Hiking with Parkinson’s part 6

Tuesday, September 7

Breakfast was coffee, breakfast bar, and dried apples. After breakfast we went over to the Lodge to see about the possibility of getting a room.  There was a bit of concern about what to do if we couldn’t check in because, according to the rules, we could only stay in camp one night, and because of my Parkinson’s I couldn’t Hike to the nearest campground and make it back by the time our boat left the next day. Therefore, we hopped to get into the Rock Harbor Lodge and I’d spoken with a Ranger about what would happen, eviction, fine, etc., if we couldn’t get into the lodge. He said we would work something out and not to worry about it.  

We walked over to the Lodge and were told to return after Five O’clock that afternoon to see if anything was available. We decided to leave our belongings in the shelter until we had an answer. The couple in Shelter number five, wanted to move into our shelter which had a better view.

In the meantime, we decided to go Hiking on the Stoll Memorial Trail to Scoville Point. The trail has interpretive signs which tell you about the various animals, plants, and human activity on the Island. For example, one sign points out a copper mine which had been dug out by the Native Americans long before any European’s came to this place.

We all had a sack lunch and our walking sticks, but no back packs and we thought it would be a lot easier to cover the entire four-mile route. We were expectant because there had been reports of a Bull Moose out on the point.

We left Rock Harbor and walked on the North trail which goes along Tobin Harbor. The path seemed quite easy with very few roots, rocks, or boulders to step over or around. We hadn’t gone far when an approaching couple began excitedly telling us about a moose encounter that they experienced. “There’s a bull moose about a half a mile ahead. Just beyond the first turn off trail that goes south.” the woman said. “You have to look to the right, deep into the woods.” her husband interrupted. “That’s right,” she said. “At first I wasn’t sure of we were looking at tree branches or Moose Antlers.”  “That’s because the moose is in the center of the thicket and, I wasn’t sure if he was lying down or over a hill.” he said. “Yes, yes, quite right,” she said, “All we could see was the top of his head and antlers,” “When you cross the path, go about fifty yards and you’ll see a pile of moose droppings,” he said, “continue on about ten yards past that and, unless he’s moved, you should see him.” “As big as life!” she exclaimed.

“Thank you for telling us, Michelle said.

“You’re so welcome!” they said in unison.

We came to the trail they told us about and Zach said, “Why don’t we take this trail south and then return to Rock Harbor? If we turn now the trail will only be a little over two miles.”

I was hoping to take the trail all the way out to Scoville Point.” I said. “According to the map it’s only a four-mile loop.”

“True,” Zach said, “But we’ve just finished the easiest part of the trail. Once you get near the Point you’re walking on boulders, which, because of the rain, high wind and waves, will be wet and walking on wet lichen is like walking on ice.”

“Zach’s right Dad,” Michelle said. “I fell twice up on the Greenstone Ridge, it really is as slippery as ice.”

“I see your point,” I said, “Let’s go see if Bullwinkle is still ahead and then we will come back and cross over.”

We went on until we came to the pile of moose droppings, which looked a lot like dark chocolate dipped cherries to me. Went beyond the droppings at least fifty yards, but didn’t see any moose, or branches that looked like antlers. I was tempted to bushwhack right into the middle of the thicket and spook the moose out.  Both Michelle and Zach acted like I had completely taken leave of my senses for even suggesting such a thing. Feeling like I had aged twenty   years in eight days, we turned around and took the safe way where the boulders are dry and the moose nonexistent.

 The path did, almost immediately, become more difficult with roots, rocks, boulders and lichen blocking the twisty, turning way. (They were right about keeping me safe, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.)  About halfway across, the south bound trail, we found something that looked like dog, fox, or wolf droppings. Absolutely no dogs, or other pets, are allowed on the island, so we knew it wasn’t from a dog. It seemed way too big to be from a fox. (Michelle took a couple of pictures, on with her finger beside it, and is going to attempt to find out what kind of canine the dropping came from.)

Most of the first section going west was walking over huge boulders. Following that the trail becomes difficult with roots and rocks doing everything they can to trip you. The final part of the trail is a series of board walks, which go through a marshy area with marigolds and skunk cabbage. However, before we got to the first of the boardwalks, I was suddenly out of energy and had to rest. As luck would have It, just a few feet from the place where I realized why I had become a tripping, stumbling, bumbling man, was a bench to rest on. We sat and talked and enjoyed the scenery, which included Raspberry and Tookers Islands.

Once my union break, (UAW 1776) was over, we took the boardwalks and were soon back at Rock Harbor. We stopped by the Lodge and were told to     go to the Guest Lodge and wait. The guest room was the first floor of a very old brick building. Inside were recliners, couches, rocking chairs and a game table. I fell asleep in one of the recliners, until someone from the Lodge came and told us that our room was ready. We were assigned room number thirty two which was on the second floor of building three.

Zach and Michelle went to the camping shelter and got our back packs.  The couple from shelter number five were thrilled to be able to stay in number one.  

The second-floor units do not have a balcony but we kept the window open both for fresh air and so we could hear the loons. The call of the loons was something that we heard a lot during our stay on Isle Royale, I wasn’t sure if I would  ever hear it again. Time will tell.

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