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Slate Islands - Fall 2011
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Author:  ScottW [ December 8th, 2011, 11:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Slate Islands - Fall 2011

Once again this past fall we visited the Slate Islands ... this is our fifth fall and our caribou friends did not disappoint us.

There are two main guys that we've been following ... and that have become accustomed to having us around at that time.
We've named them Buddy and Dave ... Buddy because he's the first guy that we were able to approach ... and Dave the destroyer for his testosterone fueled antics.

The guys have grown a lot since we first met them in 2007 ... here's the evidence.

First Buddy ...

Then Dave ...

To give you an idea of just how big they are here are a couple of pictures taken in our campsite while the guys visited.





The guys are so comfortable around us that they sometimes lie down right in our campsite.



Dave actually stretches out and has a real snooze sometimes ....


It has become a fairly regular occurrence for one of the guys to come to our campsite at night and fall asleep within about 20 feet of our tent ... don't let anyone tell you that caribou don't snore!!

We've never heard of this happening to anyone else nor have we seen any closeup pictures of caribou lying down.
It's something we just didn't expect to see.

If you travel to the Slates and camp on the interior waterways you'll most likely encounter Dave. He seems to have a pretty big range and he'll almost certainly drop in to see what's to eat.
Please remember .... fruits and vegetables only ... he really likes carrots.

So, head up there with the kids this summer ... they'll have the trip of a lifetime.


Author:  Erhard [ December 9th, 2011, 7:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Slate Islands - Fall 2011

WOW! Thanks for sharing!

PS: you guys have figured out that retirement thing really well - you do things that matter!

Author:  Carls [ December 9th, 2011, 12:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Slate Islands - Fall 2011

Nice pics. The Slate Islands are on my to do list. Did you use a tow to the islands or did you paddle the distance? Do any fishing?

Author:  ScottW [ December 9th, 2011, 3:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Slate Islands - Fall 2011


We've always used for our transportation.

Not that you couldn't paddle the 12 km or so on a good day ... but remember that this is Lake Superior.

We've been going in the spring (May 10 or so) right after ice out and in the late summer (Sept 6 to 22) so we need a tent that will support a wood stove as those times can produce some nasty weather.

Even if you choose to go in the summer I'd advise using a charter. It just makes life a lot easier.

The charter guys can get out and back in weather that would keep you cooped up ... and bad weather can last for days ... we were stuck out once for five days with high winds that even the charter guys wouldn't tackle.

Bring about 10 pounds of carrots and put a few pieces near your campsite ... or where you want to see caribou.

It is possible to feed some of them out of your hand ... but remember that these are wild animals ... keep a tree between you until they get used to you ... and let them come to you.

Fishing for lake trout is usually pretty good ... but we don't spend much time at it. We're usually out trying to get pictures and video ... see the Caribou Charters web site for a good selection.


PS: Doug Caldwell ... a good friend of ours ... and the operator of had a stroke a while back so it's doubtful that he'll be in the charter business this year.
However, check out the web site ... we'll post alternative charter operators there.

Author:  ScottW [ December 9th, 2011, 3:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Slate Islands - Fall 2011


Retirement has been a wonderful thing for us.

I vowed early on that I was going to take those retirement funds and do the things that we just didn't have time for during our working years.

I also vowed to stay in good shape so that that I'd be up to the tasks involved in multi-week excursions.

The other thing that makes a huge difference is having a wife that loves these things as much as I do.


Author:  Erhard [ December 9th, 2011, 3:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Slate Islands - Fall 2011

:thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:

Author:  Oldand Fat [ December 11th, 2011, 8:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Slate Islands - Fall 2011

Enjoy your Slate Island report. In August 2009 we had a visit from "Harry" who just maybe your Dave. What do you think?
The 40 second video is labeled Slate Island Caraboo.

Stay safe

Author:  ScottW [ December 12th, 2011, 3:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Slate Islands - Fall 2011

Oldand Fat

That's our boy.

I'm sure that he's called many names ... but as my dad used to say ... "I don't care what you call me as long as you call me when it's time to eat."


Author:  DaveH [ December 12th, 2011, 5:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Slate Islands - Fall 2011

I've been wanting to get out to the Slates for some time, either with a group or on my own. Of course if I go on my own, I'll do the shuttle out and back, but I am wondering just how busy the Slates can be in a typical summer. Are there hordes of people out there or is it relatively quiet?

Author:  Oldand Fat [ December 12th, 2011, 10:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Slate Islands - Fall 2011

In August 2009 we started on the weekend and about half the inside campsites were in use. We did not see any one the out side. Monday night we were the only campers. Slate Islands are shaped like a donut. My one visit survey says it is relatively quiet.
Stay Safe

Author:  ScottW [ December 13th, 2011, 3:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Slate Islands - Fall 2011


Like most places the islands get busy around any long weekend.
The period from July 1 to 10 and August 3 to 10 are usually the busiest.
On any weekend you are likely to find some of the locals out for a day trip or maybe an overnight stay so if you could arrive on Thursday or Tuesday that would be best.

The place is almost deserted from May 15 to late June and from after Labour Day to November.

Use the contact page at get the number of a reliable charter service and call them to check on their schedule and how busy they think they'll be.

As I said earlier, Doug has had a stroke and is not up to running a charter business right now ... the contact page shows that.
If the situation changes I'll change the web page.


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