First time to Isle Royale

Questions about trails and campsites on the island.

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backcountry734
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First time to Isle Royale

Post by backcountry734 » Wed May 30, 2018 8:55 am

Hey all, I've posted my itinerary on a different thread, but thought I might make a new topic to get some responses and help with my trip. A little background on myself first to understand my itinerary. I'm 27, an eagle scout and a very experienced backpacker having backpacked most of the Appalachian Trail, North Country Trail along with other trail systems on the east coast, as well as in state trails, Pictured Rocks and Porcupine Mountains and Jordan River Pathway. I've also backpacked around Iceland, both day hikes and through hikes, which were incredible. This is my tentative itinerary for my trip this August:

8/1 - Drive to Copper Harbor and Camp out in Fort Wilkins State Park
8/2 - Take Ferry from Copper Harbor to Rock Harbor then hike to Moskey Bay
8/3 - Moskey Bay to McCargo Bay
8/4 - McCargo Bay to Todd Harbor
8/5 - Todd Harbor to Siskiwit Bay
8/6 - Siskiwit Bay to Washington Creek
8/7 - Take Voyager back to Rock Harbor and day hike Scoville Point Loop
8/8 - Take ferry back to Copper Harbor and Camp out in Fort Wilkins State Park
8/9 - drive back home

Let me know what yall think and if I need to change anything or if you have any suggestions on campsites, ferry transportation, gear i might need specifically for the island, or anything else i might need to know.

Thanks and Happy Trails!

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Ingo
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Re: First time to Isle Royale

Post by Ingo » Wed May 30, 2018 9:45 am

Given your experience, sounds like a fine plan. The first day I'd start on the Tobin Harbor trail to Three Mile--it's less rocky than the Rock Harbor trail. Also, the last stretch from Daisy to Moskey is harder than it looks on the map--lots of smaller ups and downs. Moskey to McCargo and McCargo to Todd should be easy days for you. Todd to Siskiwit would be a killer for me, but you can stop at S. Desor or Island Mine and skip Siskiwit if you want/need to. Carry plenty of water as there aren't good streams and the ridge will be hot in Aug. It can be in the 40s and foggy by the lake and 80s and sunny on the ridge. You'll want to make sure you have reservations for Folk Wilkins. And don't miss the boat out of Windigo ;).
Happy Trails to you!
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Donk_67
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Re: First time to Isle Royale

Post by Donk_67 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 5:05 pm

I agree with Ingo; Moskey to Mcargo and McCargo to Todd will be short days. Consider skipping Mcargo and go from Moskey to Todd. This would allow you either a zero day or to break up the hike between Todd and Siskitwit. Having a fair idea of the Isle now, I’d consider this itinerary as doable for myself at a few decades older than you, so I suspect you’ll have no real issues. The first day from RH to Moskey will be long because of the late start. Plan to spend up to an hour on the dock for the talk and submitting your itinerary. Enjoy the trip.


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Ingo
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Re: First time to Isle Royale

Post by Ingo » Fri Jun 01, 2018 5:22 pm

Donk_67 wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 5:05 pm
I’d consider this itinerary as doable for myself at a few decades older than you, so I suspect you’ll have no real issues.
Just for the record, at several decades older I’d have lots of issues with this itinerary 😕.
79: worked RH, 01: BI-DB-RH, 02: MC-LR-WL-CH, 05: MI-CI-MB-DF-RH-TM-RH, 09: MC-BI-DN-RH, 11: WC-HC-WC, 12: MC-CB-HL-TH, 14: BI-ML-CI-CH-MB, 16: RH-CI-TI-RH, 17: WI-IM-SB-FL-WC, 18: MC-PC-BI-DB-RH-DF


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backcountry734
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Re: First time to Isle Royale

Post by backcountry734 » Sat Jun 02, 2018 1:41 pm

My thinking behind having short days at McCargo and Todd was that I would be able to make camp early and either fish or go on short afternoon or evening hikes around those two campsites. Plus, I heard that McCargo is one of the best campsites on the island. What do y'all think? Also, I'm thinking about bringing a fishing pole and trying my luck at catching some fresh fish, if possible


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backcountry734
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Re: First time to Isle Royale

Post by backcountry734 » Sat Jun 02, 2018 1:59 pm

One more question, I've read a little about "backcountry camping" on the island and i'm a little confused by what people are saying in some of the threads.. Are the campsites I'm hiking to not backcountry campsites? Or is the backcountry camping referring to going off the trail and setting up camp that isn't in a designated campground?


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Re: First time to Isle Royale

Post by Midwest Ed » Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:44 pm

backcountry734 wrote:
Sat Jun 02, 2018 1:59 pm
One more question, I've read a little about "backcountry camping" on the island and i'm a little confused by what people are saying in some of the threads.. Are the campsites I'm hiking to not backcountry campsites? Or is the backcountry camping referring to going off the trail and setting up camp that isn't in a designated campground?
Technically, staying at a designated campground is considered "back-country camping". This definition is consistent with other national parks. Spending the night at other than a designated campground is called "cross-country camping". Some National Park Service documents can be unclear on this as it also sometimes calls it back-country camping. Even the official rules publications call it back country. There is a "sticky" post in this same Trails section with further information (even here it's called back-country so I think for at least Isle Royale, the two are pretty interchangeable.
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Donk_67
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Re: First time to Isle Royale

Post by Donk_67 » Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:02 pm

backcountry734 wrote:My thinking behind having short days at McCargo and Todd was that I would be able to make camp early and either fish or go on short afternoon or evening hikes around those two campsites. Plus, I heard that McCargo is one of the best campsites on the island. What do y'all think? Also, I'm thinking about bringing a fishing pole and trying my luck at catching some fresh fish, if possible
When considering fishing, I see the wisdom in your itinerary. I like McCargo, and I’ve seen fish caught off the dock there. On a pure aesthetic tone, I like Todd better.


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