Isle Royale National Park - Day 4 West Chickenbone Lake to Three Mile 12.1 miles hiked
“My name is Gabrielle and I am invincible.”
Someone named Brian Tomasetti taught me this mantra when I was still in treatment. Nearly twenty years later, I still carry it with me and when I remember to say it, it charges my entire day. We decided this morning to hike an extra four and a half miles past Daisy Lake, our intended campsite and on to one named Three Mile. Let’s push ourselves. Let’s move! I woke up this morning, put on my pack which gets lighter everyday and said my magic phrase.
Here, you try it: “My name is ______ and I am invincible!” Doesn’t it feel great?
Yesterday was by far the most beautiful day on the island. Bright sun. No people. Six moose. SIX. Today, more people and no moose sprinkled the trails but our day was equally excellent. Could it be that we are both feeling fit? Getting used to the routine of waking up, packing up camp, hiking, finding a campsite, pitching the tent, rolling out the bags, finding and boiling water, starting dinner, watching the sun set, making tea, crawling inside the tent, doing a crossword puzzle, bundling up for the night, then waking up to repeat the process?
Possibly. But as always, as soon as one feels overconfident in his or her abilities and skills, one spills the entire batch of tortellini, ruining the one hot meal of the day and adding about a pound of wet soggy material to one’s pack. Leave No Trace. Pack it in. Pack it out. Wet, soggy, inedible, dirt covered tortellini rendering one to hungry tears.
Did I say one? I meant me.
But the tortellini incident was yesterday. Today is a new day and did I mention, my name is Gabrielle and I am invincible?
Today’s hike took us past more forest, over some rocky climbs and through mud where my head-down hiking stance spotted a wolf print. It also led us over long, 10-inch wide boardwalks built across otherwise impassable marshes. When the setting sun highlighted mist and steam rising from the shallow grassy waters Michael, who is neither a fan of water nor bridges of any kind, uttered this memorable line:
“This is some Lord of the Rings type sh*t.”
You know, the part where Gollum pulls Frodo out of the murky waters filled with the souls of the dead and haunted? Yeah. We were balancing ourselves over that. Somehow, my pack felt much heavier and my steps more uncertain after my darling husband shared the visual. Thanks honey.
We made it to Three Mile unscathed and found a lovely campsite awaiting us – the first one with shelters. The shelters are good sized, three-sided wood structures with a fourth wall covered in screening. And there was one open and ready for us to use. Strange how three walls and a roof can seem so luxurious.
This campsite was also the first that we shared with the island’s other visitors – fishers and canoers. There is a cement pier facing Rock Harbor and a small sandy beach which makes this campsite a favorite among water enthusiasts. A few shelters down from us, some fishermen were clearly enjoying their pre-June 1st stay. Beginning June 1st, campers are limited to a one-night stay at the more popular sites. Before June 1st, no rules apply. We spotted at least two coolers, camp chairs and a huge Coleman grill. These guys were definitely comfortably rooted.
As were we, once we heard that we were facing 30-mile an hour winds and a huge storm over the next two days. We staked our claim to the last free shelter and thanked heaven it was May 30th. Tomorrow, we’re not moving.