For years we have been considering trailing our 16 foot Boston Whaler (which you may have seen at Isle Royale) to the Apostle Islands. It would be a very long haul, but (we were thinking) if the area is anything like Isle Royale, it might be worth it. Well, I’ll tell you, especially after reading your report in the last newsletter, I’m glad we didn’t waste the time hauling the boat up there. Even flying there had some serious limitations too; read on.
When my wife and a few of our daughters decided to go to Europe in June of 2007, I said fine, you all go put up with the airlines, but I am going to take the family plane and investigate the Apostles.
So, on June 12th and 13th of 2007, I flew from home (Bay City-James Clements Airport) to Madeline Island. The island has a good 3000 foot runway, but that is about all the good I have to say for it or the island proper.
Landing in late afternoon, I caught a ride from the airport to town with a kind fellow who happened to be there when I landed. He was doing some volunteer repair work at the field. If he had not been there, I would have had to walk, as the phone in the terminal building ( if you could call it that) did not work. The brochures I had read said the hotels would pick you up- ha ha.
So, I had thought that at Madeline Island I could rent or borrow a car, rent, borrow or charter a boat of some type, find reasonable accommodations, and in general get good picture of that the area had to offer. Unfortunately, I came up empty in all categories.
The very expensive hotel I was dropped off at by the kind fellow at the airport, took over an hour to check me in. The one clerk running the whole place was mostly busy playing with her computer. She couldn’t or wouldn’t tell me anything else that I needed to know about the area. The room they assigned me to was a hike down the block and her directions to it were lacking. Thank goodness I only had the standard ” remain over night” kit to drag along the dusty trail.
Because it was late afternoon, nothing was open except one very expensive restaurant and I have eaten better out of my backpack. The next morning I finally found a place to get breakfast, but that was not anything much better than trail food either. Having seen all I could on foot. I inquired back at the hotel about a ride to the airport. Again, a long wait, and finally a broken down car driven by a foreign student who didn’t know much English and who wasn’t sure about the way. But we did get there.
Again, the phone at the airport didn’t work , so I had to wait until in the air to get a briefing. Fortunately , the weather cooperated and the trip home was as good as the one there the day before. In flying business they say it is a good flight when you don’t get lost, don’t throw up, don’t get hi-jacked , and the airplane can be used again after landing back home.
So, I guess the purpose was accomplished. What might have seen, had I been able to get out on the water in the Apostle Island park itself, was aptly described in your latest newsletter. Aerial surveys, such as I did on that trip in June of ‘07 , don’t see the things like trail deterioration and dock neglect.
We continue to enjoy Isle Royale as we have almost every year for the last forty plus. Thanks to you and many others for the tips on fishing and fishing tackle, although don’t expect me to win any prizes in the contests. We just like Isle Royale for what it is. No place else compares.