Isle Royale Part 9 Washington Creek at Windigo to Rock Harbor
3 nights in Washington Creek at Windigo and Voyageur II Back to Rock Harbor
Here’s our driving route- Michigan Road Trip- Summer 2012
After hiking the last 20 miles of the Greenstone the day before, I woke up sore and starving! Everyone was still asleep in the shelter at Washington Creek Campground so I slipped out and walked the 1/4 mile trail to the bathrooms and general store. The store at Windigo is fabulous! I was able to buy boiled eggs and bagels with cream cheese for everyone and fresh hot coffee for Dave and I along with ice cold cokes and brought it all back to the shelter as a surprise. Everyone woke up and ate and we all were still buzzing from the hike the day before. Our friends had also made it arriving late in the night with the help of their head lamps. It must have been scary to hike through the woods in full dark but they made it!
Our time at Windigo was utterly relaxing. After laying out all our gear to dry on the roof of the shelter, we spent our days swimming and canoeing the water in the bay, playing cards and the Yahtzee game I bought at the Windigo Store and just had fun exploring the area. We also attended several wonderful programs put on by the park rangers. By the way, the weather had changed back to warm and beautiful and it didn’t rain again our entire stay.
From the deck at the store we could see the sea plane landing to drop off and pick up passengers. Also at Windigo we continued to see the wildlife Isle Royale is famous for. A red fox was spotted around the camp several times and loons were calling all around the lake. While canoeing in the harbor a bald eagle had flown right over us. We also were fortunate enough to get to see many moose during our time there. Several times we could see a cow moose with her twins across the bay from the ranger station. The rangers set up binoculars so we could see them better. And we even were lucky enough to be woken up to the sounds of water splashing right outside our shelter where a moose was cooling off in the creek. They are huge and it was wonderful to be able to see one up close.
Using the Windigo Store to supplement our meals, we all ate well. There was ice cream, chips, sandwiches, pizza and even beer to buy at the store. In fact, we bought so much I heard the combined sales from both my family and our new friends caused all the fruit and sandwich supplies to completely sell out! Finally, the day came for us to head back to Rock Harbor. The Voyageur II from Grand Portage would take us around the north end of the island and back to Rock Harbor, a journey that takes about 5 hours. It only runs this route three days a week so you need to plan accordingly if you are planning Greenstone Ridge hike. We were sad to leave Windigo as our time here had been wonderful.
The ride to Rock Harbor was beautiful and it was cool to see many of the northern camps as we dropped off and picked up several passengers at each. We also dropped off a few people and supplies at privately owned cabins which dot the shore. When we arrived at Rock Harbor, Dave left quickly to secure a shelter and we set up camp for the last time on Isle Royale as we would be taking the Isle Royale Queen IV the next afternoon back to Copper Harbor. What a trip it had been!