Isle Royale National Park: Final Night on the Island


As we neared Rock Harbor, we came across Smithwick Mine from the mid-1800s. Like Siskowit Mine, it’s a huge pit from which the miners extracted copper.

We also got to see the ferry, Ranger III, which transports visitors from Houghton twice a week. It is the largest piece of mechanical equipment owned by the National Park Service.

Adam, Sean and I finally showered for the first time since we left Copper Harbor (Phil had gotten in a shower earlier in the afternoon before our day hike).

We dined in the lodge’s dining room, lake trout, pork medallions, blueberry cobbler, apple dumplings, and a bottle of wine. Afterward, Sean, Adam and I walked back out onto the America Dock to watch the sunset over Rock Harbor.

We still hadn’t seen a loon up close, so we grabbed our jackets and headed over the low ridge to the sea plane dock in Tobin Harbor to see if we could spot one before the light failed completely.

We heard them calling, but in truth it was too dark to see them. The sky, though, was well worth the walk.

On the way back to the lodge, we got to see Ranger III all lit up.

We packed our things before we went to bed, separating the two day packs out from our backpacks. We’d leave our packs in the room in the morning to be collected by staff and loaded aboard the ferry. And we had boating plans for our final morning, weather permitting.

We slept with our room’s window and back door open, with the sound of Lake Superior waves splashing against the rocks below.

Next morning dawned with calm waters and mild winds. I slipped out of our room onto the long running balcony of our lodge building before the others got up to catch the sun.

Image: Sean M. Santos
The lodge building that held our room
The mail went out that morning on Ranger III

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