Greetings from Isle Royale National Park

Treasures come in all shapes and sizes but the treasure experienced within the heart has no limits as to the wealth that it provides.

It was less than a week prior to leaving on our backpacking trip to Isle Royale when my teenage daughter declared that she was not interested in going on the trip with me. Dumbfounded by her response I looked at her plainly and said, “OK, then I am going by myself”. I do believe my response surprised her even more than her response startled me. A couple of days later, either out of pity or concern, my daughter changed her mind to join me on the trip, unknowingly, changing her life forever as a result of her choice.

After months of preparation and planning my daughter and I ventured off on our first backpacking trip into the wilderness alone. With only each other to depend on, while carrying minimal supplies, we soon began to experience the world like we had never done so before.

We hiked for miles along the Greenstone Ridge and surrounding forest, among the wolves and the moose. We laughed all the while making mistakes and learning lessons along the way. Finally, sharing the pathway with hundreds of miniature toads, we found our limit of pain, fatigue, hunger and irritability. Stopping was not an option. We dug in our heels and discovered new levels of perseverance we never knew existed.

I never promised my daughter this would be a fun trip but I did promise her it would be memorable one. And a memorable trip it was. Afterward, I asked her how she liked our National Parks adventure; she gave it a score off the charts. It was the most loved and memorable trip we both had ever been on.

In the weeks that followed I noticed a change in my daughter that I had never seen before. This young woman had transformed in confidence and courage all in a matter of days, discovering new levels of self-awareness that will grow within her for a lifetime.

Being among the wilderness of Isle Royale National Park we did not find ourselves lost rather we found parts of ourselves that we did not know existed and that is a treasure you can’t put a price on.

Beth A. Oliver

Isle Royale National Park

This rugged, roadless island is the largest wilderness area in Michigan. See moose, beavers, foxes, snowshoe hares, loons, osprey, bats, and other animals without the interruption of cars and other aspects of modern civilization. Try hiking sections of the popular Greenstone Ridge Trail, the longest and highest ridge on the island and access point for many of the campsites, to experience a cross-section of the park’s untamed habitat.

State(s): Michigan

Established: 1931

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