Happy Isle Lake – Site 7

Happy Isle
Map courtesy of Jeff’s Maps.

I stayed on this site in August, 2016. It’s a perfectly serviceable site, but didn’t blow me away by any stretch of the imagination. I wouldn’t recommend against staying there, but I also wouldn’t recommend against trying to find a better site if any are free (the night I was there Happy Isle was jam packed with people).

Location/Terrain: Located on the north shore of Happy Isle. This site is the first to the west of the Red Rock Lake portage. There are two levels to this site. The first is a wide, rocky beach that is tailor made for loading/unloading your canoe and swimming. The second is about 7-8 feet above water level and is where everything else is located. As a result, getting from the water to the site proper requires a bit of uphill. The ground underfoot is solid, but it’s something to keep in mind. Ground cover is mostly pine needles.

Approaching the site. Apparently the world was very tilty that day.

Canoe Landing: As I mentioned above, this is a very good landing spot. The shore in front of the site is one wide, flat rock strewn beach. It’s very easy to load/unload your canoe, although the rocks can make for uneven footing if you aren’t paying attention.

Tent Sites: The upper part of the site, once you get up the hill, is decently flat with at least a couple of good spots to pitch a tent. I set up close to the fire pit, which provided a good amount of cover from surrounding pines. Unfortunately, the shore growth doesn’t allow for much of a view of the lake from that particular spot. On the plus side, it helps muffle the sound of any bachelor parties that might happen to be losing their collective minds on the island that night.

Fire Pit: Well constructed with some nice log benches nearby. The grill gets a 3/5 on the “I wouldn’t put something that’s going in my stomach on that” scale.  Ground is nice and flat for setting up a stove if necessary. There are actually two fire pits on this site. One that seems to have been built for campfires and the other that seems to be there for cooking. That one has four legged grill plunked down right in the center of it, which is handy, but unfortunately the walls of the fire pit are built snugly around the legs of the grill, which is less handy if you want to build an actual fire in your fire pit.

Accessories: There’s a table/counter built between some trees about ten steps from the fire pit. Apart from that, not much.

Swimability: Very swimmable, one of the highlights of the site. I highly recommend wearing water shoes or sandals. The rocks from the beach extend underwater for a bit, which would make for pretty uncomfortable wading in or out with bare feet.

Thunderbox: Fine. Given that it was the end of the summer and I was on a pretty popular lake, I was surprised by how not disgusting it was. Nothing too exciting about it, but nothing terrible either.

View: Very good from the beach, somewhat obstructed from up on the second level. There are a number of driftwood tree trunks (is that a thing?) washed up on shore that make for great spots to sit and watch the water while you eat. There is one spot about fifty east along the shoreline where you can nestle into the V between an overturned trunk and a branch and sit quite comfortably while you read.

Drawbacks: The change in elevation from the beach to the rest of the site is a bit of a pain. Other than that, this is a decent spot.


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