Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spring Break 2009 and Isle Royale 1998

After having read a few Sarah Vowell books recently, I was inspired to organize a spring break trip to Colonial Williamsburg. I had this fantasy that a road trip to a major historical destination might inspire my teaching and/or facilitate the writing of my own Vowell-esque, hysterically observant essay. So, having an innate talent for list-making, I began the planning process. Dates, hotels, iternary - all selected. The problem was getting Bill on board. As much as I tried to convince him of the educational importance and star-making potential of this trip, Bill remained unconvinced. In fact, he even suggested that we start with Silver Dollar City and "build from there." The horror! In the meantime, I kept talking about calling to make the reservations for the Williamsburg trip when a colleague of mine said, "You know spring break is next week." Again, the horror! How did I managed to lose track of the calendar? I really have no clue. So, here I am, spring break week, blogging about vacations -- or the lack there of -- instead of enjoying one. And, as tribute to all those vacations not taken, I am revisiting some of my old vacation memories by finally scanning those old 35 mm film stills that I took before going digital. Here are a few photos from our hiking trip to Isle Royale (IR) in the summer of 1998.

This was an awesome week-long trip! We drove to Grand Portage, MN and took the 3 hour ferry ride to the island. Beautiful forest, beautiful lake, beautiful views. IR is a protected International Biosphere Reserve, as well as a National Park, so backpacking and camping etiquette is strictly enforced. It also meant that backpacking and camping were only permitted along designated trails and sites. What made this often grueling was that you had to hike the distance that the NPS told you to in order to get to the designated campsite for the night. Because of the ferry schedule, I think that we got an midday start the first day, forcing us to quickly high-step it to the approximately 7 miles that we had to do to get to the first campsite. We made good time on this nearly flat, mostly shaded trail so I was undaunted by the subsequent days hikes that called for hiking a few 9 and 11 mile stretches. At times, it was really tough hiking too--sandy beaches, rocky terrain, steep inclines. I think I cried at least 5 times the second or third day when we essentially had to hike uphill all day on loose, rocky paths, and little protection from the sun because we were out of the forested area. Miserable but so worth it in the end.

1 comment:

HistProf said...

I also tend to plan vacations that take advantage of our nation's great History: to date, my children and I have been to 32 of the 50 states: I am a bit shaky on 2 of those (I don't think layovers in airports should count!). It is our hope that we will be able to visit all 50 (some more than once, perhaps) by the time that the oldest leaves for college. I never cease to be amazed by the scope and depth of this nation. Last year, we took a 10 day trip to the Dakotas and the Badlands: it was inspiring. I always come back from such trips re-charged and energized to get in the classroom.