_1085When we arrived at Rock Harbor, we had hiked a total of 62.6 miles over 6.5 days on the trail.

IMG_1128We spent one more night on the island, staying in the Rock Harbor Lodge. We enjoyed eating real food (burgers! fries! beer!), took showers, washed our clothes, and slept in a real bed with real pillows. Totally worth it.

The next day, we had some time before our plane arrived, so we enjoyed a breakfast that wasn’t oatmeal, and went for a short canoe trip.

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This trip surprised me by how wonderful it was. We thoroughly enjoyed adventuring together and spending a week unplugged. It was a challenge, to be sure, but completely worth it. I wouldn’t trade it for a thing!

If you stumbled across this post because you are doing research for an upcoming trip to Isle Royale, feel free to contact me. I would love to share more in depth regarding our specific itinerary.

Saturday Small Talk

Friends! Countrymen! Let’s drink some coffee and chat.

dream coffee cupIt’s fall. A couple of days ago, highs dropped from the 70’s to the 50’s. At least we don’t live in South Dakota–they got snow this week. I’m counting my blessings.

We have a pretty relaxing day ahead of us. Tonight, we’re heading to my favorite microbrew (Shorts!) to hear one of my favorite bands (The Accidentals!). It’s a brilliant combination. I can’t wait.

If you’re looking for an entertaining video, check out this: 99 Red Balloons (you know, the catchy German song from the 80’s) played on actual red balloons.

A Job Guide for the Anti-9-to-5er. I have a pretty flexible schedule, and I love it. Check this out if you want to escape the rigidness of the 9 to 5.

Iowa Girl Eats posted a list of 16 or her 30 minute or less meals. For weeknight cooking, this is where it’s at.

Donald Miller is glad he’s not the same person he was 10 years ago. “Ten years from now, may we all look back and love who we were while hardly recognizing them.”

I’m on a decorating kick. And don’t have a massive, bottomless budget to work with. Even though I live in a rental, I’m embracing what I’m able to do! Just make sure anything you do has the approval of your landlord or can be put back to its original state when you move out. Here are 15 ways to make your home look amazing for under $100.

Have a great weekend, all!

September Goals

It’s September? Wasn’t it May a couple of days ago? Wasn’t I recently waxing eloquent about how I’m a summer person, how I love it and want it to be here forever?

As much as I love summer and the warmth it brings,  fall is pretty great. Warm days, cool nights. Colored leaves. Crisp air. Apples. Pumpkins. Cinnamon. Cider. Donuts. It could be worse.

We just got back from our end-of-summer-hurrah to Isle Royale National Park.  In short, it was a wonderful week to disconnect, be still, and enjoy the great outdoors. I’ll write up a post and tell you all about the trip soon!

IMG_1058So, we’re back in the real world. It’s September. And here are my goals for the month.

  • Day hike! Make it happen.
  • Finish canning tomatoes (we’re 11 quarts in, thus far!).
  • Can applesauce and apple pie in a jar.
  • Run 3 times per week, including one long run.
  • Make a pumpkin treat of some kind.
  • Paint the two end tables in our living room, as well as complete a couple of other “decorate with very little budget” projects.

I wanna know: What are you up to this month?