I woke up to a calm setting and enjoyed the quiet while going about my morning routine.

Every campsite had one guaranteed amenity: a privy. The privies and shelters are all liberally decorated with graffiti. People MUST leave their mark. I greatly prefer graffiti to litter. It is often amusing and I seldom trip over it. This privy had some notes that drew my eye.

2006: Cairns are litter! Do not alter nature. All cairns must be destroyed!
2007: 93 cairns scattered. Work continues.
2008: 58 cairns down and counting!
2009: Got laid. I don’t care about cairns any more. Beautiful campsite.

My laundry from the previous day was mostly dry but I elected to wear my sleeping socks to hike in and let my wool socks dry more. I strapped them outside my pack.

My right ankle was very sore and stiff. I couldn’t observe any actual benefit from my trouble of elevating it to sleep. My left foot was feeling better, though. Still minor soreness but much better than recently. More like the memory of soreness than actually hurting.

I set out on the trail around 9:15 under cloudy skies and a temp that seemed to be in the mid 40’s.  The lake was really gorgeous.

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The trail was very beautiful. The pattern of my hike on this day was to have long walks on stony ridges broken up by dips into lowland wooded areas between the ridges. There would be some sort of muck or water crossing usually involved in this but these had taken on almost a ritual significance at this point.

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Each crossing of muck represented an expected milestone of sorts. I could tightrope walk a rotten log or fallen tree or hopscotch across almost submerged rocks without planning or concern. These were my crossings and they were meant to be crossed by me. It was utterly beyond consideration that I would slip or fall, that a chosen path would fail to lead all the way across, that a decades-old rotting log would collapse. Anathema!  I crossed because this was how things worked here in the world of Tom hikes Isle Royale.

The day was tough on my ankle but it was shorter miles than the day before. I had passed the longest mileage days of my trip; maybe the shorter miles would let the ankle recover. Right? I mean, right!

I lunched on a garlic summer sausage and some hard cheese as I sat on an open ridge high above my surroundings. It was way too much food so I packed away the remaining portion for dinner.

I arrived at Todd Harbor at 4 PM and found a couple of guys in one of the shelters. I had to ask if there was a directory sign for this campsite. I guess that such a high percentage of the users come in from the opposite direction that I entered from that it was deemed there was no need to put signage on the trail that enters from the west. I walked through to the middle, found the signage and then turned back around and went back to site #1, which I had passed on my way in.  I wanted to be on the periphery, away from any accidental human contact. Need something? Sure, I’ll help. Otherwise, leave me be and I will do the same for you. It worked. I didn’t see or hear them again until I passed their shelter on my way out the next morning and faintly caught the buzz of a snore over the sounds of my passage.

As I went about the act of setting up camp I made it a priority to get my clothesline up early. Airing out can really cut down on clothing odor if you have the time to do it. There was a very nice breeze coming off the harbor and I had time. I certainly had excess stink to be rid of. I changed into my laundered garments from the day before and hung up my worn stuff to air. Then I headed over to the tent pad and started setting up the tent.

It doesn’t take me much time to set up our double rainbow tent. First I assemble the single ridge pole and slide it into its sleeve on the tent. That takes around 2 minutes total. Then I place the very floppy partially assembled tent on top of the Tyvek that we use for ground cloth and stake it down. After hat takes 3 minutes or less. So I am done in 5 minutes or less.

In the time that I set up my tent and put all of my gear into it I was interrupted not once, but twice by moose.  I’d not seen a moose the whole time I had been on the island despite being nearly trampled by them cavorting through my campsite at Feldtmann Lake.  Elusive, ephemeral, and stealthy are all words that do not describe moose.

Finally I got to see them.  It was about like I remembered:  mostly just hoping that they stay over there and leave me alone over here.  Pics, such as they are:

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I ate the remainder of my garlic sausage and cheese for dinner.  I hated the idea of leaving the greasy sausage kicking around open and half eaten in a gallon ziploc bag so this was how I fixed that.  (Emptied Ziplocs also happen to make great trash bags.)

There’s a mine close to Todd Harbor but I declined to go see it.  My ankle was really throbbing.  All day while I hiked ridges, every one of them leaned the same way – to the right.  So I put extra stress on the lame ankle all day and it just wasn’t happy about that.  And it was talking pretty loud at this point:  “Do not walk on me, putz!”  11.9 miles was enough.

I went down to get water and had some minor difficulty.  The wind was up and the waves were rolling in pretty good and there was no good place to stay dry while getting water.  I opted for getting about 1.5 liters and keeping my feet dry and just called it good.  I could always get more in the morning if I wanted.

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I turned in and slept kind of chilly again.  That breeze coming off the harbor was blowing right into every vent in my tent and seemed to find ways to get to me no matter what.  Eventually I laid stuff stacks against all the vents by my head and blocked them up successfully.  After that I slept quite well.

 

 

 

 

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