Baggage Handling on the Ranger

Questions about how to get to the island and where to stay near points of departure.

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Duffy Moon
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Baggage Handling on the Ranger

Post by Duffy Moon »

First timer: wondering about how backpacks are handled on the Ranger. Meaning: wondering if I should worry about the structural integrity of items in, or strapped to, the pack. Should I expect airport-style juggling and flinging of bags into a huge heap on deck? Or UPS-grade drop-kicks? Will, for instance, trekking poles lashed to the pack's exterior be bent into useless question marks by the time they arrive to IR? If I were foolish enough to strap something more - ah - delicate to the exterior, am I just asking for trouble?
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Re: Baggage Handling on the Ranger

Post by bobcat »

They put out these carts, you load your own backpack onto the cart, and they have a bin for hiking poles and kayak paddles(55-gal trash can on wheels). Tape your poles together to minimize tangling But do not put them on your pack. Then they fold the sides of the carts up and turn them into bins, roll them into the cargo hold and we're off. Stuff might get piled on top of your pack but it does not get drop-kicked. At rock harbor, they wheel out the can full of poles and paddles, and a train of those carts, and you unload your own stuff. Oh and, when you're loading in Houghton, make sure you do not put your pack in the carts that are going to park HQ on Mott Island. Don't ask why I know that.....there is a crew member out there to help with all this.
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Re: Baggage Handling on the Ranger

Post by Ingo »

Nice description Bobcat! Sounds like it would be a good idea to mark your poles. The one time I took the Ranger we did get off at Mott Is (with a canoe), so the concern was making sure our gear was on that cart--the help kept trying to direct us to the R.H. ones.
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, 13: RH-PI, 14: BI-ML-CI-CH-MB, 16: RH-CI-TI-RH, 17: WI-IM-SB-FL-WC, 18: MC-PC-BI-DB-RH-DF, 21: RH-??-DF
Duffy Moon
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Re: Baggage Handling on the Ranger

Post by Duffy Moon »

Awesome response, Bobcat. Thanks for the detail. I have a character defect that makes me mentally run through every scenario ahead of time, just to make sure I don't miss out on worrying about some possible disaster.
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Re: Baggage Handling on the Ranger

Post by bobcat »

Duffy, I'm kinda the same way, I am uncomfortable not knowing what to expect. When you come back to Isle Royale next time (and you will....) know that every ferry handles things differently - on some of them you have to take out any stove fuel and put it in a crate that gets stored abovedeck, etc. Don't forget to keep your daypack stuff separate, with a water bottle, lunch, a jacket, rain/wind gear if you want to spend time out on deck during the crossing, binoculars, camera, and a good book. And in case you didn't notice, there are ranger programs, and the backcountry permit issuing process, while the RangerIII is making the crossing. Just the Ranger III herself is pretty interesting and I tend to wander all over and never stay in the same place for long on the trip over. On the trip home I usually just fall asleep!
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Re: Baggage Handling on the Ranger

Post by Duffy Moon »

Nice. I'm prone to motion sickness, so debating about the need for Dramamine. Will check the weather/surf conditions that morning to see. I appreciate all the info.
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Re: Baggage Handling on the Ranger

Post by Base654 »

I tend to be a little prone to motion sickness myself. I take a Dramamine either way. I don't mind getting a little nap on the way out.
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Re: Baggage Handling on the Ranger

Post by dcclark »

Don't make the mistake that I did last time, and accidentally leave your photo ID in your pack when you want to register using a National Park Annual Pass. That bumped me from the start of the registration line to the verrrrrrry end behind the people trying to figure out how far away Three Mile is...
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Re: Baggage Handling on the Ranger

Post by Duffy Moon »

Dramamine: check. Photo ID: check.
Thanks, all.
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Re: Baggage Handling on the Ranger

Post by booyah »

FWIW, Dramamine is an easy one, its a long boat ride, and if you take it you will be drowsy, if you dont take it you may make some new friends at the back of the boat!

besides, who doesnt love a morning nap on the way there?
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Re: Baggage Handling on the Ranger

Post by bobcat »

When the crossing is going to be rough, I use a product called "Bonine" that doesn't make me drowsy. The active ingredient is meclazine (sp?). It is not as well-known as dramamine, but I have generally been able to find it at retail pharmacies. YMMV.
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Re: Baggage Handling on the Ranger

Post by Duffy Moon »

Bobcat1 wrote: Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:43 am When the crossing is going to be rough, I use a product called "Bonine" that doesn't make me drowsy. The active ingredient is meclazine (sp?). It is not as well-known as dramamine, but I have generally been able to find it at retail pharmacies. YMMV.
Seems like I've seen that before (meclizine) prescribed for vertigo - so, that makes sense. Will check it out. I just don't think I want to start my long-anticipated trip by bile-chumming Lake Superior.
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Re: Baggage Handling on the Ranger

Post by alicecw »

Is it allowed to have a full hydration bladder in my pack for the Ranger crossing? From reading this thread, it sounds like they are fairly careful with the bags, but I wasn't sure if they had liquid restrictions in the cargo area to limit spills. I'd love to fill up the hydration bladder with water in Houghton and then hit the trail immediately upon arrival, rather than stopping in Rock Harbor to fill up (along with everyone else).
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Re: Baggage Handling on the Ranger

Post by Ingo »

I'm sure you could, but not sure that I would, just because I'd worry that it may leak if too much were loaded (or dropped) on top of it. If you're heading down the Rock Harbor trail (as opposed to the Tobin Harbor trail), it goes through the campground and there are a couple spigots there you could stop at if the line is too long at the dock.
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, 13: RH-PI, 14: BI-ML-CI-CH-MB, 16: RH-CI-TI-RH, 17: WI-IM-SB-FL-WC, 18: MC-PC-BI-DB-RH-DF, 21: RH-??-DF
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Re: Baggage Handling on the Ranger

Post by alicecw »

Thank you! We are planning to head down the Tobin Harbor path, but are going the week after the summer solstice so we will have plenty of daylight and can afford to dawdle a little bit in RH. Hopefully the water line won't be too long since the Ranger is running on reduced capacity.
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