Isle Royale in Lake Superior

February 15, 2017


Greenstones,  Wolves, Moose, Thimbleberries, and the Isle Royale redfin lake trout

On the map, Isle Royale looks like the eye in the wolf’s head shape of Lake Superior with Duluth its snout and the Keweenaw Peninsula its mouth.  It is precious since there are few places left on this planet that have been preserved like this.  It is unique; some of the oldest rocks on this planet form Isle Royale, its plants and animals  and minerals.  There are copper mining pits on the Island where native Americans dug rich veins of copper long ago.

When I think of Isle Royale, I think of Eden, a place away from cars and the noise of machinery. There is no traffic on Isle Royale; only hiking trails.   The sounds of Isle Royale are of bugling moose, the silvery songs of northern songbirds, the lapping of waves on rocks and the quavering voices of loons.  Sometimes there is the slap of a beaver’s tail.  The resident pack of wolves are elusive and seldom seen.  We did not hear them at all.

My husband and I hiked the trails there and I’ll never forget the thimbleberries  higher than our heads along a trail.  We picked the large berries like none other I have ever tasted, copper color, tangy and delicious.

We found greenstones, Michigan’s semi precious stone.  We stayed on Isle Royale for a week and every day we took a different hiking trail.  We watched a diving duck teaching her young to dive.  We saw a fox near its den, and had a close encounter with a moose.   As we hiked, my husband Norm said, “I smell a moose.”  I didn’t believe him, but as we came around the bend, there it was, bigger than life, standing athwart our trail.  We kept a respectful distance and it casually strolled off.

We did not fish, but the rocks off of the island are the place where the Isle Royale redfin lake trout spawn as they have for millennia.  This is an endemic species and its good to know it is still returning to Isle Royale every year before returning to the depths of Lake Superior.

In my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes, I have a section devoted to this very special fish, the Isle Royale redfin lake trout.

 

 

 

 


I took a walk in the wooded dunes near Lake Michigan and saw these wildflowers: Dutchman’s breeches and trout lily.  This is the time of year to see these blooms.

wild flowers

wild flowers

Lake Superior

January 13, 2013


moose_633_600x450

I explored the rugged coast, clear tributary trout streams, and brooding power of Lake Superior as a child and have returned to this greatest of the Great Lakes from time to time. I have picked up agates in Grand Marais and visited waterfalls on the Keweenaw Peninsula. Some of the oldest rock on this planet is on the Keweenaw Peninsula and on Isle Royale where we, my husband and I, hiked through thimbleberries higher than our heads and heard the bugling of moose, then saw one standing directly athwart the trail we followed. My husband smelled it before we saw it. And then there it was, a solid wall blocking our path. My husband has hunted since childhood and his sense of smell is acute. We thought we might see the elusive wolves, but people seldom do. On the map, Isle Royale looks like the eye in the wolf’s head shape of Lake Superior with Duluth its snout and the Keweenaw Peninsula its mouth.

August 14, 2012


Hiking Isle Royale is a great experience.

The Dynamic Great Lakes Blog

Greenstones, Wolves, Moose and Thimbleberries

On the map, Isle Royale looks like the eye in the wolf’s head shape of Lake Superior, with Duluth its snout and the Keweenaw Peninsula its mouth. It is precious since there are few places left on this planet that have been preserved like this. It is unique; some of the oldest rocks on this planet form Isle Royale, its plants and animals and minerals. There are copper mining pits on the Island where native Americans dug rich veins of copper long ago.

When I think of Isle Royale, I think of Eden, a place away from cars and the noise of machinery. There is no traffic on Isle Royale; only hiking trails. The sounds of Isle Royale are of bugling moose, the silvery songs of northern songbirds, the lapping of waves on rocks and the quavering voices of loons. Sometimes there is the slap…

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Greenstones, Wolves, Moose and
Thimbleberries

On the map, Isle Royale looks like the eye in the wolf’s head
shape of Lake Superior, with Duluth its snout and the Keweenaw Peninsula its
mouth. It is precious since there are few places left on this planet that have
been preserved like this. It is unique; some of the oldest rocks on this planet
form Isle Royale, its plants and animals and minerals. There are copper mining
pits on the Island where native Americans dug rich veins of copper long ago.

When I think of Isle Royale, I think of Eden, a place away from cars and
the noise of machinery. There is no traffic on Isle Royale; only hiking trails.
The sounds of Isle Royale are of bugling moose, the silvery songs of northern
songbirds, the lapping of waves on rocks and the quavering voices of loons.
Sometimes there is the slap of a beaver’s tail. The resident pack of wolves is
elusive and seldom seen. We did not hear them at all.

My husband and I
hiked the trails there and I’ll never forget the thimbleberries higher than our
heads along a trail. We picked the large berries like none other I have ever
tasted, copper color, tangy and delicious.

We found greenstones,
Michigan’s semi-precious stone. We stayed on Isle Royale for a week and every
day we took a different hiking trail. We watched a diving duck teaching her
young to dive. We saw a fox near its den, and had a close encounter with a
moose. As we hiked, my husband Norm said, “I smell a moose.” I didn’t believe
him, but as we came around the bend, there it was, bigger than life, standing
athwart our trail. We kept a respectful distance and it casually strolled off.

We did not fish, but the rocks off of the island are the place where the
Isle Royale redfin lake trout spawn as they have for millennia. This is an
endemic species and its good to know it is still returning to Isle Royale every
year before returning to the depths of Lake Superior.

 



In a climax forest on a dune near Lake Michigan, the cry of wood ducks rings through the air. It sounds like a squeaky wheel. Look up. Wood ducks nest in the holes of trees. When it is time for their young to leave the nest, they leap into the air and land on the ground. I drew this picture of a wood duck about to leap. From the ground, they follow their mother to water. They are the most colorful ducks found in the Great Lakes region.


One of many waterfalls around the Great Lakes

Cascade River Falls in Minnesota’s North Shore along Lake Superior.

Read more about the Great Lakes in The Dynamic Great Lakes

Buy a new copy at bn.com


Even before the first wildflowers bloom in the wooded dunes of Lake Michigan, scarlet cup mushrooms appear among the fallen leaves.

Look for them soon. There are trails to hike and beautiful things to see on the shorelines of the Great Lakes.


Here is an important video about the coaster brook trout and what threatens them in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Lake Superior.


The Colors of Autumn Look Good Enough to Eat

Taking a drive or a walk in West Michigan right now is a tapestry of bright colors. Pictured is sassafras in the afternoon light. Soon the leaves will blow away. We have very strong winds from Lake Michigan. Read more about Great Lakes weather in The Dynamic Great Lakes.