Isle Royale National Park

September 29, 2010
The week before the 2010-11 school year began, eight of us ORCers started off the school year on the right foot, by backpacking in Isle Royale National Park, an island in Lake Superior.  We spent six days on the island, and backpacked nearly 40 miles.  The island is 50 miles long and 8 miles wide, and is one of the most isolated places in the United States—there are no cars on the island, and in order to get there, you have to take either a seaplane, or voyage for a few hours on a ferry from Copper Harbor or Houghton, MI, or northern Minnesota. Isle Royale is a paradise for any outdoor enthusiast or nature lover who can make the extra effort to get out there—compared to other national parks, the trip to the island costs a lot more, and requires a lot more planning.  But in the end, it is definitely worth it.

Being on the island is unlike any other backpacking experience I've had—rarely did we run into other backpackers, especially when crossing the island.  We climbed Mount Ojibway, the highest point on the island—you can see Canada!—and stayed at multiple campgrounds on both the North and South shores, including Three Mile, Daisy Farm, McCargoe Cove, and Moskey Baysin.  Other highlights included:  hearing wolves (Isle Royale is home to three wolf packs, and Michigan Tech has directed a research project looking at the relationship between the wolves and moose on the island for over 50 years; in fact, we ran into Rolf Peterson, the director of the program at MTU), enjoying the summer sun on the shores of the Lady (Lake Superior), and baha-ing over and around trees (there were gale-force winds the day before we were supposed to leave for the island, so we spent the first day and night in Copper Harbor, without electricity, and weren't able to get to the island until the following day, since the ferry was stuck there (to quote Captain Ben, our trusted ferry captain of the
Isle Royale Queen: "those dang ten-footers really annoyed me!")).  

The trip was an incredible way to experience the end of summer, before jumping into another long year at Lawrence.  When we went in early September, the leaves were already beginning to change color.  The trip was a reminder of how a week in the woods can both seem to last forever, like time has stopped, and also fly by.  And before we knew it, our days spent backpacking in the Northwoods, and nights under the clear, clear skies (never have I seen so many stars before!) were over, and we were back on the ferry, making our way back to LU.  Before I went to the island, I read statistics that said Isle Royale was the National Park with the least amount of visitors each year, yet the highest amount of returned visitors.  And now I know why.

Spring Break Recap

April 1, 2010

Canyonlands National ParkEric Frater

The trip I led went to Canyonlands National Park: Needles District. We spent 6 nights and 138 hours in the backcountry, camping in a different location every night except our first two nights in the Salt Creek Canyon backcountry zone. Our first night in Utah was spent at Dead Horse Point State Park where we explored some enormous cliffs that surrounded the entire park.

The first day in Canyonlands we had a short hike to the Lost Canyon 1 (LC1) designa...

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