First Time, Feldtmann Loop, Early August

Questions about trails and campsites on the island.

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rich
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First Time, Feldtmann Loop, Early August

Post by rich » Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:00 pm

Looking for opinions on my group's itinerary. We're thinking to do the Feldtmann Loop the first week of August. We've been backpacking before, but this will be our first time on ISRO. We're a group of 4 middle-aged hikers.

I've been using the trip planner worksheet and Jim Dufresne's guidebook. My only concern is that the daily mileage might be too high with the warnings I've read here that the trails can be very tough. I could change the last leg of the loop to hike 4.3 to Island Mine Campground, spend a night, then have a 6.9 mile hike to Windigo on 8/5 to catch the 2PM boat home.

8/1 - Depart Chicago for Grand Portage, MN
8/2 - Depart Grand Portage via Seahunter III, Arrive Windigo
8/2 - Hike to Feldtmann Lake Campground - 8.8 miles
8/3 - Hike to Siskitwit Bay Campground - 10.2 miles
8/4 - Hike to Washington Creek Campground - 10.9 miles
8/5 - Depart for Grand Portage

I'm also playing with the trip planner on some east end loops with less mileage.


ARRC
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Re: First Time, Feldtmann Loop, Early August

Post by ARRC » Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:20 pm

rich wrote:Looking for opinions on my group's itinerary. We're thinking to do the Feldtmann Loop the first week of August. We've been backpacking before, but this will be our first time on ISRO. We're a group of 4 middle-aged hikers.

I've been using the trip planner worksheet and Jim Dufresne's guidebook. My only concern is that the daily mileage might be too high with the warnings I've read here that the trails can be very tough. I could change the last leg of the loop to hike 4.3 to Island Mine Campground, spend a night, then have a 6.9 mile hike to Windigo on 8/5 to catch the 2PM boat home.

8/1 - Depart Chicago for Grand Portage, MN
8/2 - Depart Grand Portage via Seahunter III, Arrive Windigo
8/2 - Hike to Feldtmann Lake Campground - 8.8 miles
8/3 - Hike to Siskitwit Bay Campground - 10.2 miles
8/4 - Hike to Washington Creek Campground - 10.9 miles
8/5 - Depart for Grand Portage

I'm also playing with the trip planner on some east end loops with less mileage.
I'm doing the Feldtman mid May, with an added partial out and back on the Greenstone.

I hiked the Minong last August. I'm 48 and much heavier than I should be. I didn't have any problems on the minong. I doubt that you will have any issues with the Feldtmann, but I'm interested in what others have to say.

The island is magical (:

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MikeT
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Re: First Time, Feldtmann Loop, Early August

Post by MikeT » Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:16 pm

That itinerary is very easily done based on your experience. It is usually the one I recommend for first timers to give them a cross section of the island while having more of a "wilderness" feeling than the east side of the island can have at times.
- The first day out has only a short climb up a mellow ridge then it is basically flat all the way to Feldtmann. You should try to make the short walk to Rainbow Cove for the sunset.
- Day two starts off with a somewhat steep climb to a spectacular view, then following a ridge to the tower (a good lunch spot) and starting downhill and ending on road grade to a spectacular campground. I recommend the tent sites here unless it is raining. Also, the shelters can be hard to get because boaters tend to use this campground. The tent sites are somewhat protected and offer the best wilderness experience.
- Day three starts off with literally walking along a beach until going inland and following a road grade up to the mine. It is all uphill, but at a gradual level. Plan on a lunch stop at the mine site. If you are into history, there ruins of a powder house on Senter Point, but it takes some bushwhacking. GPS coordinates are on the board somewhere. From the mine ruins to the campground, it has a few steep sections with some turns, but nothing too bad and some big white pines. I would stay at Island Mine and hike in the next morning. The campground is nice (some will disagree with me here) and peaceful in thick woods and makes for a nice way to wrap up a trip and unwind before going back to the "city". You can have fires here. The walk from Island Mine to Windigo is almost entirely downhill and you can make great time.
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Re: First Time, Feldtmann Loop, Early August

Post by JerryB » Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:04 pm

You have a great route planned and should be just fine. A few thoughts for you:
1. If last year is a guide, the trails may be quite overgrown. Hiking after a rain or through morning dew may result in wet pants.
2. On the way up to Island Mine, you will pass what looks like a small side trail branching off to the right. You should see a mound or two (mine tailings, I believe)> Be sure to hike up the mounds and you will see a remarkable ruin of a train locomotive. (The top of the pilings was where I sat and rested so i could dry out some socks!
3. Plan to stay at Island Mine. It is a relatively easy downhill hike from there. Once at Island Mine, you can always decide to move on to Windigo or Hugging. Island Mine allows individual fires and that is a nice change.
4. The only real caution is the small brook which is the water source at Island Mine can be just a trickle. Carry extra water, just in case you must move on. I have never seen it dry, but I have had to move some rocks to form some sort of pool.

Enjoy!


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rich
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Re: First Time, Feldtmann Loop, Early August

Post by rich » Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:14 pm

JerryB - Do you know how far the next closest water source is to Island Mine Campground?


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Re: First Time, Feldtmann Loop, Early August

Post by JerryB » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:14 am

The next closest water source to Island Mine, other than the small brook, is likely back down the trail towards Siskiwit--closer to Siskiwit than to I.M. I recall a water source on the Greenstonedown near Washington Creek, but I think that is further. I plan on the I.M. brook as the only source and, especially late in the summer, make sure I have enough water to get be down to Windigo if absolutely necessary.

I hope this helps


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Re: First Time, Feldtmann Loop, Early August

Post by Midwest Ed » Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:49 pm

When you first arrive in Windigo, check with the Ranger there. They might have recent reports of water shortages (or not) at Island Mine or at least give you an estimate based on older reports and recent rainfall knowledge.
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hooky
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Re: First Time, Feldtmann Loop, Early August

Post by hooky » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:26 pm

Everything MikeT said.

I was told by a Ranger that it's a very dry summer that causes water shortage at Island Mine.

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Re: First Time, Feldtmann Loop, Early August

Post by Ingo » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:45 pm

Just a couple thoughts/confirmations.
- Lots of moose at Feldtmann. Walking along the lake in front of campsites, through campsites, in my campsite.
- Do hike out to Rainbow Cove unless the weather just stinks. It's gorgeous, even without a sunset, and an easy walk. Don't forget headlamps.
- The fire tower is a great lunch spot. You can climb the stairs, but locked at the top.
- I went last Memorial Day and it was wet--very wet. Boardwalks were flooded by beavers around Siskiwit Bay, requiring a couple detours to the beach, but not a big deal. Aug should be drier, but also depends on the beavers--rangers will be able to update you on current conditions when you register.
- The beach after Senter point is larger rocks, steeper, and harder to hike on. I stuck to the trail, except for the flooded parts.
- I missed to locomotive! Stopped at the slag piles (obvious), but it was wet and raining and didn't want to drop my pack and/or climb up. But I didn't know that was where it was at--if only I knew...
- I too liked Island Mine. Again, the rangers should be able to advise you of the water situation. I would be prepared to carry at least a couple liters each in case you need to.
Enjoy!

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