Itinerary Feedback - Early August

Questions about trails and campsites on the island.

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joseph.johnson
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Itinerary Feedback - Early August

Post by joseph.johnson » Sat Jun 03, 2017 10:37 pm

New to the group, and new to Isle Royale. We've been doing research, and want some feedback.

We're doing our delayed honeymoon on the island August 6 (Sunday) through the 10th (Thursday).

1. I've already read everything I can find about East Chickenbone Lake's campground, and am aware that it's high on the least-favorite/don't recommend, but it makes the most sense to us for our plan so far.
2. We're using the float plane (don't judge, this is our 'honeymoon' trip, so the splurge is worth it for us to get on the island earlier and have more time the first day. :)
3. Our current experience stands (with required weight packs) at about 12 miles in one day, 21 miles in a 2 day weekend. We walk 5 miles at least once a week together.

August 6 - Day 1
Float plane leaves at 8am.
Land, check water, cinch packs, head out by 9:30
(I used the Isle Royale Trip Planner and a rate of 1.5 miles to determine mileage and approximated time)
Rock Harbor to East Chickenbone Lake Campground (by way of 3 Mile, Mt. Franklin, and Ojibway)
13.3 Miles, just shy of 9 hours hiking
at 1.5 mph, that puts us in at 6:30. 7:30 if we're resting adequately. Sunset: 9:24 Hopefully this leaves us a couple hours for whatever wrenches are thrown in our plan before passing out.

I know this is a long first day; we're looking to get past Daisy Farm and Moskey in order to enjoy Huginnin later

August 7 - Day 2
Get up really sore from day one on the ridge.
Heat up water for instant coffee and oatmeal w/ dried fruit, and take our time on the trail in order to monitor our feet (with moleskin/leukotape) and ankles.
East Chickenbone to Todd Harbor (by way of McCargoe Cove)
8.4 miles, under 6 hours.
6 hours should give us time for either a hot lunch, or a nap and some journalling or a small sketch, then enjoying the views and sounds of water at Todd Harbor.

August 8 - Day 3
Todd Harbor to North Lake Desor
I haven't looked anything up about this stretch (yet), but it seems like our most 'average' day. Not sure whether this is going to be a 'pack all water' day, or if there are water spots to look out for.
11.2 miles, less than 8 hours

August 9 - Day 4
This is our longest mileage day, but it's also on the stretch of trail I've heard of as the most 'technical' on this site.
North Lake Desor to Huginnin Cove (via Minong)
14.4 Miles, over 9 hours hiking.
My hope is that by this day, we've got our trail legs and can rest frequently enough that we don't overexert or get tired and sloppy and hurt ourselves on the rocks. This is where we hope there's a nice pay-off and gorgeous views at Huginnin.

August 10 - Day 5
Today we just have to get up, pack up, and hike Huginnin to the dock at Windigo for the float plane.
Huginnin to Windigo Dock
4.3 Miles, less than 3 hours
Sunrise: 6:41 am; if we cook breakfast, we'll be on the trail by 9, Windigo at 12.
Plane leaves at 1pm;


I know that's a lot of information, but I'd love to get some feedback. We can still adjust plane times if needed. We wanted to do Huginnin and Todd Harbor because if we went up the Greenstone instead of the Minong, we wouldn't get to spend any nights on Lake Huron (unless we did Moskey Basin).
Another factor was that the east side of the island seems to be more crowded and popular, so jetting to East Chickenbone (which honestly sounds like it will be quiet with all the negative reviews of it) should get us on our way away from the day-hikers.

I didn't see any trail logs from Rock Harbor directly to East Chickenbone, so I'm aware this is a less-common choice as well.

Alright, thoughts?


torpified
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Re: Itinerary Feedback - Early August

Post by torpified » Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:28 am

After the first few miles of Day 3, you're on trails I haven't been lucky enough to visit yet, so just a quick thought about Day 1: An option to keep in mind, if you're worried about time/distance your first day out--taking the Tobin Harbor Trail (instead of the Rock Harbor Trail) to the Mt. Franklin trail will be a quicker, shorter, easier launch. People (but never me, alas) see otters from the Tobin Harbor trail!

As for Day 5, if it turns out to make sense to shorten it by a few miles, you can aim instead for Washington Creek, and save the Huginnin loop for next time.

Please let us know how it goes!


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Re: Itinerary Feedback - Early August

Post by The_Guy » Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:42 am

I'll be doing roughly the same route in July, to include going from Todd Harbor to N Lake Desor. I've been told that'll be the hardest stretch of my trip. I'll try and have a trip report up by late July and hopefully that can help you out.

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joseph.johnson
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Re: Itinerary Feedback - Early August

Post by joseph.johnson » Sun Jun 04, 2017 12:50 pm

torpified wrote:
Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:28 am
taking the Tobin Harbor Trail (instead of the Rock Harbor Trail) to the Mt. Franklin trail will be a quicker, shorter, easier launch.
That makes a lot more sense; hypotenuse of the triangle and all that.
We're updating a couple pieces of equipment every month until the trip, in order to reduce weight and be more comfortable (we have a 3-person tarp-tent that may be a little large of a footprint for some of the campsites, but will be much more leg-room than our current tent.

We'd love to see otters. Hope to see Moose. Strongly desire not to see any mosquitoes (lol).

If we're tired and done hiking by the time we get to the intersection, we'll just head for Washington instead of Huginnin and not have to worry about hiking the next day.

Thanks for the advice!

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Re: Itinerary Feedback - Early August

Post by Tom » Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:25 pm

Some thoughts:

Day 1: Definitely would recommend Tobin, it's far easier to hike, so why wear yourself out early. That said, once you get to the Greenstone at Mt. Franklin and start hiking, you're committed... While you could always dart down to Daisy, it would provide incentive to keep going. It will put on some miles, but it's not overly difficult. One thing, though, is water up on the Greenstone will be scarce. Take what you need before you ascend. Oh, and as long as you're going into it fully aware, East Chickenbone works... Your legs just won't like you much when you need to go get water.

Day 2: Very doable. The first stretch to McCargoe is nothing special, but the rest (Minong - Albeit the easiest segment) is great. You should have time to drop packs and at least check out the old mines; as well as the ridge that gives a great view of Otter Lake. On this day, be very honest with each other on how you've felt on the hike and how you're doing... because it gets harder after this. If both of you isn't enjoying the trip and it's harder on your bodies than you thought, plan to cut over to Hatchet and finish your trip on the Greenstone, which is an easier hike.

Day 3: Two distinct parts - The part that gets you to Little Todd - Wet in places (although that depends on the year and recent rains) but famous for a log bridge before you arrive near the camp trailhead isn't horrible. The second part, between Little Todd and Desor North, is perhaps the most "technical" part - Both because it's hard to see the trail at times, and the fact that you need to keep watching where you put your feet. Expect your trail time to go down dramatically. (I normally hike around 2.2-2.3 with pack; that was around 1.2.) By now you'll understand the cadence and up/down pattern that the Minong brings you through, and start to dislike everytime you descend a ridge... Because you know you have to go up another. The rocks are tough on the feet.

Day 4: Less vistas than you got the day before... and it's long. And you go up, and down, a lot. Oh, and cross water - Like on beaver dams. Did I mention it's long, and you go up and down a lot? Be nice to your spouse.
While Huginnin has it's merits, you would by no means be the first well-intended hiking party that got to the trail marker where you turn left to get to Windigo, or right to go to Hugginin, and decided the comforts of Washington Creek were calling....

BTW, no matter which camps you pick, you won't be on Lake Huron. :P

In the end, you're going to be camping on an awesome island. It will be a great experience! Welcome to the forum!


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Re: Itinerary Feedback - Early August

Post by JerryB » Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:26 am

I suggest you build in a free day to account for weather. The Minong is horrible when wet (especially Little Todd to Desor).


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Re: Itinerary Feedback - Early August

Post by Stephen » Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:19 pm

Your trip sounds great but you should be aware that the plane getting to the island is very weather dependent. If its foggy then it will not fly. I have had flights cancelled and delayed, but that is part of the risk of flying. You should take this in account that you may not get there at the time you have scheduled, the day or location. They will make attempts to get you there, but sometimes if its fogged in at one end where your headed they may offer the opposite end if its not foggy.

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Re: Itinerary Feedback - Early August

Post by joseph.johnson » Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:38 pm

Don't know why I can't keep Superior and Huron straight. We don't have a free day built in, but are keeping a list of bailout routes. If we have to, we can hole up until the next ferry and take it to the end. Neither of us has to work until the next Monday, so if the plane gets pushed back a day, we will still be fine, and have a flexible trip home.

Thanks for all the advice, I'm hoping to keep a good log and give feedback for the next guy too :)


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Re: Itinerary Feedback - Early August

Post by JerryB » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:52 am

joseph.johnson wrote:
Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:38 pm
We don't have a free day built in, but are keeping a list of bailout routes. If we have to, we can hole up until the next ferry and take it to the end.
Sounds like you have a good plan. Please note that the ferry does not automatically stop anywhere other than RH and Windigo. All other stops depend on reservations.


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Re: Itinerary Feedback - Early August

Post by jerry » Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:39 pm

If you have to stay at E. Chickenbone remember you'll have to hike down to get water from the lake. Scouts have often stayed there in the group area.

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