Rock Harbor to Windigo in 2.5 days on Labor Day Weekend - Advice on Itinerary

Questions about trails and campsites on the island.

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vgeh
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Rock Harbor to Windigo in 2.5 days on Labor Day Weekend - Advice on Itinerary

Post by vgeh » Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:15 am

Hello,
This is my first trip to IRNP. I wish I could plan a longer trip but my vacation days are limited. So, taking the labor day long weekend as an opportunity. I live in Southern IN so bit of road travel too. I have good outdoor experience(hiking, backpacking, etc. ) and I am extremely fit and durable for longer hikes. For example my day hikes on weekends are usually 6-8 miles(off trail/bushwhack) or 12-20 miles(trail with elevations gains and loss of more than 2k feet each). My pack weight will be in 22-23 lbs range.

1Sept(Friday)- From Houghton to Rock Harbor (Ranger III). Will start my hike around 3 PM EDT. Approx 7.1 miles to Daisy Farm Campsite. Elevation changes is negligible so should be a easy stroll?

2Sept(Saturday)- From Daisy farm Campsite to Lake Desor South Campsite. Approx 22.5 miles with good elevation gain. Would be a long day hike. I am okay with this long hike. Trail condition? However open to suggestions.

3Sept(Sunday) - From Lake Desor South Campsite to Windigo approx 11.6 miles. Trail condition? Camp at Windigo.

4Sept(Monday) - Take Voyager to Rock Harbor at 10:30 EDT. Spend some time around Rock Harbor and Camp. Need some suggestions. Mileage in the range would be 4-10 miles.

5Sept(Tuesday) - Enjoy Sunrise and get ready for the ferry ride. From Rock Harbor to Houghton(Ranger III).

I am open to all kind of suggestions from trails to transportation to campsites. I am not dead set on Greenstone Ridge Trail but it was a easier to plan. I wanted to add some Minong Trail hikes if possible. Any cool/scenic spots to add? I can add more miles to either 1Sept or 3Sept days. Max mileage for this trip is about 50 miles including the unplanned hikes at RH on 4Sept.

Thank you!! :mrgreen:

Update: Suggestions so far for 4Sept are Stoll trail and Suzys Cave.
Last edited by vgeh on Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.


JerryB
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Re: Rock Harbor to Windigo in 2.5 days on Labor Day Weekend - Advice on Itinerary

Post by JerryB » Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:32 am

Welcome. Better you than me for your second day! That said, the trail for that day is fairly routine. on your third day, from island mine to windigo is largely downhill, so that is quite doable.

I do not see how the Minong will fit into this trip, given your time constraints, unless you came to the island from Grand Portage and took the Voyager to McCargo. Absent that, hit the Stoll trail at Rock harbor for a nice day hike.


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Re: Rock Harbor to Windigo in 2.5 days on Labor Day Weekend - Advice on Itinerary

Post by Redbad » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:00 pm

For planning purposes, you should plan on around 1.5 miles per hour.

Day 2, you will be spending time climbing up to the Greenstone, so your pace will drop. Also keep in mind that your mileage does not include the mileage from the Greenstone to SLD (and back). Could be a very long day of hiking -- bring a headlamp.

Day 3 is very doable -- downhill for much of the way.

Lots to do around RH -- Stoll, Suzy's cave, etc.

Good luck


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Re: Rock Harbor to Windigo in 2.5 days on Labor Day Weekend - Advice on Itinerary

Post by vgeh » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:10 pm

JerryB wrote:
Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:32 am
Welcome. Better you than me for your second day! That said, the trail for that day is fairly routine. on your third day, from island mine to windigo is largely downhill, so that is quite doable.

I do not see how the Minong will fit into this trip, given your time constraints, unless you came to the island from Grand Portage and took the Voyager to McCargo. Absent that, hit the Stoll trail at Rock harbor for a nice day hike.
Thanks JerryB for Stoll trail suggestion. Seems like a good trail to spend evening.

I don't see a campsite that I can camp on 2nd night to make my 2nd day hike less than 20 miles. How difficult is it to obtain a non-designated camping permit? If I can get this permit to allow me to camp on non-designated sites, it would be easier for me to add Minong trail too. Attached is the Minong trail reroute I can add to my current itinerary. This Minong reroute adds 3.5 miles and 250 feet elevation gain. So, I will have to add more miles for 3rd day hike. I also read that Minong would slow down the hiking pace. However, only highlights I see on this Minong reroute are Minong Mine and Todd Harbor. Worth it? Any comments?
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Re: Rock Harbor to Windigo in 2.5 days on Labor Day Weekend - Advice on Itinerary

Post by JerryB » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:26 pm

you will need a special permit to camp outside a set camp site. Only certain portions of the island are open to that.

Have you considered: Lane Cove-McCargo-Moskey (or Chippewa)--RH? If I counted your nights correctly, that would work and still give you some decent miles. It would also save you a bunch of time otherwise spent circumnavigating the island on a ferry. This is still more miles than I would prefer, but you seem open to that distance. You could take a water taxi (reserve it) to Hidden Lake dock and hike to Lane Cove from lookout Louise and eliminate backtracking. It would also put you in three of the top campsites, in my view.

I would save Minong for another trip. If it is raining, that can be a difficult trail and you will have no flexibility to sit out a day.


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Re: Rock Harbor to Windigo in 2.5 days on Labor Day Weekend - Advice on Itinerary

Post by vgeh » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:28 pm

Redbad wrote:
Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:00 pm
For planning purposes, you should plan on around 1.5 miles per hour.

Day 2, you will be spending time climbing up to the Greenstone, so your pace will drop. Also keep in mind that your mileage does not include the mileage from the Greenstone to SLD (and back). Could be a very long day of hiking -- bring a headlamp.

Day 3 is very doable -- downhill for much of the way.

Lots to do around RH -- Stoll, Suzy's cave, etc.

Good luck
Thanks for the suggestions. I used my usual hiking pace for this itinerary(2.5-2.7 mph moving pace and 2.0 mph overall for extremely rocky and hilly terrain). I rarely take long breaks but would definitely take short stops to enjoy the nature. The trails don't have lot of ups and downs too. Could you please clarify why you are suggesting 1.5 mph pace?

I was referencing the Mileage Chart here in the forum(I believe it is also available in NPS) to get the distances between campsites. Does these numbers not include trail to campsite distances? If not, are there any gps coordinates for the campsites?

Will add Stoll and Suzy's cave to the list! Thanks

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Re: Rock Harbor to Windigo in 2.5 days on Labor Day Weekend - Advice on Itinerary

Post by Ingo » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:55 pm

Given your "short" 11.6 mile day 3, if you get to the trail junction and feel like you want more, you can add Huginnin Cove instead of Washington Creek, and then do the ~5 miles to catch the Voyageur II in the morning--but remember the boat schedule is approximate on the island, so get there plenty early. Huginnin is beautiful and gives you the Superior lakeside camp experience. In Rock Harbor, definitely do the Stoll trail out to Scoville Pt.--easy 4 mile round trip, but I'm apt to just sit on the point for a couple hrs.


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Re: Rock Harbor to Windigo in 2.5 days on Labor Day Weekend - Advice on Itinerary

Post by JerryB » Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:56 pm

[/quote]

Thanks for the suggestions. I used my usual hiking pace for this itinerary(2.5-2.7 mph moving pace and 2.0 mph overall for extremely rocky and hilly terrain). I rarely take long breaks but would definitely take short stops to enjoy the nature. The trails don't have lot of ups and downs too. Could you please clarify why you are suggesting 1.5 mph pace?

[/quote]

I generally cover 2miles per hour on the trail, including brief breaks. Closer to 2.3 for downhill from Island Mine.

As for the nature of the trails, it is much less about total elevation gained or lost than it is constant up and downs. Also, many trails are root or rock covered, so there is a lot of staring at your feel. The Minong (especially from Desor to Windigo) is another story--over beaver dams, cedar swamps and the general mud found most places on the island.


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Re: Rock Harbor to Windigo in 2.5 days on Labor Day Weekend - Advice on Itinerary

Post by vgeh » Wed Jul 19, 2017 6:25 pm

Ingo wrote:
Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:55 pm
Given your "short" 11.6 mile day 3, if you get to the trail junction and feel like you want more, you can add Huginnin Cove instead of Washington Creek, and then do the ~5 miles to catch the Voyageur II in the morning--but remember the boat schedule is approximate on the island, so get there plenty early. Huginnin is beautiful and gives you the Superior lakeside camp experience. In Rock Harbor, definitely do the Stoll trail out to Scoville Pt.--easy 4 mile round trip, but I'm apt to just sit on the point for a couple hrs.
Thanks for the campsite suggestion. If I decide to not camp at Huginnin Cove I will at least take the trail to Huginnin Cove before reaching Windigo. Yes, Stoll trail is on the list since everyone here seem to recommend. I won't be moving a lot on the last day of trip so would probably just spend couple hours at Stoll trail and then relax at the shore.


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Re: Rock Harbor to Windigo in 2.5 days on Labor Day Weekend - Advice on Itinerary

Post by vgeh » Wed Jul 19, 2017 6:35 pm

JerryB wrote:
Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:56 pm
Thanks for the suggestions. I used my usual hiking pace for this itinerary(2.5-2.7 mph moving pace and 2.0 mph overall for extremely rocky and hilly terrain). I rarely take long breaks but would definitely take short stops to enjoy the nature. The trails don't have lot of ups and downs too. Could you please clarify why you are suggesting 1.5 mph pace?

[/quote]

I generally cover 2miles per hour on the trail, including brief breaks. Closer to 2.3 for downhill from Island Mine.

As for the nature of the trails, it is much less about total elevation gained or lost than it is constant up and downs. Also, many trails are root or rock covered, so there is a lot of staring at your feel. The Minong (especially from Desor to Windigo) is another story--over beaver dams, cedar swamps and the general mud found most places on the island.
[/quote]

I got you. I will sure plan for technical terrain in terms of pace and I would be carrying headlamp. I will be starting early so I should reach the respective campsites before sunset(8 ish in September from online forecast).


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Re: Rock Harbor to Windigo in 2.5 days on Labor Day Weekend - Advice on Itinerary

Post by torpified » Thu Jul 20, 2017 5:35 am

Just to muddy the timing estimates: I have a similar packweight and mileage appetite to the OP, and my camp-to-camp average pace on the GRT last year was around 3 mph---which surprised me, given the rules of thumb I'd read going in, and given my "usual" pace, closer to 2 mph, on rockier trails with longer ups and downs than IR's. There's so much variation in how people travel that rules of thumb need to be taken with lots of grains of salt. vgeh, let us know how it goes!


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Re: Rock Harbor to Windigo in 2.5 days on Labor Day Weekend - Advice on Itinerary

Post by JerryB » Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:39 am

Torpified is right. I offered my pace not because I think that is what you will do, but to show the variability. From your description, I suspect you will cover more ground than me. You will be just fine.


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Re: Rock Harbor to Windigo in 2.5 days on Labor Day Weekend - Advice on Itinerary

Post by vgeh » Fri Jul 28, 2017 10:24 am

I am still making some changes to my itinerary and planning to take 1 or 2 more days vacation to add Minong trail too to the trip. I agree that pace would be difficult to estimate especially given that I have never been in IR trails before. So, I will have some cushion day(at least half day) at the end of the trip before ferry.

Thanks for the help!

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Re: Rock Harbor to Windigo in 2.5 days on Labor Day Weekend - Advice on Itinerary

Post by hooky » Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:44 pm

The Greenstone is going to remind you a lot of the Knobstone or Low Gap, minus the road crossings. If you're coming through Indy, honk on the way through and I'll wave to you.


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Re: Rock Harbor to Windigo in 2.5 days on Labor Day Weekend - Advice on Itinerary

Post by vgeh » Sun Jul 30, 2017 2:02 pm

hooky wrote:
Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:44 pm
The Greenstone is going to remind you a lot of the Knobstone or Low Gap, minus the road crossings. If you're coming through Indy, honk on the way through and I'll wave to you.

Haha. Found a Hoosier here in the Forum. Please tell me there are more than the minus road crossings thing at Isle Royale. I like knobstone but to be honest, If I find something more scenic nearby that offers challenge, I would never go to Knobstone. At least yesterday the weather was pleasant. lol
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