September 2015: A wolf--Lookout Louise-Lane-Rock Harbor and Stoll

Reports or links to reports on trips.

Moderator: Tom

Post Reply

Topic author
JerryB
Bushwacker
Posts: 220
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:30 am
Isle Royale Visits: 7

September 2015: A wolf--Lookout Louise-Lane-Rock Harbor and Stoll

Post by JerryB » Mon Sep 14, 2015 8:26 am

My first trip to the East side.

I drove up to Copper Harbor for my trip on the Queen. The town was busy, some bike race going on. To kill some time, on the day before Labor Day, I sat on the dock and waited for the Queen to come in. I am used to the Voyager and Seahunter and the Queen impressed. All the people associated with her were wonderful as well. If you take the queen, a small bakery right on the dock opens at 7am.

My trip to the island was on Labor Day. I fully expected a nearly empty boat, but there were quite a few hikers and lodge visitors on board, plus about four canoes. Our ride over had a little roll to it and a young woman (an emergency medicine PA) across from me had to sit outside to quiet her stomach. I had taken Dramamine and was fine.

The day was beautiful and Rock Harbor presented quite the site to us in the sunshine. After our LNT talk, a quick stop to pick up my permit and pay my user fee, I was off to the lodge office to check on my water taxi. I had made a reservation for a taxi to take me to Hidden Lake. The alternative was a day hike to Lookout Louise from Lane Cove. I was not anxious to double back over 8 miles for that and I was very happy I had decided on the taxi. I was solo and the fare was $58.00. When getting my permit, I heard another hiker mention that he and his friend were going to Lane Cove as well. I offered to share the taxi with them. They decided to do so. An odd thing: The office required them to pay $58 dollars as well--one fee for both of them. Apparently, I could not simply add them to my reservation, although, I guess, if I had made a reservation for three people, the total cost would have been $58.00.

The two hikers who joined me in the taxi were Craig and Greg, great guys originally from Michigan. We ended up hiking and camping together that day and night and at the end of the week. It was a great pleasure.

The hike up to Lookout Louise was pretty straight forward, although longer than the marker on the post suggested (the post at the Greenstone). The weather was perfect and the views great. Well worth the trip. We had a wonderful breeze up there and decided to eat lunch before heading off to LC.

The hike to LC is pretty long. The Greenstone portion is not hard, but it is largely exposed to the open sky. The sun was certainly hot! The trail was easy to follow. At one spot, we followed a game or use trail a few feet before Greg recognized it as off trail. (Pretty clear that many others had done the same thing.) Easily corrected and we were moving to LC. When we hit the junction to LC, there was a family of four sitting there, catching their collective breath. They had heard about the trail ahead and were deciding whether to go to LC or elsewhere. Eventually, they bypassed LC. The mother in the family later had a medical issue. I understand she and her husband were able to get hold of the water taxi and go back to the lodge and she left the island. We were happy to see her looking well at the dock back at Copper Harbor. The rest of that crew had some moose encounters at Daisy, I believe. I hope they write about it!

The trail from the Greenstone to LC is a steep one, and long. There are two or three switchbacks initially and then a steady downhill. I think Craig, Greg and I kept thinking about what the return hike would be like! Happily, the trail was not muddy in the slightest and that made all of the hikes on the island that much more pleasant. When we reached the campground, Craig and Greg had taken site 4. Because we had heard of a number of groups going to LC (again, a surprise to me), Craig and Greg agreed to me setting up my tent on their site. The site had three decent tent pads and opened onto the cove, with some decent tree coverage. Very nice.

As the three of us prepped our dinners, it struck how little appetite I had. This happens to me often on the trail, especially with exertion. My son thinks I am nuts (he has never seen a meal he skipped), but I took comfort in the fact that Craig had the exact same reaction! For this trip, I brought along some fancy Packit Gourmet desserts. I took a shot at a ginger, caramel cupcake, steamed in a covered pot. I love some of the stuff from this company, but this particular recipe did not work. The cupcakes never fully solidified. That didn't stop Greg! I was thrilled that someone ate them.

The next day, Craig and Greg headed out; I was staying another day. I had thought about looking for the site of the old campground or hiking to the nearby portage, but it was so pleasant and relaxing at the site, I stayed there. I set up my new Hummingbird Hammock (light weight, made of parachute material) and lounged around reading. The weather was, again, perfect. More on the hammock in a minute.

Early afternoon, a light drizzle fell, so I went in my tent to nap and read. Through the strip of mesh, I saw a very passing glimpse of a wolf! About ten feet away, loping past my tent. I frantically jumped around, looking through the tent mesh, trying to find out where it went. My heart was pumping. By the time I got out of my tent, it was gone. Was it my imagination? No, I am certain in what I saw, as fleeting as it was. The wolf was far too large to be a fox and there is no mistaking how it moved. I was disappointed I could find no prints (even with the drizzle, the ground was hard) or scat. Later, others reported seeing scat in the area.

Later in the afternoon, I decided to resume my strenuous work in the hammock. I sat in it and it split width-wise immediately. This was brand new. Needless to say, I am disappointed. (Just sent an email asking for a refund--I will report on the customer service later.)

Wednesday brought the strenuous hike out of Lane Cove. I fortified myself with biscuits and sausage gravy from Packit Gourmet--delicious! and headed out. Frankly, the hike to the Greenstone was just fine. It took me five minutes more than the hike down. My original plan was to hike to Daisy for the night. Craig had talked about the Stoll Trail out of Rock Harbor and I decided to hike directly to Rock Harbor for two nights, so I could do the Stoll on Thursday without worrying about being back for the Queen (for Friday). Before heading down the Mt. Franklin trail, I went west on the Greenstone a short distance to Mt. Franklin. There are two large slabs of rock and I hiked over to the one furthest north. The views are great and it was sunny with a perfect breeze up there. I dropped my pack and relaxed up there for about twenty minutes. I highly recommend it. Go to Mt. Franklin rather than relax at the top of the LC trail.

The hike down the Franklin trail was fine. It does not seem like a fun trail for heading up! At one point, the trail heads over exposed ridge and a few cairns are all that mark it. I felt the trail would pick up directly below (straight down) the rocks, but it actually picks up towards the bottom right of the ridge. Nothing difficult, but worth noting. It was here I met a trail crew heading up to clear drop zones for helicopters. Apparently, that is how they get the planks up that way.

I took the Tobin Harbor trail into RH. Uneventful. I set up in shelter 3 and treated myself to a cheeseburger at the grill. (That night, I ate at the restaurant and had a delicious trout.)

On Thursday, I headed out on the Stoll Trail to Scoville Point. No pack. Just a rain jacket and water. Step for step, the Stoll Trail has the best views of any trail I have been on. I have been on some mountain trails and the mountains are special, but the Lake Superior views, huge boulders along the shore, access off trail to great views and the point at the end cannot be beat. The trail is an easy one--4.5 mile loop as I walked it. I highly recommend it.

That afternoon, I ran into Craig and Greg again. They were off to find a shelter. I was sure there would be no shortage, but I told them to dump their stuff in shelter 3 if they had any problems. Turns out, the shelters were all taken so the three of us were together again. We enjoyed some real food and a ranger talk on loons.

One interesting encounter. On Friday, waiting for the Queen, I chatted with a man who I would guess was in his mid sixties. He and a buddy were on the island with their respective uncles. One was 92 and the other 89! They had hiked the island in the fifties and wanted to come back. I saw them head to a boat for some fishing. They looked great!

This was a tremendous trip. Two don't-miss points are Mount Franklin and the Stoll Trail. Lane Cove is a great site as well. I did miss the greater solitude of the west end, but I am very happy I took this trip.


Midwest Ed
IR Expert
Posts: 884
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2010 1:25 am
Isle Royale Visits: 8
Location: Quad Cities, IL

Re: September: A wolf--Lookout Louise-Lane-Rock Harbor and Stoll

Post by Midwest Ed » Tue Sep 15, 2015 1:40 pm

A wolf sighting at Lane Cove! How exciting is that? And with so few left, what are the odds? Did you mention it to a Ranger on the way out? What was their reaction? The Stoll Trail is so often overlooked by "back country" visitors, but the Lodge visitors to it are so plentiful they've actually installed a couple of rest stops with benches. As far as Mt. Franklin is concerned, I think a little sign should be installed at the top of the Lane Cove/Greenstone Ridge junction that reads "Don't stop to rest here. A spectacular view awaits you just a 1/4 mile down the trail."

Stoll Trail Rest Stop
Image
Last edited by Midwest Ed on Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013


Topic author
JerryB
Bushwacker
Posts: 220
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:30 am
Isle Royale Visits: 7

Re: September: A wolf--Lookout Louise-Lane-Rock Harbor and Stoll

Post by JerryB » Tue Sep 15, 2015 2:31 pm

Thanks, Midwest Ed. Yes, I reported the sighting. The ranger did not seem very interested. You are right; the odds are against a sighting, but I gather there have been a decent number in the center section of the island. In all my visits to the island, this is my first sighting. More interesting, this was the first time I saw zero signs of moose, anywhere. I don't mean zero sightings of moose, I mean signs, like scat. The rangers hypothesize that the moose are fat and happy with (virtually) no predators. As a result, there is no need for them to move around. They eat and sleep.

User avatar

ryan.levier
NewbieCake
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2015 9:04 am

Re: September: A wolf--Lookout Louise-Lane-Rock Harbor and Stoll

Post by ryan.levier » Fri Sep 25, 2015 7:42 pm

I'm sure the rangers are letting the wolf study folks at MTU know about the sightings. However a simple email from you couldn't hurt. As there are reportedly only three left, had you gotten a clear sight of the wolf you could have identified which one you saw.


Midwest Ed
IR Expert
Posts: 884
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2010 1:25 am
Isle Royale Visits: 8
Location: Quad Cities, IL

Re: September: A wolf--Lookout Louise-Lane-Rock Harbor and Stoll

Post by Midwest Ed » Fri Sep 25, 2015 9:29 pm

ryan.levier wrote:I'm sure the rangers are letting the wolf study folks at MTU know about the sightings. However a simple email from you couldn't hurt. As there are reportedly only three left, had you gotten a clear sight of the wolf you could have identified which one you saw.
Good idea. To make things easier, here's John Vucetich's email address: javuceti@mtu.edu
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013

Post Reply