Friday, January 17, 2014

One of my favorite photos and memories


This is one of my favorite photos of my sons Sean (on the left) and Steve.

I shot it at sunrise on a late June morning in 1976 on a backpacking vacation to Isle Royale National Park.

Isle Royale is the largest island in Lake Superior and is probably America’s least-visited national park because it’s only accessible by seaplane and ferry and is open from April 15 through Nov. 1. There are no roads or motor vehicles on the island and the last time I checked it has no year-round residents, other than wildlife which includes wolves and moose.

My first wife Diane, who is the mother of my sons, and I visited Isle Royale the previous summer and wanted to share the experience with the boys. We flew out from Houghton, Mich. to Rock Harbor, a small cluster of buildings on the east end of the island and took the ferry back.

We all slept in a big ripstop nylon tent that I sewed a few years earlier, working with a kit from Frostline, a Colorado company that made sew-it-yourself kits for tents, sleeping bags, down-filled jackets, 60/40 mountain parkas and other stuff. And we survived for a week on freeze-dried camping food as we hiked from one campground to another along Moskey Basin on the east end of the island.

We had encounters with moose and other wildlife and did a day hike up to a fire tower on Mount Ojibway along the rocky backbone of the island. The tower was manned in those days, but now it just houses a bunch of weather recording apparatus, the National Park Service having decided it is impractical to try to fight a forest fire in such a remote location and, therefore, pointless to maintain a fire watch in the island’s two towers.

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