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Portage from Lake Whittlesey to Wood Lake

Posted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 4:48 pm
by kolo
I am planning my next trip (June 2020) to the Isle and have a couple of questions for you veteran paddlers. My plan is to canoe from Chippewa Harbor to Malone Bay, via Lake Whittlesey, Wood Lake, and then Siskiwit Lake.

I understand that there is a boardwalk between Lake Whittlesey and Wood Lake through a swampy area. (1.) Is the boardwalk single plank or double plank wide? and (2.) Is the boardwalk low to the ground or elevated?

I ask because it will be a solo canoe trip and my balance is not very good anymore due to MS (Multiple Sclerosis). My backpacking trip this past summer was challenging for me as I traversed a lot of elevated, single plank boardwalk around East Chickenbone Lake.

Re: Portage from Lake Whittlesey to Wood Lake

Posted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 5:08 pm
by Ingo
I don't remember a boardwalk on that portage--have done it a couple times, but it's been a few years. If it's there it didn't leave an impression on me, so I presume it's not too long or high--I just hate them with a canoe on my shoulders. There's a climb out of Whittlesey, but otherwise I remember it as one of the easier portages.

Re: Portage from Lake Whittlesey to Wood Lake

Posted: Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:30 am
by kolo
Thank you Ingo for your response to my questions! I read about the portage in Jim Dufresne's guide book. I don't like portaging a canoe over boardwalks either but I can manage them if they are low to the ground.

I don't know how gymnasts can do what they do on the balance beam, only four inches wide. Just amazing!

Re: Portage from Lake Whittlesey to Wood Lake

Posted: Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:59 am
by Ingo
kolo wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:30 am
I read about the portage in Jim Dufresne's guide book.
You got me curious, I'll have to dig out his book now.
kolo wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:30 am
I don't know how gymnasts can do what they do on the balance beam, only four inches wide. Just amazing!
Yeah, I'm with you!

Re: Portage from Lake Whittlesey to Wood Lake

Posted: Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:54 am
by Vandy
Practice on 2x4's at home = ISRO boardwalks a piece of cake. 8)

Re: Portage from Lake Whittlesey to Wood Lake

Posted: Mon Sep 30, 2019 6:08 pm
by dougroat
I admire your courage taking on this trip with MS.

I have made this trip 2X & the energy requirement for dealing with a canoe-yourself-gear-pack can be challenging.

Seriously, I would look for a partner.

Further, recommend you carry a marine radio, whistles, & flares.

You would be found eventually; but the speed of your capture will most likely not be a safe or relaxing one.

The people who get themselves in a bind on I Royale & L Superior are usually those who do not realize how suddenly dangerous it can be nor how remote from rescue one is.




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Re: Portage from Lake Whittlesey to Wood Lake

Posted: Mon Sep 30, 2019 6:37 pm
by kolo
I admire your courage taking on this trip with MS.
Thank you!

Seriously, I would look for a partner.

Further, recommend you carry a marine radio, whistles, & flares.

You would be found eventually; but the speed of your capture will most likely not be a safe or relaxing one.

The people who get themselves in a bind on I Royale & L Superior are usually those who do not realize how suddenly dangerous it can be nor how remote from rescue one is.
I do appreciate your concern! This will be my 12th trip to the Isle. Having backpacked every mile on the island and taking two canoe trips half way around the island (with appropriate portages), I have a pretty good idea of what is required. Most of the backpacking was done before I was diagnosed with MS. Before having MS I was also a long distance runner, which enabled me to backpack long distances and also hike/climb mountains, mostly in Colorado. Unfortunately, I am no longer able to run and I really miss it. The last two backpacking trips have not gone well.

The first canoe trip was done before MS and I went from McCargoe Cove to Daisy Farm, via the portage from Duncan Bay to Tobin Harbor. The second canoe trip was done after being diagnosed with MS. That trip went from Rock Harbor to Malone Bay, via the long portage from Moskey Basin to Lake Richie. I won't be doing that again!

I am going solo because I am a teacher with summers off. None of my friends can get the necessary time off and/or have an interest in going to Isle Royale. I bought a marine radio for my first canoe trip and it proved useless. I spent over $100 on the radio and it is collecting dust in my closet.

Re: Portage from Lake Whittlesey to Wood Lake

Posted: Tue Oct 01, 2019 11:06 am
by johnhens
Why do you consider the marine radio useless?

Re: Portage from Lake Whittlesey to Wood Lake

Posted: Tue Oct 01, 2019 3:44 pm
by kolo
Why do you consider the marine radio useless?
Because the only weather reports I could hear were in French and I don't know how to speak French.

Re: Portage from Lake Whittlesey to Wood Lake

Posted: Tue Oct 01, 2019 4:08 pm
by dougroat
First of all, I do not want to sound like a “know it all “.

There are radio bands that:

•. Broadcast in English

•. Broadcast in French, different band

•. Broadcast first in one language, switching next to the other. FRENCH/ENGLISH, & etc.

I was holed up on Wood Lake for days in a wind storm; my Garmin receiver always picked up both languages. Multiple bands.

Don’t give up on your radio.

Maybe try, in person, trading techniques with another boatman & radio.

May be a deficiency in your radio.

They are VERY worth having & using.


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Re: Portage from Lake Whittlesey to Wood Lake

Posted: Tue Oct 01, 2019 4:23 pm
by johnhens
kolo wrote:
Tue Oct 01, 2019 3:44 pm
Why do you consider the marine radio useless?
Because the only weather reports I could hear were in French and I don't know how to speak French.
I assume you tried other waether channel? I could see not getting weather channels inland. I use a Standard Horizon 370 (I think) and can usually get either MN or MI NWS or the Thunder Bay station (metric though) on Superior . Often I have to move around to get a station.

Re: Portage from Lake Whittlesey to Wood Lake

Posted: Tue Oct 01, 2019 4:41 pm
by kolo
May be a deficiency in your radio.
It is quite possible that the radio user was deficient!

I assume you tried other waether channel? I could see not getting weather channels inland. I use a Standard Horizon 370 (I think) and can usually get either MN or MI NWS or the Thunder Bay station (metric though) on Superior . Often I have to move around to get a station.
It is been some time but I am pretty sure that I tried several channels. I can't remember where I all tried it, but it is possible that I was too far inland. I think a bought a brand/model that was recommended on this forum, maybe even the Horizon.

Anyway, thank you all for your input and experience!

Re: Portage from Lake Whittlesey to Wood Lake

Posted: Mon Oct 28, 2019 9:10 pm
by bobcat
When are you thinking? Because next summer I hope to pick up the pieces of the route I planned for last summer and finish it off after several days getting there, with Malone Bay to Chippewa Harbor. I will be paddling and portaging my kayak but I am also adept at portaging lighter canoes. If the schedules mesh, we could travel together, but independent, providing an extra measure of safety for each of us!

Re: Portage from Lake Whittlesey to Wood Lake

Posted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:44 pm
by kolo
When are you thinking? Because next summer I hope to pick up the pieces of the route I planned for last summer and finish it off after several days getting there, with Malone Bay to Chippewa Harbor. I will be paddling and portaging my kayak but I am also adept at portaging lighter canoes. If the schedules mesh, we could travel together, but independent, providing an extra measure of safety for each of us!
While I am comfortable traveling solo and do enjoy it, meeting and visiting kindred souls at Isle Royale is among the best reasons I go to the Isle! I will tentatively be traveling across the island for eight days sometime around the third week in June. I will be taking the Voyageur II from Grand Portage and staying in Rock Harbor the first night. The next day I will take the Voyageur II to Chippewa Harbor.

The rest of the trip will go as follows: Chippewa Harbor>Lake Whittlesey>Wood Lake>Intermediate Lake>Wood Lake>Malone Bay.

Re: Portage from Lake Whittlesey to Wood Lake

Posted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 9:43 pm
by backwoods doc
The portage from Chippewa Harbor to Whittlesey isn't fun, but at least it's pretty short. The trail is filled with boulders that you need to snake around, while climbing and descending two small ridges -- not too much fun with a canoe on your shoulders.

The Whittlesey to Wood Lake trail is mostly flat and easy (but very buggy). As I recall, the wood planks are about 10 inches wide. I think there are one or two stretches of them -- no more than 100 feet or so at a time. If that's concerning, you can walk in the soft mud beside them.

If you're concerned about that first portage, another option is to put in at Malone Bay, from where there are easy paddles/portages to Wood Lake, Whittlesey, Intermediate and Richie -- then back out at Malone Bay.