Moose on Mount Ojibway Trail

Moskey Basin to 3 Mile Camp: Isle Royale backpacking day 4

Isle Royal Map

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Over the extended Memorial Day holiday 2012 Curtis and I met up with our favorite backpacking Midwestern friends – Jacquie, Dan, Kris, and Kate – to spend 5 days backpacking Isle Royale National Park. It was amazing to get to one of the US’s least visited national parks so near to our alma mater Michigan Technological University and once again feel the chilly breeze, see snow hardy forests, and smell fresh waters of lake superior.

Navigate to the Backpacking Isle Royale Page to read about other days of our trip, or continue on to read about hiking on day 4…

Day 4 game plan: leave Moskey Basin and set out retracing the trail down to Daisy Camp, then turn north up the Mount Ojibway trail to the Mount Ojibway tower. After the 6 of us enjoyed the views of Isle Royale from our tower perch we would split off into the boys team and the ladies team, heading over the Greenstone Ridge to Mount Franklin, then turning back south to Three Mile Camp. The boys were to go faster to get to the camp and claim a shelter, and the girls were to enjoy ourselves at the speed in which a normal human being should backpack on fourth day of backpacking trip.

Not going to lie, I was a little bit anxious about the hike that day. The trip up to the Greenstone Ridge was going to be hot and uphill, and my Achilles tendon had been becoming progressively more painful (even blocking out any pain signals from the legs/feet/giant blister the size of my pinky toe on my pinky toe). Luckily, in spite of this, the hike was the most fun one had on the trip – Beauty & moose sightings over pain!

The moose – a baby moose is what we are calling it – appeared as we were walking up the Mount Ojibway trail, pretty much exactly when we needed some motivation/distraction to get us up that hill. The boys were leading the pack and saw the first one, but it ran off over the sight line quickly. It was only a few minutes further up the trail that we were able to see our little guy. CUTE ISLE ROYALE MOOSE! And, one of the pictures I took, not looking at the camera just aiming it at the moose’s general direction, TOTALLY WORKED. Photographic evidence!

The tower on top of Mount Ojibway is pretty awesome too. After all that hard work we got a few great views of the island and Canada, all while enjoying the cool breeze. After a celebratory group backpack shot the boys took off down the mountain (Which apparently morphed into a run down the mountain? silly boys). We ladies meanwhile were able to enjoy a peaceful hike and intelligent conversation. And, I would like to point out, that we were not as slow of hikers as the boys wanted to believe we would be -making it to the campsite at a respectable time without running and almost flying off a certain tippy plank trail into the river. (BTW: Watch out for those plank trails on the way down from Mount Franklin! Some close calls there!)

For prosperity’s sake here is what Jacquie, Kate, and I decided on our hike to hold true hopefully for the next backpacking trip:

  1. Try for no more than 8 miles of hiking per day. After 8 miles the hike becomes less fun
  2. Take a day off for relaxing, especially if there is a beach & warm weather
  3. Pack less oatmeal ;)

Our final night on the island we were all pretty tired, but found enough strength to eat some of Dan & Jacquie’s AMAZING stovetop cornbread. There in the Three Mile Campground we spent our last night in an Isle Royale shelter and listening to the songs of the loons.