No lands left to conquer?

Friday, 19th July 2019; 5:43 pm - Location:

I’m not finished riding.

Riding the highways all the way around Lake Superior was going to be more aggravating and stressful than fun. And I’m not likely to add a lot of new territory to my map, because it takes increasingly long to get beyond it. Besides: riding in Michigan is the best. 🙂 I don’t have anything planned at the moment, but I will be doing another big ride.

In the meantime… one of the things I do regret about cutting short this most recent ride are the destinations I didn’t get to. The Apostle Islands have been on the fringes of my exploration for a while now. And I was looking forward to popping in for a few hours on Isle Royale.

I was tentatively planning a more substantial visit to Isle Royale in 2022, on the 20th anniversary of my first visit. But now I’ve decided to do it next year. I’ll leave the scooter behind, and just take the car across to Wisconsin on the Badger, check out the Apostles, then drive up the coast to Grand Portage.

I’ll take the Minnesota ferry across to Windigo on the west end of the island, as I’d planned to do this week. But instead of taking a 4-hour hike, I’m going to explore some substantial trails that I’ve missed in my previous visits: the Feldtmann Ridge Trail, the Island Mine Trail, and the Minong Ridge Trail. That’s at least 4 days of hiking, probably more like 6.

One of the reasons I was thinking of doing it in 2022 was to give myself time to get in better shape for it. I did a couple days of fairly easy hiking on Isle Royale about five years ago, but the Minong Ridge especially is pretty challenging, and I know I’d be unhappy trying to do it in my current condition. So I’m going to need to get started on training.

I’ll keep y’all posted as plans develop. I’m off to the gym.

Made it to Mackinaw

Monday, 15th July 2019; 5:14 pm

For the record: I made it across the Bridge to Mackinaw City, found the van where I’d left it, and loaded Flash on board. Next stop: home.

Last leg to the Straits

Monday, 15th July 2019; 4:41 pm

Rerouting the trip to avoid several long days of mostly-just-tedious-highway-riding didn’t mean I wouldn’t have any days like that. Today was that day.

US-2 runs the southern length of the UP and it’s nearly impossible to avoid taking it, because in some places it’s the only road from A to B. So even though I hate it, I had to ride it a little ways.

But as soon as I could, I left it. I turned north at Engadine (not to be confused with a recent Avengers movie) and rode Hiawatha Trail and Trout Lake Road instead. Much nicer.

So I made it safely to St Ignace. It’s early enough in the day to cross the Bridge, get the van, and drive home. And since the weather forecast for tonight and tomorrow is kind of rainy, I think I’m going to do that.

UP turn

Monday, 15th July 2019; 2:01 pm

Sometimes when the road takes a sudden turn, it turns like this.

(Photo taken yesterday.)

Kitch-iti-kipi

Monday, 15th July 2019; 11:30 am

There’s a big spring nearish Manistique, called Kitch-iti-kipi. I stopped there 10 years ago, but the rain had let up, so I detoured over to it for another visit.

The water flows out of the ground at a constant temperature, year round, creating a pool of very clear water, that flows off into Indian Lake. There’s a flock/herd/gaggle of fish who live in the pond at the spring.

The park service has a hand-cranked raft on a cable that visitors can take across the little pond. It has a roof, and it’s open in the middle, so you can look down and see the bottom without waves/sunlight interfering. It’s fascinating just to watch the fish, then as you get to the middle you see the bottom roiling as the water flows up through it.

Rainy morning in Fayette

Monday, 15th July 2019; 8:07 am

I was half awake when the rain started at 6:00 am.

The good news is that I practice universal precautions: I prepare the camp for rain any time I go to sleep or leave the camp, no matter how nice the weather. So, aside from leaving my wet towel hanging out on the scooter hoping for it to dry out overnight, I was prepared: the rain fly on the tent was set up, my boots and shoulder bag (where I keep my rain suit) were in the tent’s vestibule, and my jacket and other assorted gear were on the picnic table wrapped in the rain cover I bought for my big backpack. The only thing that got significantly wet were my socks, when I ran out of the tent to grab the towel. (It’s mostly dry. Which is important now.)

Not so good is the timing of this. If I’d known it was about to rain, I would’ve quickly packed the tent. I’ve done that in the past when it started to rain during breakfast. It’s a little counterintuitive to get rid of your shelter, but packing it would’ve kept the tent dry. Meanwhile, I’d stay dry in my rain suit. But the rain started quickly, and now the tent is wet (on the outside). Unless the sun comes out to dry it, I have to pack it wet. Ick.

And I’m in a dead zone for mobile service, so I don’t know how likely that is. I foolishly didn’t check the weather forecast for this area last night when I did have a signal, so I don’t know if this is a rogue rain cloud, or just what I have to expect for today.