Sunday, September 23, 2012

Isle Royale 2012

Over Labor Day weekend, we made another trip to Isle Royale. It was awesome, again.

We took the "Big Blue Boat" (the Ranger III) out on Friday morning. It was a smooth trip. 5-6 hours on the boat always seems to fly by. Willow didn't get too antsy or anything. It's nice that she's able to run around. Here we are doing some reading.

We got off on Mott Island and met Seth after he got off of work. We stayed in his luxury condo again and he was as great a host as he was last year. We didn't spend quite as much time this year boating around and doing different things, which was not necessarily a bad thing. We stayed on Mott most of the time, and took several hikes to the little beach near Seth's house - he calls it the Algoma beach since it's where the Algoma shipwreck occurred (you can check out our Isle Royale post from last summer if you want to learn more about that - it's a crazy story). Here's Willow hiking on the way to the beach.

We did more fishing this year. Well, I didn't, but Seth and Josh did. Seth has a cool boat now called the Incredible Hull. It's bright green. We took 2 or 3 trips out together, and Willow and I just hung out on the front of the boat while the guys fished from the back. The boat has 2 big downriggers (I think that is what they are called? I am not too good at fishing terminology) that hang off the back. Our other fishing partner was Seth's neighbor's son, Birch. His dad was off the island for something, so he hung out with us a lot. I think he's about 9 or 10. We didn't mind at all, he is a really cool kid, pretty mature for his age. He knows a lot about fishing, and he was so cute and helpful with Willow. Here's a shot of Willow sitting on his lap. He was helping her hold the fishing pole.

Here's Josh with a lake trout he caught. We ate it for dinner - yum.

We had a full moon while we were out there,and while our little point-and-shoot camera couldn't capture just how beautiful it was, we had to post the pictures we did get. They aren't bad. Here's the first one - this was on the actual night of the full moon. We were out fishing when it was starting to get dark.

Although it's not like Mott Island is densely populated (uh, not at all), there was no shortage of little girls, which was nice for Willow. Here's Willow at Algoma beach with Birch's little sisters, Acorn and Zephyr. On this day, I hung out on the beach with Willow while Josh and Seth and Birch went snorkeling to the shipwreck. A little later, Birch's mom Azure came over with the girls,and then the guys came back so I went out snorkeling a little bit while they watched Willow. It was a beautiful day. The water was still so warm. Hanging on this beach with little kids is a little bit of a challenge; it's not a sandy beach.There are big rocks everywhere.

Willow had another chance to play with Acorn and Zephyr one night when the guys went out fishing alone, and Willow and I went over to Azure's place. Azure and I visited for awhile and the girls played. It's easy to be envious of their lifestyle out there. They live on the island from about May to October every year. No roads, no cell phones, no stress.

One day we took the Incredible Hull over to the main island and docked at Daisy Farm. We hiked up a couple miles to the Mt. Ojibway fire tower. Seth's other coworker Rick came with, along with his wife Val and their 4-year-old daughter, Violet (see, another little girl!) Violet is much bigger than Willow (I don't mean that in a bad way; she's just the size of your average 4-year old), and Josh and I were amazed to watch Rick carry her all the way there and back on his shoulders. Josh says his shoulders get sore after just mile or so of carrying Willow that way. But Rick's job (I think he's a marine biologist or something?) involves a lot of portaging of canoes, so I guess his shoulders were super tough.

I've visited this fire tower several times in my life, but this was the first time I ever got to go into the little room and platform at the top. Normally you just go up the stairs and there's a lock at the top so you can't get in. But of course Seth had the secret key. It was so cool. It was a very clear day too. You could see for miles and miles. Here's Willow and I on the tower.

We even signed the guest book inside.

We rested for awhile at the bottom of the tower and had snacks. Willow and Violet found a caterpillar. I love this photo! Shortly after this was taken, they got a little rough with it and unfortunately, it got a little squished. Fortunately, though, Josh was able to tell them it just wanted to go home to its mama and put it in the grass before they realized it was dead.

That night we (just me, Josh and Willow) camped at Daisy Farm instead of going back to Seth's. We stayed in the 3-sided shelter. We got one that was close enough to the lake where Willow could hang on the beach and throw rocks in the water and we could be back at the camp but still keep an eye on her. She literally spent about an hour doing that. She just loved it. Here's Dad with Willow, eating dinner at our campsite.

Willow happy on the beach at dusk.

Sunset number 2. This one was orange.

Here's the 3 of us sitting on the steps of our shelter.

Looking back on this blog, I realized there's not a single photo of Seth. He probably won't mind though; when we were out there, he had recently lost his prescription sunglasses, so as a back-up he was wearing those type of big plastic shades that fit over your glasses, like old ladies wear. Haha.

And, that's it. Sadly, we did have to leave and go back to the real world. We took the Queen back, and it was a choppy ride. Willow got seasick last year, so we were very grateful that this time, she fell asleep for most of the ride.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Houghton County Fair

Here are some photos of Willow at the County fair a couple weeks ago. Like I mentioned in the last quick post, the rides were definitely the best part. As she gets older, I hope that she's not banned from rides she wants to go on because she's so small (you know how some rides have height restrictions)!

This was definitely not "GAPS-legal". Yum.

Race car.

Whale. Josh got yelled at by the carny for touching the fence. He actually stopped the ride to come over and yell at Josh. Haha.

Here she is climbing up the ladder of the bouncy slide. This was the one last year where she climbed up but then was afraid to go down, and the carny had to go up and rescue her. This year she was all about it. You were only supposed to go down once, but she did it twice and then cried when we said she couldn't go again. 3 bucks for that!

Merry-go-Round. She said this was her favorite.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Willow on the Ferris Wheel

I have some photos of Willow at the county fair too. But it took me so long to get this  video uploaded, I ran out of time. I will post those as soon as I can.

I think we have a thrill-seeker on our hands. Willow can ride the roller coasters with me when she gets older. She loved every ride at the fair.