Park Number: 53/59
First Visited: August 20, 2016
For being my fifty-third park, I feel a damn fool. A tourist. We’ve brought too much, fine for car camping, but we are loading bag after bag onto this boat. I call it our "shame tour," Isle Royale National Park, a shelter amidst Lake Superior.
The Ojibwa word is “Minong,” translated “a good place for berries.” I agree. Raspberries in my pancakes. Blueberries too. Thimbleberries every patch I pass, which is often. There’s a chart in the visitor center, crude drawings for identification, emojis letting you know what each fruit will do to your face: smile, dizzy, sad. Do not eat the sad fruit. This is baneberry—red or white—bluebeard lily, sarsaparilla. Foxes eat the latter, you find it in their scat, and I find a fox in my camp when I wake to piss. We stare, and it moves closer, investigates, runs. I wait up, in vain, another half hour for a return. Moose come too, less coy, in the Washington Creek to feed. Everyone is moose crazy out here and it’s the precursor to any conversation: Seen one yet? I don’t care. I’m here for the berries. And every time I go picking I get the opposite of excitement: Too much work for me. That’s fine. More for me. More for the foxes.