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?