First time Sept trip

Questions about trails and campsites on the island.

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NYHiker
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First time Sept trip

Post by NYHiker » Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:49 pm

Hi,
My husband and I are looking to visit Isle Royale for the first time September 17th. We will be arriving in Rock Harbor and are looking to spend 4 nights hiking/camping. We are avid hikers and have backpacked several times. We would prefer to stay in three different campsites and have one layover day to day hike. About 7 -10 miles travel a day would be ideal. I read a lot about campsites that sound awesome, such as Lane Cove, Moskey Basin and West Chickenbone, but I don't want to travel so much that we don't spend time enjoying the view. Any suggestions for a 4 night trip would be appreciated. Thanks.

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chief54
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Re: First time Sept trip

Post by chief54 » Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:54 pm

A trip I have done a number of times when short on time is water taxi to Moskey, then onto W/Chickenbone or McCargoe Cove, both beautiful, then Daisy and then Rock. Not a lot of miles but you rally get immersed in all aspects of the island. A great trip
first visit at age 10 in 1965 numerous times since then, 30+ times


Tortuga
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Re: First time Sept trip

Post by Tortuga » Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:59 pm

Nights in order: Daisy Farm, McCargoe Cove, Moskey Basin, and 3-Mile.


ARRC
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Re: First time Sept trip

Post by ARRC » Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:22 pm

I'd water taxi to Chippewa Harbor and work your way back to Rock Harbor. Chippewa is a fun place to explore, Moskey has some of the best sunrises.

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Midwest Ed
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Re: First time Sept trip

Post by Midwest Ed » Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:57 pm

Unfortunately, the Rock Harbor Lodge concessions close this year on September 14th. This is actually one week longer than usual. This means no water taxi is available. It also means that the island visitor traffic will also be dropping off significantly. Daisy Farm is not as popular with many because it is often crowded. This issue would most likely be alleviated during your intended week. I can also guarantee this Spring's snow will be gone by then (inside joke if you haven't read some of the other threads posted here :D ). While the average rainfall in September is not much different than the earlier Summer months, it is the highest of the year (about 3.5 inches and 13 rain days). The temperatures are also dropping in September with average highs and lows being 63 to 45 degrees. My entire point is that your chances of getting a shelter are quite high and unless you enjoy cold wet tent camping, the "luxury" of a shelter might be welcomed in September. Shelters exist at most campgrounds on Lake Superior with none on inland campgrounds.

I suggest an initial itinerary of Daisy Farm, Moskey Basin, Daisy Farm and Three Mile. I find walking the same trail in reverse to be a unique experience. Daisy Farm is busy during the main season due to it's many shelters and it's strategic trail location. It's location offers a perfect opportunity as a layover stop. You can day hike up and back to the Greenstone. This will greatly help to round out your exposure to the variety of the Island. Two other options to add variety would be 1) after arriving in Moskey Basin you will have a made a good evaluation of your circumstances and you could make your 3rd night at Lane Cove (11 miles and no shelter); or 2) After returning to Daisy Farm you might choose to travel to Three Mile via the longer Greenstone Ridge route (6 miles and you get to see some excellent panoramic views from the Greenstone Ridge, especially if the weather is clear). There are really no bad choices and I am confident you will discover why Isle Royale is at the top of the list of the most re-visited national parks.
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013


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NYHiker
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Re: First time Sept trip

Post by NYHiker » Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:04 pm

I would have liked to take the water taxi, but it does not run that late in the season. I will take your advice Midwest Ed and plan to stay at the campgrounds that have shelters in case the weather is bad. I can always change my itinerary if the weather is nice. The Daisy Farm, McCargoe Cove, Moskey Basin, and 3-Mile route sounds interesting too. But, we would have to skip the layover day. Still an option. Thanks for all the great suggestions.


Midwest Ed
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Re: First time Sept trip

Post by Midwest Ed » Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:35 pm

Make sure you take your tent as you can never be guaranteed of getting a shelter although during that time of year the odds are extremely high, especially at Daisy Farm. I hope I didn't paint a gloomy weather picture. After Labor Day is my personal favorite season on Isle Royale. The cooler weather is great for hiking and it can still be quite hot on the ridges on a sunny day. Plus the bugs will probably be non-existent. The main down side is the daylight is shorter. McCargoe Cove and Moskey Basin are generally considered two of the most favorite campgrounds.
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013

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hooky
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Re: First time Sept trip

Post by hooky » Mon Apr 23, 2018 12:47 pm

My son and I did the Ranger's first run of the season back in May of 2012. We shared Daisy with 2 other people and you would have never known they were there. We easily scored shelters at 3 Mile, Moskey, Daisy and RH, but had our tent just in case. I would assume that it's the same way in mid-September.


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NYHiker
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Re: First time Sept trip

Post by NYHiker » Mon Apr 23, 2018 6:48 pm

We will be sure to bring a tent. September is my favorite time of year to travel and hike. Less crowds and the weather is usually still nice. We did 6 days in the bwca last year at the same time and the temps were in the 70s for the first half of the trip.

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Ingo
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Re: First time Sept trip

Post by Ingo » Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:48 pm

NYHiker wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 6:48 pm
We will be sure to bring a tent. September is my favorite time of year to travel and hike. Less crowds and the weather is usually still nice. We did 6 days in the bwca last year at the same time and the temps were in the 70s for the first half of the trip.
You could seen sunny and 70's or 40's, wind and rain. Just be prepared. Also, be aware that there's a greater chance of the boat being delayed that time of year. My one Sept trip got extended by a day because the boat didn't make it out--the wind was blowing rain into the back of the shelter (and it was 40 something). If it is cold you can also set your tent up in the shelter for warmth, and in such extreme cases to stay dry. But I'll take it either way :).

Also, to get a layover day in you could do Lane Cove, Daisy Farm, and Rock Harbor (three 7 mile days). Daisy Farm is avoided by some because it's the largest and busiest, but that time of year shouldn't be an issue. In fact you may be able to be more by yourself if you want, just because of it's size. And spending the last night at Rock Harbor would give you the chance to do the Scoville Point hike before the boat. Otherwise I also like the Daisy, McCargoe, Moskey, Three Mile suggestion for a longer trip.


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Re: First time Sept trip

Post by NYHiker » Tue Apr 24, 2018 3:38 pm

Scoville Point is on my list too. I was hoping to hike it while waiting for the ferry back to Copper Harbor. Of course everything depends on the weather.


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Re: First time Sept trip

Post by ARRC » Tue Apr 24, 2018 3:55 pm

ARRC wrote:I'd water taxi to Chippewa Harbor and work your way back to Rock Harbor. Chippewa is a fun place to explore, Moskey has some of the best sunrises.

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Sorry! I had forgotten the taxi doesn't run that late in the year.

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