Minong in May?

Questions about trails and campsites on the island.

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Tortuga
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Minong in May?

Post by Tortuga » Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:51 am

I'm planning to hit the Minong for my first time in May. Plan is to roll in to Rock Harbor 5/14 and be on the Minong headed West by 5/16.

I've gone through some of the past weather reports but wanted to know if anyone has specific feedback about the Minong that early in the year. Lots of comments about snow banks but I'm curious if that's on the trail itself, or closer to the lake usually.

My previous trips have always started on or just after Memorial Day, so this is a couple weeks earlier than I've been. Wondering if I should push it back to my normal start if it's usually still winter conditions. Thanks!

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Tom
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Re: Minong in May?

Post by Tom » Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:13 am

Not unlike "will it rain during my trip?" questions, the same level of variability exists with the spring melt. Right now the area is seeing a cool bias and is expected to see that into April; the melt is certainly slow in MN and the NE tip of the state still has plenty of snow. Will it be here in early to Mid May? Hard to say.
In any event, seeing snow would most likely be the exception and not the norm, and I don't think it would make a trail impassible, just perhaps a nuisance, like deadfalls. Much of the Minong follows the up and down of the southern face of the ridges, and is on the ridge itself, so I would think would get plenty of sun. The snow is typically left in the shady spots.
I wouldn't postpone the trip due to snow concerns, and in fact would encourage it because getting on the island before leaf-out can totally change your perspective of the land.
So then we're left with other generalities when it comes to spring Minong trips: Route finding tends to be a little more difficult when the grassy vegetation is low, as it's not always as easy to see the path; and cairns may have not stood all winter. Spring melt and April showers seem to make it a wetter time, so both the lowlands of the trail will be muddy, as well as the water crossings perhaps deeper and flowing as a faster rate.
HOWEVER - It will be cooler, which will make your time up on the ridges all the easier.
Either time (or ANY time) it's an enjoyable route, worth the effort.


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Re: Minong in May?

Post by Kevinl » Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:51 pm

As someone who loves first or second boat (Voyageur II), I can't imagine why you would postpone. I love that early spring on the island, obviously, although it can be a bit unpredictable. I'm getting dropped off at McCargoe (base camping and trail running from there) on first boat (May 5) this year and doing much of the Minong, at least the eastern portions. In other years I've done the entire thing in early May. Be prepared for cool nights. Bring back up shoes (they will get wet) and lots of socks--you can never have enough socks. The nice thing is you can have fires at most Minong campsites if I remember correctly, which helps to dry your stuff. Be prepared to lose the trail occasionally and backtrack if you need to--but one should always be a bit more watchful for trail signs on the Minong than the other island trails. Several years ago there was a burn section between Desor and Washington Creek that was difficult to follow the trail in the spring but it was doable. I guess I'm mostly repeating what Tom has said, but it's a great time to see more and have more trail to yourself. I'll include links to a couple early season trips I've done. Maybe the pics will help.

Another thing, most of these campsites have shelters. If it's really cold I'll sleep in my tent in the shelter. I may also put my legs in my empty backpack while sleeping. All of this to retain more body heat of course.

Here's one from 2016, another runcation based out of Washington Creek but with some pics of the north coast and western Minong: http://kevinlangton.blogspot.com/2017/0 ... -boat.html

Couple blogs from 2014 first boat, including entire Minong trip. There was some snow in places but nothing that would stop us. This reminds me to expect slower times if the trail crews haven't cleared sections of downed trees. That year the Voyageur went out a week or two later than normal because of ice. We weren't sure if they could get into McCargoe Cove until we got there: http://kevinlangton.blogspot.com/2014/05/

Early spring and late fall are my favorite times. I hope you enjoy. Let me know if I can answer any more specific questions.


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Re: Minong in May?

Post by Tortuga » Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:53 am

Thank you both for your incredibly helpful feedback.

I think I'm going to stick with the 5/14 arrival. Colder temps give an incentive to keep moving. Minimal bugs, fewer people will be great. And the showers at RH should be fired up by the time I get back there.

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Re: Minong in May?

Post by Rafiki » Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:53 pm

Tom and Kevin pretty much covered everything. I once went to the island prior to anyone being on it when the Ranger III was sending over scientists, equipment, and a ranger to kick off the preseason. It was very interesting, I did not see anyone for almost a full week. I did do the Minong like you are doing and I did get lost on one occasion due to the leaves from fall that had covered the trail and had remained there throughout the winter into Spring. So just be careful if you don’t see a path and make sure you retrace your footsteps if you start feeling like you’re not in Kansas anymore.
343.1 Miles Hiked: 2004 (3 Days), 2010 (11 Days), 2011 (13 Days), 2012 X 2 (8 + 12 Days), 2013 (9 Days [Paddling])

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hooky
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Re: Minong in May?

Post by hooky » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:52 am

Rafiki wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:53 pm
Tom and Kevin pretty much covered everything. I once went to the island prior to anyone being on it when the Ranger III was sending over scientists, equipment, and a ranger to kick off the preseason. It was very interesting, I did not see anyone for almost a full week. I did do the Minong like you are doing and I did get lost on one occasion due to the leaves from fall that had covered the trail and had remained there throughout the winter into Spring. So just be careful if you don’t see a path and make sure you retrace your footsteps if you start feeling like you’re not in Kansas anymore.
Image

How ya been, buddy?

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Rafiki
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Re: Minong in May?

Post by Rafiki » Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:52 pm

Pretty good. Thanks for asking hooky. How have you been hooky? Have you gone to the island at all lately? I forgot when the last time it was that I went. I have to have the rangers look it up next time I go to the island. I think it was in 2013 for my first canoeing trip. I Thur-hiked the Appalachian trail in 2015 so that kept me busy :) I miss the island though, especially meeting awesome people during my hikes.
343.1 Miles Hiked: 2004 (3 Days), 2010 (11 Days), 2011 (13 Days), 2012 X 2 (8 + 12 Days), 2013 (9 Days [Paddling])

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hooky
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Re: Minong in May?

Post by hooky » Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:09 pm

I've been well. I haven't been to the Island since 2014, but I'm headed back this fall. I discovered canoeing in the boundary waters, so that's been soaking up all my vacation time. Congratulations on the AT thru hike! It's good to see you back on the forum.

Is there an AT trip report anywhere? You know how much I enjoyed your trip reports. :D

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Re: Minong in May?

Post by Rafiki » Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:37 pm

Yes Hooky there is an AT trip report. The only thing is rather than writing out what each day was like, I voice recorded each day. It is several hours of recorded dialogue if you are interested in hearing it. I will be honest though, it is just too much for me to bear. I wanted to relive my trip last year and listen to all the recording’s and go through all the pictures and I only got through a couple of days of hearing myself before I said enough is enough. I couldn’t take it, it was just too much information for such a long journey. You’re more than welcome to listen to it and look at the pictures if you want. However you would need a Google account so I could connect you to my Google Drive account to see these things and to listen to the recording‘s. I will also say that I did not finish uploading all of my recordings and pictures because my Google Drive account became full. So it could be quite the cliffhanger if you were hoping to listen to the whole thing because it got cut off by about three weeks towards the end. Anyways let me know otherwise I will try to have a trip report for you by the end of the year because I’m hoping to go back to the island for the first time in almost 5 years.
343.1 Miles Hiked: 2004 (3 Days), 2010 (11 Days), 2011 (13 Days), 2012 X 2 (8 + 12 Days), 2013 (9 Days [Paddling])

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hooky
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Re: Minong in May?

Post by hooky » Fri Apr 06, 2018 9:14 am

I'll just wait in anticipation of your ISRO trip report. ;)

Glad to see you back posting here.

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Re: Minong in May?

Post by fonixmunkee » Fri Apr 06, 2018 9:43 am

May on the Minong is the perfect time to go. It's always warm up on the ridge line of the Minong, but in May it's not HOT, so it's the perfect temp up there for the strenuous hike.

Rain is always a possibility, no matter what time of year, so you can't plan for that.

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Re: Minong in May?

Post by MikeT » Fri Apr 06, 2018 6:57 pm

One thing to keep in mind, and Rafiki can fill you in on this, if you are first on the island, you have to make sure you get the keys to open up the shelters! :lol: :lol:

Welcome back Rafiki, we missed your input. We just had a great laugh when you said you filled up your google account. Imagine that! :D I would really like to hear it.
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Re: Minong in May?

Post by Rafiki » Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:25 am

Yes. You will need keys guys. Those hasps at the bottom of the shelters will be locked and you won’t be able to get in ;)

Miss you and Nancy, Mike. I see she hasn’t been active on the forums for a while. Hope all is well. Do you guys have any trips planned for the season yet? And if you are serious about hearing my AT trip report, feel free to drop me a line in my mailbox.
343.1 Miles Hiked: 2004 (3 Days), 2010 (11 Days), 2011 (13 Days), 2012 X 2 (8 + 12 Days), 2013 (9 Days [Paddling])


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Tortuga
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Re: Minong in May?

Post by Tortuga » Wed Apr 11, 2018 2:36 pm

I think I almost got “got” re: keys :lol:

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