TR: 8/29 - 9/6, 2015 Solo Perimeter Extravaganza

Reports or links to reports on trips.

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jemerick
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TR: 8/29 - 9/6, 2015 Solo Perimeter Extravaganza

Post by jemerick » Tue Sep 08, 2015 2:37 pm

This was my first time on the island and my first time backpacking so I basically wanted to see everything.

8/29, Day 1 - Rock Harbor to Lane Cove Got a ride on the Queen to Rock Harbor. After taking care of all the little errands there swung over to Tobin Harbor Trail and climbed up Franklin and down to Lane Cove. A ton of dayhikers out from the lodge today, though traffic disappeared once on the Lane Cove trail. Also, the temperature difference between Rock Harbor and inland was insane - felt like 30 degrees rise. Campsite only had 2 spots taken when I arrived but by the six that evening every site had 2-3 tents on it. Crowded, though everyone was civil.

8/30, Day 2 - Lane Cove to Todd Harbor Woke up before the dawn, booked it up trail, and made it to Franklin before realizing that there is no good view east for the sunrise from here -and- it was too darn foggy anyways. Continued on Greenstone to Ojibway for breakfast. Very windy and cloudy but nice trail. Sun came out during the descent past E Chickenbone and turned that segment into a sauna. It was after noon when reached McCargoe and all sorts of dehydrated. Took an hour lunch next to the dock before heading up Minong, checking out the mine, and cruising into camp. Took one of the group sites for some privacy (yes, I would have moved if a group showed up) and found some trails down to the lakeshore that gave awesome views of sunset. Tea + coconut chips + a good book + sunset over Superior was a great end to that 20+ mile day.

8/31, Day 3 - Todd Harbor to Little Todd Rest day. Slept in, putzed on trail, got to Little Todd around noon, and did all the camp chores. Laid around a lot too. Saw plenty of dragonflies and hummingbirds. Watched sunset from the NW point, faint trail most of the way. Nice and lazy day.

9/1, Day 4 - Little Todd to Huginnin Cove Another early start, hiked in rain for much of the Minong until N Lake Desor. Took almost two hours for breakfast here, watching ducks play in the water and letting my clothes & boots dry out. Made good time on the rest of Minong, which was much prettier than I expected. Great variety, challenging terrain, good views. Only got lost twice and was able to re-find the trail within a few minutes both times. The beaver dams were easy to cross - never got my boots wet over the soles. By the time I rolled into Huginnin I was exhausted, both from the twenty miles and from gawking at everything, and quickly set up camp at Site 1 (the most awesome site). Feet were tore up and got a bad sunburn, but the Minong and moose sightings along it was worth it.

9/2, Day 5 - Huginnin Cove to Feldtmann Lake Made it to Windigo just as store was opening. Picked up some extra Neosporin for the feet and a postcard to send the wife. Hung out under pavilion and just relaxed for at least three hours and chatted with most everyone. Eventually got up and headed down trail. Grace Creek Overlook was easy to find and had some great views. Beyond the creek things just got boring. Got to camp and was pretty disappointed by the sites, easily the most basic setup I'd seen so far this trip. The trail out to Rainbow Cove was really overgrown and both bees and biting flies made the beach unfriendly. Saw a few moose in camp that evening.

9/3, Day 6 - Feldtmann Lake to Siskiwit Bay Rest day. Well, did have an early early start, reached the lookout tower just in time to watch the sunrise, which was ridiculously awesome. Rest of trail, between lookout tower and Siskiwit, is best not remembered. Horribly overgrown, dewy, and just not a lot of fun. Made it to Siskiwit in time to catch a family leaving and return a baseball cap that the son dropped back at Grace Creek. Snagged my first shelter of the trip! Did laundry, swam, watched the otters play at the dock, and read a lot. Very relaxing day.

9/4, Day 7 - Siskiwit Bay to Malone Bay Left site with the sunrise and had sweet views along the beach. And then cooked all the way up to Island Mine. Had to change most of my clothes once I reached Greenstone because of dew + sweat. Cruised down Greenstone until Ishpeming Point with one brief stop at S Lake Desor for water, then headed down to Malone Bay. Trail was pleasant and scenic and obviously not traveled much on. Not a single fresh print since the last rain (3 days ago). Campsite fantastic, completely empty.

9/5, Day 8 - Malone Bay to Moskey Basin Left before sunrise and got surreal foggy views of the early morning during the climb back up Malone Bay Trail. Greenstone was easy once I reached Ishpeming Point, dropping down towards Hatchet (but didn't go to lake, filled up on creek just past junction), and enjoyed views along those peaks on Mount Siskiwit. After that leg the roller coaster trail to Lake Richie seemed a bit harsh, but made it all the way to Moskey without too much delay. Close to 24 miles that day and felt it. Secured a shelter and that evening watched the thunderstorms roll in over the Basin and worried about the last day.

9/6, Day 9 - Moskey Basin to Rock Harbor Easily the stupidest and most risky day. Had to make it back for the ferry and ended up slipping and sliding along those exposed rock areas between Moskey and Daisy Farm. Hid in the first visible outhouse you see at Daisy Farm on the trail for twenty minutes during one of the more extreme lightening displays that morning. Learned why it makes sense to stay at Threemile or Daisy Farm on the last night, even if they do get crowded. Made it to Rock Harbor by 11, plenty of time to check out, shuffle gear, take a shower, and relax before the ferry.

Quick stats:
Moose: 8 (only saw 5 clearly, tho)
Wolves: 0 (boo)
Foxes: 1
Snakes: Dozens and dozens
Otters: 1
Oh, and got in Lake Superior every night, even though some nights I chickened out at knee-deep.

Side note: even though this was technically a solo hike there were plenty of fantastic people I met along the way that made things less lonely. The rock climber from Madison, the couple from Oscoda, the mother/daughter on Minong who hooked me up with extra band-aids for my overused feet, the young couple from Cleveland, the brothers from the Twin Cities, the boaters from Duluth, the older couple up on Mount Siskiwit, and so many more others gave great conversation, tips, advice, and company along the way. That awesome sense of community on the island made a beautiful and rustic wilderness feel so much warmer.

(I'll be posting a more in depth day-by-day report on my blog with pretty pictures over the next week or three)

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Tom
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Re: TR: 8/29 - 9/6, 2015 Solo Perimeter Extravaganza

Post by Tom » Tue Sep 08, 2015 6:21 pm

Those are some serious miles you put on. I look forward to the pics!

About a month ago I hiked the Feldtman loop, and I'll say it's in the worst trail conditions I've seen in a long time. On that trip I happened to run into irhikers from the forum at Grace Overlook, and he warned me that the segment from the tower to Siskiwit Bay got a little thick and rough. He wasn't kidding. Between the cow parsnip (which many people are allergic to the sap) and the overgrown young birch and alder, it was in some serious need of a trail crew. It was the first time I've ever had to route find a little on that segment of trail. (It didn't help it was in the 80s, no wind, and darn humid.)

Thanks for the report!


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Re: TR: 8/29 - 9/6, 2015 Solo Perimeter Extravaganza

Post by Tightlines01 » Wed Sep 09, 2015 4:32 am

Wow. That's some long hiking days.... Kudos to you!


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jemerick
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Re: TR: 8/29 - 9/6, 2015 Solo Perimeter Extravaganza

Post by jemerick » Wed Sep 09, 2015 6:36 am

Thanks. There were a few long days but always had more than enough time to relax, eat, and set up camp before watching the sunset. Never really slept in too much :)

The Feldtmann between the tower and Siskiwit was turrible. The ranger warned me that there were three thick sections: between Grace Creek and Feldtmann Lake, between the tower and Siskiwit, and then along the beach (if you don't follow the beach). Nothing compared to between the tower and Siskiwit. I wore rain pants and gloves and got scratched, bit, slapped, stabbed, and soaked for at least three miles. It just never ended. By now there's enough traffic to stay on the path easy enough, it just hurt a lot. Made me wish I had a machete.

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