It has officially been a month of living in Isle Royale, which means four weeks of national park loving and thirty-one days of the isolation factor.
If you can’t tell by my previous posts and photography I am head over hiking boots for this wondrous place. Plants grow on the island that otherwise thrive in completely different latitudes and the Loons, Magnolia Warblers, and White Throated Sparrows constantly compete for the loudest tune.
Nevertheless, I can’t shake this feeling of lonesomeness.
Now that everyone has had time to learn names and establish friendships the vibrancy of the new is calming down. My favorite part of working the lodge office is that I get to see every guest and every employee every day, but this also means that I get to hear all of the park and employee drama (and I am not a fan of drama — with the exception of films, of course). I’ll spare y’all the details, but intoxicating my work environment with continuous gossip has challenged my Hallmark optimism.
One of the reasons I have been so thrilled with my summer placement is the remoteness of its location. Similar to Isle Royale, I also live a solitary life: I have never fit into one particular clique of people and I do much better with one-on-one conversations that I do in group settings. One of the unique qualities of Isle Royale, though, is that the majority of its workers are this same way. Nearly all of my new friends have a similar way of thinking as I do, which is likely the reason I feel so at peace on this island.
Speaking of feeling at peace, I recently lived one of the perfect days. My friend and I decided to take full advantage of our day and a half off work and portage from Rock Harbor to Belle Isle and back. Portaging is no easy task: you have to carry the canoe on your shoulders through hiking trails until you reach the next stretch of water to paddle across. Rather than looking at this expedition as a struggle, though, we chose to view it as a challenge worth enduring. He carried the vessel as I carried the paddles and lifejackets and we both agreed that it made the trip that much more beautiful. Almost half of the beauty of camping on Belle Isle is the journey to get there.
Once we made it to our campsite we stationed our shelter, explored the immediate area, and bushwhacked to the most northwestern point in order to catch the sunset. From our rocky perch we also located a freighter on the Canadian side of the water border and were mesmerized by the fog rolling into Amygdaloid Channel. I think we sat on that rock for an hour without speaking a word — we both understood that what we were watching was too beautiful to interrupt.