TR: 9/28-10/6, 2016 [Paddling Malone Bay-Hay Bay-Siskiwit Bay]

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MikeT
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TR: 9/28-10/6, 2016 [Paddling Malone Bay-Hay Bay-Siskiwit Bay]

Post by MikeT » Sat Nov 19, 2016 8:22 pm

This is a condensed version of the journal I wrote while on the island. There are a couple of videos from this trip posted on the website at: http://www.isleroyale.info/irtube.html
Of note: my Dad was to turn 80 years old on October 12th!!

Day One - Wednesday: Grand Portage to Isle Royale on the Voyageur II
Jack is the Captain and Kirk is the Deckhand. The seas are about 4-6' with an occasional 8 footers. Temperature wise, it is quite mild and overcast, but no rain. On the boat is a group from the “Isle Royale Education Program” which consists of eighteen 7th graders and four adults. At least half of them are always in the back of the boat “feeding the fish”. Kirk does a great job trying to comfort them with saltines and water. A quote from Kurt when one of the kids came out to the back of the deck to get sick, “Get to the railing, push your way in there. Just like little piglets, push your way in there”. Typical Kirk. At Windigo, Ranger Valerie gave the LNT talk. They canceled the north side trip and went south side, so we got dropped off at Malone and did not have to spend a night in Rock Harbor. So, we gained a day. There were three people at Malone; Walt Jaeger, who lurks on the web board and I have exchanged emails with and Ty Graham and Dave Crooks, they are paddle boarders and Ty lurks on the web board. Sitting at the table at 5pm it was 62.4 and mostly cloudy. By 9pm the skies had cleared completely, with billions of stars. The Milky Way was magnificent. We listened to the forecast and it seemed fine so we are planning on paddling to Hay Bay tomorrow.

Day Two – Thursday: Malone Bay
At 8:55am it was 54.1 in the shelter and the barometer was at 30.42”. It is a lovely morning. It would seem, based on what I am seeing and the forecast last night, we should be able to paddle to Hay Bay. That is the plan.
We left Malone Bay at 1:50pm and arrived at the Hay Bay campground dock at 4:30pm after paddling 7.81 miles according to the GPS. The miles and time are relative to how we paddled it and both could have been less. According to my chart of miles, a straight shot would be 7.04 miles. We had some strong winds and the waves were about 1-2' with some good rollers. In order to stay near Dad we would tack out into the waves then come back. Luckily the waves and wind were at our backs somewhat so, when going with it, it was just a matter of steering to avoid the bigger rolls from hitting our side and avoiding shallows where they were breaking. My Dad caught a couple of these when he was in some shallows near the shoreline. The sky stayed cloudy for the trip until we entered the bay when it started to break up. By the time we were along the south shore past Hay Point, it was mostly sunny. The island's weather changes so fast. It always amazes me. This morning, and as we were packing, it was mostly sunny, and from 1 to 2pm, became all clouds. While paddling near the shore near Spruce Point on the east side of the bay we saw a red fox on the shoreline for a minute before it walked into the woods. There is one “Official” campsite at Hay Bay. It is up from the shoreline and just past the outhouse, but there is a couple of clearings right near the dock and there is a table near the dock. Dad took the clearing right by the dock and next to the table while we are up here in a lovely spot. There is a trail for water access that, when Superior is lower, would follow the beach to the dock and be shorter than the one via the outhouse. It is a perfect site, well protected from wind with a lot of space. At dusk we heard then saw a bull moose on the north side of the bay then a cow moose entered the water. They disappeared into the darkness. We then heard the cow and a little bit later we heard them “getting together” for a short, but loud encounter. We have seen two snowshoe hares at the campground, a large one and a small one. The sky was totally clear again with billions of stars.

Day Three – Friday: Hay Bay Campground
We had a lot of dew last night and the tent and brush were very wet with it. At 8:28am it was 52.1° with a barometer reading of 30.39”. It is mostly cloudy with blue skies behind the clouds. At 9:48am it was 57.6° with the same cloud cover and, by 10:22am, it was 69.8° with a 50/50 mix of clouds and blue sky. It was warm, and when the sun was out, it was downright toasty. I walked all of the possible “trails” that could be seen around the campground looking for stuff and they all ended up at dead ends. I also walked the shoreline near the dock and saw nothing in the waters. We went down to Dad's around 3:15pm and fog was rolling into the bay and there was a slight chill in the air. We paddled west down the bay in our canoe to see if there was a portage at the narrow section between Hay Bay and Siskiwit Bay and we did not find an obvious one. However, it was all flat land and we could see light through to the other side. If it were just Nancy and I, we would have landed and walked it and most likely did the portage tomorrow. At 4:53pm it was 65.6° and foggy. Nancy and I gathered up a bag of “woodlets” along the shoreline to use in our stick stove. We fixed dinner and brought it down to my Dad's table where we had dinner and wine by candlelight. By 7:45pm the fog had lifted and we had a nice sunset. After dinner we had a fire in the stick stove before going back to camp to watch “sky” TV before going to bed around 11pm.

Day Four – Saturday: Hay Bay Campground
At 8:45am it was 54° with a barometer reading of 30.18”. There was little to no wind where we were and the sky was a mix of blue and clouds, but the clouds could have actually been fog. We are moving on to Siskiwit Bay today. I listened to the forecast and it sounded fine. Still an east wind. The next predicted rain is not until Wednesday.
My Dad brought up the idea of tying the boats together, which we had mentioned on a previous trip. That way he would not fall behind and we would not have to wait, which is hard when there are waves and it makes more work for us. We are going to give it a try today. I think it will lessen the toll on him and be less stress and work for us. At 11:42am it was 66.2° and mostly cloudy, but they are white clouds and you can see slivers of blue behind them. There is a light breeze here, a little more on the lake. I am glad the sun is not out. It would be hot!
We left Hay Bay at 1:16pm. We had Dad tied to us. This turned out to be a great idea. Going down the bay towards Point Hay, there were slight waves and we were going into a medium wind. Getting to Point Hay, the waves got larger. Around 2' or so and we had to go out a ways from the point because they were breaking there and it looked rocky. We went out a bit then made the turn to the southwest. The waters were a bit choppy and rolling as we tried to make our way and we had to keep turning to the northwest so the waves were at our back. At this point we had to decide whether to follow the shore around or cut across the 4 miles in the open waters of the bay. The shore would have added a lot of distance, but would have been safer. I decided to try and get out a bit and see what the conditions were in the open water. We worked our way south to open water by watching the waves and going south until big waves came, when we would turn west again. At this point the waves were 2-3', but were mostly just rollers and only a few breaking. We worked hard like this until we were in the middle of the bay and lined up with the campground to the southwest. We then turned that way and rode the rollers just paddling to keep on course and watching for big waves. When we were about 2.5 miles away the waves calmed to about 1-2' rollers and we were each able to take a break from paddling and just ride the waves in.
Arriving at the dock, we saw some stuff piled on the two picnic tables that were on the dock. It was big stuff so I figured it was boaters. There were no boats there though. We landed at 3:55pm. Looking at the two picnic tables, each had a propane stove on it. There were pans, cutting boards, beer cans and other stuff. There were some fish remains on the dock and below the tables. There were folding chairs and a gas can near the fire ring. In the fire ring there were two barely burned pieces of driftwood about 10” in diameter and around 6' long. There was also a pile of scrap wood like 1 x 3's about 2-3' long. I walked up to the first shelter and it was filled with stuff and there was a larger deep fryer outside in front. I walked to the second shelter and I was happy, at first. It looked empty. But, when looking in, I saw something shiny. I opened the door and found what I guessed to be an awning type thing for a boat, a bag and a Pay.gov receipt laying on the ground for Friday through Sunday. I made note of the name in case they were idiots (which they were in many ways). I went back down and explained what I found to Dad and Nancy. Nancy and I carried a light load to check out the tent sites to see what would be best for Dad. Hopefully the shelters would clear out Sunday and we could move him to a shelter. This we did and we found a good spot for Dad. He carried his backpack and we carried our packs down. We then went back and got another load while Dad started setting up.
About 6:30pm the boaters started pulling in. One, two, three then a fourth boat! From then on all you heard was voices, banging doors and miscellaneous noises.
After dinner we made cocktails and sat for a bit before going down to Dad's when it was almost totally dark. While we were sitting at Dad's table we could see a large bonfire going, multiple lights and hear music playing. We stayed at Dad's for a little over an hour and got back to our site about 9:30 or so. When we got back to our site we could hear the music better and what sounded like a generator. We sat at the table under candlelight and watched the billions and billions of stars until going into the tent about 10:45. The last temperature reading outside was 50.3°.
At about midnight, they lit two fireworks; the first extremely loud, it shook the whole area. The second lit up the entire sky. ***holes!!

Day Five - Sunday: Siskiwit Bay Campground
At 9:21am it was 50° in the vestibule of our tent with a barometer reading of 30.07”.
It is 10:30am and we are sitting on the picnic table. We believe the last boat has pulled out. From here it looks like the tables are clear and I have not heard a voice or door slam in a good 10 minutes, which has not been true since they arrived. There was not a minute of silence except when I was sleeping and even that was interrupted. Enough of them for now, I get upset. It is a totally blue sky. We do not get sun where we are at. There was a very light dew last night. Nothing like the previous two nights. Nancy is going down to see if they have cleared out. I would go, but the trail brush will be wet and I do not want to change pants and put on my wet sandals right now. We will see what she finds. Hopefully they are gone! Nancy is back from her recon walk. There is still stuff down there and a tent setup in the second shelter, but she said it looks like things are gathered up. Sitting here thinking, I realized it is 20 years ago that I made my first trip to the island! It seems very fitting that I should finally get to my last campground (Hay Bay) on this trip.
It is 12:53pm and 56.4°. I need to do some “work”. We are going to walk the campground to update all of the sites. I have not been here since 2010 and it looks like a lot of growth has taken place. Also, on a side note, when I first started mapping out campgrounds for the book, I paced everything out because the GPS I had was not accurate enough to give readings (it could only track 4 satellites). Now it tracks many more satellites and I record its readings while pacing it out. Basically verifying previous readings which, it seems, were pretty accurate.
It is 2:32pm and 58.6° with sun and a pure blue sky. We are going to walk out to Senter Point to check out the powder house.
We got back from Senter Point a little after 6pm. It was a great trip! What an amazing structure built with the hard labor of men. It survives under the harsh conditions here. Amazing! The walk along the shoreline that I have walked many times, was beautiful. On the way out we found somewhat fresh prints in the sand that I think were wolf prints. I am almost positive and there were two sets of prints. I will send them to Rolf for verification.
The weather has been absolutely wonderful this entire trip so far. It is quieter tonight as there is only 1 boat here, but there are 5 people on that boat. However, they seem to be respecting the wilderness and rules.
At 10:48pm it was 48.7°. Dinner was excellent! I had some wine with it. We got the weather report before dinner that included Isle Royale on channel 2. It called for gusting winds south at 5 knots changing to southeast at noon. It did not give Wednesday's forecast. I will have to listen in the am. We are staying here and heading out Tuesday towards Malone Bay unless the weather is bad in the morning. We finished dinner and went down Dad's camp and got back at almost 10. We sat at the table for around a half hour and we are now in the tent. This is the coolest temperature I have recorded since we have been here. We are still in a high pressure that I hope lasts until we leave. The weather has been unbelievably wonderful! Knock on wood.

Day Six - Monday: Siskiwit Bay Campground
It is 8:30am and 43.7° in the tent vestibule with a barometer reading of 30.04”. It is very quiet this morning. No wind at all. Just the slightest patter of waves gently landing on shore. We heard a very loud cow moose around 8am then about 5 minutes later. Just long single calls each time. If there is a bull moose in the area, a large area because she was so loud, I am sure there is one or more coming. I can also hear squirrels, birds and my stomach growling :-). The barometer has been very steady and it is reflected in our weather. All of the days have been pretty much the same, cloudy with a light or no breeze in the morning and slowly changing to blue skies by noon with an east to southeast light wind of around 5 mph. According to the forecast, the wind is supposed to shift to the east-northeast overnight around 5-10 knots then to 5 knots in the morning and shifting to the east by noon. That would be very good for us and our journey back. It is about 11 or so miles back to Malone. I am not sure if we will do it in 1 leg or 2. My thoughts are to do about half of it, pull on shore and rest, stretch and relax for an hour then try to do the rest.
It is 11:17am and 50.1° at the table. We walked down to the shelters and dock. Shelter #4 was empty, but #5 had someone in it. There is still stuff on and near the dock so, I'm thinking the boaters will be back to pick up. We put our permit on #4 and walked down to Dad's to let him know and bring him coffee. We grabbed his sleeping bag and blanket and we went back and hung them in the shelter. It is 1:07pm and we have all of Dad's stuff moved from his tent site to his shelter, including his tent. We just carried it over with his air mattress still inside of it.
It is 7:30pm and 55.2°. We finished dinner around a half hour ago and have been just sitting at the table. It is totally foggy and has been for about the last two hours. It went from full sun to fog in less than 30 minutes. Nancy and I went to search for the Lake Halloran trail with no success. It was 4 miles round trip, but it was nice to walk for a second day and good for our legs. We saw a bull moose about a half mile out of the campground. It was bedded down and it jumped up and ran off in seconds. I am really starting to get a hankering for hiking again. My last hiking trip was in 2011. I am going to be trying to talk Nancy into doing the Minong with me next spring. After giving up on the trail and turning back, we met a hiker on the trail. She was surprised to see us and said we were the first people she had seen all day. She was in a hurry and said “I have a lot of ground to cover today and I will see you in Windigo on the last boat”. She somehow seemed familiar, but I had no idea why. I figured we would find out why on the boat.
We went down to Dad's for about 1.5 hours and sat and talked. The fog slowly lifted and the sky filled with stars. It was the same as the one night at Hay Bay. We went back to camp and sat for a bit watching a rerun on “Stars” TV before going to bed.

Day Seven - Tuesday: Siskiwit Bay Campground
At 7:50am it was 51.1° in vestibule of the tent with a barometer reading of 29.98”. We are leaving to head towards Malone Bay today. I am hoping to get all the way there, but if not, oh well. We will do what we can. Back country does not sound bad to me.
We left the dock at Siskiwit Bay at 11:30. Dad took off before us as we were still loading the canoe and getting the load balanced. We left with the goal of heading towards Spruce Point at the entrance of Hay Bay on the east side. It was easy paddling with a slight wind. I wanted to make distance east because the wind was supposed to be from the south and I figured it would be good to be towards the middle of the bay once we passed Point Houghton and were exposed to the open waters of the lake. It looked like Dad was heading towards Hay Point and a course near the north shore of the bay and we were passing him, so we changed course and went north to meet up with him so we could hook up the tow line. I didn't want him to get tired as we had a long way to go if we did not do a back country camp. So, we paddled over, met up with him and hooked up the tow line. I set a course heading for Spruce Point. We started to get some waves from the south east around a mile before Point Hay and I recall them being short rollers with a bit of a chop. When we were at Point Hay and a little beyond, they became large mellow rollers that were neat and very easy to paddle in. About a mile from Spruce Point it became a “washing machine” with waves in all directions and a pretty strong southeast wind. It was work (but nothing like what was to come).
Getting closer to Spruce Point, I was hoping to find somewhere to land and take a break, but with the waves generally landing from the south, it was all white water on the shore. About a half mile later around Butterfield Point, we spotted a small inlet with a sand beach. The waves were breaking there, but landing was possible (not thinking about taking off again). So, we landed there without much of a problem until Dad tried to get out of his kayak without disconnecting his paddle and he got tangled in it and fell. He got soaked and had to change clothes. We landed at 3:05 pm and had snacks. I cut up sausage and cheese to share with everyone. Nancy had one of each and ate some of her trail mix. Dad had a few and a cliff bar. It was a nice beach with plenty of furniture. We wandered it and Nancy found a boat bumper we immediately named “Fendaire Junior” after the one we had found on a previous trip and left at Rainbow Point. This one was smaller and it was going to make the trip home. I still regret leaving the original big one at Rainbow point.
We took off at 4:25pm. We had to deal with waves breaking on us as we took off. Dad got in his kayak, I had the front and Nancy pushed from the back, I waited for a wave that was smaller and pulled him out quick going up to about my thighs in the water, but he got out without taking on water and I was so glad. I was so afraid of dousing him in a wave. It was almost a disaster when we took off and we took on a lot of water. I had about 3-4” where my feet were, so they were in the water the rest of the trip because there was no time to stop paddling to bail water. Once we got settled, we went after Dad to get the towline hooked up. This was a difficult task in the waves and took several tries.
The waves were worse than when we landed and continued to be a “washing machine”. You could not tell which direction from which you were going to be hit. We had made it about 7.5 miles from Siskiwit to Spruce Point in about 3.5 hours. We had around 4 miles to go, but it was shear hell! We had to paddle continuously. I never even took a drink of water until after landing at Malone. With the waves as they were, having Dad tied to us was acting like an anchor because, when he was getting hit by a wave (which was almost always) it would pull back on us. It seemed like it took 20 strokes to gain a couple of feet at times. Sometimes we gained nothing or even lost distance. It was very dangerous and not something I will ever do again. We had to have Dad tied on. He would not have made it otherwise. But, it was shear hell! While we were going through that I promised whomever, if we got there safely, I would never paddle the open waters of Lake Superior again without dry suits and I plan on keeping that promise.
Progress was extremely slow and I thought about bailing and heading for the shore several times. I also thought about heading for the safety of Wright Island. (This would have been a huge mistake because conditions were just as bad the next day). Anyway, after paddling our butts off, we finally got to the shore of the campground where we had originally taken off from. We saw Ty and Dave on the shore and they came down to help us land our vessels. After trying unsuccessfully and very dangerously, to undo the tow line, we headed to shore to beach ourselves in the waves at 7:15pm. Ty and Dave helped greatly and probably saved us from getting soaked further. We secured the boats and Nancy and I immediately walked up to the shelter table. Both of our feet were cold as they had been in the water from when we had left Spruce Point. All I could think about was getting dry shoes and socks on. Nancy kissed the ground and was shaking from nerves. She did not show it when we were in the water, but it hit her once we were on shore.
Once we relaxed a bit, we began unloading and carrying stuff to our shelters. Dad stayed in the shelter nearest our landing (#3) because it was closer, and more importantly, protected from the wind. We went to #5. We got our stuff in and immediately rigged up the tarp on the bottom section to block some wind. We then went down and secured the boat. There was so much water in it it was hard to lift and we had to dump it out first. Going back to the shelter, I grabbed the water bags to go and scoop water so I could get out of my wet socks and sandals. That was interesting. Basically I had to stand in the waves and scoop. The water actually felt warm on my feet after being out in the air and wind while wet. Getting back, I immediately went about getting out of the wet stuff and getting dry stuff on. My feet were very happy and they began to get some sensation. After we organized things, made cocktails and toasted being alive. We then went down to Dad's to make sure he had warm and dry clothes and to tell him we would not be coming down.
We spent the rest of the night talking about our adventure in the windy shelter until going to bed around 11:15.

Day Eight - Wednesday: Malone Bay Campground
It is 11:22am and 59.9° in the shelter with a barometer reading of 29.71”. It is cloudy with some minor sprinkles and extreme wind gusts. The wind has been blowing out of the south all night. We have a tarp on the bottom of half the shelter to make it tolerable, but it blows in the top and comes off the back wall to make for a perpetual wind. We need wind guards to be able to use our stoves. It blew the candle lantern out last night. I am working on my first cup of coffee now. Luckily it is relatively warm. It would have been a nasty night if it were cold out. I did not wake up until a little after 9am. I heated water, poured it in the french press and went back to sleep until almost 11. I am wiped out and my entire body is soar.
It is 12:15pm and I just ate 2 full packs of Nutter Butters. We did not eat dinner last night and I am surviving on yesterday mornings oatmeal and sausage and cheese from yesterday's break. I am hoping it gives me the energy to motivate and fix biscuits and gravy and to start doing things. I was on empty for sure. Also, I am feeling dehydrated and I need to drink some water.
It is 12:50pm, I just drank a lot of water, I am not feeling very good today. Hopefully it is just dehydration and lack of nourishment.
At 2pm I laid down and half dozed for about an hour. Walt came by and he and Nancy chatted, but I was half asleep when he came and decided not to get up. It felt like the right thing to do. While sleeping, at one point, I felt like I was going to throw up for a couple of minutes. Maybe I was sea sick from the day before. When I woke up I drank a lot more water and heated water for Biscuits and gravy, which are now in the oven.
It is 3:12pm and 60.4° in the shelter with a barometer of 29.65”. I just finished eating some Biscuits and Gravy which were excellent! Hopefully that will settle my stomach down. It is sprinkling outside and the wind has died down, but the waves are just as loud. This is the first time it has rained since we have been here. I did not see the Voyageur II go by and I doubt we would have heard it. They could have gone along the north shore because the wind is from the south, but it would have been rough getting to the island then, making the turn around Blake's Point. My guess is it did not go out. If the conditions are good tomorrow, I would guess it would go to wherever people need to get picked up then head back. I know for sure that is Chippewa Harbor, but nothing further. It would be fine with me if they waited until Friday. We have plenty of everything and I am not in a hurry to get back.
It is 9:59 pm and 53.4° in in the shelter. We just came back from Dad's. We were only there for around a half an hour as it was cool there and I am really tired. I am still feeling a little queasy. We portaged the canoe and kayak down to the dock around 5pm. We got back and did some prep work and put our dinners in the oven at 7. I saw that Ty and Dave were at Dad's, so we went over and shared our “spirits” and talked. I went up and told Walt to come down and he came down soon after. We ended up talking with them until they left and we went back and ate our dinners around 8pm. I am pretty much ready to call it a day and hope I wake up feeling better. I did not get anything done except what I had to. I had plenty of work I could do, but did not feel like it or, have the energy. The last night on the island (probably), depending on what happens with the Voyageur II tomorrow.

Day Nine - Thursday: Malone Bay Campground
It is 7:55am and 54.2° in the shelter after making coffee with a barometer reading of 28.89”. The barometer continues to slowly drop. We are leaving today. Well, most likely. The wind shifted last night and it is now coming out of the west. There are still some big waves, but I think the boat will go. It is just a question of when. I think they would have wanted to go this morning and will pick up whomever they have to. My guess is it will be here no earlier than 2pm, but we have to be ready for it in case they got here yesterday, possibly along the north shore, but I doubt it. Time to pack up.
At 9:00am I listened to the radio and the marine forecast was not good. There was a small craft advisory from Grand Marais to Grand Portage with 8-12' seas and winds gusting up to 30 mph. However, the forecast for Friday was even worse. I went and told my Dad, but said that we still need to be ready. I went up and told Walt. He has a lot of stuff. I asked him if he could just leave the things he would need to overnight in the shelter and take the rest of his things down to the a “Library” porch. That way, if the boat came in, we would just have to grab a load and take it down to the dock. I also went and told Ty and Dave.
It is 11:00am. The Voyageur arrived right at 10:30! I was carrying my pack down and was crossing the bridge on the way to the dock at 10:15 when I saw her. I rushed down and dropped it off. I found Ty and Dave sitting on the porch of the “Library” and told them. All three of us rushed back, passing Nancy carrying her pack down. I let Dad and Walt know. Dropping off my second load, I found out that Captain Benny had decided to wait because the seas were too bad. I felt better. I have never made a boat wait for me on a pickup. We did not get all of our stuff down until 10:50. Walt is still hauling things down with Ty and Dave taking loads.
We left the dock at Malone at 2:45 after waiting over 4 hours for the lake to calm done a bit. Talking to Kirk, Benny was having a hard time deciding whether to go or call it and stay at Malone. He finally came out and said to start loading gear as he had decided to at least make it to Windigo and see how the seas were when we went around the head. There are 14 people on the boat so there is plenty of space. We have not rounded Point Houghton yet, so the lake is not toobad. We will see.
Once we rounded the “Head” around 5pm, we started to go into some 6-8 footers and, by the time we rounded Cumberland Point they started to be constant and Benny had to take the turn very wide before coming about and turning into Grace Harbor and its protection and flattening out in Washington Harbor.
We arrived at the Windigo dock at 5:50 pm. We were met there by Ranger Katie. She said we were going to wait an hour to see if the seas died down and that she was going to give a “special” presentation in the Visitor's Center at 6:15 on “Hotels, Clubs & Lodges: The resort Era on Isle Royale” on the island that would last a half hour. So, we hung around then went in to listen to her presentation, which was good. At the end she said Benny wanted to wait another hour before going, but we were in fact going and not staying overnight, the weather was supposed to be worse on Friday. So, we waited some more.
I saw Ranger Valerie down at the dock talking. I did not recognize her at first as she was off duty in civilian clothes. I wanted to let her know about the events at Siskiwit Bay and pass them along to Protection Ranger Steve (her husband). I went and told her and she said Steve was there. We went up to the Visitor's Center and she called him. He came down and Nancy gave him the pay.gov paper that the one boater had left on the dock and I gave him all of the information from the pay.gov sheet that was in the shelter. Once these two were gone all of the noise, fireworks etc. ended and the boat with 5 people were pleasant and even gave my Dad some fish (and offered us some through my Dad that we refused out of principle). He wrote down all of the information and said he would follow up. He and Valerie explained they were having a problem with boaters making their payments online, but not getting permits. Either thinking they were permits or, just ignoring the rules. In this case, I'm thinking it is the latter based on their actions. Before Steve got there, Valerie asked about whether we had walked to from Siskiwit towards Lake Halloran and I said yes. She said Ranger Katie told her she met two people on the trail and Valerie figured it was us. That explains it, we met Ranger Katie on the trail. That is why she looked familiar. She was out of uniform, but she seemed familiar to us. Valerie guessed that I was looking for the old Lake Halloran trail.
We left Windigo at 7:35pm just as the sun disappeared in the western sky. Going through the North Gap we began to hit some big rollers. I would say constant 6 footers with the occasional 8 footer. She rolled pretty good and, as we got further out, they grew shorter in distance and there were a few hard hits. When we got about half way across, they began to settle out to 6-8' smooth rollers. It was dark so it was hard to see. This is the first time I made the trip across the lake in the dark. We arrived at the dock at Grand Portage at around 10:15pm.
Mike T.
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Re: TR: 9/28-10/6, 2016 [Paddling Malone Bay-Hay Bay-Siskiwit Bay]

Post by fonixmunkee » Sun Nov 20, 2016 7:34 pm

Thanks for sharing your journal notes. I enjoyed reading them. I think it's so cool that you got to Isle Royale with your old man.

It sounds like the weather cooperated with you trip, but the lake did not. It's funny how that goes sometimes. It's also nice you had a stroke of luck here and there, too.

So with you and Nancy getting that hefty work-out paddling, what's next? 50lb packs on the Minong and try to set a land speed record for the trail? :D
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MikeT
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Re: TR: 9/28-10/6, 2016 [Paddling Malone Bay-Hay Bay-Siskiwit Bay]

Post by MikeT » Sun Nov 20, 2016 8:40 pm

No land speed records for sure. I am planning an every other day trip. Walk, stay a day, walk, stay a day, etc. That is pretty much the way I approach trips these days. Allows you to soak it all in. Packs, hopefully <40 pounds (not counting video/audio equipment) and no canoe (45 pounds).
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Re: TR: 9/28-10/6, 2016 [Paddling Malone Bay-Hay Bay-Siskiwit Bay]

Post by Tom » Thu Nov 24, 2016 6:46 am

Congrats on Hay Bay! I know that's been on the list for while. I hope to make it there someday myself, but it's not an easy one for paddlers. (And even harder for hikers. :P )

Bummer about the boaters; it's that five percent that can really sour a memory. As I think back, I've had many great interactions with boaters, but the couple poor ones have also been at Siskiwit. Maybe it has something to do with the distance from the more common ranger activity.
Glad to know tuning was good on Sky TV at night, too. Always a fun show to watch.

Thanks for the TR. I'll have to get mine written up here before the holidays!


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Re: TR: 9/28-10/6, 2016 [Paddling Malone Bay-Hay Bay-Siskiwit Bay]

Post by Midwest Ed » Sat Nov 26, 2016 3:21 am

Maybe those boaters were angling for a reinstatement of the "No Alcohol" rule for Siskiwit Bay CG that was lifted in 2011.

Great detail on the trip report although I have to ask if you calibrated your thermometer and barometer. That's quite some precision :shock:.

In your video, I think I spotted a couple of people with an actual green complexion :mrgreen:.

You highlighted a couple of examples where when things started to turn sour it would not be too difficult to contemplate the possible bad outcome had just one more major thing gone awry. Good lessons for all.
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Re: TR: 9/28-10/6, 2016 [Paddling Malone Bay-Hay Bay-Siskiwit Bay]

Post by johnhens » Fri Dec 02, 2016 8:32 am

Wow, great trip report!! Love the weather reports, I am a weather geek. What is your instrument of choice for taking readings? I have a Kestrel 4000NV I use on prescribed fires and IR. We have tried to get to Hay Bay from Malone and have gotten sucked in by Malone and Siskiwit Lake and its fine fishing. Too bad about the fishermen. Good for you taking Dad!!!

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Re: TR: 9/28-10/6, 2016 [Paddling Malone Bay-Hay Bay-Siskiwit Bay]

Post by MikeT » Sat Dec 03, 2016 10:17 am

This trip I used a Speedtech Instruments Eco Edge. It displays the temperature and current barometer reading. It also shows the barometric history for the last 16 hours in the form of a bar graph with four columns representing 16, 8, 4, and 2 hours ago. The barometer is calibrated by entering longitude, latitude and elevation. So, I set those when I was at Malone Bay. This was the first trip I used this on. All of my previous trips I used a Suunto watch which I loved but, alas, lost after my last trip (maybe in a motel room? I did not notice until I went to pack for this trip). The drawback of the Suunto was it had to be taken off to get an accurate temperature reading. After traveling and changing elevations, the barometer has to settle out before the readings correct, but it seemed like the Speedtech corrected faster and corrected the history more accurately. Supposedly it has an algorithm that erases the anomalies when moving. It also includes a "game predictor" that forecasts wildlife activity based on dates and moon phase. I'm not sure how well that works, but find it interesting.

I too am a weather geek and have recorded temperature and barometer data on all of my trips. I find the barometer readings I take to be very accurate in predicting upcoming conditions on the island and trust it over the forecasts from the weather radio since it is location specific. Since doing more paddling and looking at barometer data, I have learned that a drop in pressure of around as little as 0.5" can be a predictor of an increase in waves in upcoming hours. It is not an increase that would effect large vessels, but in a canoe, it is magnified.

However, on the last day paddling on this trip, the pressure did not drop anytime before we took off. A low pressure came in while we were paddling. This was most likely predicted, but I did not catch it in any of the forecasts apparently. In hindsight, I do not think any of the information I had told me to leave on the day before, but we should have. Things just happen sometimes and cannot be predicted. Lesson re-learned once again, the lake is a fickle lady and you have to take what she gives you.
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Re: TR: 9/28-10/6, 2016 [Paddling Malone Bay-Hay Bay-Siskiwit Bay]

Post by johnhens » Sun Dec 04, 2016 8:48 pm

The Kestrel will give me trends such as the barometer, as you suggested. Nice for changes in patterns. I like the anemometer too. I have it set so that it will record 3 weather elements (I usually do temp, pressure and humidity) and display them as a graph later. It is interesting to compare results from the Kestrel against the NWS. Did you hear back from the NPS about the boaters?

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Re: TR: 9/28-10/6, 2016 [Paddling Malone Bay-Hay Bay-Siskiwit Bay]

Post by MikeT » Mon Dec 05, 2016 8:53 pm

I just did a quick search on the Kestrel 3500, very interesting. I did not read a lot on it, but it looks like it would be a cool gadget to have (book marked). It would be cool to have humidity. The thing that immediately grabbed my attention is current wind speed, average wind speed, maximum wind gusts. Without reading the details on it (which I will do) how does that work?? I would imagine it would have to be set somewhere for awhile. That would be a great function to have. When I showed it to Nancy she said "If it gives wave height, buy it!" :-)

I have not heard anything from the Park Service about the boaters, but I believe Steve will follow up. I am going to be emailing Valerie with the pictures I have of a set of wolf prints we saw and took pictures of at Siskiwit Bay. It was clearly two sets of prints. Proof of two wolves! I will ask her about the "incident" then.
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"Isle Royale Info - A Comprehensive Guide to Isle Royale National Park" available at: http://www.isleroyale.info
"Isle Royale Itinerary Generator" an intuitive program to create and manage itineraries. Description at: http://www.isleroyale.info/ig_description.html
"Half the fun is in the planning"


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Re: TR: 9/28-10/6, 2016 [Paddling Malone Bay-Hay Bay-Siskiwit Bay]

Post by johnhens » Tue Dec 06, 2016 7:12 am

I actually have the 4000NV, not the 3500 as I stated.
They do make a stand for the Kestrel to record wind speeds. Otherwise you would have to stand and hold it to record the wind. You can set it to take a weather reading every hour or sooner. I think you can set it up to download the info to a phone.
I am envious that you saw the wolf tracks, you may be the last person to see their tracks depending on how winter goes. You should send the pics to Rolf and John.

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