I need general advice on trails, weather, etc.

Questions on general information and things that do not fit into any other categories.

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cadenparulski
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I need general advice on trails, weather, etc.

Post by cadenparulski » Fri Mar 02, 2018 5:01 pm

I'm planning on backpacking Isle Royale on May 14th through May 18th, giving me roughly 4 days of hiking to do. I didn't really know which category to post this under because it has a bit of everything, so I posted it here. I'm a good hiker and I'm in pretty good shape, but I have never actually solo backpacked before. I believe I have all of the gear I need, I just need advice on some little details like trail conditions and what the weather could be like. Here are some four-day itineraries I've been mulling over:

Rock Harbor - Moskey - Hatchet Lake - McCargoe - 3M - RH+Scoville (51.1 miles)

Rock Harbor - Moskey - McCargoe - 3M - RH+Scoville (with a rest day) (38.2 miles)

Rock Harbor - Daisy - Richie - McCargoe - 3M - RH+Scoville (38.6 miles)

I know that first itinerary is a bit of a leg-killer, but I get to see a good stretch of the Greenstone and Todd Harbor for 12 extra miles. Is it worth it to do something this strenuous? I want to push myself on this trip, but I also want to have time to relax and feel like I'm on a vacation. This is my dream trip and I don't want to miss out on anything if I can help it.

I'll be coming into RH on the Isle Royale Queen ferry, and after permits and talks I should have roughly 8 hours of daylight. I really want to get to Moskey to stay my first night, but I've been told this is ambitious. Is it doable? Or should I just plan for Daisy?

I've also thought about working Chippewa Harbor into an itinerary, but I'm not excited about the hike out and back since it doesn't work into a loop. It just makes things slightly more difficult if I want to go there. Is it alright if I miss it, given the other places that I will be seeing? Or is it one of those places that I can't miss? I would basically want to hike from Chippewa all the way to McCargoe and I'm not too keen on going up and down all of those ridges for 11 miles.

In some of the videos I've watched, people have had to hike over a good amount of swamp boards. How long are these stretches and how often to they happen along any given trail? Obviously I won't run into any on Greenstone Ridge, but what about the trails that run north-south?

I know the weather can literally do anything in the time that I'm going to be backpacking, but is there anyone who's hiked on the island at roughly the same time who could tell me what to expect? I know it can dip down in the 20's at night and I'm well prepared for that. Also, what is the insect situation at this time? What kind of condition are the trails going to be in, as far as vegetation and actually being able to tell where I'm going? I know not very many people will have used the trails before I get there because it's so early in the year.

I plan on taking four or five Mountain House pro-paks to eat for either breakfast or dinner, and then assorted protein bars to eat for the rest of my meals because they don't take up much space. Does this sound like a good plan as far as meals go?


Midwest Ed
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Re: I need general advice on trails, weather, etc.

Post by Midwest Ed » Fri Mar 02, 2018 5:53 pm

Most of the answers you seek and what happens during your trip depends very much on the weather; the weather both during your trip and the weather over the next 2-1/2 months might slow your pace. There is always some dead fall every spring but strong winds can make it worse than usual. Trail crews work hard to clear the trails but it takes some time and they'll still be working while you're there. Depending on snow amounts, rate of melt and recent rains, the trails (especially off the The Greenstone) can be muddy and slippery or very muddy. Many of the trails have a lot of exposed tree roots and these are slippery when wet. Bugs should normally not be bad at all during mid May but then again, an early, warm spring might affect that. I don't know about recent reports on boardwalks along your planned routes but you are correct that they exist almost exclusively in the valleys between the ridges. The good news in all this I think you have already realized. You have options to adjust your itinerary based on conditions you find. Doing so will be easy in mid May as things are not too busy yet.

The stretch from 3 mile to Moskey is not a lot of elevation change but there is much up and down (5 feet up, 2 feet down, 3 feet up, 10 feet down, repeat). This actually follows an ancient shoreline. When you get to Daisy Farm you'll know that only 4 more miles of the same lies ahead to Moskey so you can decided to press on or not. Hatchet Lake is a tremendously ambitious goal for just a 5 night stay but that's my opinion. For an inland lake campground experience, West Chickenbone Lake is nicer than Hatchet Lake.

Some people love the struggle, I love the view. If I didn't even make to McCargoe and stopped at Moskey or Ritchie I would still be very happy. If something like that happens I would still suggest you work in a return path that included a piece of the Greenstone. From Daisy Farm you could take the long way back to 3 Mile by going up to the Greenstone to Mt. Ojibway then cross to Mt. Franklin before descending to 3 Mile. The panoramic views from up there are beautiful, especially in clear weather.

Lastly, your meal plan doesn't appear to have enough calories. While a MH pack for 2 can be bulky and filling, they are only about 500 calories (plus a ton of Sodium). With just hose and trail bars, you aren't going to become malnourished in 5 days but you might get hungry.
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013


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cadenparulski
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Re: I need general advice on trails, weather, etc.

Post by cadenparulski » Fri Mar 02, 2018 6:39 pm

I liked the idea of going to MCC because I can hit that section of Greenstone with Ojibway and Franklin next, which is pretty high on my list of things to see while I'm there. That and I don't really want to walk the same trail twice, and this cuts that down to only the section between 3M and RH, as opposed to the section between Daisy and RH.

Do you hvae any recommendations besides MH meals then? I chose them because they were cheap and easy, and everyone was giving them good reviews. I originally wanted MRE's but they take up so much space.

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IncaRoads
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Re: I need general advice on trails, weather, etc.

Post by IncaRoads » Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:11 pm

MH meals are fine. You may also want some additional high caloric items like dried fruit, nuts, jerky, hard cheese, and chocolate to supplement your dinner and other meals. Read through the "Food & Cooking" subform for some other ideas.

Here are a couple of links to get you started...

Link ---> http://isleroyaleforums.com/viewtopic.p ... bc7#p20123

Link ---> viewtopic.php?f=15&t=3429#p23149


ARRC
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Re: I need general advice on trails, weather, etc.

Post by ARRC » Fri Mar 02, 2018 9:02 pm

Hi!
I typically take MH or Packit gourmet for meals. Pro bars for breakfast, trail mix, jerky and snikers bars to round it out.

Have a great trip, you will be back (:


Midwest Ed
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Re: I need general advice on trails, weather, etc.

Post by Midwest Ed » Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:30 pm

I like Mountain House. They're light weight and easy. There are other brands like Packet Gourmet as Ingo pointed out. My comment was not that MH are bad, but that I thought you would be hungry or not happy with just Mountain House and Trail Bars. Some MH are far tastier than others. I suggest you try some ahead of time or take a good variety. Although when you're really hungry, almost anything tastes OK. For some meals I take grocery store stuff that can be made with hot water like soup mixes and noodle packages (e.g. Ramen) Repackage 2 or 3 servings in small zip lock bags. Then throw in some tuna available in foil pouches when you heat it up. Boiler bags are available if you don't want to mess with a cup. There's also precooked bacon that stores at room temps for quite awhile, a bit pricey and does lack calories because most all the fat is removed, but bacon does make everything taste better. right? Or just stick with jerky.
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013

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Ingo
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Re: I need general advice on trails, weather, etc.

Post by Ingo » Fri Mar 02, 2018 11:14 pm

Midwest Ed wrote:
Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:30 pm
There are other brands like Packet Gourmet as Ingo pointed out.
I think you meant ARRC--want to give credit where credit is due :D
79: worked RH, 01: BI-DB-RH, 02: MC-LR-WL-CH, 05: MI-CI-MB-DF-RH-TM-RH, 09: MC-BI-DN-RH, 11: WC-HC-WC, 12: MC-CB-HL-TH, 14: BI-ML-CI-CH-MB, 16: RH-CI-TI-RH, 17: WI-IM-SB-FL-WC, 18: MC-PC-BI-DB-RH-DF


Midwest Ed
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Re: I need general advice on trails, weather, etc.

Post by Midwest Ed » Fri Mar 02, 2018 11:37 pm

Ingo wrote:
Fri Mar 02, 2018 11:14 pm
I think you meant ARRC--want to give credit where credit is due :D
Thanks. I knew I read it somewhere and I didn't want to usurp the credit myself although I have no idea why I confused you apparently for IncaRoads. :oops: apologies.
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013

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Ingo
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Re: I need general advice on trails, weather, etc.

Post by Ingo » Sat Mar 03, 2018 12:26 am

First, I agree with with all that's been said. Expect it to be muddy that time of year, even on the ridges--gaiters highly recommended. If it's not, consider yourself lucky! Also, for me, hiking poles are indispensable for navigating mudholes and around deadfall.

If you want downtime, I'd suggest leaving Hatchet off the list as I suspect it's unlikely that section of trail will have been cleared by that time. The ridge views are nice, but you get those between McCargoe and Daisy. And Todd would just be a walkthrough (or break) at best. Also, while Chippewa is nice, the in/out hike probably isn't worth it in the time you have. If you find you want to push to Moskey the first day, I'd go for plan #2, and maybe have Daisy Farm -> McCargoe -> Moskey -> Three Mile as a backup plan. You'd still have Moskey, you'd hit Mt Ojibway leaving Daisy, and you could probably fit Mt Franklin in at the end.

As for food, I'm also Mt House for supper, oatmeal for breakfast (gotta have something hot), and trail mix (about 1/2 M&Ms), cheese, and sausage for lunch. My last trip I repacked everything in ziplock freezer bags and used a cozy--worked great and probably saved 1/2 lb. Even rationed the trail mix in snack ziplocks to ensure I was eating enough each day (but not leaving me short). Remember you need carbs, too, and more calories than normal--important in the cold also.
79: worked RH, 01: BI-DB-RH, 02: MC-LR-WL-CH, 05: MI-CI-MB-DF-RH-TM-RH, 09: MC-BI-DN-RH, 11: WC-HC-WC, 12: MC-CB-HL-TH, 14: BI-ML-CI-CH-MB, 16: RH-CI-TI-RH, 17: WI-IM-SB-FL-WC, 18: MC-PC-BI-DB-RH-DF

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Re: I need general advice on trails, weather, etc.

Post by Base654 » Sat Mar 03, 2018 8:32 pm

Rock Harbor - Moskey - McCargoe - 3M - RH+Scoville (with a rest day) (38.2 miles) is a good trip for me. I will usually go back to Moskey instead of 3M, just me. I like Moskey. It is a long hike, but I don't mind it. It is as Midwest Ed said, up 10 down 3 etc. most of the way, but I find it worth the while.

I take one MH meal for dinner a stick of summer sausage, a bar of cheddar, and a pack of tortillas for lunch and a small oatmeal breakfast with local berries (I go later in the year most of the time). I found energy bars too heavy for more than a few days. I can't eat nuts, but they are a great option.

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