When a visitor arrives at Windigo, a two to three hour ferry ride from Grand Portage, Minnesota, a park ranger greets him or her on the dock.Â A quick, fun, tutorial is provided on what is expected behavior while on Isle Royale.Â One of the first â€œrulesâ€ is to avoid feeding the wildlife.Â As the nice young ranger explained, â€œAfter October the park is closed for the season.Â If the guests have been feeding the chipmunks, squirrels, birds, and fox all summer, how will they know how to forage when left alone?Â Itâ€™s not like high fructose corn syrup grows on trees!â€Â He then went on to say if we were in desperate need to feed something, to feed him, a starving college student.
I started with resolve, I really did.Â But then we had leftover sweet potato biscuits made by my husband Â on the camp stove.Â â€œShould I put them in the garbage?â€ I said, knowing we would be taking our garbage with us when we left in three days.Â My husband cut his eyes towards the woods.Â â€œWhat if they fell out of your handsâ€¦ over there?â€ he said.Â I felt the devil on my shoulder.
Since there were only two biscuits, I placed them on what I began to call “The Magic Stump.” Â It was decayed and rather hollow in the middle.Â I figured if a chipmunk found the biscuits in the hollow, it was sort of like foraging, right?Â I mean, it wasnâ€™t in our campsite area, and it wasnâ€™t like I was setting a place at the picnic table for gosh sakes.
Within perhaps sixty-seconds, a chipmunk ran past me with a biscuit.Â Who knew they liked sweet potatoes?Â The next morning my husband and I set out a backpack with the items weâ€™d be taking for lunch as we hiked the Huginnin Trail.Â We then decided to fill our containers with fresh water from the available outdoor faucet at the other end of the camping area before heading out. Getting water was a small hike unto itself, but one we shared happily.
When we returned to our campsite a chipmunk, looking suspiciously like heâ€™d been feasting on sweet potato biscuits in recent times, was dragging our bag of trail mix into the woods.Â Fortunately the bag was twice his size and slowed him down considerably.Â High on biscuit sugar, the chipmunk was like the little engine who could.Â When he spotted us he pulled and tugged all the harder on our trail mix.Â The edge of the forest was soooo close.Â He thought he could!Â He thought he could!
My husband, fearless when it comes to mixed nuts and chocolate, sprinted him down and retrieved the bag.Â Little teeth marks danced across the plastic, which was a nice change from the big teeth marks we leave when weâ€™re hungry for trail mix.
From a nearby tree the chipmunk chittered vile chipmunk remarks at us.Â I smiled and knew Iâ€™d be leaving an offering in the magic tree stump that night.Â A determined chipmunk thief?Â Yep, the best part of my day.