On Tuesday we boarded the boat for Grand Island. We rented mountain bikes and headed out on the History Loop which was 12 miles long. We soon discovered that the interior of the island pretty much looks like this:
We stopped at the Stone Quarry Cabin and took a few pictures behind it at the shoreline. We saw an albino red squirrel on the road, and stopped to talk to some rangers who were stocking wood at the campsites and putting a new coat of paint on the signposts. We asked about the possibility of seeing black bears but they said they've had a dry summer and there isn't a lot of food for them on the island and no one has seen one for a week.
We decided to cut across the island toward Echo Lake and headed uphill...and uphill...and uphill. I got much farther than I thought I would before having to dismount and push our bikes the rest of the way. We were very happy when we finally started to coast down toward Echo Lake. The lake itself was unimpressive, and we took the next turn toward the west rim of the island. The scenery stayed the same except there seemed to be more mosses and lichens growing around the bases of the trees. We saw a sign for Mather Beach and were thrilled to stop and give our sore seats a break and have our lunch. The beach was small but we had it all to ourselves and I really liked the sandstone patterns just underneath the water at the shoreline.
|Mather Beach sandstone at water's edge|
We continued on our downhill course toward the dock, the trail getting bumpier and bumpier, and started to pass others for the first time, some loaded up with tenting gear on their backs. We made a brief stop at Water Fall Beach, only to discover there wasn't a waterfall to be found! When we got to the dock we learned we had missed the last boat back by about 25 minutes and there wouldn't be another until 3:30.
We decided to walk around the shoreline for awhile to pass the time and find a place to rest. It didn't take long before we decided to move along, so we took off our shoes and waded along the west rim of the island.
When we returned to the dock we still had an hour so we sat on a bench to wait. While waiting a hawk flew overhead, then an osprey, and then...a bald eagle! I jumped up, grabbed my camera and ran off in hot pursuit!
Eventually we made it off the island, and decided we were too tired to make dinner so went back to the Brownstone Inn. Dinner was good, but not great, and we decided we wouldn't go back again because while it was nice, it was a bit overpriced for what we got.