Feldtmann Lake to Siskiwit Bay
(Map at bottom of post)
and heavy rain woke us up at 5:30 a.m. By 7:00, the rain had stopped,
and loons were calling across Feldtmann Lake. Not wanting to get up,
we laid in the tent listening to our surroundings for
about an hour. We made oatmeal and
coffee for breakfast before packing up and hitting the trail at 9:30. We were disappointed to leave Feldtmann Lake without having seen a
moose, but we still had 7 days ahead of us and a lot to look forward
Feldtmann Ridge Trail parallels the south side of Feldtmann Lake for
about 1 ½ miles before arriving at
the base of the Feldtmann Ridge. A steep climb that ascends about 240
feet leads to the top of the ridge and views of Feldtmann Lake
from above. After the sweaty climb, breaking out on top of the ridge
was welcome. It was overcast and windy, and the cool air felt
wonderful. Hiking on top of the ridge is very pleasant, with
knee-high yellow grass surrounding
the exposed red conglomerate rock that the trail – and the ridge
itself – is made of. It is
interesting that this part of the island's rock is red, while the
Greenstone Ridge and other areas to the north and east are grey.
The openness of the ridge is a nice
change from the woods and the thick, high vegetation encountered on
much of this stretch.
(Map at bottom of post)
|Hiking on the Feldtmann Ridge|
|The Feldtmann Ridge Trail enters a white birch forest|
|Approaching the fire tower on the Feldtmann Ridge|
|Looking west from the fire tower on the Feldtmann Ridge|
We reached Siskiwit Bay at 3:30 p.m. The campground here offers 2 shelters, 4 individual tent sites, and 3 group tent sites. The shelter at site #5 was open, and we collapsed into it gratefully. I changed out of my hiking boots and into Crocs and didn't move for about a half-hour. Shelter #5 has a view of the bay and the standard picnic table out front. The day had become sunny and beautiful, and we were happy to be spending the next 2 nights here. Suddenly, trekking through all of that brush felt worth it.
Since our tent had been packed away wet after the morning's thunderstorm, I laid it out to dry in the sun, and we walked down the path to the bay to check things out and collect water. The path from the shelter curves through tall yellow grass before descending to the shore, where a community fire ring and a couple of picnic tables make a nice gathering area next to the dock. The beach here consists of smooth red stones and pebbles, and a breakwater made of boulders shields the dock from rough water. It is very quiet here, and I looked forward to waking up early the next morning to watch the sun rise over the east-facing bay.
|From the dock at Siskiwit Bay. The fire ring and picnic tables are on the shore between the dock and breakwater. Shelter #5 is at the top of the grassy hill at the edge of the woods.|
And then this happened:
|Left: Hanging out at the shelter picnic table. Right: An unexpected visitor.|
I stood up, thinking that it might not realize I was there. It seemed focused on the grass in its immediate vicinity, and it kept walking toward me. This was really exciting, but how close should I let it get? I knew it was wrong, but part of me wanted to just stay quiet and see what happened. The more sane part of me knew that would be inappropriate for a number of reasons. It took a few more steps closer, then I clapped my hands and yelled at it like I was scolding my dog for being on the couch. It sounded stupid to me, and the wolf was not very impressed either. It stopped walking and looked at me for a second or two, but it seemed unconcerned. Then it turned around and slowly walked away, turning left where the path forks off and leads back toward the main hiking trails.
Not wanting it to leave altogether before Craig had a chance to see it, I walked down the path and waved my arms to get his attention, while trying to keep track of the wolf's whereabouts. After a few frustrating minutes of Craig not understanding why I was waving frantically and not saying anything, he realized that there must be something to see and everyone walked up to meet me. The wolf was standing on the path a short distance away, it's coloring allowing it to blend into the grass nearly perfectly. We watched it as it looked around, observed us watching it, then turned and walked away for good. I took a video of it during this time, but the quality is very bad.
|Wolf track on the beach at Siskiwit Bay|
Back at the dock, we watched river otters swimming near shore. The couple we had flown with were camping here also, and they joined us at a picnic table where we traded hiking stories. Suddenly the fox appeared, and we watched its silhouette in the dark as it trotted around us for a few seconds before disappearing once again. Billions of stars shone in the black, moonless sky. It was going to be a cold night.