I’ve hiked very little in the past year. There have been many other challenges that have consumed my time so I haven’t missed it as much as I would have otherwise. Which is not to say that I haven’t missed it – because I really have. One down side of operating an outfitter shop is that you’re constantly meeting people who are about to embark on interesting journeys. And I have got the itch BAD.
My initial plan was to go hike the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT), which runs from Duluth, MN to Canada. However, timing and events conspired against my plans – there simply was not enough time available for me to vanish for the time it would take to hike 300 miles. So I reluctantly put away the set of 6 maps I ordered for the hike and set my sights elsewhere: Isle Royale.
This has been on both our bucket lists for a couple of years now and I will owe InProgress an opportunity to do this trip at a later date but I have been very cool with her wanting to go do some stuff lately so I had some small credit built up in the ‘I wanna’ account.
I leave tomorrow. Early. Like 2:30AM early. I will drive to Copper Harbor, MI and board the Isle Royale Queen IV. It’s a 100 foot long, aluminum hull, triple diesel engine beauty of a ferry. I fully expect to be able to nap on the boat thanks to the warm enclosed cabin seating. After I snap a few photos, of course. And here’s the photos:
My preparations have felt haphazard and I would be a big fat liar if I didn’t admit to a lot of second guessing myself right now on the last day before the trip. Am I taking too much food? (Yes) Do I have warm enough clothing? (I am sure, yet unsure) What will happen if I miss my food drop arrival in Windigo? (It will be left on the dock for me)
The biggest prep hurdle has been my pack. I sent my old pack in for repair due to lots of field wear. I missed the email from Osprey. It went to my junk folder and I forgot to check. So there it sat for a week, languishing. And when I finally saw the message it said that they couldn’t bring my pack back up to their standards – so would I please provide them with my 1st and 2nd choice of color as they were willing to send me a new pack under their Almighty Guarantee. By the time I replied I knew that it was too late to get it back in time. So I tried IP’s ULA pack. It was great for her on the AT. I like it, but it’s too short in the torso for me. So my choice pack became the Klymit Motion 60. It is a light pack at 2.7 pounds and has an air frame. I’ve got all my stuff packed in it and am ready to roll out in 12 hours.