Like balancing over a water obstacle on a Japanese game show, you know it’s likely to be wet and miserable at some point on Isle Royale.
Overnight rain had hosed the tent fly and surrounding dirt pad with Lake Superior’s finest.
Nine miles away Chickenbone West offered no shelter and fire restrictions so that by the time we ascended the 1,000 or so feet of the Greenstone Ridge we had made plans to push on for McCargoe Cove on the island’s north fringe. Shelters (simple three-sided shacks) and the possibility of a communal fire pit would provide options to squeeze out the soak.
Dri-weave? In theory, these magic garments perform pretty flawlessly on a run or cycling jaunt. A steady downpour and waist-high grass guarantees that water will find a path around and into everything.
The fire tower on Mt. Ojibway might have been delightful in clear sunny weather, but a climb up to the locked entry cage only exposed to the stiff wind that reminded of each layer of wet clothing.
The entire 11-mile hike to McCargoe Cove revealed no moose or wolf (but plenty of scat), and passed only four other backpackers, minting the island’s reputation as one of the least visited national parks in the United States.
Our two tasks upon arriving: Drying wet gear in the shelter and asking the lone sailboat at the dock to share weather info on their radio.