Need Advice; Planning a 5 night traverse

Questions about trails and campsites on the island.

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benne017
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Need Advice; Planning a 5 night traverse

Post by benne017 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:11 pm

First, thanks to all of you here that have compiled this great resource for future campers. We're planning a 5 night traverse in early August 2018. It's myself and a number of Scouts. We're coming into Rock Harbor and are planning the following:
  • Day One: Rock Harbor - Daisy Farm
  • Day Two: Daisy Farm - McCargoe Cove
  • Day Three: McCargoe Cove - Todd Harbor
  • Day Four: Todd Harbor - Desor Lake S
  • Day Five: Desor Lake S - Windigo
We're all seasoned hikers but most of the participants haven't done a backpacking trip of this scope. It'll be several adults and a couple teens. Is this too aggressive of an itinerary? I thought it was quite reasonable until reading some of the commentary on here. Second, the first three days I don't have much concern for water. Any recommendations on day four and five? Last, any off hand advice for a newbie would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


Kevinl
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Re: Need Advice; Planning a 5 night traverse

Post by Kevinl » Wed Dec 13, 2017 10:19 am

I like this for a few reasons: you're taking them across the island; you're giving them a taste of the Minong but not making them do that long North Desor to Washington Creek haul; and it has lots of variety of scenery and mileage (long and shorter days). It would be nice if you could plan a zero day for weather/injury/fun but I understand the limitations/demands of following the ferry schedules. On day four you can refill water at Hatchet Lake so that one's not a concern, and on day five at that time of year you might assume Island Mine creek could be dry, but from that intersection it's all downhill to Windigo and the scouts might not notice if they're thirsty, especially if you tell them they won't have to filter water at Windigo because there's a pump.

Enjoy all of it. Bring bug spray that time of year. Give yourself some time to stare at the water and clouds.


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benne017
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Re: Need Advice; Planning a 5 night traverse

Post by benne017 » Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:08 pm

Thanks for the input Kevin! We definitely will be bringing our weight in bug spray. Do you think that is a feasible hiking schedule for a group of scouts or is it too aggressive? I thought it was reasonable but saw some dialogue in a different post that gave me pause.

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Ingo
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Re: Need Advice; Planning a 5 night traverse

Post by Ingo » Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:25 pm

For a group I think you need to consider the lowest ability in the group--one miserable (or worse, incapable) person can make it miserable for everyone. For me, it's an aggressive trip--10 miles a day is about my limit, and I'm just happy with 5. But I'm not in great shape, older, and enjoy time in camp. And for others a 20 mile day is no big deal. So it's hard to say for someone else.

If you wanted to add a layover day you could substitute Hatchet Lake for Todd Harbor and end at Malone Bay. Or stick with 5 nights, but do a short day from Todd to Hatchet--Todd is nicer than Hatchet, and it's an easy hike between the two. This is assuming you're taking the Voyageur II, which can pick you up at Malone. You could also fashion shorter days and end at Chippewa Harbor. For me, I don't feel the need to say I hiked end-to-end, and have never done it. And I don't necessarily have to have a shower at the end--although others on the boat may disagree :shock: .

I'm sure you'll have a great trip regardless, and as Kevinl said, "Give yourself some time to stare at the water and clouds", and everything else around you!


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Re: Need Advice; Planning a 5 night traverse

Post by Kevinl » Wed Dec 13, 2017 10:33 pm

I agree with what Ingo says about considering the lowest ability in the group. How old are these scouts? I think your longest day is 11 miles, or slightly over, which is definitely doable, but could get longish for some, especially if their packs are heavy. To me the important part would be shaking unnecessary weight from their packs before the trip. But a long day of hiking isn't terrible, it's probably part of why you're going. It could transform them. Makes a big difference I suppose if the kids are 12 or 16. When my son was young I brought him to the island often, always on the west side where campgrounds are further apart. I miss those days and wish I could get him out there today. If the distance is a concern, Ingo's idea of a mid island pickup point such as Chippewa Harbor or Malone Bay are both beautiful spots. However, I like the campgrounds you have chosen.


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benne017
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Re: Need Advice; Planning a 5 night traverse

Post by benne017 » Mon Dec 18, 2017 3:31 pm

Most of the scouts are teens; the youngest kid is a well versed hiker, actually more versed than some of his elders. We're actually finalizing our plans tonight. One oversight we made was hiking Copper Harbor to Windigo, shipping back to Copper Harbor on a Thursday ... the problem is that the ferry doesn't go that day. We're discussing tonight. I'll chime back in with any questions. Thanks again everyone!


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benne017
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Re: Need Advice; Planning a 5 night traverse

Post by benne017 » Mon Dec 18, 2017 9:07 pm

So, while we haven't finalized our itinerary just yet, we're entertaining the above as well as this itinerary:
  • Day One: Rock Harbor – Moskey Basin
  • Day Two: Moskey Basin – Hatchet Lake
  • Day Three: Hatchet Lake – Desor Lake S
  • Day Four: Desor Lake S – Island Mine
  • Day Five: Island Mine - Windigo
Based on previous comments and threads, we thought that we should have two different itineraries so that we can adjust in case of weather. The first itinerary would serve if we run into weather early on; there’s some short days on Day 1, 2 and 3 of the first itinerary that would be manageable in inclement weather. The second iteration would be mileage heavy right out of the gate.

If we arrive and the weather is fine we’ll likely hit this second iteration which would allow for some shorter days on the tail end.

Do any of you experienced hikers see any cons to either of these iterations that we haven’t thought of?

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hooky
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Re: Need Advice; Planning a 5 night traverse

Post by hooky » Wed Dec 20, 2017 10:21 pm

Day 1 to Moskey will be a long one. That's a lot of trail to cover over some very uneven ground with your packs at their heaviest.

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chief54
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Re: Need Advice; Planning a 5 night traverse

Post by chief54 » Thu Dec 21, 2017 7:40 am

You sound like you are doing your research so I am sure you aware of group camping regs., if 10 or more, divide into two groups with completely separate itineraries. Unfortunately my worst night on IR had nothing to do with weather but with two groups of scouts that met up for last night at Chippewa Harbor to catch Voyagaeur home. They where totally out of control, while the two adult leaders did nothing to keep them respectful of the other folks. As an Eagle Scout I went over to talk with them and was blown off. A very poor example of leadership. Having said that I first came to IR as a Tenderfoot, not with scouts but with Dad and brother and fell in love with IR and have been back many many times over the past 50+ years. Enjoy
first visit at age 10 in 1965 numerous times since then, 30+ times

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