Bounding Fox

My daugter Miranda Davis, of Copper Harbor, went out to the island in late September on one of the last regular seasons runs of the Isle Royale Queen IV. She and a couple friends took a day-hike on the lovely and easy trail to Lake Ritchie from Moskey Basin, a great hike in the fall. They ran across a fox on the way, and Miranda got this video of him on her digital camera. It's a very cool sht of him bounding through the woods. Of course the island is all closed up for the winter now. I haven't been posting much. There was some news about fears of the recovery of the moose population in the Detroit Free Press a couple weeks back, but I haven't had a chance to look up what the latest is or who said what. I'll try to get to that. In any case, I will try to offer some new photos from last summer as time goes on. Enjoy Miranda's fox.


There is something about ruins that is haunting, as has been observed by many artists and art critics of generations past. It might have been English art theorist John Ruskin (19th century) who first discussed the matter of the aesthetics of ruins in detail. One inevitably thinks about the passing of one's own life when looking at ruins and pondering the lives that were lived in the construction of things that have been gradually disintegrating and decaying. Such were some of thoughts I had as I was composing another shot of one of my favorite subjects on Isle Royale, the ruins of old docks and cribs. This is one such crib in Crystal Cove, on Amygdaloid Island, where the Johnson family toiled for decades at fishing the Big Lake on the north side of the island. This all took place years before Isle Royale became a national park. Now they are gone, and their docks are no longer used and have been falling into decay, and it all makes me think of the passing of my own life, as a captain and co-boat-owner, who has brought visitors to the island for decades now. And yet everything is so new in the Kilpela family business. We have a new boat, the Queen IV, and a new dock, and other new things. Looking at this ruined dock reminds me to enjoy and cherish this great life, for it too shall some day pass away and slowly become a ruin.

A Fisherman's Light

I spent a morning at Crystal Cove on Amygdaloid Island on the north shore of Isle Royale late in the summer. The water was still quite low (it has since risen a great deal with all the rain that has fallen this autumn), so I took the opportunity to walk all the way around the cove. On the way, I went into one of the old storage sheds that were built by the Johnsons about a hundred years ago or so at Crystal Cove. Some of them are rotting away. Inside one, which has no roof any longer, I found this rusted lantern from days of yore. Of course, all such items are historical parts of the national park and as such owned by the people of the United States corporately and should not be removed, which would be in effect stealing. But discovering the lantern brought about some moments of reflection on the lives led by fishermen and their families decades ago on this wild, remote island. That way of life has all passed away. Crystal Cove is such a distant place, so far out in the wilds of Lake Superior, that it is bewildering to think that lives were once lived there and families prospered for a time in the northern wilderness.

The Isle Royale Leprechaun

Logan, Logan, Logan. What am I going to do about you? My son Logan, now 15, has been up to his old tricks this fall, altering some of my photos of Isle Royale for fun. Last year, he made a nice alteration for the annual Isle Royale Slide Show, which you can find easily enough on this blog. In that one he added velociraptors to the Isle Royale landscape (2006 Slide Show, Photo 7). This year, he had some fun with me, portraying me as some kind of northwoods elf sitting on the blue beads of a blue-bead lily. The shot was taken somewhere in the woods down the Rock Harbor Trail at the end of summer, when the yellow flowers of this lily have become these blue beads (hence the name). Keep watching for more from Logan in the months ahead. I hear he's working on some new alterations.

Stones Neverending

One thing about Isle Royale: there are always plenty of rocks and stones to pick through and study. This photo is one of me, Captain Ben Kilpela, on a little nook of a stone beach -- I'm sitting in what is a semi-seacave -- on the north side of North Government Island at the north end of Tobin Harbor up near the very northern tip of Isle Royale, which is Blake Point. My son Logan and I were out this outer island for an afternoon, just exploring, when we came across this ordinary beach, just like hundreds of others in the national park. We spent some time just studying stones. What is it about stones and rocks that so interests people like us? I'll have to think more about that, but in thinking about it that day, I did realize that I spend a lot of my time at Isle Royale doing just what is shown in this photo, picking through and studying stones. As you might not realize, Isle Royale is a geological infant, almost what a geologist would call a newborn land formation. It came out from under the stupendously gigantic, miles-thick glacier that covered the Lake Superior region just 11,000 years ago. It was nothing but a big rock when the glacier melted and pulled back and alowed it to see the light of day, in the amazing ways glaciers do. But gradually the great Lake the glacier left behind in the Superior Basin begin to gnaw loose some cracked and loose sections of the rock -- and then began to tumble those loose chunks and pieces around -- and then began to toss the smoothed chunks and pieces up into nooks and crannies all around Isle Royale, where we find them now as stone beaches of all sorts of sizes and ages and formations. The stones I'm sitting on in the photo contained very few quartz-like pieces of silica and no semi-precious stones, no agates or greenstones, that I could discern. They were almost all pieces of basalt in an infinite number of shades of gray. I found even all those similar yet subtly different shades to be fascinating, as I always do. But why? Perhaps a little more thought will reveal an explanation. Rock-houding is one of the joys of Isle Royale.

Off on a Paddling Journey

Some folks were headed out across Tobin Harbor in canoes one day late in the summer. Though it looks as though rain might be in the offing from this photo, we would not see rain for a couple more weeks at the island. I am back home in southern Michigan now, but I will continue to post shots of the summer at Isle Royale over the next month or so.

The Future of Moose and Wolves on Isle Royale

Did you notice that there was a major article in the Detroit Free Press in August about how global warming might hurt the moose population on Isle Royale, and thus hurt the wolf population in turn? The article is available at this link, if you missed it:

Much the same information, in briefer, also appeared in a Backpacker magazine article that came out this summer about the biggest coming changes in America's national parks. This article might have prompted the Free Press to give John Vucetich, the leader of the moose-wolf research study nowadays, a call. Isle Royale made Backpacker's list of their Top Ten for the possibility that moose might die out on the island. The island has without question been much warmer overall, and year round, over the past few years, though there have been a couple hard, cold winters as well over the past 15-20 years. This year I saw more sign than ever before of the decline in the moose over the past decade. There were wide stands of young balsam, which moose have browsed heavily, in many areas. I even found several small American yew bushes on the main island and the outer islands of Rock Harbor in places where they would be easily acccessible to moose. The yew was long ago eradicated on the main island because of moose, which favor the yew over just about anything else. Well, the yew is starting to come back. I have a couple photos of the yews I found, but I don't have them immediately available as I write this post.

No Rain Since

I believe this photo of wild roses was taken on the last day that there was significant rain on Isle Royale, and it was really only a light rain that day as well. The shot was taken on the Scoville Point Trail on July 10 of this year. I am writing in late August now. So you see that we have been without rain for a long, long time. The island is starting to take a beating because of the lack of rain, as beautiful as it always is. Once again, the trails are getting very dusty and the campsites are getting rather harended under foot. The forecast has been for rain many times over the past couple weeks, but nothing has come our way. It is all coming down elsewhere in the Midwest, and some places have had bad floods and even mudslides, in Ohio and Wisconsin.

Don't Get a Soaker

My son Logan, 14 years old, came out to Isle Royale with me one day recently on a day that I was working as captain of the Queen IV. By boat, we went out to an island near the northeast tip of the main island, North Government Island. Logan and I both were trying to walk along the short cliffs on the north side of the outer island that afternoon. Our progress was finally stopped at this particular cliff, the one in the photo, which ran out of an edge to get a step on. Around the corner of the cliff face on the left side of the photo, the cliff was too sheer. This is basalt rock, some of the oldest exposed rock on planet earth. These ancient lava flows form the ridges that you see all around Isle Royale. They're fun to climb on, too.


Man oh man, have the loons been out this summer at Isle Royale. By my estimate, there are three pairs of loons living and breeding in Rock Harbor, the main entry harbor, and another couple pairs in Tobin Harbor close by. I have been seeing the loons regularly on my canoe and boat journeys at the island this year. They seem not the least concerned with boating traffic of any kind any longer. My son Logan and I went past a loon in our roundabout -- the loon just popped up close by all of a sudden -- at a distance of only about 25 feet and didn't even flinch or pay us the least mind. This is a shot of one of the Rock Harbor loons fishing near Bat Island, which stands across the channel from the islet on which I was standing to take the photo. There have been so many days lately just like the one shown, beautifully sunny with pleasant temperatures and low humidity. Sad to say, we need rain, and it's starting to get serious. I would say the island is in semi-drought conditions now and is drying out dangerously. I am hiking with greater care because everything is getting that burned-out look.

Unloading the Boat at Rock Harbor

When one arrives daily at Isle Royale on the Isle Royale Queen IV these days, it can be quite a sight as everyone starts getting organized on the dock for departing on their backpacking or boating journeys. This is a shot from one morning day a couple weeks ago, maybe the last day when the weather was even slightly iffy (though it certainly wasn't bad on this foggy day). The days have been just spectacular ever since on the island and on the Keweenaw Pennisula, with one sunny, impossibly bright day after another. It's a great time of year. Lots of people are going to the island, but no one's coming back the least disappointed in their trip. How can you be disappointed with this great place?

The Keweenaw Approaches

Oh, these wonderful summer days, the dog days as they say. Here's a shot over the bow of the Isle Royale Queen IV on the daily return trip from Isle Royale to Copper Harbor. The two gentlemen in the photo were both taking a day trip to the island with their wives, and they had a great time during their 3 1/2 hours on the island in the Rock Harbor area. How can you not have a good time, when the weather has been so darn perfect day after day, as it so often is at this time of year. We offer day-trip specials all summer long, sometimes really low prices, sometimes just moderately low, but always a darn good price for going over and back on the same day. It's a great way to find out something about the island before you make the expense of going to stay overnight. I've marked the location of Copper Harbor in the distance as we look at the Keweenaw Peninsula as the Queen IV approaches from the northwest. The boat was about 15 miles off the coast. The air temp was about 48 degrees, but the sun was so warm on this day, like so many others lately, that one of the guys was out on the bow in shirt-sleeves.

Young Moose in Snug Harbor

Moose are down on the island this year, as you know from the annual Moose-Wolf survey conducted each winter (a link to the press release on the survey is available on this blog in an earlier post). Consequently, people are seeing moose much less often than in previous summers. But there have been a few very interesting sightings. One was the occasion of a pair of twin calves with their mother crossing right through the Snug Harbor marina and dock area, the developed part of the Isle Royale. I wasn't there, but Isle Royale Queen IV crewman Jaime Engstrom was, and he took the shot you see of the two calves over by the Rock Harbor Lodge dock. Their mother is just up ahead of them in the photo, at the foot of the dock in the shadows. Jaime took the shot from the deck of the Queen IV across Snug from the Lodge Dining Room, which you see in the background. I still haven't a moose myself this year

Two Islands Now One

On a recent day out at the island, I took my canoe across Rock Harbor to Shaw Island, just to the southwest of the main dock in Snug Harbor. I pulled up on a large stone beach, which is shown in the photo. The Isle Royale Queen IV stands at the big main dock in Snug about a mile away from this beach. The interesting thing about the photo is that this stone beach has been completely under water for nearly a century before low water exposed it this summer. I have canoed right over this beach between Smithwick Island and Shaw Island many, many times. Now these islands are run together as one. The water level of Lake Superior has come up a little over the summer. Someone from Thunder Bay, Ontario, on the north side of Superior, told me that that area has has been having a lot of rain. Copper Harbor and Isle Royale have not seen any more than average rainfall, and some parts of the Upper Peninsula remain in a semi-drought.

Canoeing along Rock Harbor

Foggy days, rainy days, windy days -- they were suddenly gone this past week, and Isle Royale became the glorious northwoods, lakeshore wilderness that it is most of the time in the summer, especially in July, the month with the very best weather on this great island. Here's a shot of the cliffs on one of the outer islands along the edge of Rock Harbor. It was taken from my canoe as I easily cruised along the islands one fine day recently. This was one of those days that just make you glad that you're alive and spending any amount of time at Isle Royale. It was in the 60s, the sun was amazingly bright, the winds were calm, the water was stunningly clear, the birds were swooping and diving and calling. What a day!

Rainy, Foggy Days

What a strange summer for weather so far. We've had lots of very cool days and lots of wind, which is pretty unusual for July. There has even been a good deal of fog, which has been almost non-existent for the past 10 years during the summers. A few days ago we had one of the worst days in July that I can ever remember. The high temp was about 55 and the wind was blowing about 20 mph and a steady rain was falling. It was a day of that icy dampness that makes life up in the north country miserable. And yet when it all passed, quite suddenly, the sun came out and the following days turned positively glorious. Yesterday, I was out at the island and had a wonderful time canoeing in Rock Harbor under a brilliant sun. The photo was taken about a week ago at Rock Harbor. It is a shot of the Queen IV at the main Snug Harbor dock where both the Queen IV and the Ranger III, the NPS boat out of Houghton, moor when they are at the island. Obviously, the photo was taken on one of our foggy days of late.

Tadpoles on Smithwick Island

On a day I was captain recently, my niece Elaine Ronan, from Laurium, went over to Isle Royale with me for a day trip. It was one of those great Isle Royale days, so common in June and July. The sun was high and bright, the air clean and clear, the humidity seemed about zero. The temps were running in the 60s. The water was crystal clear. I took this shot on Smithwick Island, which Elaine and I went out to in the captains' runabout. This island stands in the line of islands that forms the south side of 15-mile-long Rock Harbor. We hiked along the Smithwick shore to a couple of beaches about half way down this island.
On the hike back to the runabout I was talking to Elaine about a pair of researchers I had met on Smithwick one day a couple weeks ago. They were doing a tadpole count on Smithwick Island in the pools near the edge of Lake Superior. Elaine found a few tadpoles that took part in the researchers' annual count in the warm waters just back of the cold, cold waters of Superior. At this time of year, even at the lake's edge at Isle Royale, the water temp can be in the 40s. Here's a shot of one of these tough creatures in Elaine's hands. She doesn't like to have her picture taken (she's 17 this month, but she has always given me trouble when I try to take her photo), and so I cut her some slack and didn't put the one I sneaked of her face on the blog.

The Progress of Spring

It's still spring, even in late June, in some areas of Isle Royale. I had a fascinating visit to Edwards Island last week, in which I walked through spring as I moved away from the lakeshore on this small, narrow island up near Blake Point at the farthest northeast reaches of Isle Royale. I walked in from the stone beach I had pulled my boat onto and found that the plants were just coming out, as shown in this first photo, which also shows many spruces blown down by the winter winds, as is so common near the edges of the main island and its outlying islands.

As I moved northeast toward a pretty cove on Edwards, I found the plants higher, though still in a stage that I would call spring-like. This next shot is of the cove, looking northeast toward North Government Island, the next island up the chain that forms Rock Harbor. You see that the vegetation has progressed toward a stage that we could call late spring. The day I was there, you could feel clearly how this works. Near the beach, the cool wind off cold Rock Harbor, water temperature about 40 degrees, was sharply cooler, perhaps 15 to 20 degrees, than the air up amid the spruces.

Big Ships

What a gorgeous morning to make the crossing to Isle Royale. This shot was taken on a recent weekday morning when I was serving as captain on the family ferry. In the distance was the Paul R. Tregurtha, the Queen of the Lakes -- which means the largest ship currently sailing the Great Lakes. I told the passengers in the cabins that she was passing in front of us and a couple dozen people came out to get a look and take a photograph of their own. Quite a sight on quite a morning.

Butterfly Season

Butterflies have been all over Isle Royale of late. The Monarchs and other varieties have been passing through and filling the woods. Sadly, yet necessarily, plenty of dead Monarchs have been found on the shores all around the island and its surrounding islands. Here's a shot of a Swallowtail on the Rock Harbor Trail recently. As most everyone knows, the major wildlife, what my zoologist daughter calls the Charismatic Megavertebrates, is down on the island this year. There have been a few sightings of a pair of twin calves and their mother in the Snug Harbor area (that's where the Queen IV docks and the Rock Harbor Lodge is located). But this is the best I have been able to do on wildlife shots since I've been out this year on my three crossings as captain of the Queen IV.

The Queen IV

I'm taking my regular shift at the helm of the Isle Royale Queen IV now that I've been up in Copper Harbor a couple weeks. This is a shot of me standing on Hunters Point across the Harbor from the dock in the center of town. That's the Queen IV, of course, in the distance. June is a great time to go to Isle Royale. People often ask -- almost every phone call -- about the best time to go. June is great because the lake weather is generally placid (though we did have a couple rough trips last week) and the weather is great for hiking -- and the island has fewer hikers and visitors and the bugs ain't bad at all and our prices are lower, too. But still people favor those last weeks of July and the first weeks of August despite all we do to get them to see that June is a great time to go. Think about it next year.

Low Water in Tobin Harbor

Here's a shot of Tobin Harbor a few days ago. You can see the water level is very, very low. It's not at record levels, but seems to be getting awfully close to the record, which took place in the 1920s. I've never walked in the spot I'm taking the photo from. Usually, the water is up to the level of the grass on the left of the photo, but now the edges of the bottoms of the harbors can be seen all around the island. I think the water has come up a bit in the past few days, maybe about 6 inches, but we have a long way to go before we come close to average lake levels. You will see some unusual sights when you visit the island this year because of the low water. By the way, the photo was taken on Tobin Harbor down near Suzy's Cave.

Captain Don R.

The 5 days-a-week runs have begun on the Queen IV. Here's a shot of my brother Captain Don R. Kilpela on the Queen Dock one eveing this week. That's our nephew Sam Eberhard behind him. Sam is working as a deckhand this year on the Queen, the third and last of the Hancock Eberhard boys to work for us in the family business. That's the Queen IV in the background, of course. Special day-trip prices for the month of June are now in effect, just $31 (!!) for a day-trip over to Isle Royale during the whole month of June. Come on up and join in the fun. It's a great day, 3 hours over, 3.5 hours there, and 3 hours back. We'd love to show you this great American wilderness, along with a great boat ride across the world's largest body of fresh water.

My next shot is of the Queen IV in the distance coming in past the Habor Haus restaurant this week. It had reportedly been a fabulous day on the Lake this day, with calm seas almost the entire way. We love these days as much as our patrons.

The Queen IV Arrives in Copper Harbor

The season must be just about to begin, since the Isle Royale Queen IV has moved from Houghton to Copper Harbor for the start of the 2007 season on May 15. This is a shot of our two-year-old vessel by Captain Donald Kilpela, Sr. of the arrival a couple days back. By the way, I stole this shot from my Dad's blog "Circumnaigating." You will want to check that blog out. It not only has an interesting series of posts on the history of Isle Royale passenger ferry service out of Copper Harbor, the GATEWAY to ISLE ROYALE as it has been called for decades, but also the current series on my Dad's adventures in the oil tanker business. The blog can be found at:

A Poem Mentioning Isle Royale

If you know my blogs, you know that I write about literature and poetry on my Yvor Winters blog and, hence, you also must have guessed that I follow and study poetry. For the first time in my life, I ran across a poem that mentions Isle Royale in a national publication of some sort. The poem was published on Poetry Daily, a site I follow, and can be found at:

I just had to mention it. I won't give you my opinion of it or an interpretation. It seems pretty clear to me. But it was rather interesting that I stumbled across it.

Opening of the 2007 Season Draws Near

We're getting ready! Captain John and Captain Don Kilpela report that work has begun on preparing the Isle Royale Queen IV for the 2007 sailing season to Isle Royale National Park. Our superb new boat is currently moored on the Houghton waterfront on Portage Lake, about 45 miles from Copper Harbor, as the crow flies. Last week, there was a huge blizzard, one of the biggest ever (even for the Keweenaw), in the western Upper Peninsula that dumped 30-50 inches of snow, depending on location. My brother John says that the new snow has mostly melted. My daughter Miranda has been on the reservation phone up in CH most of the late winter and spring. Say hello when you're making your reservations. Here's a shot of the Queen IV from a couple years ago, heading out for the island on a gorgeous morning. Not long now until we begin repeating this scene.

Isle Royale's Moose and Wolf Populations Drop in 2007

The report on this year's winter study of Isle Royale's famed moose and wolf populations has been released. Things continue to go badly for the moose, and now the wolves, as would be predicated, have declined as well. The MTU news release on the report is attached as a comment to this post.

2006 Slide Show, Photo 18

I close this year's slide show with a shot of some of our passengers disembarking from the Isle Royale Queen IV in Copper Harbor. This was taken the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, 2006. Note our beautiful new pier. It was a good summer. I hope you're planning a trip for 2007. More to come on this blog besides the annual slide show as the spirit moves me.

2006 Slide Show, Photo 17

A shot along one of Isle Royale's nicest and easiest trails, from Moskey Basin to Lake Ritchie. It is always a satisfying moment when after a couple miles of fine hiking you finally see Ritchie come into view down the ridge east of the lake through the tall aspens that form stands all along the way. The view has changed a lot since my early days on the island, when I was a teenager in the early '70s. The forest up this ridge was denser and you couldn't see Ritchie in the distance, except for a very small glimpse. But the aspens have grown taller in the 30 intervening years and there have been other changes along this trail. I really enjoy this moment and always pause to savor it, and Lake Ritchie really is a beautiful place to visit at any time.

2006 Slide Show, Photo 16

In early September, 2006, a touch of fall had come to the high ridges of the island. That's not so strange, but there was more color than usual, at least in my memory. The splash of color along the Greenstone Ridge, the spine of the island, was brought about by the maples turning early in 2006. This shot was taken on a wonderfully cool, sunny late afternoon on the trail from Daisy Farm to Mount Ojibway. It's a nice trail that gives you just about every kind of terrain found on Isle Royale in a two-mile hike -- ridge, forest, swamp. And there is the reward of the view at the end, that great vista to be seen from the Ojibway Fire Tower.

2006 Slide Show, Photo 15

Oh what an evening it was! This shot was taken from the Tooker's Island dock one August evening, at about 10:00. That's Inner Hill Island in the distance and Rock Harbor to the right. Open Lake Superior is on the left, out of the picture. My Dad used to say always that one of the special moments on the Big Lake is when the moonbeams fall across the water. And here they are, caught on film. You can order this as a large print from me. I can even frame it for you. My daughter Miranda and I are going to be putting up an Isle Royale Store some time soon, with clothing and photos and other IR items.

2006 Slide Show, Photo 14

The M/V Sandy passing by on Rock Harbor. The Sandy is the touring vessel of the Rock Harbor Lodge. It makes trips to various locations, near and far, on the northeast end of Isle Royale. I've taken many trips on the Sandy over the years and have always enjoyed Captain Ron Jeddda's narrations. The Sandy also makes a few trips up and down Rock Harbor as a water taxi, though the Lodge uses other, smaller, faster boats for that service more often. They can reach locations farther out on the island with their fast boats.

2006 Slide Show, Photo 13

Along the Rock Harbor trail, late August. Here's a good look at harborside trail conditions nowadays on the island. You frequently come across long sections of trail that are criss-crossed with roots and dotted with rather good-sized rocks. Wear good ankle-high boots is my recommendation. This part of the RH trail is directly across from Mott Island and close to the old Siskiwit Mine, which is still a very interesting place to explore in the dense thickets surrounding the old mine shafts. The area has become increasing overgrown in the past couple decades, so it must look completely different from how it looked in the late 1800s, when miners worked along Rock Harbor. Rather hard to believe any longer that mining ever took place out here, so far have we come from the copper mining boom days of long ago.

2006 Slide Show, Photo 12

A thicket. Sometimes you want to go off trail to find some berries or inspect a patch of wild flowers or to get a wider view. And often as not you wind up working your butt off scratching your way through thickets like this one, on Inner Hill Island on Rock Harbor. The forests of Isle Royale are often daunting, mostly because of downed trees. The reason there are so many downed trees: the soil is thin, the trees don't put down deep roots, the island is exposed to heavy winds off Lake Superior, and, as consequence of these conditions, many trees, large and small, get blown down before their time and wind up creating difficult tangles in the woods.

2006 Slide Show, Photo 11

I promised to get back to the island's berry crop. Here's a shot of some of the wild blueberries that I picked one day in mid-August. The blueberry season was very short. It was just too dry. But the berries were excellent, large and abundant, for a brief time, as you can see from the photo. Berry season is always a favorite time for me and other members of the family, especially my brother Captain Don Kilpela, who loves Isle Royale thimbleberries, which come out near the end of August on the island. That's almost a month after the thimbleberries come out in force on the Michigan mainland.

2006 Slide Show, Photo 10

Two backpackers passing on the Rock Harbor Trail. It's been so dry the hiking was generally excellent on the island this past summer. The only problem was the dust. Hikers tramped on the ground without rain for so long that a thin layer of very fine dirt formed along many long stretches of trail. That's nothing to complain about, but it was certainly a little odd. I did a lot of hiking on my days at the island this year. I've been spending most of my time in my canoe in recent years, but I might try to get in a little more hiking since I enjoyed the walks I took so much.

2006 Slide Show, Photo 9

It was a somewhat dark and blustery afternoon in early September when I went down to the historic Edison fishery for a visit. The fisherman and his wife were gone to Mott for supplies, so I was there alone. Walking back to the visitor's dock to get in my boat, I stopped by the main house and found this patch of day lilies blooming by the back door. You never know when flowers will bloom on the island, and there are often surprises late in the season. Before I saw this shot, I had spent some time over at the Rock Harbor Lighthouse, which is close by, but I couldn't get my boat up on the stone beach there, as is my usual parking practice, because of the heavy seas rolling into Middle Island Passage.