TR: 9/26 - 10/1 2015 (Feldtman Loop)

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gcloud
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TR: 9/26 - 10/1 2015 (Feldtman Loop)

Post by gcloud » Mon Oct 05, 2015 1:47 pm

Saturday 9/26 (Windigo to Feldtman Lake) - Grand Portage, very foggy morning, maybe upper 50's or lower 60's. Take the Voyageur II on fairly still Lake Superior waters. I stay on the back deck for the remainder of the boat ride, enjoying the lack of visibility and stillness. Arrive at Windigo around 10am, register with the Rangers, drink some water, organize things in my pack a bit, and I'm on my way by 11am to Feldtman Lake. The forecast was for a sunny day, but it was thick fog until around 3 or 4 pm, which was a welcome change. The hike was good, I stayed dry and happy, although by the time I got to the lake after 9 miles and 6 hours of hiking, my shoulders hurt and I was exhausted. I got to Feldtman lake around 5pm, set up camp and took a dip in the lake which had a tolerable temperature. It felt great to cool and clean off after the hiking and heat (it was in the 70's). I hiked out the .8 miles to rainbow cove to eat dinner and watch the sunset. Sunset was gorgeous and I had a delicious bean and cheese burrito that satisfied me deeply. The near full moon rose in the east and I got a good luck of it rising above the treeline. I hiked back to the campsite in near darkness and saw a pair of glowing eyes near my campsite. Eventually realized it was a fox. A steady wind and fog came quickly rolling in and I just hung out in my hammock enjoying the show. Around 11 or midnight the wind and fog dissipated and I was left to beautiful clear skies. I decided to skip my tent and just sleep in the hammock. I slept great, even with the bright moon shining in my face half the night.

Sunday 9/27 (Feldtman Lake to Siskiwit Bay) - Wake up around 6am, get up and make oatmeal and coffee, enjoying the sunrise over the trees on Feldtman Lake. Beautiful stillness, lake was like glass. No moose that I could hear or see, even with binoculars. Packed up my gear and got hiking by around 9 or so. It was a beautiful sunny day with a light wind. My guess was 75 degrees, but upon looking at the recorded temps it says 81 was the high. When I climbed the elevation and got to the high ridge, the wind was strong and felt great. Had lunch at the tower and enjoyed the crystal clear view. Dried my sweaty shirt in the wind which felt great. I wore rainpants this day due to the dew and the fairly high vegetation I knew I had to walk through. I wish I wouldn't have done this because this just over heated me and I sweated profusely in the nonbreathable pants. Then my feet sweat so much that my waterproof socks were useless and uncomfortable. Well, I guess you learn with each trip. This was to be my long hiking day and boy did I feel it. 10 miles might not seem like much to most people but I'm fairly out of shape and this day did me in. The high brush and thick vegetation was pretty annoying at times I must say. But on and on I went and finally found the apple tree and gorged myself on delicous, ripe, juicy apples. The fresh fruit was a welcome change in diet when you're living with dense, grainy, and fiberous food like clif bars, mashed potatoes, peanut butter, trail mix, and refried beans. Siskiwit Bay was maybe 15 minutes past the apple tree and what a welcome site it was. Beautiful blue lake and gorgeous clear skies. I went right to the dock and took my shoes off to soak my feet, felt amazing. There was a group of 3 other hikers already there that would be pretty much on the same itinerary as myself and we would share stories and treats the remainder of the trip. I chatted with them, then found myself a shelter to unload my stuff. I went back to the dock and decided to try wading, which eventually turned into me being in the lake up to my chin, which, even though extremely cold, felt fantastic after sweating all day. We saw two otters swim up to the dock too and I nabbed a photo. Got dressed and cooked food with the other hikers who shared some smores with me. THey didn't know about the total lunar eclipse happening tonight so were excited to hear me tell them. It was clear when the moon rose and then the eclipse started an hour or so later. The eclipse was amazing to watch and I felt so grateful that it wasn't cloudy. Then some scattered clouds did come and the show was mostly over but it we did get continued peaks. When the moon was fully eclipsed the stars were more visible and beautiful. Went to sleep in my hammock but was awoken to raindrops in the middle of the night so I went into the shelter and slept there. Maybe my favorite night of the whole trip. I had thought of spending an extra day here just to relax but decided to go on the Island Mine the next morning.

Monday 9/28 (Siskiwit Bay to Windigo) - Cloudy but comfortable day. Ate breakfast while watching for wildlife but mostly saw geese, cranes, and various birds of prey. Packed up and hiked about a mile with the 3 neighbors and then got hungry again so I ate an early lunch while they went on. Our plan was to go to Island Mine campsite as 11 miles of hiking to Windigo seemed a bit much after the exhausting previous day. I got to Island Mine and found a note (via twigs on the ground) that the neighbors decided to go on to Windigo. I had been wondering all morning if I wanted to do that as well and kept going back and forth. It was about 2:30 pm and should I continue 7 miles to Windigo or just stay at Island Mine? I decided to man-up and hike the rest with speed in mind. I knew that the terrain was basically a gradual decline via the Greenstone Ridge trail, which helped with comfort and speed. I got to Windigo winded but happy I made the decision to go on. It was getting chillier by the evening. I found myself a shelter and relaxed in a hammock before dinner. Ate another bean and cheese burrito and some triscuits, topped off with some hot cocoa.

Tuesday 9/29 (Windigo to Huginnin Cove) - Woke up around 5, had oatmeal and coffee and walked to the dock at Windigo to watch the sunrise. Again another beautiful clear morning with no wind. Ended up relaxing, walking around, reading, and napping most of the morning. Decided to hike on to Huginnin Cove via the east trail. I loved this hike, despite the initial elevation. It was maybe in the upper 50's, great hiking weather. The hike along the north coast was fantastic with its huge boulders and rocky shores. I saw a bald eagle flying about. Got to the campsite and the wind picked up quite a bit, getting colder. Found my neighbors and had dinner, this time a slightly failed attempt at a tuna cheese melt sandwich. Kinda worked but the tuna wasn't hot. It got dark so after dinner I decided to go to bed early, around 7:30 or so. I woke up around midnight feeling like I had slept 8 hours and felt a little bored. It was quite cold, apparently down to 36, but with all my clothes on my sleeping bag kept me fairly warm. I put a garbage band around my sleeping pad and over my sleeping bag to keep some body heat in around my feet which seemed to help.

Wednesday 9/30 (Huginnin Cove to Windigo) - Another easy day. Woke up around 5:30 and ate an early breakfast watching the days light slowly seep into the darkness. Was cold all morning but still happy. Loaded up all my gear and went exploring around the rocks with the neighbors. I actually slipped on a rock and fell backwards, but thank god I landed softly on my shoulder on a large flat rock with no injuries. That could have been bad. Hiked back to Windigo enjoying the scenery every step of the way. Bummed around the dock and read. Set up in the shelter. It was going to be another cold night.

Thursday 10/1 (departing from Windigo) - Woke up to frost on the picnic table and my thermometer saying 29 degrees. Struggled to keep warm throughout the night but it was mostly my face that was bothering me. Busted out my emergency blanket at this helped a little. Had breakfast with an extra large coffee. Stayed cold until about 11am. Departed on the boat around 12:30 or so. Amazing trip with amazing weather.
Last edited by gcloud on Sat May 14, 2016 6:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 9/26/15 - 10/1/15 Trip Report

Post by fonixmunkee » Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:58 am

gcloud wrote:Well, I guess you learn with each trip.
This is the story of any backpacking trip, but especially true for Isle Royale.

Great, concise trip report. I'd love to see some pictures.

The Feldtmann loop is one of my favorites...I've done it multiple times. Feldtmann Lake and Siskiwit Bay are two of my favorite campgrounds. Watching the sunset on Rainbow Cove is also one of my favorite past times.

Very jealous of you getting to be on the island to watch the lunar eclipse. When solar events are happening, I often think during the day..."what could make Isle Royale any more beautiful?" Then the Northern Lights go off, or there's a lunar eclipse, and I silently mumble to myself, "oh yeah, that."

So if you said that the second day's hike of 10 miles was a lot because you were "out of shape," you must of either whipped yourself into shape quickly or you are playing us. :)

Fall on Isle Royale is something I have yet to experience, so you have my admiration for your trip. How was it to backpack by yourself?
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Re: 9/26/15 - 10/1/15 Trip Report

Post by jemerick » Fri Oct 09, 2015 10:28 pm

The temperature ranges you went through on this trip is a bit crazy. Nicely done!


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Re: 9/26/15 - 10/1/15 Trip Report

Post by gcloud » Sat May 07, 2016 11:59 am

Sorry to reply 8 months late to the question how was it to backpack by myself, but anyway here it is. Backpacking by myself is a double edged sword. The best parts of it for me are going at my own pace, leaving when I want to in the morning, taking breaks when I want to, etc. I also go for the solitude in general, not having to talk. Alone time in nature can be introspective and spiritual for me: however I must admit that I almost always get lonely by the end of the trip. I want to talk about the experience with someone who is sharing it with me. I like conversations that get deep because you have all the time in the world. And sharing silence with someone can be more powerful than when you're by yourself too. My girlfriend just isn't as interested in long distance backpacking as I am. She is very sensitive to overheating due to physical exertion, the sun, and the temperature outside if it's warm. She also has some health problems that are a concern. But one time, I drove up to the Porkies alone, and did a 3 or 4 day loop hike. Then she took a train up to a town a few hours away and I picked her up. Then we did a 3 day loop together. That was really great because it was the best of both worlds for me. I got to do some more strenuous and faster paced hiking on my own. By the time I got lonely, I picked her up and shared all the stories, and then we went out together. But I don't think she wants to do it again, although maybe I can convince her to do a short 2 day thing with me sometimes. I don't really have friends that are into backpacking as much as I am. Although a couple are interested, they don't have the gear needed, which is a financial investment. Nor do they have the experience, which is actually ok, but it also helps to have a drive to want to do it as well. The drive helps you through the strenuous times.

I'm thinking about going back to Isle Royale this year, except to the east end of the island this time. I'm kind of deciding between IR or maybe Kentucky's Red River Gorge area. I just love the north country so much though. The pine trees and the lakes and the Great Lakes. Perhaps it's my Scandinavian heritage.

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Re: 9/26/15 - 10/1/15 Trip Report

Post by fonixmunkee » Sun May 08, 2016 1:21 am

gcloud wrote: I'm thinking about going back to Isle Royale this year, except to the east end of the island this time. I'm kind of deciding between IR or maybe Kentucky's Red River Gorge area. I just love the north country so much though. The pine trees and the lakes and the Great Lakes.
The island is calling...
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Re: 9/26/15 - 10/1/15 Trip Report

Post by jrwiesz » Mon May 09, 2016 10:13 am

fonixmunkee wrote:The island is calling...

You've got that right! :)
"And standing on the the crest of the Greenstone Ridge, I suddenly had this desire to retreat north to where I just come, to stay in the backcountry, to spend another day in a place where the only deadline I had was to pitch the tent before dark."
Jim DuFresne


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Re: 9/26/15 - 10/1/15 Trip Report

Post by jerry » Mon May 09, 2016 11:41 am

The majority of my ISRO NP trips have been solo. I agree with most of gcloud's comments related to being there solo. I might solo again this year. In Jim DuFresne's book, I remember reading about solo trips. Like his comments I hear more of nature when solo. Of course, when I see someone I start talking with them like they were an old friend.


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Re: 9/26/15 - 10/1/15 Trip Report

Post by gcloud » Sat May 14, 2016 3:51 pm

I liked the solitude at first, but once I knew that there was a group hiking the same itinerary as me, it made me feel safer to know that there were people waiting for me at the next camping site. And trading food was nice. I surprised them on the last day with a snickers bar that we cut into 4ths. They gave me smores one night. It was kind of the best of both worlds. I hiked alone, but it was great to chat around a fire, then go to sleep alone. I never felt obligated to chat with them for too long, but it felt nice when we did. I do like the idea of not talking for a week though, I think it does something interesting to the brain. I've never really spent more than a few days completely alone though.


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Re: TR: 9/26 - 10/1 2015 (Feldtman Loop)

Post by gcloud » Sun May 15, 2016 6:02 pm

Here are some pictures from the trip.

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