TR: 6/24/17 - 6/29/17 [Rock Harbor - Windigo]

Reports or links to reports on trips.

Moderator: Tom

Post Reply

Topic author
melyturtle
NewbieCake
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Jun 09, 2017 12:56 pm

TR: 6/24/17 - 6/29/17 [Rock Harbor - Windigo]

Post by melyturtle » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:44 am

This was such an amazing and unforgettable trip for us, and thank you to you all for your sage advice.

Our flight arrived in Houghton on 6/24 with no problems and we taxied to the seaplane dock for our 4:00PM flight. At 3:30PM the incoming seaplane from Rock Harbor landed and the pilot, Jon, notified us that he would not be flying again due to fog at the other end, so we got a hotel and waited standby to fly out the next morning. Jon kept us updated via text and we finally got the okay around 9:30AM to be ready to go. Jon was awesome and picked us up from our hotel and everything.

We arrived in RH around 10:45AM on Sunday 6/25 and checked in with the Ranger and went to the store. We were able to reserve some fuel with the store by emailing Kim, the manager, and it was there waiting for us when we got there. We got on the trail sometime before noon and took Tobin Harbor trail because of Rock Harbor trail's difficult reputation. We stopped at Suzy's Cave, and then headed back up to Tobin Harbor trail. A cow and her calf were in the water very close to the trail eating foliage and we hurried along to avoid a confrontation. Another couple we passed going back to RH said they were forced to turn around because the cow was in the trail when they encountered her and she would not move. After passing them, we finished up the Tobin Harbor trail and made our way south to Three Mile where we stopped to make lunch. We then continued on to Daisy Farm and camped in a shelter toward the back for the night. It rained overnight but we were dry (but cold!) thanks to the shelter.

6/26 we headed out for West Chickenbone, by far our favorite campground. The view was incredible from our campsite. It was also the most shaded campground out of the four we stayed at aside from Daisy Farm (but no view of the lake from our shelter). Our campsite was visited by a turtle, three snakes, a hare, and plenty of butterflies. We enjoyed the Greenstone Ridge's many views and diverse topography.

6/27 we continued on the Greenstone Ridge and made our way to Hatchett Lake. Beautiful lake. Our campsite was in full sun, which was not terribly pleasant. We ended up hiding in our tent for a lot of the afternoon to stay out of the sun. We enjoyed dinner away from the campsite to get some relief from the sun.

6/28 continued on Greenstone for S. Desor. Again, our campsite was in full sun, but it was spacious and the outhouse not only had toilet paper, someone had also left a Reader's Digest in there. Very pleasant. The descent to the lake for water from our campsite was pretty steep. We saw several loons.

6/29 It began raining around 5:00PM the previous day and did not stop. We were doing okay until we got on the trail and the overgrowth soaked our pants and eventually our feet. It wasn't terribly warm so we had to keep moving to keep from becoming hypothermic. Another poor fellow passed us on the trail to Windigo and said all of his gear was soaked and he needed to get ahead of hypothermia. We could not stop for more than a minute anytime we were feeling fatigued. We finally made it to Windigo after a 12 mile slog in just under 6 hours. Our original plan was to camp another night in Washington Creek, and I would definitely have wanted to if I hadn't been soaked to the bone and had I had a change of pants and shoes to get into. Martha and Irene in the store were incredibly kind and tried to help us warm up and make plans for the evening. However, we were lucky enough to get on the only seaplane leaving from the entire island that day thanks to help from the Ranger, who emailed Jon and got us on standby. We made it back to Houghton, rented a car, and got a hotel to warm up in for the night.

This was a once in a lifetime trip that we feel incredibly fortunate to have experienced. The views, the pristine wilderness, the wildlife... it was all like nothing we have ever seen. The photos do not do it justice in the slightest. We are very grateful we got to do this and hope one day we might return!
Attachments
IMG_4170.JPG
View of Chickenbone Lake from our campsite
IMG_4167.JPG
View of our tent in our campsite at West Chickenbone


torpified
Trailblazer
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2016 4:06 pm
Isle Royale Visits: 2
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Contact:

Re: TR: 6/24/17 - 6/29/17 [Rock Harbor - Windigo]

Post by torpified » Fri Jul 07, 2017 5:50 am

Thanks for the report! It sounds like you had a grand tour. I was especially excited to read about the turtle and the reader's digest!

User avatar

IncaRoads
Forum Moderator
Posts: 238
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 1:52 pm
Isle Royale Visits: 11
Location: St. Paul, MN

Re: TR: 6/24/17 - 6/29/17 [Rock Harbor - Windigo]

Post by IncaRoads » Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:15 pm

Great trip report. Good rain gear (jacket and pants) and a backpack cover are essential on Isle Royale even in the summertime! Sounds like you made the right decision to depart the island early, considering your wet gear and the cool weather.


ruthwj
NewbieCake
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:18 pm

Re: TR: 6/24/17 - 6/29/17 [Rock Harbor - Windigo]

Post by ruthwj » Fri Jul 07, 2017 4:32 pm

Thanks for the report. I am heading up next week and will be doing a longer version of your exact itinerary. Good to know about the Tobin Harbor vs Rock Island Trails. I am coming from Grand Portage and won't be to RH until late afternoon. My goal is go get to Daisy Farm before dinner. We'll see how that goes.

Also wondering if you have any photos of your full sun camp sights you'd share?

User avatar

Tom
Forum Moderator
Posts: 666
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2008 9:16 pm
Isle Royale Visits: 12
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota

Re: TR: 6/24/17 - 6/29/17 [Rock Harbor - Windigo]

Post by Tom » Sat Jul 08, 2017 5:45 am

Glad to hear it went so well! It's so amazing how Isle Royale can go from "too much sun, need to find shade" to "way too cold, need to find sun" in a matter of hours.
Here's hoping you can add your names to the list that make Isle Royale the "most re-visited" National Park.

Tom


Topic author
melyturtle
NewbieCake
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Jun 09, 2017 12:56 pm

Re: TR: 6/24/17 - 6/29/17 [Rock Harbor - Windigo]

Post by melyturtle » Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:47 am

Thanks everyone!

IncaRoads, we learned our lesson and will both be investing in waterproof gaiters and my husband is getting a rain kilt.

Ruthwj, I don't seem to have any photos of those two sites, my husband might. You'll have a great time. I think it took us about four hours to get to Daisy Farm, but we stopped to make a hot lunch at Three Mile and we ran into two boys whose group leaders left them behind and had to assist them (with insanely heavy packs they had no business carrying), so we were waylaid getting in. Definitely definitely definitely Tobin Harbor trail, I heard from someone at the other end (Windigo) that he felt the Rock Harbor trail was the most challenging of the entire trek so we felt we made the right choice.

Tom, I hope so!

Post Reply