I heard several moose making romantic noises during the night but fortunately none of them decided to hump my tent so that worked out just great on my end. I got up in the middle of the night for a quick pee and was astounded by the stars overhead. It’s a rare occasion when I am in a place that has zero light pollution to ruin the celestial view. It always astonishes me anew when I see the stars in their full glory.
The night was cool and clear so I quickly crawled back into my bedding and snuggled down for some good snoozing. Warming up after being out in cold air always feels great and makes it easy to go back to sleep.
I rolled out of bed before light and found that my tent was absolutely drenched with dew and condensation. Fuck fuck fuck, this was bad. I mean it was really soaked. The combination of elevation and humidity had conspired to make one hell of a mess for me to clean up.
It took over a hour to get it sort of dry. I had to stop and dash/waddle for the privy mid-process. My bowels simply would not wait. This was a NOW event. I made it, barely. Dignity, what dignity? After, I went back to squeegeeing the tent – it did not noticeably dry in my absence. The tent was nowhere near this wet even when it got rained on. I wanted to just scream WTF at the sky. I was finally packed and hiking about 9:30. East Chickenbone easily wins the “Worst campsite, do not stay here” award for Isle Royale. Consider yourself warned.
I considered stopping for some more trail puddle water as I had drunk about half of my water overnight. Then I slipped in said puddle and muddied it. I met a gent named Gary at the puddle (junction with trail to West Chickenbone) and stopped to chat for a bit. He had blisters and was trying to decided whether he should alter his hiking plans. I had just finished going through the same evaluation process. On the one hand, I was a day ahead and could definitely make my boat rendezvous despite my ankle situation. On the other hand every mile that I walked on my ankle was making it worse and who needs to aggravate a debilitating injury? Every step was sending a jolt of pain through my ankle and up my shin. In the end the decision was actually kind of simple. I was here to see the island by hiking the trails. My body was capable of continuing despite the condition of my ankle. I’d rather hike to Lane Cove and be carried out by a troop of girl scouts than skip it because I was in a little discomfort from an old injury. Take Advil. Press on.
I hit the Greenstone and headed east. It was pretty nice scenery and the trail wasn’t that tough. Lots of good views. I stopped for lunch at the Ojibway fire tower and while I stuffed down ground beef and tortillas two guys came in from the direction of Lane Cove. I asked and they’d spent the night at Lane Cove. They said that the trail wasn’t very tough, which I found reassuring.
The Fall colors were really showing well on the foliage and I enjoyed the hike quite a bit despite my painful hobble. In places I could see Lake Superior to both the North and South simply by turning my head left or right. Many small flowers were still in bloom.
I was running low on water when I came to the turnoff to Lane Cove. The temp was very agreeable, probably 60 degrees. I wasn’t worried at all – I could probably do 10 miles without water like this and I only had a couple of miles to go – downhill. I crossed a few low places and passed a large beaver dam, but there were bridges and my progress was swift and easy. I arrived at Lane Cove by 15:00.
I chose site #4 but all 5 sites were just great. The water was clear, calm and beautiful. Every campsite has a great view of the cove but I really did like #4 the best. I was blessed with the presence of a half dozen Mergansers who were alternately fishing and hanging out on a shoreside log. On my 3rd attempt I got some pics and video.
I was the only person there and I really enjoyed the serenity. I hung up the tent and let the last moisture dry from it before setting up camp. Dinner was Sweet and Sour Pork with Rice. Pretty good. I always worry about beans and rice rehydrating properly but the meals I brought performed flawlessly.
I turned in at sunset, already feeling a little nostalgic. The next night would be spent in Rock Harbor and I would surely see lots of people, harbingers of the end of this trip. Blech.