Advice/Suggestions on First IR Trip

Questions about trails and campsites on the island.

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MMLRAK
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Advice/Suggestions on First IR Trip

Post by MMLRAK » Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:19 pm

Hi All -

New to the forum - what an incredible resource of shared knowledge and information!! I am grateful to you all for sharing!

We are making our first trip to the Isle August 19-26. Myself, my wife, her sister and husband. We are all 45-51. My wife and I have done a rim to rim backpack of the Grand Canyon, as well as Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, sections of the North Country trail and hike regularly. Our companions have just gotten into backpacking this past year and have done a five day along Pictured Rocks.

We are flying over via the seaplane to Windigo on Saturday first thing (assuming everything is on schedule and weather cooperates), and have a return flight from Rock Harbor the following Saturday mid day.

Originally we had planned to go from end to end via the Greenstone, but in all the reading, research, and reviewing trip reports from this forum, we are thinking we might want to see more of the lakeshore of the Isle as well.

Our tentative agenda is as follows. BIG Shoutout to Ingo for the AWESOME spreadsheet itinerary planning tool!! I love the planning part of these expeditions as much as the trip itself and this tool has been great to work with!

Day 1 - Sat - Arrive in Windigo via seaplane. Hike to Feldtmann Lake.
Day 2 - Sun - Feldtmann Lake to Siskiwit Bay
Day 3 - Mon - Siskiwit Bay to South Lake Desor
Day 4 - Tue - South Lake Desor to Hatchet Lake (Enjoy near total solar eclipse on the way)
Day 5 - Wed - Hatchet Lake to West Chickenbone
Day 6 - Thur - West Chickenbone to Daisy Farm
Day 7 - Fri - Daisy Farm to Rock Harbor - Staying at the Lodge Friday night :)
Day 8 - Sat - Fly back to Houghton, MI

I'm wondering a couple things:
- Is this itinerary realistic in terms of daily miles? We want to enjoy as much as we can but not fee like it's a slog.
- Given we have the whole week, would there be other areas we should try to get to (Todd Harbor, McCargoe Cove, etc.)? Perhaps adjust our route to end on the north side and then take the water taxi back to Rock Harbor?
- What might we expect in mid August in terms of mud and bugs?
- What might we expect in terms of blueberries, raspberries, and thimbleberries?

Thanks so much in advance for any advice you all may have! Looking forward to our trip!!!

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Ingo
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Re: Advice/Suggestions on First IR Trip

Post by Ingo » Sun Jul 23, 2017 8:45 am

Sounds very doable to me. My only thought is that you might want to build in a layover day. That would probably mean dropping the Feldtmann loop, but you could add Todd/McCargoe to get back to the lake. Too many places I'd love to be and too hard to choose! Mud and bugs should be better that time of year, but you always want to be prepared for both. Berries should be great. Glad you found the spreadsheet useful. Enjoy your trip!

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Re: Advice/Suggestions on First IR Trip

Post by MMLRAK » Mon Jul 24, 2017 7:37 am

Thanks, Ingo - if we skipped the Feltdtmann Loop and ended up going off the Greenstone north to Todd Harbor and then McCargoe Cove where would you suggest the best place for a layover day with places to explore, relax, enjoy?

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Re: Advice/Suggestions on First IR Trip

Post by Ingo » Mon Jul 24, 2017 2:52 pm

Oh, hard to say (that's a good thing :) ). Todd Harbor is nice, great sunsets, but only 1 shelter. Love McCargoe too. And if you changed it up more and did Moskey, also a fav with great sunrises. I know, I'm a lot of help! For what it's worth, I do like the daily miles of your original itinerary, but as I said, also like to build in an extra day. Whatever you end up with will be great and you'll be planning to come back to get the rest!


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Re: Advice/Suggestions on First IR Trip

Post by JerryB » Mon Jul 24, 2017 3:16 pm

You will have a great trip. I agree on the layover day. I like Todd Harbor myself (go through group site 1 to the Lake and lounge on the boulders). I suggest you plan a layover. If you do not need it, consider Moskey. Always good to have choices.


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Re: Advice/Suggestions on First IR Trip

Post by torpified » Tue Jul 25, 2017 5:14 am

if you're feeling perky on the 23rd, you might want to consider taking the "long" way from WCB to DF, following the GRT to the Ojibway fire tower before cutting down the Mt Ojibway trail to your campsite. That way, you'll add a really nice ridgewalk to the day's itinerary. And the fire tower is natural hiker collection spot, which can make for interesting encounters (including with boy scout troops). I hope you tell us what the eclipse was like!!

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Re: Advice/Suggestions on First IR Trip

Post by MMLRAK » Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:56 am

Thanks so much for the replies! Based on suggestions we really like the idea of a layover day and have decided to adjust our itinerary as follows:

Day 1 - Sat - Arrive in Windigo via seaplane. Hike to Island Mine.
Day 2 - Sun - Island Mine to South Lake Desor
Day 3 - Mon - South Lake Desor to Todd Harbor
Day 4 - Tue - Layover Day at Todd Harbor (Enjoy near total solar eclipse)
Day 5 - Wed - Todd Harbor to McCargoe Cove
Day 6 - Thur - McCargoe Cove to Daisy Farm
Day 7 - Fri - Daisy Farm to Rock Harbor - Staying at the Lodge Friday night :)
Day 8 - Sat - Fly back to Houghton, MI

- I've seen posts about Island Mine CG being not as nice and that water can be sketchy? Any experience with this?

Thanks again so much for all your advice! We are so stoked for our trip!! We will definitely post a trip report after and share pics of the eclipse - fingers crossed for clear skies :)


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Re: Advice/Suggestions on First IR Trip

Post by JerryB » Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:25 am

Great plan.

Island Mine is like a typical Northern Wisconsin campsite surrounded by trees. It is the only camp not on a body of water and that is part of its bad rap. Drinking water comes from a creek (it is marked on the site map). I have never seen it totally dry, but I have seen it quite low where I had to dig a hole in the creek bed to collect water. Be prepared with plenty of water in case you need to go on to S. Lake Desor. On the plus side, the individual sites are good and you can have a fire there. It is very nice before leaf out when there are actual views.

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Re: Advice/Suggestions on First IR Trip

Post by Ingo » Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:29 am

MMLRAK wrote:
Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:56 am
- I've seen posts about Island Mine CG being not as nice and that water can be sketchy? Any experience with this?
It's all relative. I stayed there this spring and really liked it--a nice site in the woods, sits on a little ridge. The rangers should tell you if there's an issue with water in creek (meaning lack thereof) when you check in--if not, be sure to ask. The water won't look or taste like that out of L Superior--has that tannin look and some taste--but perfectly safe when filtered. I use hydration tabs and it tasted fine with them, a little off without them but still OK by me. There's 2 creeks/runoffs to cross coming off the Greenstone but the one they have marked as the water source is just past the campground. Not sure which is most reliable.

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Re: Advice/Suggestions on First IR Trip

Post by Base654 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:01 am

I like Island Mine. It is one of my favorites and quite different than the rest of the sites on your itinerary. Like JerryB says, I have seen the water low, but still some there.

Day three will be a bit long, I suggest getting up and on the trail so you wont feel rushed and will be able to take breaks. some of the views are really nice. the trail isn't hard but will take time. The last bit will be a bit up and down, but it doesn't last long.

Depending how everybody feels, you can carry your layover day and spend a night at Moskey (my favorite).

I always have at least one layover day, (just common sense) but I usually don't need it so I spend it at Moskey.

Have fun. I come in your last Friday. If you see a big red kayak, come say hi.

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