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The Spirit of Isle Royale, Part 5: Saying Yes to Adventure

TV6′s Elizabeth Peterson spent a week on the island experiencing the sights and sounds.
Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 7:40 AM EDT
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ISLE ROYALE, Mich. (WLUC) - “Going to Isle Royale, sharing the experience with all of you,” said TV6′s Elizabeth Peterson, “bringing a place not easily accessible to your living rooms, it’s meant the world to me. Isle Royale is remote, it’s wild, it’s pristine and untouched. It’s as unique of a place as I’ve ever visited.”

For the last leg of their eight day backpacking trip Peterson, along with Discovering Host Kristin Ojaniemi, Cindy Baker and Teal Rintala explored the southwest side of the island before heading back to Rock Harbor and catching a ferry to Copper Harbor.

Windigo is special, it is full of life and excitement. The people they met here, they found to be extraordinary. Not just because of the research they are doing but because of their willingness to share it with all of those who visit Isle Royale. For the researchers, it is part of the experience. And for Peterson and her crew, it made them feel welcome and help them understand the island better.

As they took their day hikes around Windigo, they felt like they saw things they hadn’t before. They were quieter, each step more deliberate. And they were rewarded, not just with blooming flowers and enchanting forest views, but also with their first moose sighting. The moose seemed to watch them with the same curiosity as they had with her. She was one of around 1,800 on the island. They saw another the next day, running from their sounds. And they saw others, happening too quickly to even grab a camera.

“My expectations,” admitted Ojaniemi, “I was going to see a lot of moose, unfortunately we only saw a couple and that was them running off.”

And that is something the group found here, moments too special and too beautiful to even attempt to capture, knowing they could never do them justice.

“My favorite moment was the surprise of the super moon and being able to watch it rise and come up on the horizon was pretty beautiful,” said Baker. “I want to explain and tell everybody about it when I get home, but there’s not even a group of words that can capture how beautiful that was, it was a beautiful, beautiful moment.”

Moments they will hang on to and reminisce about for years to come and that includes the challenging times as well.

“I really thought I was going to have a heat stroke when we were hiking to Mount Ojibway, said Ojamiemi. I don’t really do the heat very well.”

This is day 6,” added Peterson, “And this is probably my least favorite part of the trip, these boat rides.”

But we all did it, we pushed through those uncomfortable moments, and we are better for it. Lessons only to come from a trip like this, ones only found in nature.

Rintala said, “It’s magic here, it’s like nowhere else I’ve ever been to. It’s totally untouched wilderness.”

By day eight, they all felt ready to go. And yet, they laughed knowing they would happily stay a few more days. They all settled on the fact, they will return.

“Oh, I’ll be back,” Baker said with a smile, “I don’t think you can come and not come back.”

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