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TR:6/16-6/23 2018 [Windigo-Isle mine-Todd Harb-Mcargo-Threemile-Rock Harbor]

Reports or links to reports on trips.

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TR:6/16-6/23 2018 [Windigo-Isle mine-Todd Harb-Mcargo-Threemile-Rock Harbor]

Post by pyrowaves » Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:52 pm

Got back from our trip on June 24th.
Overall it was GREAT! 3 people, 1 had been there in 2001, first time for me and the other person. Overall the trip was great, but I didn’t bring enough warm clothes for night time. My 40 degree bag was not enough to keep me comfortable sleeping, but If that is all I complain about, I’ll take it!

There are a handful of picture below. We've got more and I took a ton of video. I need a new computer before I can edit it and get it on Youtube. Once I do i'll update, but it might be a longer wait.

Detailed info:
Arrive at Rock Harbor aboard IR Queen. Foggy trip, we couldn't see anything off boat most of the way. Smooth ride.
It was sunny and warm on the dock at RH. Checked in and found a nice Shelter on the hill. Ate food at the grill and the rain started.
After rain we stretched our legs(about a mile hike toward the point(not all the way) and back. I bought a beanie/hat as I realized my gear wasn't warm enough for the incoming storm and night colds.
While sleeping there was a very loud thunderstorm. Shook the shelter, but was done by morning.
Hop on Voyager Ferry at 8 AM and ride to Windigo. Checked out the store, filled up water and started the muddy hike toward Island mine. Saw some ranger/NPS staff performing trail maintenance. It was like hiking in a small creek just outside the campground. Once getting to camp, found the creek for water and setup tent. We had enough time to make food and fill up on water before rain started really coming down, but it wasn’t long lived.
The evening was still early so we found some semi dry wood and made a small campfire to warm up/dry out before bed.

Hike very long day to Todd Harbor (16.5+ miles). In the morning we encountered about 10-15 ranger/staff getting ready to head out for more trail maintenance. After heading out the ‘creek’ the group passed us at a faster pace.
Shortly after, we had a fox cross our path and stop in the trail, then alongside us (20-30 ft. away) and pause for some nice video/pictures. During the day we had our bug nets on due to the mosquitos. Flies were present but not really bad until we got to Hatchet Lake for water.
Stopped for an actual cooked lunch at Ishpeming point tower and met a couple hiking the opposite direction. I took my socks off and run then out and let them dry some. Despite my waterproof boots and water treated pants some water and mostly sweat had my feet swimming. The mosquitos were heavy, but not unbearable. There is nothing to see at this tower because of how overgrown, but it was a good stopping point for lunch.
After lunch my feet were much happier as they were dry and we felt good. Steep climb down to Hatchet lake, and after we fought the flies for a water refill, we did decide to press on to Todd harbor. Shortly after I was pretty exhausted and was literally counting my steps to keep going. But it was well worth it once we arrived to Todd Harbor.
The single shelter was occupied, but we got a great campsite on the water right next to the community fire ring. After dropping the packs I remember walking into superior with my socks, crocs, and pants up to my knees. It felt great after the long hike and my pants needed some rinsing anyways.
We ate, gathered water and just enjoyed the sun and water. Gathered up some wood and had another camp fire going as well. We met the nice guy who had the shelter for that night and the following night. He brought his boat from Minnesota as he does every year for a fishing trip.
While enjoying the sunset (Todd harbor was the best sunset location we saw all week), a male moose decided to join us for about 30-60 minutes. Wading in the water, eating greens, and overall just hanging out letting us take his picture and video him. We were very cautious because he was quite close (coming pretty much in the campsite), and kept our distance as much as possible. He eventually made his way around our site, although I think we wanted to come straight through and the evening was over. After trying to watch the stars, realizing it wasn’t completely dark even at 11pm, we put out the fire and went to bed.

Our plan to stay at Todd Harbor two nights was great. We did end up moving the tent as we set up on a mess of tree roots and I still have a bruise on my leg to prove it. We moved to a slightly wetter spot in the same campsite but much softer.
The second day we continued drying clothes and shoes from the previous hike, fished off the dock, and scouted for other fishing spots in the morning. Going up through the group sites, I wanted to make it to the north east point of the bay we were in. I found my way down and could hear a waterfall and make it out all the way on the other side of the bay. After bringing the other two friends up to the point, and fishing for a while we decided to try to make our way to the waterfall.
Following the trail to Isle Royale mine, we continued on a path to the creek/river following out ears to the waterfall. One friend hopped a rock across the river; another climbed a down pine and scaled his way across. I wanted to make it, but don’t trust my ankles or knees for those maneuvers. I tried the tree method, to no avail. They went on without me to see if it was worth the effort. While they went two other hikers appeared through the woods seeking out the waterfall as well.
I told them how my friends made it across and I went down the water on the current side finding a path slightly overgrown. Once to the top of the waterfall I found that I could cross at the drop off thanks for some down brush/logs. The other hikers jumped in superior with little hesitation. However we were there to fish and eat lunch. While the swimmers said the lake was cold, the waterfall/river water was much warmer and they spent some time in there. Under a rock/dirt overhang about 10-15 feet above the water there was still a sizeable chunk of ice holding out for warmer weather.
We saw some large fish in the area we were in, but none were interested in biting. At this point we had also lost a handful of our few lures to rocks and debris under the water. We would eventually all lose a few more. The swimmers left and we fished for a while longer before heading back to camp. Another fire, dinner, and a great sunset.
Another couple hikers made their way in and we swapped stories. We found that they were unsure of their plans because their water filter was becoming unreliable. My group of three each had their own Sawyer mini which was working out quite well. We decided that the couple should be able to finish their trip at any location they wanted and gave them one of our Sawyer filters and bladders as we still had 2 between the three of use to share. They hung out at the fire with us for a while and then we all went to bed.

The next morning we got up at a relaxed pace and eased into packing up. We had a whopping 6.6 mile hike to McCargoe cove. There were some pretty good sights along the way and we did about a 30-60 minute detour at the Minong Mine when we were close. We were told we can take a loop through the mine area and get to the campsite, but we ended up not finding it and going out the way we came in. There was a huge chunk of ice still left in the mine and some old equipment to see with all the debris brought out of the mine.
Once we got to McCargoe, we found a Shelter free that was overlooking the dock and water. It looked to be the best view there. We got our fishing poles out and started fishing off the dock. Until this point we hadn’t seen any snakes. But once at McCarcoe there were snakes everywhere! Nothing big and dangerous, but just all over sunning themselves. They were pretty common for the remainder of the trip.
There was a group of young kids church/boy scout trip this evening. At one point I counted about 15 people on the dock. We had 4 fishing poles going, but no fish for a long time. I wasn’t paying attention on one cast and a friend saw a big pike following my lure in. Cue excited kids and us since it was the first sign we might catch something. 2-3 large pike later following the lure in, but no bites we were getting tired. Then, on a telescoping pole my friend hooked something, something big.
He got it to the dock and unfortunately none of us got a picture as we were all scrambling for the net, or to help. We thought large pike, but toward the end we think it might have been a muskie! It was every bit of 40-48 inches long. Unfortunately we won’t know for sure, because once it was at the dock it took off again snapping the fishing pole like a twig, and taking off.
After casting again for a while, we went up to a fire someone had going and then heading to bed.
Staying a full day and another night at McCargoe we decided to relax and not do a whole lot. Mostly just hung out around the shelter and dock. We also went and collected some firewood. There were already logs around the fire and camp that were too big to burn and made up some quick benches using them for others to sit around the pit.
Toward the evening we saw some moose across the cove. A calf and mom. We also had a fire going and one person in my group went down and cast a few more times. He got a 23 inch pike. Then we went down to the dock and I caught a smaller one. A few more casts and we all gave up and went back to the fire.
We woke up and planned to hike 9.5 miles to Daisy Farm via Mount Ojibway. The trip had a lot of great views. Somewhere along the way we started contemplating going on to threemile instead of Daisy. We decided we would get to Daisy Farm and hang out for a little while and decide to go on or not. We got there, ate some snacks and hung out around the dock. Filtered some water and decided we would make for a short day the next day and go on to threemile.
This was a good choice. We got a shelter at Threemile. We threw out some more fishing lines just to try but didn’t have any luck, which was somewhat expected here. There was a cool diving duck(not loon) with babies around the dock who let us watch her for a while. Up until this point the shelters were all very clean, I assume since threemile is used often this shelter needed some TLC/sweeping to bring it up to par, but was not disgusting by any means.

The next morning we hiked from threemile to Rock harbor. It was a great decision to shorten this day. While short, there were a lot of tree roots, rocks, and rough terrain. Combined with being our last day and the terrain we took it slow. It was a really nice walk along the water and cool seeing the boats and park headquarters. We had enough time to do some shopping, relax, and eat at the grill.
The trip was great. I hope to return someday, but would like to do a trip more focused around boating/kayaking. If we could guarantee weather like we had on this trip I’d go back in a heartbeat. A little rain in the beginning but clear skies and calm water for the rest of the trip made for a great time. I want to thank everyone on this forum as well who helped with deciding trip routes, what to and not to do, etc. It helped a ton.

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Re: TR:6/16-6/23 2018 [Windigo-Isle mine-Todd Harb-Mcargo-Threemile-Rock Harbor]

Post by Ingo » Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:21 pm

Great report and pics. Thanks!

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Re: TR:6/16-6/23 2018 [Windigo-Isle mine-Todd Harb-Mcargo-Threemile-Rock Harbor]

Post by torpified » Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:00 am

Thanks for the great report and the good deeds! (Did you fight over who got to lighten their pack by donating their filter and bladder?) I was also astonished and dismayed by the snake population at McCargoe. Good thing those shelter doors latch.

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Re: TR:6/16-6/23 2018 [Windigo-Isle mine-Todd Harb-Mcargo-Threemile-Rock Harbor]

Post by Tom » Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:43 am

Excellent TR. Glad to got to have a close up moose encounter on your first trip. I can't think of another National Park that makes that opportunity so available. (And in June, they are generally docile and just interested in eating. I've had them walk right past, browsing along the way, not caring about me at all.)
While the firewood at McCargoe looks a bit large for LNT, it's still nice to walk into a camp and see some trail magic like that waiting for you... especially if folks are wet.
Although two of you were new and the other just one trip, I think you exemplified the spirit and culture of Isle Royale when you paid it forward with your filter. Kudos to all of you.

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