Deadfall is not a problem at all. Trail crews must have been hard at work. Overgrown brush, on the other hand, chokes about half of this trail; some of it quite bad. I think only someone with no trail experience would lose the trail, but tripping and twisting ankles is a real risk because a hiker cannot see where he or she is putting a foot. Also, this means that anyone should plan on a good soaking if hiking after a rain or in the morning dew.
I noticed quite a lot of beaver activity. So far, on this trail, it has had a limited impact, but I suspect that will change.
Finally, I noticed several groups wading through a creek outflow just short of Senter Point near Siskiwit. No need to do this; there is a fully functional bridge just a bit inland.
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But what's the fun in using a bridge?
Thanks for the update. Was the overgrowth particularly bad at any specific point or between any specific campgrounds?
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Yeah, when I did it a month ago I was thinking "this could be really annoying in a few weeks".
Can anyone share an update on the trail conditions for Feldtman Loop? We're headed to Isle Royale in about two weeks for a 1-week backpack trip and we'll be going in and out of Windigo. A hike to Feldtman Lake and then on to Siskiwit looked like a good way to kick off the trip, but we're wary of the bushwhacking and extended stretches of wading that may require given the July post.
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Continued growth might have made things get a little worse but heavier user tends to beat back the overgrowth. If I have the correct clothing I would not let it stop me. But you don't want to get caught in a cold snap with all your clothing wet either. Spare, dry clothes and rain gear is the way to go. You can always ask the Ranger when you arrive and adjust your plans then. Instead of making the entire loop you can include the Hugginnen Loop and go places then backtrack. The views and observations walking the opposite direction "coming back" are always different than when you "went".
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We heard reports last week (8/5 - 8/11) from hikers who said it was, in two spots on the Feldtman loop..
- a couple miles in the lower area on the east side of the Tower on the way to Siskiwit Bay
- north of Siskiwit bay on the way to Island Mine
But we also saw it a number of places on the Minong and also the Hugginin loop. If its dry- it can be pushed through. if its wet, be prepared for a good soaking from that height on down. I wore only shorts and did ok.
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Just returned and hiked the Feldtman Loop to Siskiwit and then north towards Island Mine (8/19-8/20). The conditions described in July still apply so be prepared to deal with heavy overgrowth and, after a rain fall or in the morning, mud or muck.
Hiking from Windigo to Feldtman and then Siskiwit Bay:
- Heavy overgrowth for roughly last 3 miles before reaching the FL campground. The overgrowth is very high in some places (5' or so). You won't lose the trail, but it's a nuisance.
- From FL to Siskiwit, the last 3 to 4 miles are heavily overgrown. Not as high as the approach to FL but thicker. If you didn't have people walking in front of you, there are many places where you wouldn't know there was a trail other than the fact it's the only place to walk (vs the marsh or trees to either side). You have to plant your feet hoping there is ground underneath. It was (thankfully) dry when we went through, but after rain or in the morning, prepare to be soaking wet.
- From Siskiwit to Island Mine, the first 3+ miles are very heavily overgrown. Tall grasses, very wet and muddy, boardwalks slippery. Again, you won't lose the trail, per se, but it's sometimes difficult to see precisely where it is, whether you're on boardwalk or ground, and where the edges of the boardwalk are. We were lucky and it had been dry for a few days, so the trail was muddy but not under water as the ranger had told us it would be. (We got wet from dew but our feet were dry.) After a rainstorm, be prepared for more mud or worse.
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In the last couple miles into Feldtman from Windigo, I seem to recall much of the thick stuff was Cow's Parsnip. It always concerned me that folks would chop the plant with either a hiking pole or machete, since it's the sap that's the problem. You can typically brush up against it and be ok (I like long sleeves and pants, though) but breaking it open is bad. The sap will cause a nasty rash/burn for most people, when exposed to sun. (Phytophotodermatitis.)