Late June itinerary feedback wanted

Questions about trails and campsites on the island.

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melyturtle
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Late June itinerary feedback wanted

Post by melyturtle » Mon Jun 12, 2017 8:57 am

Thank you for adding me! We are first-timers to Isle Royale and could definitely use some good feedback on trail conditions/difficulty from campsite to campsite. This is our first time to Michigan and we can't wait for this trip.

We are arriving in Houghton by air on June 24, and have seaplane tickets for 4:00PM that evening. We understand that the seaplane is not guaranteed to fly despite our reservations, so this itinerary only stands if all goes perfectly with our transportation to Michigan and Isle Royale. The mileage is taken from the Isle Royale trail mileage charts found on the NPS website. I have checked it with the National Geographic map we purchased and some mileages are off by up to as much as three miles according to the map. I'm not sure which one is more accurate, so any feedback on that is also welcome.

6/24/17 – Saturday

Arrive Rock Harbor 4:35PM by seaplane
Camp: Rock Harbor or Three Mile

6/25/17 – Sunday

Camp: Lake Richie
12.9 miles from Rock Harbor
10.2 miles from Three Mile

Camp: Chickenbone West
14.8 miles from Rock Harbor
12.5 miles from Three Mile

6/26/17 – Monday

Camp: Hatchet Lake
11.1 miles from Lake Richie
7.9 miles from Chickenbone West

Camp: Todd Harbor
13.0 miles from Lake Richie
9.3 miles from Chickenbone West

6/27/17 – Tuesday

Camp: South Desor
8.1 miles from Hatchet Lake
11.8 miles from Todd Harbor

Camp: North Desor
11.4 miles from Todd Harbor
12.3 miles from Hatchet Lake

6/28/17 – Wednesday

Camp: Washington Creek
11.3 miles from South Desor
12.0 miles from North Desor

6/29/17 – Thursday

Depart Windigo 11:00AM by seaplane

Can you recommend Lake Richie vs. Chickenbone West, Hatchet Lake vs. Todd Harbor, and S. Desor vs. N. Desor? I think if we do Hatchet Lake we would definitely do S. Desor, and if we did Todd Harbor, we would do N. Desor. By that point in our trip, will we be better off sticking to Greenstone Ridge? How do the trails between sites compare?

My husband is really worried about bugs. Is a head net recommended? How would permethrin treated clothes/tent and DEET work out? Anyone tried sulfur instead?

Thank you for your feedback!

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jrwiesz
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Re: Late June itinerary feedback wanted

Post by jrwiesz » Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:10 am

Welcome to the forum.

First you might give an idea of you and your husbands hiking experience, ages, physical condition, etc.

Trails between camps are fairly easy to follow, and vary in difficulties. Off trail travel is allowed but limited/restricted at times.

Headnet, Permethrin treated, DEET, are all suggested by some. Your choice decides.

In my opinion, your miles are ambitious for the first time to Isle Royale. I would suggest the Greenstone route, with the limited time you have.

But, if you are both avid hikers and have years of experience in wilderness travel/living, I would say your miles are doable.

Keep reading more of the discussions on the forum; it's the best way to get a sense of the terrain, weather, adversities Isle Royale offers.

Check out the NPS website for the park newsletter, read the newsletter and many questions can be resolved there.

Here's the link https://www.nps.gov/isro/greenstone-newspaper.htm
"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."
Jim DuFresne


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melyturtle
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Re: Late June itinerary feedback wanted

Post by melyturtle » Mon Jun 12, 2017 1:09 pm

Hi, thank you so much for your feedback. We are both 33 and in good shape. We've done a few overnight backpacking treks in which we've hiked about 20 miles (with elevation change) give or take over two days. I think our itinerary is possible, just not ideal and definitely ambitious. I'm not sure if we can, but I might look into seeing if we can extend our trip on Isle Royale for another day or take a later flight out of Windigo so that we can add another night on the trail to make it a more leisurely pace. If not, I think it will really depend on the terrain of the trails between sites. If there's a lot of elevation gain or loss, obviously that makes a huge difference.

Is there a way to find out the difficulties of trails between campsites other than asking for feedback from users on a forum like this? I've read trip reports and feedback on other itineraries but none have the exact route we are proposing so it's difficult to get a full picture of what to expect. I've learned that the Tobin Harbor trail is preferred over the Rock Harbor trail, but for our proposed route, that's about all I've been able to figure out.


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melyturtle
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Re: Late June itinerary feedback wanted

Post by melyturtle » Mon Jun 12, 2017 1:47 pm

We've talked it over and we are going to try to make it to Daisy Farm the first night we are there. Our flight arrives quite late, though, so we probably won't get a good start on the trail until close to 5:00PM after we go through getting our permits and buying fuel at the store. If all goes perfectly and we are able to make it to Daisy Farm, we'll be able to readjust to this much more relaxed itinerary:

Saturday: Daisy Farm (7 miles)
Sunday: Chickenbone West (7.9 miles)
Monday: Hatchet Lake (7.9 miles)
Tuesday: Desor South (8.1 miles)
Wednesday: Washington Creek (11.3 miles)
Thursday: depart at 11:00AM

So now my question is, can we expect to be able to make it to Daisy Farm after setting off at 5:00PM and still be able to find a campsite once we arrive? What can we expect with an itinerary like the above?

Any feedback on trails especially appreciated!


JerryB
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Re: Late June itinerary feedback wanted

Post by JerryB » Mon Jun 12, 2017 2:20 pm

This is a much better plan. I would not recommend the Minong Trail for first timers. I believe DF is quite large and the sun sets late, so I think you should be OK

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Ingo
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Re: Late June itinerary feedback wanted

Post by Ingo » Mon Jun 12, 2017 3:38 pm

Two good sources for trail info:
Jim DuFrense's "Foot Trails & Water Routes": http://irkpa.org/shop/books/hiking-camping-paddling
Online "Isle Royale Info Book": http://www.isleroyale.info/index.html

The DuFrense book is the most popular. The online book is very detailed with GPS info, elevation changes, specific campground site info, etc. And both are good guys with a love of the island!

That also sounds like the best route to me. If you get delayed and don't make Daisy Farm the first night, the 2nd day from 3 Mile is still doable. There probably won't be an issue with campgrounds being full that time of year, but the worst case is that kind folks will offer to share their site or even shelter--it's the I.R. way. Sunset should be after 10pm (EDT).

Have a great trip!

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Ingo
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Re: Late June itinerary feedback wanted

Post by Ingo » Mon Jun 12, 2017 3:44 pm

And about bugs: you may be in high season, so be prepared. Bring headnets (heck I brought mine 2 weeks ago with no expectation of using it, but who wants to get caught in an unexpected fly hatch). Treating with Permethrin also seems prudent to me. Personally I've had good results with Picaridin as an alternative to DEET, but one of the 2 for exposed skin. I've no objection to DEET other than it can melt expensive camera parts and such.

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jrwiesz
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Re: Late June itinerary feedback wanted

Post by jrwiesz » Mon Jun 12, 2017 4:15 pm

The trail guide by Jim DuFresne gives some detail to the trails. :)

MikeT of these forums, has plenty of info you may wish to explore, at his Isle Royale info site. 8)

Also, the Nat Geo map is a must. If you follow the Greenstone trail on the map you can see the various elevation changes. :idea:

You will find most of the Greenstone is a moderate exertion trail easy to follow; much of it(especially the west end), with tree cover.
Going to campsites(Chickenbone, Hatchet, Desor) is going off the ridge to a lower elevation lake; resulting in a climb out in the AM. Top off the water containers in the AM before climbing the ridge.
It is usually the weather that determines ones' miles each day. Wet means slippery rocks, roots, and mud; equals slower pace.
Early starts, usually are best, to avoid the heat of the day and obtaining a better camp site at your next stop.
Weather(fog, thunderstorms) may also have an effect on your flight schedule. Although, less likely this late in June.

If you get to Daisy the first night, you should be good to go; if, only to Three Mile, early start to W Chickenbone to get back on schedule.
If you add another day, as mentioned, you should be just fine. Spend the day in Rock Harbor, explore the Stoll trail. Go to Daisy the next day.

Start taking daily walks now, to get ready to hike 8 mile + days five days in a row. :twisted:
Have fun and enjoy. Be safe. :D

Isle Royale Rocks :!:
"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."
Jim DuFresne

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jrwiesz
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Re: Late June itinerary feedback wanted

Post by jrwiesz » Mon Jun 12, 2017 4:19 pm

After I posted the above?

What Ingo said. :wink:
"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."
Jim DuFresne


Topic author
melyturtle
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Re: Late June itinerary feedback wanted

Post by melyturtle » Tue Jun 13, 2017 9:34 am

Thank you all so much! We are so grateful for the kind feedback. We will post a trip report when we get back. Can't wait!!

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