2020 Trip: Isle Royale

July 26th-August 8th, 2019, Ages 14-17

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Located in the middle of Lake Superior, halfway in between Michigan and Canada, Isle Royale is the least-visited national park in the contiguous United States; however, it is also the national park with the highest rate of return. Stepping off the ferry, it’s easy to see why: the island boasts over 160 miles of hiking trails, beautiful rustic campsites featuring long docks over Lake Superior, healthy endemic moose and loon populations, and wolves! In fact, Isle Royale is home to the longest-running study of predator-prey system in the world. Though a wolf sighting is unlikely, there are plenty of once-in-a-lifetime sights and experiences that happen every day on the trail; some of the highlights from last year’s trip include:

  • Wild blueberry and raspberry picking (and the backcountry blueberry pancakes that ensued)!
  • Falling asleep to the sound of loon and wolf calls in the distance.
  • Post-hike “showers” with some Dr. Bronner’s and good ol’ Lake Superior water—not for the faint of heart.
  • An early morning visit from one of the resident campsite foxes. 
  • A pre-dinner wolf and loon talk from scientists conducting local research, complete with elk skulls and wolf bones.
  • Watching a pair of beavers build their dam!
  • Hiking through pristine examples of Northwoods ecology.
  • At least a dozen moose encounters (from a healthy distance) including some pretty cute calves.

Besides all that, what everyone agreed to be the best parts were: the community we built within the span of two weeks, the giggling fits and inside jokes, the tent bonding time, the hardships we overcame, and the personal growth each of us saw in ourselves. More than a few happysad tears were shed at the end of the trip. 

If you want to join us for the Crystalaire Adventure of a lifetime, sign up for this amazing trip!

Because of the physical demands of this backpacking trip, we highly recommend participants have either prior backpacking experience with trips lasting multiple days or an active lifestyle (we will be carrying up to 50 pounds a day for many miles with some elevation change). Additionally, we highly recommend hiking boots with ankle support and backpacks with a good suspension system.

Questions? More info? Shoot us an email or give us a ring and we’ll be happy to tell you more about it!

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