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HomeExcursions /  High Island

High Island Harbor
a cabin falling inward
the boiler
one of the original logging roads now barely visible

A Day-trip to High Island

     At 11:00 a.m. Monday morning, August 3rd, we decided to visit High Island.  After gassing up Jeff's boat and borrowing Ernie Martin's inflatable raft, we cruised out of Beaver Island's harbor, circled Whiskey Point, and headed west in the channel between Beaver and Garden Island.
     It was a hot day, slightly overcast, with a very slight roll to the deep, blue-green sea. Cormorants and gulls were conducting their business as usual. The breeze rushing over our heads felt great.
     We knew a little about High Island, but had never walked its trails.  In the 1850's, the Mormons were there, but no details were preserved.  Native Americans inhabited the island, but, once again, information on when and where is lacking. Sometime late in the nineteenth century, a large-scale lumbering operation was set up; the mill the Israelites used was already there, abandoned, when they bought the land in 1912.

bay

     The Israelites used some of those buildings, and built others, for their 15-year occupation.  They had friendly relations with the Native Americans living south of their community, between Lake Maria and Lake Michigan. The Indians fished for a living, and when the Armistice Day storm wrecked their boats in 1940, they moved to Garden, Beaver, and elsewhere. After the Israelites left, there were a few unsuccessful attempts to farm their fields and let horses forage, but the island has belonged to the State for almost fifty years.
     When we arrived in the protected bay at the north end of the east side, a sailboat was at anchor and a rubber raft tied to the shore. We set two anchors in over five feet of water about fifty feet from the beach and rafted ashore.  We were poking around in the overgrown clearings towards the south edge of the bay when we saw the sailboat depart.
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an Island truck left behind

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