I've done a fair amount of reading about the island but I'd love any additional sage advice anyone has to offer.
Family of four, kids are 10 and 12 years old.
Reasonably fit, lots of camping experience, some back country, but not a lot of long hikes.
Enjoy hiking, but also want some down time.
Arriving and departing from Rock Harbor via ferry.
Here is what I was thinking:
Day one: Arrive Rock Harbor, spend the night.
Day two: Water taxi to Chippewa Harbor.
Day three: Chippewa Harbor to Moskey basin (6.2 miles)
Day four: Moskey basin to Lane Cove (10.8 miles)
Day five: Lane Cove to Rock Harbor (6.9 miles)
Day six: Ferry back to copper harbor.
We only have a few days to explore, so that's why I was thinking maybe the water taxi would be a good idea. I'd like to book this fairly soon.
Does this seem reasonable? I wasn't able to determine the difficulty level of the hike from Moskey basin to Lane Cove... based on miles it doesn't seem too long but if it's a difficult hike - that might change things.
Thanks for your help everyone!
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A few notes:
Day one: Since you should have time, be sure to take the Stoll Trail out and back. Great intro the island.
Day two: As you come in by taxi, you should see the "old school house" (not really) and will know where to hike back to explore. Also, there is a side trail to Lake Mason to enjoy. The bluffs behind the camp are also fun for boys of that age. (Or any age, really.)
Day three: Solid, 'very typical Isle Royale' hike - Up and down a little, around some swamps, walk on some rocks. The shallows around the dock makes for a great swimming hole.
Day four: The first half from Moskey to Daisy is pretty easy on the legs. The second half will identify which muscles are going to want to hurt. Plan to take a little breather at Daisy, then climb up the ridge to the tower, for another great break. It's not a horrible climb by Isle Royale standards, and the view at the top totally justifies the work. From there, the Greenstone is a fairly easy hike over to Mt Franklin, and then you go down to Lane.
Day five: Try not to remember how much you dropped down to Lane Cove, and now have to walk back up.
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There's a bald eagle nest near Chippewa Harbor. We saw one soaring as our water taxi entered the harbor, so be sure to look up.
It looks like you may be staying the night at the Chippewa Harbor campground the 2nd night. You might want to consider hiking to the Lake Ritchie campground that day (4.4 miles) and/or make a side trip to that campground for lunch and/or a good break your 3rd day on on the Rocks near/at the Lake Ritchie campground, on your way to Moskey Bay. Moose near/at Lake Ritchie, also loons and turtles. Beautiful scenery on the lake near and at the campground. Kids loved the rockscape at the campsite area. Staying there could help lessen the 10 miles your 3rd day and being at Lake Ritchie overnight improves moose siting potential towards dusk (again, not familiar with Moskey Bay Area and what moose activity is like there). Our water taxi dropped us off about 2:00 our first day, and we made it to the Lake Ritchie campground in time for dinner.
Depending on the weight you/your kids are carrying and breaks you're taking, you may (or may not) want to consider shortening or having a plan B for your 10 mile day. If you take Tom's suggestion about staying at Daisy Farm, I recommend getting up at sunrise at Daisy Farm and heading north a good ways up (northwest) on Daisy Farm trail to the long boardwalk clearing and pond with rock outcropping just after. We did that and were treated to great moose viewing (got up, went without packs and had Cliff bars on our trek for breakfast for a quick go and returned to camp). (Be sure kids are slow and quiet as they come to clearings). Also, if you continue up the Daisy trail to the Greenstone trail, just west of the Daisy Farm trail juncture on the Greenstone is a BEAUTIFUL lookout (marked with a sign "view point"). You can then return to the campground, pack up camp and head up the Mt. Objway trail. Doing that involves a bit of extra hiking, but saved us having to pack up camp before going, allowing us to get going at sunrise when moose are active), and we all enjoyed hiking without packs for a while.
Depending on how you and the kids are feeling being the end of your trip, if you opt for Three Mile in lieu of Lane Cove, the hike along Rock Harbor to Suzy's cave, then north on that cutthrough to the Tobin Trail, then to Rock Hsrbor is nice, and it's scenic.
Depending on your kids' experience with leeches, be sure to know how to remove them easily (use fingernail to get between leech and skin), so they're not freaked out by them if you go in the lakes (even for getting water).
We used our long jons for pajamas. That worked really well for pulling on pants and shirt over them (quietly if others are still sleeping) for early morning sunrises, which were easily shed as it warmed up, and they kept us warm in our sleeping bag at night.
Enjoy your trip! It was a fantastic experience, and our kids loved it (want to go back)!
We are considering the daisy farm route to shorten hiking time. We'll see how we feel when we're there.
As an update, our water taxi is booked now. I tried going through the website but didn't get a response. It was better to call the lodge and book via phone.