Itinerary Feedback 08/04-08/13

Questions about trails and campsites on the island.

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Itinerary Feedback 08/04-08/13

Post by Darklink » Sun Jul 02, 2017 9:02 am

Hi everyone, below is a rough itinerary of a trip to IR next month. This will be the second time I have been to the island, in which I did a loop around the SE/NE of the island. This time I'd like to take a stab at the Minong, Greenstone, and Feldtmann in a sort of loop. I'd say I'm a relatively experienced backpacker, and given the amount of daylight hours (~15ish) I have to work with in August, I think the mileages are completely doable. Below are the dates and the campsites, and if you have any general suggestions or modifications I would greatly appreciate it!

08/04 - Rock Harbor to Daisy Farm - 7.4 miles
I also thought about doing RH - MCC, but the spacing didn't quite work out down the line. I still may consider it if I end up taking the seaplane, but a smaller day would be better if I'm getting to the island around 1-2pm via the CH ferry.

08/05 - Daisy Farm to Todd Harbor Campground - 16.10 miles
This is one of my two "long days". I don't see any issues with putting down this many miles, but can be flexible and stay at MCC and have 08/13 be a much longer day if necessary due to weather.

08/06 - Todd Harbor to N Lake Desor - 11.20 miles

08/07 - N Lake Desor to Washington Creek Campground - 12.60 miles
I'll probably do a mail drop and resupply at WC to keep weight down along the Minong. Would staying at Huginnin Cove and picking up my supplies on the way through to Feldtmann Lake be a better route? It'd add on a couple miles today and tomorrow, but it would be much more remote in comparison to WC I imagine. Thoughts?

08/08 - Washington Creek to Feldtmann Lake - 9.10 miles
Like I mentioned above, given how low the mileage is on both of these days it may make sense to opt for Huginnin Cove instead of WC. Plus if I'm too tired out I could always just stick to WC and cut back on the Greenstone Ridge expressway if I don't feel up for the FR trail.

08/09 - Feldtmann Lake - Siskitwit Bay - 10.20 miles
You're pretty constrained on the Feldtmann Ridge, and I'd like to avoid Island Mine at all costs if at all possible. I've heard water access is sporadic and the bugs can be horrendous, so I've opted to stay at Siskwit and have my longest day follow it instead.

08/10 - Siskitwit Bay to Hatchet Lake - 17.30 miles
This is the longest day out of the trip, but I've heard backpacking on the Greenstone is relatively easy once you've scaled it.

08/11 - Hatchet Lake to Moskey Basin - 13.40 miles
Moskey Basin was the highlight of my last trip, and I REALLY want to spend a night here on my way back to RH.

08/12 - Moskey Basin to Rock Harbor - 11.40 miles
I thought about stopping at Three Mile, but last time I stayed there it was pretty congested. I also thought about going to Lane Cove as well, but was unsure about the return mileage in the morning for the ferry. I really like LC, so depending on how I feel maybe I will do an up and down on the Greenstone the day prior to return.

08/13 - Go home - 108.80 miles total round trip
Are my mileages appropriate, and has anyone completed a similar route before? I've had no issues doing such high mileages before, and recently pulled a 15 mile day in the Smoky's, a majority of which was ascending from 2,200ft to 5,600ft to get up on the ridgeline. I'm uncertain when I'll be able to go to the island next, and would like to check out the west side the best I can. This itinerary can be adjusted relatively easily if need be, and all of Feldtmann can be cut off if it becomes too much to bear. I'm going to try and do a mail drop at Windigo to keep weight at a minimum as well. I usually have a pace of around 3miles per hour, so I was going with an estimate of 2-2.5miles for much of this routing.

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Re: Itinerary Feedback 08/04-08/13

Post by Redbad » Sun Jul 02, 2017 1:55 pm

I have done the Rock Harbor to Windigo via the Minong and then back via the Greenstone with a mail drop at Windigo for resupply.
I see a couple of potential issues -- day 2: depending on how you get from Daisy Farm to McCargoe and then to TH, say via Mt. Objibway (a great stop for views of the NE part of ISRO) or by the Daisy Farm cutoff, you will be dealing with a significant amount of uphill climbing to get to the Greenstone and then from McCargoe to TH you will have a significant uphill climb to TH. It is also dry from DF to McCargoe with no easy water stops until you get to McCargoe. While this can be done, you will essentially be hiking the entire day with limited opportunities to do touristy things like explore the Minong mine or the area around TH.
Little Todd is my favorite campground on ISRO and IMHO is more scenic than NLD.
NLD to Windigo is the most difficult hiking stretch on ISRO. Once you make it to the Windigo/ Huginnin Cove intersection you can make a decision but keep in mind the following:
Mail drop -- you really do want to 1) stop by the Ranger Station before the Voyager II arrives to let them know that you have a mail drop arriving on the Voyager II and 2) then meet the Voyager II at the dock so that one of the rangers can then hand you the package -- it is US Mail with the formalities of US Mail. I think that when I did my mail drop the Voyager II arrived between 10-1030 AM EST, the ranger did the LNT briefing for the passengers, and then the ranger played postmaster. In essence, plan on spending most of your morning at Windigo. Also have a plan in the event that weather stops or delays the Voyager II from running (in early to mid August this is a lower probability event, but it is not a zero probability event). The ranger station at Windigo will have information about that day's run and any delays expected.
Moskey basin: the early birds -- those transported by the lodge -- get the shelters. Hatchet lake to MB means that you should plan on one of the group sites (I have been at both a number of times...)
You have a lot of high (for ISRO) mileage days. Weather may play a big factor in your ability to make some of that mileage -- a day long thunderstorm will significantly impair your ability to do some of the mileage on the Minong (or those times when you are doing up climbs or down climbs from the ridges). Have a plan B -- you do skip campgrounds so it is fairly easy to stop if you get weathered in. The one day that matters is your mail drop day, so you really need to be in Windigo that morning.

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Re: Itinerary Feedback 08/04-08/13

Post by torpified » Sun Jul 02, 2017 3:49 pm

Looks like a blast! Regarding 8/10, for me that stretch of the Greenstone went by pretty quickly, even with a long interruption to admire a bull moose who was obstructing my view of beaver earthworks in a pond not far E of the S Desor junction. I reckon if you've been coursing through the Smokeys, the climbs on Isle Royale will seem like they're over before you even get fully settled into your uphilll suffering mode.

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Re: Itinerary Feedback 08/04-08/13

Post by The_Guy » Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:48 pm

I'll try and post my trip report a few days after getting home. I'm opting to not do a supply drop for my similar trip and needless to say my pack is heavy! If you can make a drop work it's keep your weight down.

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Re: Itinerary Feedback 08/04-08/13

Post by hooky » Sun Jul 02, 2017 11:06 pm

Sounds like a great trip. Wish I could still put in that kind of daily mileage. You're seeing a whole lot of island.

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