Over the past several days my husband, my daughter, her boyfriend, and I went camping at Isle Royale National Park. It is a magnificent cluster of islands keeping a respectful distance from Minnesota, Michigan, and Canada. In other words, it is pretty much in the midst of Lake Superior and doing just fine, thank you. The ferry trip from Grand Portage, Minnesota, to Isle Royale takes about two hours in the newer, smaller boat. The ride itself is enjoyable with a stop to view the sacred Witch Tree and the sunken remains of the shipwrecked steamer America.
Once the ferry arrived at Windigo, we registered and headed off to find an open shelter. The National Park has a number of rustic “lean-to” type structures that have three wooden walls and one screened wall opening towards Washington Creek. The creek offers lovely views and lovely sounds. The hope was to have a moose venture by as it enjoyed a bit of cool water and tasty swamp grass. (It has happened it the past, but didn’t this time. But I digress.)
Here’s the lesson concerning age…
The four of us decided to hike the Huginnin Cove trail which is listed as a 9.7 mile loop, but considering how often we veered off the path to eat the lush, wild, blueberries, thimble berries, and raspberries, it was probably closer to 12 miles. With red and blue smears on our faces and sticky fingers, we hiked the loop in about six hours. Admittedly there were stops for the aforementioned berry eating, photographs, and a lunch stop on the shore of Lake Superior. Oh yeah, we stopped to catch our breath too. A lot.
When we returned to our shelter we all talked about the next day’s hike on the Greenstone Ridge Trail. We were thinking perhaps another ten miles tucked under our belts would be about right. My husband, the oldest in our group, thanked us for walking a bit slower to accommodate his pace and hoped he hadn’t frustrated us. We assured him we were walking as fast as we wanted too, which was true.
The next day dawned all pretty and sweet. As my husband readied for the hike, I eyed my swollen toes covered with milky skinned blisters and begged off. My daughter said she was sore too—her bad soccer knees—and what not. Her boyfriend had turned his ankle and thought it might be best to rest it for a while. My husband left as we lounged and lazed. Later that afternoon I hobbled to the trailhead to meet my nimble husband. I was so proud of him as he came ambling confidently down the trail wearing a backpack and a big smile. Sure, he was the oldest of our group, but it turns out he had the most resilience and pep. Upon reflection, I learned yet another lesson about the wonders of aging and attitude.