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10 days / 9 nights route considerations

Questions about trails and campsites on the island.

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thesneakymonkey
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10 days / 9 nights route considerations

Post by thesneakymonkey » Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:26 am

Ok folks I am in the planning process for trip #2 to the island. This year we are planning on taking the seaplane in and out of the island (last year we took the rangerIII). I have come up with a rough plan for our itinerary and am looking for advice.

Some thoughts about us: we are experienced hikers, we like to keep our mileage under 12 miles per day (with 10 being the most comfortable) because we enjoy the scenery/film/love to spend time at camp, we prefer shelters but not having them is not a deal breaker (and obviously we know they are first come first serve). We love the views of lake superior and places like Moskey and McCargoe. We are looking for something a little different than last time but hitting some of the same highlights.

The video link of our trip last year is below in my signature but basically we did a loop of the east side RANGERIII (RH)- 3M-MB-MCC-DF-RH-RANGERIII (6d/5n). We are currently trying to decide between a larger loop of the east/middle parts of the island (starting and ending in RH) or traversing the length of the island (starting in RH and ending in Windigo). We welcome any bits of advice you can offer and alternative routes (better campsites) etc.

RH to Windigo Traverse plan ideas: (mileage is rough estimates)
7-29 arrive via seaplane to RH, grab fuel from store, get permits, head to DF (7miles)
7-30 DF-MB (3.9 miles) This gives us a short day in hopes of snagging a sweet shelter with a view like last time (Our favorite campground so far)
7-31 MB-Chip H (6.2miles) New place we havent been to yet with what looks to be nice views
8-1 CH-WCB (7.9 miles) we passed through WCB last year and saw some beauty camp sites that we'd be down to try
8-2 WCB-Hatchet Lake (7.9 miles) any fishing opportunities here? Hows the water (leeches, swim worthy, any issues filtering with algea blooms?)
8-3 HL- South Lake Desour (same questions as above for Hatchet Lake)
8-4 SLD to IM (is water access ok here? Looks like a water source near camp on the map. How are the views? (just interior forest is what I am expecting).
8-5 IM to Washington Creek (6.6) grab a shower and hopefully a shelter (there are a ton here)
8-6 Zero day or day hike Huginnin cove (keeping spot at washington creek for another night OR should we say at HC the night before??)
8-7 Leave Windigo via sea plane

As for the larger loop plan we are considering hitting a lot of the same stops as last year but want to avoid completely copying it and try to hit places like chip harbor and lane cove.I am having a hard time coming up with a route for this idea but I think it would go something like:
RH-LC-DF-MB-CH-WCB-MCC-DF-3M-RH (hits DF twice, not that this is bad but I would like to avoid the same place twice if possible).


Ok lets hear it! Tear my itinerary apart! What would be your ideal route considering my thoughts above!??? If we pick your route we will give you a shout out on our next Husband_Wife_OutdoorLife video (hahaha..not sure if that is incentive enough).

Thanks so much!
Trip #1: https://youtu.be/xejNOfYWpIQ
Trip#2: Coming soon!
Husband_Wife_OutdoorLife on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/c/HusbandWifeOutdoorLife

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Ingo
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Re: 10 days / 9 nights route considerations

Post by Ingo » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:45 am

Here's 8 nights, for your consideration, all new campgrounds. Gives you 1 layover day, plus the option of skipping Huginnin at the end if you need/want to--remember the seaplane is the most affected by weather. Not too many shelters, however, but otherwise meets your criteria.

Arrive R.H., presumably not too late.
1: Lane Cove (6.9)
2: W. Chickenbone (12.7)
3: Todd Harbor (9.3)
4: S Desor (11.6)
5: Siskiwit Bay (9.8 )
6: Feldtmann Lake (10.2)
7: Washington Creek (9.1)
8: Huginnin Cove (4.0 west loop)
Back to Windigo for the plane (5.1 east loop), or last night at Washington Creek.

I've camped at all except S Desor and Lane Cove, but have been through Lane Cove paddling. All are great! My one night at Hatchet did not impress me, but it also wasn't under the best circumstances: someone had a broken wrist, everyone was dehydrated, it rained, kids were noisily running around. I did on the other hand enjoy Island Mine: I was there all by myself, it was early so not grown out yet and water was plentiful. I have learned that impressions of campgrounds are often formed by circumstances as much as location.

Won't try and sell it, there's plenty of good alternatives, any trip is great, just get me out to the island!


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Re: 10 days / 9 nights route considerations

Post by torpified » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:40 am

I really loved both the walk to and from, and the camping, at Lane Cove. There aren't shelters there but there is peace (or at least there was when I was there).

I'm envious of 10 days on the Island, whichever itinerary you wind up with. And I'm looking forward to the video miniseries!

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Re: 10 days / 9 nights route considerations

Post by thesneakymonkey » Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:00 pm

Great suggestions guys! Keep them coming! I love all your ideas but I am still not settled on a plan yet.
Trip #1: https://youtu.be/xejNOfYWpIQ
Trip#2: Coming soon!
Husband_Wife_OutdoorLife on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/c/HusbandWifeOutdoorLife

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Re: 10 days / 9 nights route considerations

Post by Base654 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:27 am

I like Ingo's plan, I might do that myself this year.

If you are flying, don't waste the opportunity for an end to end. Do a Rock to Windigo.

I don't think you can go wrong with any route, but Chippewa, Malone and Siskiwit are harder to plan into loops for a boat trip, in my opinion.

Now my two cents (1.25 cents after taxes)

Daisy - hatchet - Malone - S. Desor (island Mine) - island Mine - Siskiwit - Feldtman - Washington creek. extra night somewhere.

Daisy to hatchet is a long one, but I have found myself at chickenbone for an early lunch and still didn't want to stop for the night, once up on the ridge it isn't any worse than Potawatomy. If you need want more time, you can drop a offshoot and pickup a couple of days to spend else where. If there aren't any powerboats at Malone it is a great place for an extra day. I liked Hatchet on a warm sunny day. It has some pretty views and secluded lake access.

PS I've been waiting on some new videos.

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Re: 10 days / 9 nights route considerations

Post by thesneakymonkey » Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:03 pm

You make a valid point about not wasting the opportunity and doing the end to end. We have definitely decided that we will be doing RH to Windigo. Saving a loop style hike for another time. I jotted down your plan idea Base and I will check my map tonight. Thanks for all the info.

And yes there will be a video series on this hike as well! Now I need to up my battery capacity !! 10 days is a long time to keep a camera running. :D

Getting really excited.
Trip #1: https://youtu.be/xejNOfYWpIQ
Trip#2: Coming soon!
Husband_Wife_OutdoorLife on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/c/HusbandWifeOutdoorLife


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Re: 10 days / 9 nights route considerations

Post by jhersh » Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:42 pm

If I had 9 nights I would definitely do an end-to-end, in either direction. Last June I took the boat to RH, camped in 3-Mile, Moskey basin, Lake Ritchie (with lunch stop detour to Chippewa), Todd Harbor, Desor S., Washington Creek. My favorite campsite was Todd Harbor, with Moskey a close second. Least favorite campsite was Desor S.; nothing wrong with it, but I can find similar camping in central MN, closer to home. In my view, it's the Lake Superior campsites that make IR special. The most interesting stretches of trail were east side Greenstone and the McCargoe to Todd harbor part of the Minong. I recommend the latter for a "touch of Minong", even if you don't want to do the hard parts of the Minong. Least interesting trail was west side Greenstone, from Hachet to Windigo: again, nothing wrong with it, I am sure it would be really nice in fall, but not much for views. Given that you have the time, and assuming that you chose not to do the Minong, I would suggest bypassing the Island Mine to Windigo stretch of the Greenstone, and adding in Siskiwit Bay and/or Feldtmann Lake.

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Re: 10 days / 9 nights route considerations

Post by thesneakymonkey » Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:29 pm

jhersh wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:42 pm
If I had 9 nights I would definitely do an end-to-end, in either direction. Last June I took the boat to RH, camped in 3-Mile, Moskey basin, Lake Ritchie (with lunch stop detour to Chippewa), Todd Harbor, Desor S., Washington Creek. My favorite campsite was Todd Harbor, with Moskey a close second. Least favorite campsite was Desor S.; nothing wrong with it, but I can find similar camping in central MN, closer to home. In my view, it's the Lake Superior campsites that make IR special. The most interesting stretches of trail were east side Greenstone and the McCargoe to Todd harbor part of the Minong. I recommend the latter for a "touch of Minong", even if you don't want to do the hard parts of the Minong. Least interesting trail was west side Greenstone, from Hachet to Windigo: again, nothing wrong with it, I am sure it would be really nice in fall, but not much for views. Given that you have the time, and assuming that you chose not to do the Minong, I would suggest bypassing the Island Mine to Windigo stretch of the Greenstone, and adding in Siskiwit Bay and/or Feldtmann Lake.

I keep hearing Todd Harbor over and over and it seems like I should try to work this into our route. I am not sure I have the time to do that small shot of the minong and then backtrack to the interior and take the greenstone ( I should preface this by saying we are now set to do RH-Win for sure in that date range mentioned above). So this leads me to want to do the minong instead of the interior west side of greenstone. When you say "hard parts of Minong" what exactly do you mean. I mean, I know you are referencing the northern part of the island along the minong but how hard is hard? We are pretty experienced hikers and have done "hard" trails before (Tour Du Mont Blanc in 10 days in 2016) but I am trying to get a reference point. Are the views pretty nice from the minong (N Lake Desour to Washington Creek)??

I mapped it out tonight and thought of another route:
Drop off via seaplane @ RH then hike to DF (7miles)
DF to MB (3.9)
MB to CH (6.2)
CH to WCB (7.9)
WCB to TH (9.3)
TH to LT (7.0)
LT to N. Lake Des (5.7)
NLD to WC -- more mileage than we would like to do (12.6) BUT would be doable and worth it if the views and campsites are better
BTW the chart in the greenstone paper I have from last year lists this as 33 miles?!?! I mapped it at 12.6. Anyone know why there is a
discrepancy?? Am I missing anything?
WC -WC (zero day or day hike around HC loop)
WC-home

What do you guys think of this route?
Trip #1: https://youtu.be/xejNOfYWpIQ
Trip#2: Coming soon!
Husband_Wife_OutdoorLife on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/c/HusbandWifeOutdoorLife


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Re: 10 days / 9 nights route considerations

Post by paulbates » Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:54 pm

thesneakymonkey wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:29 pm
.... So this leads me to want to do the minong instead of the interior west side of greenstone. When you say "hard parts of Minong" what exactly do you mean. I mean, I know you are referencing the northern part of the island along the minong but how hard is hard? We are pretty experienced hikers and have done "hard" trails before (Tour Du Mont Blanc in 10 days in 2016) but I am trying to get a reference point. Are the views pretty nice from the minong (N Lake Desour to Washington Creek)??

I mapped it out tonight and thought of another route:
Drop off via seaplane @ RH then hike to DF (7miles)
DF to MB (3.9)
MB to CH (6.2)
CH to WCB (7.9)
WCB to TH (9.3)
TH to LT (7.0)
LT to N. Lake Des (5.7)
NLD to WC -- more mileage than we would like to do (12.6) BUT would be doable and worth it if the views and campsites are better
BTW the chart in the greenstone paper I have from last year lists this as 33 miles?!?! I mapped it at 12.6. Anyone know why there is a
discrepancy?? Am I missing anything?
WC -WC (zero day or day hike around HC loop)
WC-home

What do you guys think of this route?
The section from MCC to LTH I would call medium difficulty, with the most westerly part close to LTH being the hardest.

The 5.7 from LTH to NLD starts the hardest part of the "ups and downs". There are not many switch backs... you go straight up and down. Our average speed was lower from LTH on. If you look at the big dips in the topo map, especially around 3 miles, are pretty much straight up and down, plan on going slower and stopping to rest. (I felt like I'd done +10 miles at the end) The reward is that NLD is a great campsite and and great swimming if you're into that.

The part about asking if campsites are better; a matter of perspective... no shelters at LTH or NLD. 4 sites at LTH and 3 at NLD, you might have to share. The trip down to the NLD campsite is not as slippery and wet and overgrown as it is to LTH. Trekking poles were critical for me from LTH on, and I used them from TH on with no regrets. The views are pretty amazing.

The remaining 12.3 from NLD to WC are also difficult, ups and downs, and not a lot of good water. Plan on a lower average speed than normal, it was 7 hours for us. Sometimes the trail goes a different way than expected, and sometimes its hard to see.. overgrown, etc. Taking your time is important for that reason too. If it rains and lightnings, it can slow you down more. We got rained on during this section. Finally, the 3 beaver damns can be slow, wet/messy. Since they're at the end, if you get soaked boots its ok, and the zero day lets you dry them out. You'll get some good views, but also spend a lot of time in the woods.

The 33 miles is a typo, that's close to the entire length of the Minong from MCC to WC.

The Minong's difficulty makes it an amazing experience, if you're trip allows it, I would recommend going for it.

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Re: 10 days / 9 nights route considerations

Post by thesneakymonkey » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:07 pm

paulbates wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:54 pm


The section from MCC to LTH I would call medium difficulty, with the most westerly part close to LTH being the hardest.

The 5.7 from LTH to NLD starts the hardest part of the "ups and downs". There are not many switch backs... you go straight up and down. Our average speed was lower from LTH on. If you look at the big dips in the topo map, especially around 3 miles, are pretty much straight up and down, plan on going slower and stopping to rest. (I felt like I'd done +10 miles at the end) The reward is that NLD is a great campsite and and great swimming if you're into that.

The part about asking if campsites are better; a matter of perspective... no shelters at LTH or NLD. 4 sites at LTH and 3 at NLD, you might have to share. The trip down to the NLD campsite is not as slippery and wet and overgrown as it is to LTH. Trekking poles were critical for me from LTH on, and I used them from TH on with no regrets. The views are pretty amazing.

The remaining 12.3 from NLD to WC are also difficult, ups and downs, and not a lot of good water. Plan on a lower average speed than normal, it was 7 hours for us. Sometimes the trail goes a different way than expected, and sometimes its hard to see.. overgrown, etc. Taking your time is important for that reason too. If it rains and lightnings, it can slow you down more. We got rained on during this section. Finally, the 3 beaver damns can be slow, wet/messy. Since they're at the end, if you get soaked boots its ok, and the zero day lets you dry them out. You'll get some good views, but also spend a lot of time in the woods.

The 33 miles is a typo, that's close to the entire length of the Minong from MCC to WC.

The Minong's difficulty makes it an amazing experience, if you're trip allows it, I would recommend going for it.

We are leaning towards the minong route now. For us it sounds like a fun challenge compared to the east side of the island, where we found most of the trails to not be very challenging. Not looking to overdo it for sure but the combination of better campgrounds (ie lake superior views vs inland forested views) and a more exciting hike is enticing. This saves the interior/west greenstone and feldman and siskowit loop/sites for next time. We can always reassess around Todd/MCC/Hatchet if the weather is sour or our feet are beat. We would then take the greenstone vs the min. Thanks Paul!

I already confirmed our flights with the isleroyale seaplanes and booked our hotel for the night before the trip. Getting really excited at this point. All that is left to do is to hike here at home to get our hiking legs back in shape and do a food plan for a 10 day trip (eeek :shock: !). My pack will be half food lol. :lol:
Trip #1: https://youtu.be/xejNOfYWpIQ
Trip#2: Coming soon!
Husband_Wife_OutdoorLife on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/c/HusbandWifeOutdoorLife


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Re: 10 days / 9 nights route considerations

Post by paulbates » Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:06 pm

Cool! I think you'll be glad you did. We loved Isle Royale Seaplanes too.. great, professional outfit.

I forgot to mention that you can have a fire at LTH... that was nice for us as it was the only one we had. Site 3 has a generous ring of logs, plenty of downed stuff to find, and previous hikes left some too.

For conditioning, I used a well know sledding hill nearby in Hines Park, 65 feet from lowest point to to top. I worked my way over 4 weeks from no weight to full pack + 2 6lb dumbells ... 15 reps per workout. Also 6 - 9 miles on a local trail rough forest system here a couple times a week... worked up weight in the pack there as well. I'm planning a trip on the NCT in Manistee in May, so conditioning has begun again!

Enjoy!
Paul

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Re: 10 days / 9 nights route considerations

Post by Base654 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:33 pm

I haven't seen it noted anywhere on this thread so:

I have taken IR seaplanes 3 or 4 times and I love them; I will be traveling with them this year at least once, but... keep in mind that you might not get there at the time you expect and might even be a day late. On the return trip you might have an extra night waiting on weather.

Part of the reason I like the service is they put safety above profits.

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Re: 10 days / 9 nights route considerations

Post by thesneakymonkey » Wed Jan 17, 2018 6:31 pm

paulbates wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:06 pm
Cool! I think you'll be glad you did. We loved Isle Royale Seaplanes too.. great, professional outfit.

I forgot to mention that you can have a fire at LTH... that was nice for us as it was the only one we had. Site 3 has a generous ring of logs, plenty of downed stuff to find, and previous hikes left some too.

For conditioning, I used a well know sledding hill nearby in Hines Park, 65 feet from lowest point to to top. I worked my way over 4 weeks from no weight to full pack + 2 6lb dumbells ... 15 reps per workout. Also 6 - 9 miles on a local trail rough forest system here a couple times a week... worked up weight in the pack there as well. I'm planning a trip on the NCT in Manistee in May, so conditioning has begun again!

Enjoy!
Paul
That's great to hear about IR seaplanes. We took the Ranger III last time so we are looking forward to the shorter trip over. That's nice about the fire too but it doesn't bother me much to not have one. I like them as much as anyone but I dont need to make them on my backpacking trips. We usually just hike a ton to condition. Last year we hiked 100 miles on the NCT and a few other backpacking trips outside of the NCT and we felt great on the island. No blisters or anything. We were finding ourselves arriving to camp before some folks had packed up to leave for the day. That actually worked in our favor on getting shelters too haha. We would be coming in when groups were just walking out.
Trip #1: https://youtu.be/xejNOfYWpIQ
Trip#2: Coming soon!
Husband_Wife_OutdoorLife on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/c/HusbandWifeOutdoorLife

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Re: 10 days / 9 nights route considerations

Post by thesneakymonkey » Wed Jan 17, 2018 6:32 pm

Base654 wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:33 pm
I haven't seen it noted anywhere on this thread so:

I have taken IR seaplanes 3 or 4 times and I love them; I will be traveling with them this year at least once, but... keep in mind that you might not get there at the time you expect and might even be a day late. On the return trip you might have an extra night waiting on weather.

Part of the reason I like the service is they put safety above profits.
Oh for sure! I will just shorten the route up or make changes as necessary. That is also part of the reason we built in one zero day. Glad to hear your experiences with them have been great.
Trip #1: https://youtu.be/xejNOfYWpIQ
Trip#2: Coming soon!
Husband_Wife_OutdoorLife on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/c/HusbandWifeOutdoorLife

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Re: 10 days / 9 nights route considerations

Post by thesneakymonkey » Sat Jun 30, 2018 3:15 pm

THIS TRIP IS LESS THAN A MONTH AWAY!! I SERIOUSLY CAN NOT CONTAIN MY EXCITEMENT! WOOOOHOOOOO
Trip #1: https://youtu.be/xejNOfYWpIQ
Trip#2: Coming soon!
Husband_Wife_OutdoorLife on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/c/HusbandWifeOutdoorLife

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