TR: Sept. 2016 [Hiking][McCargoe-Todd-Chickenbone-Richie-Moskey-Chippewa]

Reports or links to reports on trips.

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TR: Sept. 2016 [Hiking][McCargoe-Todd-Chickenbone-Richie-Moskey-Chippewa]

Post by IncaRoads » Sun Sep 18, 2016 4:37 pm

Name: Mark
Hometown: St. Paul, MN
Arrival Date: Wed. Sept 7, 2016
Departure Date: Tue. Sept 13, 2016
Coming From/Via: Grand Portage via Voyageur II


Background: I have previously completed all the trails on Isle Royale. During this solo trip, I retraced some of the trails I have not been on for quite some time. My favorite campgrounds are the ones on Lake Superior so I planned to stay along Gitche Gumee for at least 4 nights. Campgrounds during this time were approximately 40%-60% full. Had fun conversing with other campers on itineraries, equipment, cooking preferences, meaning of life, etc.. Everyone was friendly as usual. Most campers were from Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota with some from Tennessee, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. Temperatures ranged from highs in the 60’s & 70’s to lows in 50’s & 60’s with one night getting down to 45 degrees. It rained hard three times but mostly at night; never had to hike or break/setup camp in the rain.


Day 1 - Wednesday, September 7 - Grand Portage to McCargoe Cove (Day hike out to the Minong Mine), 2 miles

Briefly chatted with Capt. Don before departing; the ride on the Voyageur II to Windigo and then on to McCargoe Cove was calm and uneventful. 20 people got off at McCargoe, however most dispersed to destinations unknown. I easily snagged a shelter for the night. A ranger was at the dock and commented that since the Labor Day holiday, the age demographics of newly arriving campers was definitely skewed toward an older crowd. After unpacking a bit, I day hiked out to the Minong Mine. I had passed by it many times before but had never stopped to investigate. I was impressed by the amount of rock removed from just several years of operation more that 150 years ago. Surprised four Sandhill Cranes that were feeding in the pond below the tailing piles and they let out their prehistoric cries to let me know I was not welcome. Just west and north of the side trail to the mines there is a rocky outcropping called Pine Mountain. It overlooks McDonald Lake and offers 360 degree views of Canada, Todd Harbor, and the Greenstone Ridge from Hatchet Lake to Mt. Franklin. I could even see the Mount Ojibway tower. More Sandhill Cranes were observed during dinner; they came from across the cove and were flying in a westerly direction. Talked with a camper that was to head down the Minong Ridge Trail in the following days and shared some insights. He was really wondering if the Minong Ridge Trail is the hardest trail in Michigan; I believe it is. Sunset was at 7:29 pm CDST, and sunrise at 6:35 am CDST, providing about 13 hours of daylight. A heavy rain occurred during the night.


Day 2 - Thursday, September 8 - McCargoe Cove to Todd Harbor (Minong Ridge Trail), 6.6 miles

The rain stopped around sunrise. After breakfast and while packing the skies cleared momentarily. I observed a rather large and bright object in the sky heading in an easterly direction. The intensity of the object did not diminish during the 30 seconds it was visible. I guessed that it was the International Space Station (ISS); upon return home I found a web based app that confirmed that the ISS was indeed flying over the area that morning. Got on the trail by 9:00 am CDST. Saw lots of thimbleberry bushes but the fruiting season appeared complete as I saw not one berry. Lots of downed trees along this stretch of trail. Ripped an 8” gash in my lightweight hiking pants while doing the limbo under one of the trees. “Tenacious Tape” to the rescue once again. My pack was the heaviest of the trip with close to 12# of food. Found a great tent site. Lounged on the pebble beach of Todd Harbor in the warm sun. Chatted at length with a solo camper who was heading to Windigo. He had talked earlier with a boater who had given him a weather report; clear sailing for a couple of days.


Day 3 - Friday, September 9 - Todd Harbor to West Chickenbone (Greenstone Ridge Trail), 10.7 miles

Broke camp and packed up quicker than normal due to the length of my hike today. There was a heavy dew this morning and wet vegetation soaked the lower part of my pants. Unfortunately, I had my cuffs cinched up for city walking and water dripped into my boots and saturated my socks. I thought nothing of it and wanted to keep walking to make time, and planned to rest at the 2 mile mark. What could go wrong with that strategy? Answer: a blister! My first blister in a couple of decades. Pulled the requisite moleskin out of the first aid kit, attached it, and was on my way.

After heading south on the Hatchet Lake Trail for over a mile, the path crosses a feeder creek to Hatchet Lake before turning westerly toward the campground which was about a mile further down the trail. My plan was to not make the turn, but bushwhack up the north side of the Greenstone Ridge and intersect with the Greenstone Ridge Trail 0.7 miles away. This detour was to trim about 2+ miles of extra walking. I had been by this area recently and noticed that the vegetation was knee high and the ridge looked high but not too steep. I had previously entered a waypoint location in my GPS indicating where I was to meet up with the Greenstone Ridge Trail. So off I went. Hiking was easy and the climb wasn’t bad, but GPS reception was nonexistent due to the shadow of the ridge and thick tree canopy. I relied on my compass plus I knew I had to keep a creek/ravine on my left and a small hill on my right. As I got closer to the top of the Greenstone Ridge I was finally able to get GPS reception, and after 45 minutes of easy bushwhacking I intersected the Greenstone Ridge Trail, and continued in the direction of Chickenbone Lake.

Stopped for a long lunch at a rocky outcropping just west of Mount Siskiwit. Aired out shoes, tent, bag, etc. which were all wet from the morning dew. It was good to take the opportunity to dry things out as I knew I would be getting into camp on the late side today. A pesky fox strolled by and went first for my pack then my boots; a well thrown stone encouraged the fox to run into the brush and be on its way.

The temperature warmed up at midday and it was a hot hike along the exposed ridge for the next few miles. The views toward Siskiwit Lake were excellent along this stretch. The long miles took a toll on me. I was resting every 30 minutes and had to take a little cat-nap in some soft grass only 1/2 mile from campground. Got a nice tent site even though I got in late. Took a bucket bath because I did not want to donate any blood to the leeches in Chickenbone Lake. I usually cook my own prepared meals, but I brought along one freeze dried meal for a situation just like this; I was way too tired to cook. It was a Mountain House Chilli Mac and it was actually quite good. There was a heavy rain during the night but I was safe and secure in my Tarptent Rainbow.


Day 4 - Saturday, September 10 - West Chickenbone to Lake Richie, 3.6 miles

Investigated some of the portage trails on the way to Richie. The previous days hike took a toll on me. I was fatigued, so when I reached Lake Richie I decided to stay. Plus, I have never stayed there before. I have now camped at all the trail accessible campgrounds except East Chickenbone, and don’t plan on trying that one anytime soon. Conversed with 3 women hikers briefly before leaving Chickenbone and then again at more length at Lake Richie where they were stopped for lunch. Dried out gear. Lounged in the sun. A fox ran through my campsite while I was preparing dinner but quickly moved through on its own. Coldest night of the trip.


Day 5 - Sunday, September 11 - Lake Richie to Moskey Basin, 2.3 miles

Fog blanketed Lake Ritchie as I arouse to greet the day. A very short hike today of less than an hour and I arrived midmorning at Moskey Basin. Met longtime Isle Royale Forums member “Nick” and his wife Julia. Chatted often as we camped next to each other at the best two shelter sites at Moskey. They were sea kayaking Rock Harbor. I couldn’t believe how much gear they could bring in their crafts. I can easily visualize Nick saying the following in his preparation for the trip, “are 5 pots enough? or are 6 too many?” They both took a day hike to Richie to do some fishing while I washed up at the bathing area just north of the dock, and rinsed out a few items of clothing. I didn’t think I would be hungry due to low miles walked today but I was ravenous. Taking it easy the past two days facilitated the healing of my blister. Another fox was spotted running down the trail near the shelters.


Day 6 - Monday, September 12 - Moskey Basin to Chippewa Harbor, 6.2 miles

Chatted at length again with Nick and Julia before departing for Chippewa. They had a radio so I got a weather report that rain was due later in the day. Final hike of the trip was a little over 6 miles. My pack had shed over 10# of food and felt great. Carried a minimal amount of water as I filled up at the canoe portage on the southern arm of Lake Richie. Got a shelter. Just past the group campsites, there were a bunch of apple trees calling out my name. It was great to eat fresh fruit after so much dried pack food. Washed up in Superior. Hiked closer to the mouth of the Harbor with another solo hiker. There are beautiful rock slabs there that slant down to the waterline and beyond, into the depths of the harbor. A bald eagle was circling overhead, looking for a dinner that swims. Rain started at dinner time and was heavy after dark. For that reason, I did not make it to the top of the nearby hill for sunset.


Day 7 - Tuesday, September 13 - Chippewa Harbor to Grand Portage, 0 miles

Gave my reserve 4 oz. isobutane canister to a party of 3 campers, as they had limited fuel due to challenges of obtaining it after the seaplane ride. Seemed to be a common story that I heard from campers that took the seaplane after the park store closed for the year. I only used 80% of my 8 oz. isobutane canister even though I did a lot of cooking and cleaning. A 79 yr. old canoeist waiting on the dock for transportation pointed to my Gossamer Gear 1/8” closed cell pad which was strapped to the outside of my pack, and was mightily impressed at my minimalism; I had to inform him that I had another pad inside my pack. He and his younger canoeing companion were dropped off at McCargoe Cove last Wednesday, along with myself. They travelled the inland lakes with serious fishing on their minds. Last Wednesday they promised to bring me Walleye when we met up again but they conveniently claimed a rare malady of memory loss. The elder gentleman carried the canoe on all the portages except for the first long one out of McCargoe Cove. I guess that is what keeps him young? The Voyageur II showed up 8:25 am CDST just as I was bringing my last items down to the dock, and we departed a bit before 9:00 am CDST. Four people including myself boarded for the trip back to Windigo and Grand Portage. The boat ride went quickly as I spent a lot of time at the open stern of the Voyageur II comparing trip details with a myriad of campers.


Total Mileage: 31.4 miles


Lessons Learned, Reinforced, or Things to Consider:

1. Don’t let pants drip water into hiking shoes. May need to procure some light weight cuff gaiters.
2. Including a layover day in my schedule allowed me to modify my itinerary due to reduced stamina and a heel blister.
3. Test sleeping pad at home with weight on it to identify slow leaks. My 12 yr. old Thermarest ProLite finally developed a slow leak.
4. Socks were old and thin in spots; Ok for day hiking but not for carrying a pack.
5. Investigate better post blister dressings. A camper on the return ferry talked highly of “Glacier Gel”.
6. Bring schedule of other ferries as to estimate when the surge of hikers will hit the east end campgrounds.
7. Consider using more dehydrated food as they are quick to prepare/clean when tired or when bad weather strikes.
8. Gossamer Gear 1/8” closed cell pad was useful in insulating my primary pad against the floor/ground. But temps were mild and it was hard to determine exact insulation advantage. Will use again as it is only 3 oz. and can be strapped to outside of pack.


Special Thanks: To “fonixmunkee” for previously suggesting to dine at the “Anchor Bar” in Superior, Wisconsin. Great burgers, fine selection of malted beverages, really fast service, and low prices.

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jrwiesz
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Re: TR: Sept. 2016 [Hiking][McCargoe-Todd-Chickenbone-Richie-Moskey-Chippewa]

Post by jrwiesz » Sun Sep 18, 2016 9:39 pm

Thanks for the great report.
"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: TR: Sept. 2016 [Hiking][McCargoe-Todd-Chickenbone-Richie-Moskey-Chippewa]

Post by fonixmunkee » Tue Sep 20, 2016 5:36 am

Mark,

Your trip reports always are great. You have a lot of nerdy stats, which I enjoy, and your descriptions of things are always using words I haven't heard in a long time. Plus, said descriptions are so accurate that I can visualize exactly what you are speaking of.

Did you find your tent you lost while bush-wacking the Minong years ago? :D

Glad you enjoyed The Anchor. I can't wait to get back home so I can partake as well. Thanks for the great read!
Sometimes you feel like a nut :: http://twitter.com/fonixmunkee

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Re: TR: Sept. 2016 [Hiking][McCargoe-Todd-Chickenbone-Richie-Moskey-Chippewa]

Post by hooky » Tue Sep 20, 2016 7:42 am

I missed my trip to ISRO this year. Thanks for letting me experience it through your report.

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Re: TR: Sept. 2016 [Hiking][McCargoe-Todd-Chickenbone-Richie-Moskey-Chippewa]

Post by IncaRoads » Tue Sep 20, 2016 7:45 am

Thanks jrwiesz, fonixmunkee, and hooky.

Yeah, the curse of being an engineer is wondering if I am providing enough details!

I lost my tent off the back of my pack during that bushwhack out of Angleworm Lake in June 2011 and nervously made it to Daisy Farm for the safety of the shelters. With my remaining trip itinerary in jeopardy, I seriously debated heading to Rock Harbor to connect up with the Voyageur II and end my trip early. The following day I decided to continue my itinerary as planned and utilize the shelters at Moskey Basin and Chippewa Harbor. I was very nervous traveling sans tent. If I am ever in the vicinity of Angleworm Lake again, I will look for that lost tent. I'm pretty sure I know the location where that branch snatched it out of my pack.


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Re: TR: Sept. 2016 [Hiking][McCargoe-Todd-Chickenbone-Richie-Moskey-Chippewa]

Post by torpified » Tue Sep 27, 2016 7:01 am

Thanks for the report! But what's with all the sandhill cranes? Do they nest on IR, or were they migrating? (Their prehistoric cries and generally pterodactylic appearance often thrill/mortify me when I'm cycling around SE MI.)

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Re: TR: Sept. 2016 [Hiking][McCargoe-Todd-Chickenbone-Richie-Moskey-Chippewa]

Post by IncaRoads » Tue Sep 27, 2016 8:26 am

The Audubon Society stated, "Within the last few decades, Sandhill Cranes have greatly expanded their nesting range and numbers in the upper Midwest." I personally have been seeing more of them in MN, WI, and the U.P. of MI as of late. The following range, migration, and nesting map was obtained from the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo WI (https://www.savingcranes.org).
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Re: TR: Sept. 2016 [Hiking][McCargoe-Todd-Chickenbone-Richie-Moskey-Chippewa]

Post by treeplanter » Tue Sep 27, 2016 8:27 am

torpified wrote:Thanks for the report! But what's with all the sandhill cranes? Do they nest on IR, or were they migrating? (Their prehistoric cries and generally pterodactylic appearance often thrill/mortify me when I'm cycling around SE MI.)
We heard them too, in the Tobin Harbor area, late August. They do nest on Isle Royale, probably in old, drained beaver ponds. According to the NPS website, populations have been increasing as of late. Cool bird.

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Re: TR: Sept. 2016 [Hiking][McCargoe-Todd-Chickenbone-Richie-Moskey-Chippewa]

Post by hooky » Tue Sep 27, 2016 10:20 am

I've always heard them called "ribeye in the sky", but haven't ever thought of hunting them. It's amazing how their numbers have increased here in the last 15 years. We have people who travel from all over the country to see them in Indiana's Jasper Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area. You'll regularly see 10K or more during the migration seasons.

https://youtu.be/3lmFxUgt1-c


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Re: TR: Sept. 2016 [Hiking][McCargoe-Todd-Chickenbone-Richie-Moskey-Chippewa]

Post by zims » Mon Dec 05, 2016 12:28 am

Thanks for the trip report. We have never incorporated todd harbor or moskey into our itinerary for McCargo to Chippewa. I thank you for your advice!!


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Re: TR: Sept. 2016 [Hiking][McCargoe-Todd-Chickenbone-Richie-Moskey-Chippewa]

Post by zims » Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:15 am

I just read your trip report. Thanks for sharing! You have given me a few ideas!!

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