Updated: Apr 28, 2021
With April days feeling more like a gamble than a legitimate forecast, we're grateful that our hike with Susanna and her nine year old son Jasper falls on a pleasant day, mid week. Fortunately it's not raining or sleeting, the sun is hidden by some clouds but it's not too cold. No reason to be greedy with the weather- we're excited to be outside on a nice day. We hike at what I presume is a normal pace while Jasper and his new side-kick Walter (Haley's pup) zig zag ahead through the woods. A good match up to tire each other out.
We're halfway through a hike by the river on the Maasto Hiihto Trails when Susanna admits that she really doesn't have any interesting stories to tell. Truly, none. She apologizes, concerned that maybe the interview will be boring. This statement comes almost immediately after she finishes telling us about her travels to Guatemala for the Peace Corp, her up close encounter with Moose on Isle Royale, and an intense mission between her and her husband to rescue their nearly sunken boat in a rainstorm. So, we very politely beg to differ. It's always interesting how the folks with the richest stories to tell sometimes don't even recognize it. To these people, they're not stories to be shared, they're just...memories. And experiences. Did we mention she's written an award winning children's book? (Seriously, next level cool).
Susanna Ausema has had a life long relationship with Isle Royale. Her dad worked on Isle Royale as a naturalist; so she and her sister spent many childhood summers on the island. After moving to Nebraska in her teen years, she was forever plotting how to make it back to where she felt most at home: Isle Royale. From Nebraska, to Guatemala, to California, Alaska (and probably a few more I'm missing) at last Susanna and her husband made it back to the Keweenaw. Now, Susanna and her equally rad husband Mike spend their summers on the island- this time bringing their own son Jasper to experience childhood in the wild. It all comes full circle in this episode. Susanna captured our attention with her beautiful story telling and wealth of unique and exciting stories. I know we might be a wee bit bias, and we probably say this for every episode, but- we think you're really gonna like this one.
Special thanks to our sponsor for this episode the Keweenaw Convention and Visitors Bureau!