June 16th-23rd hike trip route planning

Questions about trails and campsites on the island.

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pyrowaves
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June 16th-23rd hike trip route planning

Post by pyrowaves » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:25 am

I've been reading the forum for a while and am now close enough to a plan to post. Thank you all for the posts you have already made that have helped me, and for any future advice.

Myself and two others are planning a trip in June and I'm looking for any input from people who have been to the island. This will be a first trip for two of us and second trip for one. The one who has been to the island did it in about 17 years ago.

About us:
Ages from 26-33. We plan to do some local trips with packs to prep and are all fairly active.
We are coming from lower Michigan and plan is to stay at Copper Harbor Friday(6/15) night and hop on the Ferry. Then stay at Copper Harbor again the following Saturday(6/23) night before driving 10 hours back home.

The Route:
(Thanks to Ingo for the great trip planned spreadsheet!! that thing is great)

- Arrive Rock Harbor 6/16 Stay overnight at RH campground.
- Take Voyageur II Ferry to Windigo Arrive approximately 12:30 PM 6/17
- Get bearings and hike 6.9 miles to Island Mine campground stay overnight
- Depart 6/18 to Hatchet Lake Campground 13.6 miles (via greenstone)
- Stay at Hatchet lake campground two nights. (recommendations for day trip??)
- Depart Hatchet lake camp 6/20 hike to West Chickenbone campground. 7.9miles
- Stay at West Chickenbone 2 nights.
- It looks like there are better options for day trips/fishing from W Chickenbone, than E Chickenbone which is why we chose to stay
there rather than keep going on to East.
- Leave 6/22 for Daisy Farm Campground (9.2 miles) Camp one night.
- Leave early morning 6/23 to Rock Harbor 7.3 miles to catch IR Queen departing at 2:45pm

If we find ourselves hiking slower than expected we can give up one of the double nights and hike to Daisy for a night(6/22), then Threemile campground for a night(6/23) and have a shorted hike to RH the day of the Ferry.

We wanted at 1 or 2 two night stays so we can do short day trips for fishing/exploring or have an off day. This makes longer trips on other days but it seems pretty reasonable. We chose to hike from Windigo to Rock Harbor for multiple reasons, one is so we can judge our days as we go and adjust to ensure we are back in time for the outgoing Ferry and this seemed best with the ferry schedules and our specific dates which are not fliexible.

Nothing but the dates are set in stone so any input on routes would be considered.


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Re: June 16th-23rd hike trip route planning

Post by ARRC » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:44 am

pyrowaves wrote:I've been reading the forum for a while and am now close enough to a plan to post. Thank you all for the posts you have already made that have helped me, and for any future advice.

Myself and two others are planning a trip in June and I'm looking for any input from people who have been to the island. This will be a first trip for two of us and second trip for one. The one who has been to the island did it in about 17 years ago.

About us:
Ages from 26-33. We plan to do some local trips with packs to prep and are all fairly active.
We are coming from lower Michigan and plan is to stay at Copper Harbor Friday(6/15) night and hop on the Ferry. Then stay at Copper Harbor again the following Saturday(6/23) night before driving 10 hours back home.

The Route:
(Thanks to Ingo for the great trip planned spreadsheet!! that thing is great)

- Arrive Rock Harbor 6/16 Stay overnight at RH campground.
- Take Voyageur II Ferry to Windigo Arrive approximately 12:30 PM 6/17
- Get bearings and hike 6.9 miles to Island Mine campground stay overnight
- Depart 6/18 to Hatchet Lake Campground 13.6 miles (via greenstone)
- Stay at Hatchet lake campground two nights. (recommendations for day trip??)
- Depart Hatchet lake camp 6/20 hike to West Chickenbone campground. 7.9miles
- Stay at West Chickenbone 2 nights.
- It looks like there are better options for day trips/fishing from W Chickenbone, than E Chickenbone which is why we chose to stay
there rather than keep going on to East.
- Leave 6/22 for Daisy Farm Campground (9.2 miles) Camp one night.
- Leave early morning 6/23 to Rock Harbor 7.3 miles to catch IR Queen departing at 2:45pm

If we find ourselves hiking slower than expected we can give up one of the double nights and hike to Daisy for a night(6/22), then Threemile campground for a night(6/23) and have a shorted hike to RH the day of the Ferry.

We wanted at 1 or 2 two night stays so we can do short day trips for fishing/exploring or have an off day. This makes longer trips on other days but it seems pretty reasonable. We chose to hike from Windigo to Rock Harbor for multiple reasons, one is so we can judge our days as we go and adjust to ensure we are back in time for the outgoing Ferry and this seemed best with the ferry schedules and our specific dates which are not fliexible.

Nothing but the dates are set in stone so any input on routes would be considered.
Hatchet lake, although pretty, will probably be awful with mosquitos.

I think you might find the views more appealing if you took a route the included Moskey basin, Chippewa Harbor, W Chickenbone, McCargo cove. If you could work Todd harbor in you wouldn't be disappointed. Definitely whatever route you take be prepared for mosquitos.

Another thought would be to one night at hatchet then to Todd and then to McCargo.

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Re: June 16th-23rd hike trip route planning

Post by pyrowaves » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:55 am

ARRC wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:44 am
Hatchet lake, although pretty, will probably be awful with mosquitos.

I think you might find the views more appealing if you took a route the included Moskey basin, Chippewa Harbor, W Chickenbone, McCargo cove. If you could work Todd harbor in you wouldn't be disappointed. Definitely whatever route you take be prepared for mosquitos.

Another thought would be to one night at hatchet then to Todd and then to McCargo.

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Awesome, this kind of info is why I asked. I'll look into some of the changes you suggested. I know mosquitoes are going to be part of the game, but if we can avoid some bad areas it would be worth it.
Thanks.

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Re: June 16th-23rd hike trip route planning

Post by Ingo » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:12 pm

ARRC wrote: Another thought would be to one night at hatchet then to Todd and then to McCargo.
That was my thought too. Skeeters could be very bad that time of year, but they're always worse on the inland lakes regardless. It's a short easy hike from Hatchet to Todd, so you either do 1 night each, or push on to Todd and do 2 there, if you're up to it. And then 2 nights at McCargoe or the next at W Chickenbone. I think there's also more interesting exploring at Todd and McCargoe, particularly the mines. But in the end it's all good, regardless of what you end up with!


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Re: June 16th-23rd hike trip route planning

Post by Midwest Ed » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:50 pm

Unless your heart is deeply set on doing an end to end of the Island, I suggest following a variation of the previous advice. On the north-east end of the Island the campgrounds are closer together, there are more of them on Lake Superior,(and almost all on the Big Lake have shelters) the inland lake fishing is much better, views from the ridges are better and there is generally more to do (especially around McCargoe Cove and West Chickenbone. Mosquitoes have been mentioned but the Black Flies might also be out by late June. It all depends on temperatures and rainfall. It’s not like they will be everywhere all the time but you might run into swarms of them. Make sure you take headnets. Lighter colored clothing is better than darker colors for Black Flies.

Both Lake Desor and Hatchet Lake are classified as void of any sport fish.

I suggest you consider getting off the Voyageur at Chippewa Harbor (you need to tell them ahead of time as they don't always stop). A water taxi to there is also an option, especially if the Voyageur is delayed, but that would be very rare in late June.

Chippewa Harbor (very scenic and some fishing but you would need a Michigan license)
Lake Ritchie (excellent for shore fishing)
West Chickenbone Lake (ditto on fishing and very beautiful)
McCargoe Cove (very scenic and stuff to do with the mining history)
Todd Harbor (my favorite campground, maybe you get that far if you’re feeling agressive)
Moskey Basin (most other people’s favorite campground)
Lane Cove (sometimes very quiet for a campground on the Big Lake since there is no dock for boaters)
Daisy Farm and Three Mile (Can sometimes be crowded but they’re conveniently located and both have a lot of shelters, 16 and 8 respectively)

You can make a leisure or aggressive week of things on just the north end. And your options for last minute changes are much better than the south end where your first 3 or 4 days are quite linear with not many options for variation (other than doing the Feldtmann Loop. The Greenstone ridge views on the northern end are great and the breezes along Lake Superior can really help with bugs. Also, when you are in Rock Harbor with some extra time, I suggest you check out the Stoll Trail to Scoville Point.
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Re: June 16th-23rd hike trip route planning

Post by Base654 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:53 pm

Two years ago I did a trip with a couple that closely resembles Ingo's trip suggestion. We were up earlyish from Island mine and we got to Hatchet for lunch where there were some loud fisherman so we decided to keep going. Hatchet to Todd is a fairly easy trip with some nice views. I caught a really nice trout off standing on the dock at Todd.


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Re: June 16th-23rd hike trip route planning

Post by pyrowaves » Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:37 am

I like the suggestions, especially if Hatchet isn't worth the two night stay. I'm going to look into the Hatchet to Todd and then to McCargo plan fitting into our timeline.

I also didn't consider getting off the Voyager at a different stop so I might look into this. We considered the water taxi and seaplane options but we are trying to keep the costs to a minimum and the ferry trips seemed more economical.

Can anyone answer what we can expect for wet trails on the routes suggested that time of year? We thought that some of the outed trails might be pretty wet in June which was another consideration for keeping to the middle. We know we will hit and aren't opposed to some wet trails, but would like to try and avoid where possible. I'm more willing to hit wet trails on day trips/small hikes than a long days worth.

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Re: June 16th-23rd hike trip route planning

Post by Ingo » Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:20 am

pyrowaves wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:37 am
Can anyone answer what we can expect for wet trails on the routes suggested that time of year? We thought that some of the outed trails might be pretty wet in June which was another consideration for keeping to the middle.
Obviously it all depends on the weather, both while and before your trip. But even the Greenstone can be muddy--so I wouldn't make that general assumption. My only really wet trip was last year and I was very happy I had old style leather boots and gaiters. A lot of over the toe mud holes, and some up to the top. The gaiters did a remarkable job of keeping it out of the boots--better than I expected--even a few steps in water well over the top. By the third day the boots were damp inside, but not terrible, and happily the weather started drying out.
We know we will hit and aren't opposed to some wet trails, but would like to try and avoid where possible. I'm more willing to hit wet trails on day trips/small hikes than a long days worth.
I used to think the same way. But on that trip I found it almost satisfying to just plow down the middle of the trail through the mud--I just needed to get over it, and that happened quickly. And then after I got to camp and went exploring I'd find myself tip-toeing around the water and mud and being annoyed when I had to go through it. Something about human psychology I suppose :? .


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Re: June 16th-23rd hike trip route planning

Post by torpified » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:58 pm

I followed the Greenstone from Windigo to Rock Harbor (with side trips to Hatchet Lake and Lane Cove) in that window in 2016. At first I picked my way around scattered and isolated muddy bits. Between Chickenbone and the western Daisy Farm junction, I encountered some extended wallows --- and found it very liberating to splosh straight through. (Also preferable on LNT grounds.) So I second the prediction that mud queasiness is curable.

Sunset occurs a few minutes after sunrise that far north that time of year -- so bring eyeshades (or a buff you haven't doused in deet) for sleeping!

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Re: June 16th-23rd hike trip route planning

Post by thesneakymonkey » Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:31 pm

This picture was taken on the greenstone. At some point you just stop caring and trudge on through. Makes the most sense for LNT anyways. I find I get better footing and less slipping around if I just walk right through versus trying to skip around the wet parts. You move a lot quicker as well. I also wear trail runners instead of boots so they dry out super quick and clean off really nice.



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Re: June 16th-23rd hike trip route planning

Post by Ingo » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:04 pm

Nice pic sneaky! I recommend high gaiters ;).

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Re: June 16th-23rd hike trip route planning

Post by thesneakymonkey » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:37 pm

Ingo wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:04 pm
Nice pic sneaky! I recommend high gaiters ;).

For colder weather I could totally see how the high gaiters would be needed. This trip was WAY to warm for them. I just walked straight into the water at the next camp and was good to go the next day. Had a little mud on my pants but it dried. Shoes cleaned up nice. We also took advantage of that washing machine in rock harbor before we left. That got our clothes pretty clean for the trip home. :mrgreen:


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Re: June 16th-23rd hike trip route planning

Post by pyrowaves » Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:44 pm

Thanks for the input, I've been hashing over options and do think with schedules and whatnot are best with getting off the Ferry at Windigo.
Based on the lake and fishing input I like the looks of Todd and McCargoe so I'll probably try and fit those in.


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Re: June 16th-23rd hike trip route planning

Post by pyrowaves » Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:39 am

I think we have a close to final route with some possible alternatives based on how we feel. Below is the current plan:

6/16
Arrive at Rock Harbor aboard IR Queen.
find campsite, explore close by RH, Stay overnight.
6/17
Hop on Voyager Ferry at 8 AM and ride to Windigo(arrive around 1 pm)
Hike 6.9 miles to Island Mine campground.
Camp Island mine one night.
6/18
Hike very long day to Todd Harbor(16.5 miles) and find camp.
*alternate would be to stop at Hatchet lake campground after 13 miles if we feel we can't make it the 16.5, but we plan to try and push through*
Stay two nights at Todd harbor, camp, fish,
6/20
Hike 6.6 miles to McCargoe Cove Campground. Stay two nights. Camp/fish/etc.
6/21
Day trip to W chickenbone if we feel like it.
6/22
Hike 9.5 miles to Daisy Farm via Mount Ojibway
Stay at Daisy farm overnight
6/23
Hike to Rock Harbor(7.3 miles) to catch IR Queen departure at 2.45PM.
We actually plan to leave early enough from Daisy to get to RH late morning and be able to grab a bite to eat and make our souvenir purchases.

Anyone have any pointers/tips to this revises schedule? I know we're pushing it hard the second day, but with two back to back 2 night rest days I think it is doable. If we find we are hiking slow, we also can take off a day early from McCargoe Cove to make sure we are back at Rock harbor in time.

We figure in this time frame we have long daylight and as long as weather doesn't get nasty we can pace ourselves on the long day and just go easy and enjoy the travel time.
Last edited by pyrowaves on Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:13 am, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: June 16th-23rd hike trip route planning

Post by ARRC » Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:10 am

Fishing probably won't be very good at Todd Harbor. Todd is a beautiful place to spend some time though. Probably best place to fish at Todd is to hike to the waterfall and try where the waterfall dumps into the lake. I was told by a ranger that was the best bet at Todd. Maybe some others have some additional info to add.

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