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First Timer to Isle Royale!

Questions about trails and campsites on the island.

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monica.schmidt
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First Timer to Isle Royale!

Post by monica.schmidt » Thu Feb 22, 2018 11:06 pm

Hi... I'm hoping for a little feedback on my itinerary. I'm going first week of June (I know it'll be cold at night). I'm an experienced hiker/camper. This will be my first bigbacking trek. I'm not looking to do heavy miles on my first trip, so I was thinking I'd take the voyager from Rock Harbor to Chippewa Harbor and hike back to Rock Harbor from there.

I'm playing around with a couple of routes....

Chippewa Harbor to McCargoe Cove (10.6)
McCargoe Cove to Moskey Basin (8.3)
Moskey Basin to Three Mile (8.4)
Three Mile to Rock Harbor (2.7)

Would Daisy Farm be a nicer campsite than Moskey Basin... it would be similar mileage, but I'd be able to stop at Mount Ojibiway. I've heard McCargoe Cove to Daisy Farm can be a harder trek... with lots of mud and no good water sources. Is the hike to Moskey Basin from McCargoe Cove nicer?

Any thoughts on whether or not McCargoe Cove is worth the hike? I could also go camp in either Lake Richie or one of the Chikabones and then just hike/camp the Sothern trails and campsites on my way back to Rock Harbor.

Any thoughts/insights would be appreciated!


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Re: First Timer to Isle Royale!

Post by johnhens » Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:42 am

Welcome to the Forums and IR!!
If I had to choose between McCargoe and Moskey, I think Moskey is more scenic. That said, the hike to McCargoe is nice, great views from the Greenstone. If i had to choose between Moskey and Daisy Farm, I would choose Moskey. I like the hike between Moskey and Daisy Farm. You will go through Birch stands and across rock mounds. Watch for cairns going across the rocks so as not to get off trail.
I don't recall too many trips where there wasn't some mud on the trails.
McCargoe to Daisy takes you along the backbone of IR, the Greenstone, with nice views in open areas.
THe hike from McCargoe to Daisy, you can find water sources, but you have to go off trail. I usually figure 1 qt of water. Once you get to the Greenstone, the hard part of the hike is over. It is mostly downhill from the Greenstone to Daisy.
Daisy is a nice spot if it is not too crowded. Nice to hang out on the dock after yout hike. You may get lucky and run into the Peterson's there.

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Re: First Timer to Isle Royale!

Post by MikeT » Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:51 am

Welcome!
That hike from Chippewa to McCargoe is a long one. Mostly uphill until reaching the Greenstone. Very doable though. Going to Moskey from McCargoe would mean walking the same trail back, it would make more sense to go to Moskey then to McCargoe then your only backtracking would be Lake Richie to Moskey. Moskey is a much nicer campground than Daisy Farm IMHO. You have lots of options based on how you are feeling. Any of the campgrounds are nice, but I would avoid East Chickenbone. I'm guessing you are coming over from Copper Harbor?? If so, you lose a day waiting for the Voyageur. If so, I would consider skipping Chippewa via the Voyageur and taking off for Daisy on the first day. It's a long first day, but possible and you can always stop at Three Mile if you are not up for it. You can then go to McCargoe from Daisy. Give a bit more details on your days and your arrival point. That will help everyone give you more advice.
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Re: First Timer to Isle Royale!

Post by ARRC » Fri Feb 23, 2018 7:33 am

monica.schmidt wrote:Hi... I'm hoping for a little feedback on my itinerary. I'm going first week of June (I know it'll be cold at night). I'm an experienced hiker/camper. This will be my first bigbacking trek. I'm not looking to do heavy miles on my first trip, so I was thinking I'd take the voyager from Rock Harbor to Chippewa Harbor and hike back to Rock Harbor from there.

I'm playing around with a couple of routes....

Chippewa Harbor to McCargoe Cove (10.6)
McCargoe Cove to Moskey Basin (8.3)
Moskey Basin to Three Mile (8.4)
Three Mile to Rock Harbor (2.7)

Would Daisy Farm be a nicer campsite than Moskey Basin... it would be similar mileage, but I'd be able to stop at Mount Ojibiway. I've heard McCargoe Cove to Daisy Farm can be a harder trek... with lots of mud and no good water sources. Is the hike to Moskey Basin from McCargoe Cove nicer?

Any thoughts on whether or not McCargoe Cove is worth the hike? I could also go camp in either Lake Richie or one of the Chikabones and then just hike/camp the Sothern trails and campsites on my way back to Rock Harbor.

Any thoughts/insights would be appreciated!
Hello,
Not trying to make your decision any harder, but Chippewa is probably my favorite campsite. I started at Chippewa last year, hiked up to McCargo and then across the Minong. I'm 48 and on the fluffy side and didn't find Chippewa to McCargo to be difficult. I like your route for a first time trip, as Moskey is another favorite of mine. Depending on your budget you could take the water taxi to McCargo and start there. Enjoy! The island is very captivating.

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Re: First Timer to Isle Royale!

Post by torpified » Fri Feb 23, 2018 7:52 am

My husband and I are also going that week, and aiming to walk back to Rock Harbor from Chippewa (via McCargo)! So maybe it's not surprising that I like your plan

--Last year I walked the stretch you'd be backtracking on Day 2, and loved it. With all the different lakeside neighborhoods you're popping into and out of, it's got a lot of variety. I woudln't mind doing it twice!

--Moskey Basin has crazy beautiful sunrises; it's worth staying at for that reason alone.

--by your Moskey to 3 Mile day, you'll have a good sense of your appetite for walking. If you're feeling chipper, you can experience a nice stretch of the Greenstone Ridge by taking an indirect route to Three Mile from Moskey that day: at Daisy Farm, take the Mt Ojibway Trail up to the fire tower, then follow the Greenstone Ridge Trail to the Mount Franklin Trail, which will take you back down to Three Mile. I think this adds about 2.3 miles (and some nicely graded, incredibly rewarding uphill) to the day's walk..

Wherever you go, you'll love it, and want to come back --- which takes the pressure off you to hit all the highlights on the first trip!


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monica.schmidt
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Re: First Timer to Isle Royale!

Post by monica.schmidt » Fri Feb 23, 2018 9:32 pm

Mike T: I'm coming in on the IR Queen on a Monday. I'll stay at Rock Harbor that night and jump on the Voyager to Chippewa Harbor the next morning. I'll get their early (around 9:00), so I wasn't planning on staying in Chippewa Harbor. Sounds like it's a nice campground, so I may need to reconsider that. I'm trying to make my way back to leave on Friday via the IR Queen through Rock Harbor. I could also stay through Saturday and take the ferry(Ranger) to Houghton. That route would require some way to get back to my car at Copper Harbor.

AARC: I, too, am fluffy and 45 years young. Your encouragement is exactly what I needed to hear. I want to plan a challenging hike, but not so challenging that I'm miserable.

Torpified: that was my thought, too, for this route. I like the idea that I'd be trekking through several campsites. It'll give me ideas for my next trip! I like the idea to take a scenic route for the added 2.3 miles for more views from Moskey to Three mile. How does your plan start you out at McCargo?


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Re: First Timer to Isle Royale!

Post by torpified » Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:35 am

torpified wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 7:52 am
Torpified: that was my thought, too, for this route. I like the idea that I'd be trekking through several campsites. It'll give me ideas for my next trip! I like the idea to take a scenic route for the added 2.3 miles for more views from Moskey to Three mile. How does your plan start you out at McCargo?
Like you, we're taking the Voyageur from Rock Harbor to Chippewa, where we'll start walking, following the Indian Portage Trail* all the way to McCargo. Then back to Rock Harbor, passing east of Chickenbone Lake and following the Greenstone Ridge.

*which reminds me of another navigational tip: cairns help show the way across rocky outcrops---and so does the fact that the rock underfoot is pinker along the treadway than off it, from being worn down by so many footfalls! It's subtle, but unmistakable once you notice it.

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Re: First Timer to Isle Royale!

Post by fonixmunkee » Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:36 pm

Welcome to the forums. I'm chuckling at how your definition of "non-heavy-miles" varies from mine...

Just some of my personal opinions:
* Your itinerary looks really great. Personally, I wouldn't change it.
* Moskey Basin is fantastic.
* First week of June is my favorite time of year to go to Isle Royale: not a lot of people and no bugs.
* I would avoid Daisy Farm. It's always busy and "loud" because of that.
* McCargoe can be very busy too, but I absolutely love its location.
* Lake Richie is nice if you want to (more than likely) be alone. Every time I've stayed there, I've been the only one camping there.
* West Chickenbone is fantastic.
* Avoid East Chickenbone.
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Re: First Timer to Isle Royale!

Post by hooky » Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:29 pm

Lots of good advice here that I can't improve upon, so I'll just say that Moskey is my favorite camp on the island.

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