Cathy and I woke up at almost 7:00 a.m. to the sound of Mike creeping into the shelter to retrieve his food and cooking utensils. Great temps for snuggling down in the sleeping bag and we had all morning to get ourselves together.
After breakfast and packing up we walked up to the Visitor Center to kill time while waiting for the ferry, which was not due in until noon. I only wanted to do the walk once. I carried my loaded pack while wearing my yellow Crocs, a very stylish look. I thought my Crocs might get noticed, but as usual my Liberty hat drew all the attention.
At the camp store we scored pieces of apple pie (Jeff and I ate ours right away), then sat in the VC writing up notes about the trip and browsing through books and posters. Another camper came in to report a wolf sighting right outside her tent in the Washington Creek group camping area. The wolf population, currently around 25, is carefully monitored and any sighting is a very big deal.
Under the shelter by the docks an Isle Royale ranger conducted a program on the Park's moose population and winter ticks. His presentation was excellent for such a non-sexy subject and included audience participation where we drew “blood” from a jar with an eyedropper (water with red food coloring). I hope I don’t come back in my next life as a moose.
At last the ferry was ready to go and we waved goodbye to our unique adventures on Isle Royale, a place I will likely never see again because there are so many more awesome national parks yet to experience. The ride back was not as choppy and I snoozed a little down in the enclosed cabin.
Back at our vehicles, we got gas and began the long drive back down the Minnesota North Shore on Highway 61 to our ultimate destination, Little Sand Bay Campground near the Apostle Islands in Wisconsin. Mike was driving and I was riding shotgun again, listening to one of Neil’s CD mixes like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates…you never knew what you would hear next. Mike skipped tunes he didn’t like, such as “Who Let The Dogs Out?” and we loved “People Are Crazy.”
The drive was frustrating for me as we seemed to chase the other car from place to place. We stopped at Betty’s Pies (Minnesotans do love their pies) and then got separated looking for a restaurant in Duluth. Communication was breaking down because we were all tired and decisions were being made by a few and not getting passed on to everyone else. It didn’t help that cell reception was spotty. At Grandma’s Restaurant in Duluth we had a good meal and tried to regroup. By then it was dark and we had a couple of hours more to drive and a campground to find. The short version of the rest of the day is that I had a meltdown at the lack of communication (which I was also at fault in). I talked with Cathy and Kim later that night and set things right, because I know they are not doing anything intentionally, but they assume that Mike is always going his own way and do not realize that I did not want to be lumped into that mentality – just because I’m riding with him doesn’t mean I want to be left behind - a lesson for the future. Why am I writing this here? (1) so I remember this when I contemplate another trip and communicate more clearly, writing things down if necessary, and (2) to warn others that I can sometimes be the problem child in the group (to which Mike and Jeff can attest).
This day of traveling ended with setting up my tent very late, bedding down at 11:30 p.m., knowing that we had to be at the kayak outfitter’s place by 8:00 a.m. Are we on central or Eastern time? And is it raining again?
Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain. ~Author Unknown