Paddling the island?

Questions about water transportation and fishing on the island.

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Paddling the island?

Post by MeltingMamas » Sat Jun 10, 2017 9:36 am

Hey there! My cousin and I are going for the first time at the end of the month. We are bringing a blow up raft. Obviosly hiking around with a deflated raft would suck, so we were wondering if this plan would work....
We were thinking of just padding aroind campsite to campsite, set up, andnthen hike for the day. Does this make sense with how the island is? Or is that a far fetched idea? What wre some good campsites for this as well!

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Re: Paddling the island?

Post by Tom » Sat Jun 10, 2017 11:19 am

Interesting idea, but I'm not sure I would recommend it for your first time... With the exception of Mott, all of the barrier islands and island campgrounds are really just campsites, without much of interconnecting trails. Stepping 'off the trail' in many locations, especially down off the ridges, is generally difficult travel and slow. If you were gung-ho on bringing the raft, you could certainly make the paddle across Tobin from Rock Harbor (campground) to the portage point and get some trail time in that area; and then stick to Rock Harbor (water body) camps, like Three Mile/Daisy/Moskey. Each of them would allow for getting on connected trails... but again, so would just leaving the raft at home.
There are certainly those who have used a Packraft on the Isle, but it's not sounding like that's your plan or raft style.
Isle Royale is the most 'revisited' National Park. I think going out and enjoying it with a pack on would be a great first experience, instead of worrying the entire time that you might not have wanted to pack the raft...

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Re: Paddling the island?

Post by treeplanter » Sun Jun 11, 2017 12:58 pm

I have a Klepper folding kayak so can kind of understand where you’re coming from. I bring my kayak to the island in its bags, assemble, then paddle away. I, and my friends, have kayak-camped since 1990. We fill our boats with camp supplies, and then hop-scotch all over the island from campsite to campsite. If I’m reading your question correctly, this is what you want to do.

My main question is how stable your raft will be loaded with two people and your supplies. If this is how you plan on traveling from campsite to campsite, you want to say in protected water such as Rock Harbor which has several campsites where you can stay. Paddle to Three Mile, Daisy Farm or Moskey, and make those spots your home base for a few days. Then paddle on to the next.

Just be sure to test your boat fully loaded before taking a trip like this. You don’t want to learn how to deal with choppy water while on IR.

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Re: Paddling the island?

Post by Redbad » Sun Jun 11, 2017 2:44 pm

I have packrafted extensively around ISRO on two trips so far with an Alpacka Dali Lama. Ranger Emily at Amygdaloid Island Ranger Station has/had an Alpacka Fjord Explorer packraft which she used in the Five Fingers area (we met and talked packrafts in the middle of McCargoe Cove last summer). Packrafts are built for loaded whitewater travel and are sturdy enough for the conditions at ISRO. It is unclear if you are talking about a watercraft like this or if you are talking about a Walmart style inflatable raft. A Walmart raft isn't going to cut it at ISRO except for the calmest conditions on some of the smaller interior lakes. You will be portaging quite a distance to get to your first easily accessible interior lake (Lake Ritchie). As someone else put it, Lake Superior sank the Edmund Fitzgerald. Don't get yourself into a situation where your equipment can't handle the conditions. Don't make your first trip to ISRO an overloaded death march either.

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