– Houghton, Michigan to Isle Royale National Park–
I’m really missing Ripley. We didn’t get her back today due to a scheduling error, and now I feel even more guilty and sad. She hated it in that kennel, but we didn’t make it back to this part of Michigan in time for us to pick her up from the kennel. It was soul-crushing.
Our morning began at 5am, which felt like 4am since we only changed timezones late yesterday evening. We all rolled out of bed and got ready pretty quickly. We had to be at our boat by 7:30, and Copper Harbor is almost an hour away.
Breakfast came from a little coffee shop in Houghton. Everybody had a bagel and cream cheese, since that was about all the shop had. They made mostly drinks, including smoothies and things like that.
The drive to Copper Harbor was pretty uneventful, though we did have a little trouble finding the dock where our boat was, since our phones lost service about 20 miles outside of town.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but it is worth mentioning again, in my opinion. I get terribly seasick. Early this morning, just after my shower, I put a Transderm Scop seasickness patch. Today was the first time I’d ever had anything other than dramamine, which typically puts me to sleep, so I had high hopes for this trip.
Waiting at the dock with us were two large groups of children. Most of the people going out to Isle Royale are campers planning to stay for several days. The large group of girl scouts on the boat were going out for two weeks. All of the girls had done their hair up into tiny braids, I presume to help keep their hair clean during their weeks on the dock.
Other people were taking along kayaks and canoes, which they loaded onto the top deck of the boat. The boat wasn’t completely full. In fact, before we left, they were still looking for a couple of parties. I’m not sure if they ever made it on the boat.
The boat trip lasts for a total of about 10 hours, overall. It takes 3.5 to get to Isle Royale (and we were on the “fast” ferry), and 3.5 hours to get back. Visitors for the day can then spend roughly 3 hours exploring the island. It’s huge, 50 miles long, so there’s no way were could see very much of the island in our limited trip.
The ferry runs once to and once from the island everyday. On the first boat are the day-trippers and people coming in to camp. On the trip back are the same day-trippers, and a different set of campers coming back from their trip.
Anyway, we started off at 8am and boated across the lake. It’s different from any of the cruises Mark and I have taken before, because there’s really nothing to see between the shore and the island. It’s just open water. On our other boat trips, there are interesting things to see along the way. Not so much for this one.
I’m guessing since I brought up the seasickness patch earlier, you can guess what happened. It didn’t do me an ounce of good on the morning trip. By the second hour, I was miserable, and one of the patch’s side effects is dry mouth, so I was nauseated and my mouth tasted like desert sand. I can promise that doesn’t help at all. Mostly, I slept to stave off the sickness.
We made it to the island around 11:30, and I was still doing really poorly. We had to sit around for almost an hour while I sipped on an off-brand Mountain Dew and very slowly chewed pringles, since they didn’t have saltine crackers. John and Vicki looked through the ranger stations and the gift shop.
All of the buildings on the island surprised me. In the Channel Islands, there’s really only one building, and Dry Tortugas is mostly covered by Fort Jefferson. This one has a lodge, a restaurant, a visitor center, a convenience store, and a gift shop. I wonder if they bring in supplies by boat, or by plane. Maybe both? I do know that Grand Portage is much closer to Isle Royale than Copper Harbor, but all of the boats leaving from Grand Portage take 5 hours rather than 3.5. That’s why our boat was the “fast” ferry. It covered the longer distance in less time. No one makes day trips from Grand Portage.
After Mark forced food down me, I was feeling a little better, so he and I hiked out to Scoville Point, which is just about 2 miles down the island from our boat, which was moored in Rock Harbor. We were cutting it a little close time-wise, but we decided to go for it anyway.
Along the trail, we found wild blueberries, and we were told we’d see wild strawberries, but I guess I’m not 100% sure what those would even look like. We may have seen them. The lookout from the point was pretty, and by the time we reached it, I was feeling a lot better.
Once we were done taking pictures, we turned around and really hoofed it back toward the boat. We didn’t want to be late for our 2:45 departure. John and Vicki were already standing in line waiting for us when we arrived, and many of the people taking the trip back with us were lined up as well. We were some of the last people to get back.
Mark thought he would try slowly feeding me on the trip back, trying to help keep me from getting sick, so he bought some extra pringles and a Sprite. That’s more soda today that I’ve had in years. I don’t really drink anything that bubbles except for ginger beer.
In any event, whether it was the patch had finally started working or Mark’s snacking plan, I made it back to Copper Harbor only slightly sick, which I was grateful for. Considering how expensive those patches are, I was expecting more.
It was already 6:30 when the boat was docking, and as soon as we got to the car, Mark called the kennel, but no once answered. It was still a little over an hour back to the kennel, and they were technically closed at 6. Needless to say, this all added up to Ripley being forced to spend another night in the slammer.
When we made it back to Houghton, we stopped at the Rodeo Mexican Kitchen, which is very much like a Chipotle, except it offers nachos and posole instead of just burritos, salads, tacos, and bowls. We all had burritos. They weren’t bad at all, but they were a little strange. My salsa didn’t even have tomatoes in it, which totally surprised me.
Tomorrow we’re finally going to pick up our baby and drive on into Canada. Mark’s going to find himself some sand on Lake Superior, as well. He hasn’t picked up anything for his dirt collection yet on this trip.
– Trip Total : 1,908 miles –