I have read this forum for many years and it is my way of getting my Isle Royale fix. I have read posts about ISRO getting in your blood and during my first trip in 2000 the mosquitoes infected me.
My grandfather who was from the Keeweenaw Peninsula always told my father he would take him to the island someday. That never happened and my grandfather never made it there, despite living his entire life only 45 miles away.
My brothers and I surprised my father in 2000 with a trip on the Queen and the 5 of us spent 3 days in the Rock Harbor area. I was infected.
In 2004 I took my wife and 3 kids (ages 16, 14 and 11) on a 8 day backpacking trip from Rock Harbor to Chippewa/W. Chickenbone and back. My daughter, the oldest, said she never wanted to do that again, but in the last few months she said she would like to go back.
In 2008, now living in Phoenix, Arizona, my wife and youngest son (now 15) flew to Houghton and then to the island for a 9 day backpacking trip from Rock Harbor to Chippewa/McCargoe/Windigo.
My wife and I are contemplating a 30 day backpacking trip on every trail on the island in 2012 and I dream of the island, routes, solitude and weather constantly. This forum gives me my ISRO fix. Darn mosquitoes!
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I've noticed a lot how people who have been to IR and later moved away are still drawn to the island. It really makes me appreciate the place as one of "those places" that will forever stick in your head...and you've detailed some of the reasons it does exactly that.
Growing up in the Keeweenaw and not making it to Isle Royale is interesting, but I can see how it happens. When it's only a stone's-throw away, you can easily adapt the "eh, I'll get there next month" attitude, until eventually the whole endeavor slips away.
Welcome to the forums, and please continue to join our discussions.
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