Ferry to Isle in late September

Questions about how to get to the island and where to stay near points of departure.

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gcloud
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Ferry to Isle in late September

Post by gcloud » Wed Aug 12, 2015 6:03 pm

Hello,

I want to go to Isle Royale for the first time this September, and I got vacation time off from September 21-Oct 1, and I live 8-9 hours away in Chicago. So looking at all the ferry sites, it looks like I only have one option unless someone can clue me into a new idea. I think the only way I could do it would to take the Queen from Copper Harbor on Friday Sept 25th and return on Monday Sept 28th (apparently the last day of operation). I would like depart on the 22nd or 23rd but it says the service is only on Mondays and Fridays during the last leg of September. I don't think I could afford the plane ride either.

Does anyone know any other options? I don't think I can move my vacation earlier which is a bummer. I'd really love to go, even if it's for 3 days but 6 or so would be ideal.

Thanks for your help and input. It's my first post and I plan on learning a lot from reading this forum. It's great to see a community of people in the interest of helping eachother have the best trip possible in a beautiful place.


Midwest Ed
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Re: Ferry to Isle in late September

Post by Midwest Ed » Wed Aug 12, 2015 9:13 pm

Welcome to the forum gcloud. The VOYAGEUR II from Grand Portage, MN makes 3 rounds trips per week until October 4th. Out Wednesday - back Thursday plus out and back the same day on both Saturday and Sunday. Grand Portage is only an extra 1-1/2 to 2 hours drive from the Chicago area. You could get an extra night (or an extra 4 nights if returning on October 1st might work).
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Re: Ferry to Isle in late September

Post by fonixmunkee » Thu Aug 13, 2015 6:39 am

I've only ever taken the ferry from Grand Portage, and I always see lots of ILLINOIS license plates in the parking lot. Additionally, I have a few friends (on this forum!) from the Chicagoland area that make the drive up to Grand Portage to catch the ferry out from there. It's not much more of a drive if you're already putting in 8+ hours, and you have a lot more flexibility in your trip out to IR.

Finally ,there's lots of options for you to take on a three-day adventure out to Isle Royale if you go from Grand Portage via the VII.

So I guess I'll be putting my vote in for The VII!
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Re: Ferry to Isle in late September

Post by JerryB » Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:56 am

I have taken the Grand Portage ferries many times. It is not that bad of a drive and the part in MN is rather nice. Stop in Grand Marais for a great dinner at the Angry Trout and you can then stay at the casino in Grand Portage that night.


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Re: Ferry to Isle in late September

Post by gcloud » Fri Aug 14, 2015 8:59 pm

Do you guys prefer starting at rock harbor or windigo? Which is a more interesting area, the east or the west end of the island? This might influence my choice too.


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Re: Ferry to Isle in late September

Post by JerryB » Sat Aug 15, 2015 7:16 am

My first trip to the East side is Labor Day. I really like the west side and have avoided the east side because of "crowds"--everything is relative. My hope, and expectation, is that crowds will not be an issue in September.


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Re: Ferry to Isle in late September

Post by treeplanter » Sat Aug 15, 2015 10:56 am

After Labor Day, the amount of people going to Isle Royale drops dramatically. On the east end, Rock Harbor Lodge, the cabins and restaurant all close on September 12th.


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Re: Ferry to Isle in late September

Post by Midwest Ed » Sat Aug 15, 2015 1:05 pm

treeplanter wrote:. . . . Rock Harbor Lodge, the cabins and restaurant all close on September 12th.
For anyone coming across this thread in years to come :shock:, historically they are open for for one week following Labor Day (closing the weekend of the 12th this year), but always check if you need their services.
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Re: Ferry to Isle in late September

Post by gcloud » Mon Aug 17, 2015 2:31 am

Thanks Everyone,

I'm still debating all this planning stuff, I want to do it right. At the moment 4 days seems a wee bit too short, and 8 days a wee bit too long. I'm wondering if 8 days solo on the island for a new person who is slightly out of hiking shape might be a bit too much in late september. But there's so much to see, I would rather spend a decent chunk of time on the island than regret a short trip. Brainstorming continues.


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Re: Ferry to Isle in late September

Post by gcloud » Mon Aug 17, 2015 2:41 am

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-3GJNKytV4hs/U ... Route.jpeg

Here is a copy of someone's hiking itinerary from a blog (the great Black Coffee at Sunrise.) I was thinking of doing a loop similar to this but 3 1/2 days of hiking seems a short time to do it. Even if you subtract the Huginnin Cove loop (which I'd really like to do, as it seems a real wild and beautiful section and great place to sleep.)


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Re: Ferry to Isle in late September

Post by zims » Tue Aug 18, 2015 1:53 am

Hello gcloud, Huginnin cove is a wonderful place to spend some time. This quiet tip of the island is all about quiet. If you can do not eliminate it. It is worth the hike out and back. If you stay in september in the cove, make sure you grab a site that is tucked in the trees. Reason being, at night it is very cold. I mean very cold, and since you can sit on the beach area to watch the sunset, you might want to protect yourself at night being tucked "in". Enjoy your trip


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Re: Ferry to Isle in late September

Post by gcloud » Tue Aug 18, 2015 8:14 pm

Thanks Zims and others,

I actually finalized my plans (altered because on my original departure date the boat happened to be full.) So now I'm going Sept 26th-Oct 1st. This is one extra day, 5 nights, so that's plenty of time to do the Huginnin Cove loop! I'm very much excited for that part of my trip. I was attracted to the tent site #1, but if it is really cold and windy I would be ok with staying at another one. Does anyone have a preference for going clockwise or counter clockwise on the Feldtman Loop and the Huginnin Cove Loop?


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Re: Ferry to Isle in late September

Post by JerryB » Wed Aug 19, 2015 7:09 am

As for the Feldtman loop, I prefer clockwise (Windigo to Island Mine,...). That makes for an easy down hill to Siskiwit. Going the other way, that trail can be a bit of a climb, more so than Windigo to Island Mine. Also, if it is muddy, the uphill climb could be a bit of a mess. I also like this direction because it allows the hike to end on two high notes as opposed to the Island mine to windigo walk in the woods.

I know that many do not agree with me and this was discussed under trip reports a while back with folks listing pros and cons.

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Re: Ferry to Isle in late September

Post by head2north » Wed Aug 19, 2015 7:49 am

I agree with JerryB in clockwise direction for Feldtmann, under normal circumstances. However, the time period for your trip may (I don't know) coincide with peak fall color for Maples. There is nothing like taking a stroll through sunlit bronze canopy and the Island Mine area has densest Maple population. Island Mine also allows fires and an evening fire is a welcomed fall evening treat. So, I would make an informed moment decision at trailhead depending on weather for the upcoming days....

Sunny day/evening forecast for last loop night - counterclockwise and Island Mine last night.
Crappy day forecast for last loop night - clockwise and Feldtmann last night.

I am also curious about what loop direction for Huginnin Cove. What VIEWS are best seen from direction of travel?

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Re: Ferry to Isle in late September

Post by jrwiesz » Wed Aug 19, 2015 10:01 am

I think the Huginnin loop would be best in the counter clockwise direction.
Nothing like coming into camp after the walk along the roughed coastline.
Coming back to Washington creek, the views, in my opinion, are much better enjoyed walking towards them, instead of away from them.
It's all good. Just being on the Isle!
"And standing on the the crest of the Greenstone Ridge, I suddenly had this desire to retreat north to where I just come, to stay in the backcountry, to spend another day in a place where the only deadline I had was to pitch the tent before dark."
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