fter a one year break from Isle Royale it was time to pay the island another visit and experience a
different part of the national park. This year we chose to hike the Minong Ridge from McCargo Cove
to Windigo. It was Tuesday, September 4, 2001 and we were eager to get started because this first
day of our trip would consist of approximately 15-16 hours of non-stop driving. To make the most
efficient use of our time and money we would have to catch the boat that departs from Grand
Portage, Minnesota. I picked up Ken at his house and we hit the road at 12:45 pm. We stopped for
awesome 3/4 lb. burgers and fries at Clyde's in St. Ignace just after we crossed the Mackinaw
Bridge and then continued our drive to Grand Portage.
Eventually we hit highway 61 which took us north through Minnesota toward Grand Portage. This
would have been a nice drive during the day because the road had many curves and followed the
shore of Lake Michigan, but it did not offer any interesting views in the dark, early morning hours.
We finally arrived in Grand Portage at 4:30 a.m., their time (Minnesota is one hour behind Michigan).
Grand Portage is a small town with not much to offer except an Indian-run casino/hotel, a fire
station, school, post office, several other small buildings and a few homes. At this point we pulled out
the map and attempted to find the boat dock and parking areas. The signs directing us to the dock
were not very helpful and we found ourselves making numerous trips back and forth down various
streets in an attempt to locate the dock. After about 45 minutes of searching, we noticed the small,
unlit sign pointing toward the dock and parking area. Turns out we had driven past this spot at least
twice but never saw the sign. We realized we would have to make friends with somebody on the
return trip because we would take the Voyager II over to Windigo but would be returning to Grand
Portage on the Wenonah and, unfortunately, the two docks were quite a distance apart -- definitely
not a trip we would want to make on foot. The 7:00 a.m. deadline for getting ourselves and our gear
to the dock was fast approaching so we found a parking spot on the hill overlooking the dock and
slept for about an hour and a half.
Miles covered today: Approximately 850
This page last updated on 02-25-2016 @ 12:23 PM