Isle Royale Part 2 – Paddle-Run-Paddle

(also see part 1 – Getting to Isle Royale)

Photo Aug 12, 8 21 36 AM
Coffee on Lynette’s deck before our day

After the best night of sleep in a LONG time, followed by coffee and a quick breakfast, Lynette and I packed our running gear in dry bags, and walked from her place across the island to set out on our adventure.

Net introducing me to kayaking. Ours would be a short paddle each direction, but she has done multi-day trips with this thing.
Lynette totally catered to me; carried the kayak into the water, stood over it so I wouldn’t capsize while trying to get in and out; and she completely eased any hesitation I had.
Following Lynette away from our island towards the big one

Our goal was to beat the Ranger III before it came back from Rock Harbor to Mott, so as to avoid the wake. It worked, and we were treated to glass-calm waters.

Photo Aug 12, 9 08 48 AM

Once on the big island, we stashed the boats and transitioned into running gear.

boat shoes to running shoes

As Lynette had warned me, nearly every backpacker we met looked stunned to see us running- they thought we were studs, and told us as much. What they didn’t realize, was how easy running was compared to what they were doing; we were carrying minimal gear- just water and a few calories, not to mention the fact that we were sleeping in real beds at night with indoor plumbing, electricity, a kitchen, and so on. But, we enjoyed the praise and didn’t correct them.

Lynette crossing a marsh

It was pretty special to have a running tour of the island with The Island Ecologist as my guide. Lynette pointed out flowers, plants, and my favorite, raspberries and thimbleberries, which we gobbled up along the way.


She also introduced me to some of the island’s carnivorous plants.


Insects beware

From the boat, we followed the trail along the lake about 3 miles to Daisy Farm campground (a walk-in or boat-in rustic campground), then continued up to Mt. Ojibway (1143′ above sea level), which has a fire lookout to climb (and guess who had a key?)

Lynette looking for moose
so many lakes

From Mt. Ojibway, we followed the Greenstone trail to Mt. Franklin. Along the Greenstone Trail (the 42-mile trail that crosses the entire island), Lynette pointed out a plant that is endemic to Isle Royale- it only grows in one, 8-foot long section, on this one part of the island.

the trail was slightly overgrown in places
Mt. Franklin, photo taken by backpackers, who thought we were pretty cool
Looking out towards Canada from Mt. Franklin
Lynette running down trail from Mt. Franklin

From Mt. Franklin, we went down to the Three Mile Trail which eventually led us to the water.

The trails, although faint or overgrown at times, were very well marked at intersections.


a perfect spot for moose to hang out, but we didn’t see any here
back down along the lake, headed towards our boats

We reached the boats in about 3 hours- our loop was 12.2 miles with 1,234′ of gain, and lots of stopping and exploring along the way.

After the run, the water felt so good

Photo Aug 12, 12 31 32 PM

Lynette leaving the big island
that’s me

We put the boats away and headed back to find our family.

trail map
We took Siskowit Mine to Daisy Farm to Mt. Ojibway to Mt Franklin to Three Mile and back down to complete the loop.


Next up – Isle Royale Part 3 – where are the moose?

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