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June '11 Feldtman Loop

Reports or links to reports on trips.

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JerryB
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June '11 Feldtman Loop

Post by JerryB »

This is not the report I intended to write.

My son and I arrived up north on Tuesday, June 21 for Wednesday's trip on the Voyageur II. Despite an ugly ride through Minn. because of some really bad weather, we arrived early enough for a great dinner at the Angry Trout in Grand Marais and an early night at the casino in GP.

Wednesday
The next morning, we headed out the lobby door on our way to the island. Two kayakers spotted us and told us the ferry was not leaving today, but that we still needed to go to the dock and let them know if we would leave tomorrow at 4:30 am. AM! Turns out that ten foot waves kept the V II in dock. I could hardly argue that decision and would not have had any luck if I tried. At the dock, we ran into Jerry from this forum. Over the next day, he helped us sort out our itinerary options and shared his many experiences on the island. Thanks, Jer!

Looked like we had all day Wednesday to kill, so we headed to Rydens for some breakfast and then to the State Park on 62, just shy of the Canadian border. Despite the continuing rain, we hoofed it out to the 130 foot waterfall at the end of a planked trail. Truly spectacular. I recommend that stop to anyone. We still had the day to kill, so my son and I drove back to Grand Marais and wandered around. One stop was Sven and Ollie's for a pizza lunch and then to the Dockside (next to Angry Trout) where we picked up some delicious smoked fish wraps for dinner back at the casino hotel. Early to bed, for an extremely early (3:30) rise in the "morning."

Thursday
As promised, we were awake at 3:30 am. As far as we could tell, it was overcast, but much calmer than yesterday. We headed out to the ferry for an early start to the island. Our ride was choppy, but we managed to sleep most of the way. We had decided to get off at Windigo and do the Feldtman loop instead of the Minong. Cramming in the Minong, with one less day and wet conditions, just did not sound like fun. So, we hit the Feldtman at between 7:30 and 8am. It was not raining, but everything was quite wet, so we wore rain pants. Good decision! The first third of the leg to Feldtman Lake offered some great scenery and a few nice vistas of the Greenstone. The last two-thirds was a muddy slog. Even in these conditions, the number and variety of wildflowers in full bloom was amazing. Orchids, wild roses, Thimbleberries and Bunch Berry flowers were everywhere. Add in the rasberry canes and blueberry bushes and the trip kept our interest and, at times, made us wish it were August so we could eat all the berries. I lost count on the water crossings at six. All but two were by bridge or plank. One was a very minor challenge (very), but it did create some interest. The bad part of the trek was my lack of preparations. I was all set for the Minong and had read everything (including the reports here) I could find. This itinerary caught me off guard. For some reason still lost to me, my son and I were under the impression that it was a mere six miles to Feldtman Lake. After about three hours (less, actually), we kept expecting to see camp. For three more miles we were disappointed. And because we thought we were so close, we never stopped for lunch. We made the nine miles on a single Poptart each. I think we were a little cranky when we arrived at camp.

We arrived at camp at around noon, a four or four and a half hour hike. Not bad given the conditions. And were we ever rewarded with a great site. Sites 1 and 2 are both spacious and immediately on the water, with great views. A quick set up of camp (tent, hammock and siltarp canopy--just in case) and we were ready. For a nap. Then a dinner of shepard's pie and our first day on the trail was over.

Thursday
We slept in on Thursday until about 8am. It was a bit chilly and we lacked the will power to move before then. After a quick breakfast and slow breakdown of camp, we were back on the trail at 9:30. This was our favorite day. The highlight was an extended hike on the ridge with the best views I have seen on the island (my experience is limitied, but I did hike McCargo-Todd-Hatchet-Desor (S)-Island Mine-Washington Creek). Add to that our expectation of seeing a moose--we saw tracks and scat everywhere--and it was a great hike.Next highlight was the watchtower, half way to Siskiwit Bay. More amazing views. On the way, we ran into some hikers going the other way, who told us of seeing a cow and calf in the bay. Alas, rumors would be as close as we got to a moose. We arrived at Siskiwit before 1:30 and explored the available sites. The shelters were taken, so we picked a site down the trail where we had access to our own private beach. We cleaned up a bit and even cooked on the flat, smooth rocks nearby. Good day.

Friday
All the way to Washington Creek. We knew we had a long way to go, so we moved a bit more quickly this morning. The first half of the way to Island Mine is mostly along Lake Superior, so we were blest with great views and a nice breeze. One warning here for future hikers. The trail continues along the shore until the harbor turns right and that is where the trail heads uphill to Island Mine. A bit short of that point, the trail forked. The trail to the right looked like a simple use trail for access to the beach. We were not going to fall for that!. We went left on a well-established trail. It quickly tracks along a creek to the right. On this trip, the creek was very wide. We hike on for ten or fifteen minutes until we dead ended into the creek. We hunted around and could not find a good crossing or a trail head on the other side. My son back tracked and found that we were supposed to have crossed that creek very close to the lake shore, but the crossing there ( a few logs) was not readily feasible because of the hight water. So we headed back to the beach and crosssed the creek at its mouth (we changed into water shoes). Once across, we found the trail on the other side of the small ridge above the shore.

Shortly after, the trail headed up. And up, and up. The hike to Island Mine is quite tough. Nothing technical, of course, but grueling, Other than the huge pile of mine tailings and the deserted well, pretty dull too. Tired and sweaty, we made it to Island Mine for a leisurely lunch. We also pumped some water. WARNING: Later in the summer, pack in plenty of water if you plan on going all the way to Washington Creek. The creek at Island Mine was small even after all the recent rain. Rested and fed, we turned toward the last leg of the hike. Not the most interesting part of the island. More of a walk in the woods.

At Washington Creek, we found a shelter (there were plenty) and ran to clean up before the store closed. (We arrived around 4pm, and the store closes at 5pm central time). Then,the best frozen pizza possible--sitting on the deck of the store!

Saturday
Kicked around Windigo for a while. Coffee, chats with rangers and the always friendly hikers one meets. Then home--smooth ride. Even anothre dinner at the Angry Trout!

The lessen? Be prepared for changes in itinerary!
Last edited by JerryB on Tue Jul 05, 2011 7:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

Blackdog
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Re: June '11 Feldtman Loop

Post by Blackdog »

Nice report JerryB. I fell for that trap between Siskiwit and Island Mine last year!

JerryB
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Re: June '11 Feldtman Loop

Post by JerryB »

I am glad to hear that! From the looks of the false trail, lots of people have.

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fonixmunkee
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Re: June '11 Feldtman Loop

Post by fonixmunkee »

An hour to break down camp is "slow?" Then we're really, really slow :)

Glad you had a good day at Siskiwit. That's one of my favorite places on the island. It just seems like a really secluded place.

I think the detour you ended up on out of Siskiwit on the way to Island Mine was the trail that leads into an area reknowned for old caribou bones (from when they used to live on the island). If it's a very swampy area, then this is it. I've seen this trail before, walked in a way, and turned around, so that's why I'm guessing this may be what you are referring to.

Heck, now that I think of it, the entire Feldtmann loop is one of my favorite hikes on the island. The Minong is my first, but you got a good backup hike. I as well was robbed of a trek along the Minong this year because of bad weather on Lake Superior. So take solace in that.

Thanks for sharing your TR!

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Tom
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Re: June '11 Feldtman Loop

Post by Tom »

Feldtman #2 probably remains my favorite place on the Isle. Just something about it that's quite enjoyable. Normally Feldtman Lake has a fair number of moose hanging around, too bad they didn't want to come out and play. Did you scoot down to Rainbow Cove? It's worth the short hike, should you ever take the loop again...

Thanks for the TR!

jerry
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Re: June '11 Feldtman Loop

Post by jerry »

JerryB,
Thanks for the TR and thanks to you and your son for your hospitality on Wed. (6-22)! Hope to see you two again sometime. jerry

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Backpacker534
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Re: June '11 Feldtman Loop

Post by Backpacker534 »

An hour to break down camp is "slow?" Then we're really, really slow :)
Fonix, I'm right with 'ya. I think my buddy and I are always the last to leave a given campsite. Heck, by the time we sleep in, stretch, eat, pump water, clean up, re-pack and finally leave it is usually pushing 10:00 or 10:30, sometimes even a bit later. I have always felt slow when I hear about the hikers who are up early and on the trail by 7:00 or 7:30 am. Geesh. I kinda look at these trips as my mini vacation. Since I'm up for work every day at 4:30 am, I'm in no rush to be up early on my hikes. :)

torpified
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Re: June '11 Feldtman Loop

Post by torpified »

Desperate times call for desperate measures. With the ferries and the concessions closed for now (which I should make explicit I consider very sensible), I'm hoping for TRs from people who reach IR by seaplane or SUP. Just in case there aren't a torrent of those, I'm going to try picking a past TR at random and raising questions (also picked at random) in the hopes of generating some traffic.
JerryB wrote:
Tue Jun 28, 2011 4:08 pm
We had decided to get off at Windigo and do the Feldtman loop instead of the Minong.

1. Are there pictures of this trip it's easier to post now than it was in 2011??

2. Did you and/or your son make it back for the Minong? (Sorry if there's already a TR for this -- my protocol is imperfect.)

3. Is there anything you think you'd have done differently if you'd been targeting the Feldtman Loop from the get-go, rather than as an improvised fallback?

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chief54
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Re: June '11 Feldtman Loop

Post by chief54 »

torpified, Like you i totally agree with park, ferries, concessions closed. Just read the letter from the seaplanes which is holding up flights but think they may be able to fly in later in the season. I do not see that happening.Unless i missed something the NPS says the park is closed for the season,period. Yes you can social distance on the plane, I think, but once again what happens if you get injured (never happens, right?) or get sick(there is a bug going around, at least thats what I heard) on IR then you are putting Rangers in harms way. Or once again am I missing something?
first visit at age 10 in 1965 numerous times since then, 30+ times

JerryB
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Re: June '11 Feldtman Loop

Post by JerryB »

Torpified,

What a great idea and thanks for picking what was, i believe, my second trip to the island! Out of more than a dozen trips, this is the only one for which weather delayed the ferry. Because of the lost day, and on the advise of the other forum Jerry, we decided not to rush the Minong and to do the loop. I am a preparer and i was not well prepared for the route. But the only problem that created was my conviction that the mileage from Windigo to Feldtman Lake (our first leg) was only a few miles. No idea why i was under that misapprehension, but my son and i began to worry we had missed a turn somewhere!

As i recall, the big decisions and memories from this trip were clockwise or counter and all the wildflowers. I wrote up a discussion on the route choice way back then. I still like the counter direction and have done both. I also recall how lucky we were to find the locomotive between Siskiwit and Island Mine, I hate reading reports where folks miss that. Finally, Island Mine gets a bum rap, in my opinion. Oh, compared to other sites on the island, the rap is accurate, but taken for itself, it is a nice site, assuming water is running! As an aside, it is a great site before leaf out in the spring—a whole new perspective on the place.

Yes, my son and i did get back, several times, and did the Minong. Another great trip, but it rained when we were on the ridges; it was like hiking on ice!

Since then, I have pretty much covered the entire island and would love to be there now. I always recommend the Feldtman Loop for first timers, not because it is easy, but it presents a wonderful cross section of the island. (It seems the trails are far more grown over now)

I will try to post some pictures. I am having trouble figuring out how. Maybe because i am on “Quick Reply”

JerryB
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Re: June '11 Feldtman Loop

Post by JerryB »

Ok, i think i attached some pics from that trip. By the way, i was wrong in the last post—we missed the locomotive on this trip!
78A615D1-E15A-41C1-9D04-A525DD85D51F.jpeg
74153CB5-BDA2-4671-9A04-196F578C80C4.jpeg
510EA32C-7B4E-4E6A-8DEC-195AB5A68814.jpeg
The “kid” in the picture is my son—Jerry (other Jerry) will remember. He is now an officer in the Army. How they do grow up!

jerry
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Re: June '11 Feldtman Loop

Post by jerry »

This is the other "Jerry", hard to believe its been 9 years. Hope you and your son are doing well! Maybe our paths'll cross again sometime. Thanks, Again for the shared food!

torpified
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Re: June '11 Feldtman Loop

Post by torpified »

Dear other other Jerry,

I can't believe that that worked! I really did pick the report by scrolling with my eyes shut, but I was psyched to see that its author was someone active (on this forum, I mean) and its topic was the Feldtman loop. Setting aside portages and campground spurs, it (and the Ishpeming trail to Malone Bay) are the stretches of IR trail I haven't visited yet. I mean to, and trip reports like yours are consolidating my intention.

About how overgrown the route is: I wonder how that is going to evolve over a season with non-existent to much-reduced foot traffic along the trail?

Thanks for the photos (what spectacular flowers!) and elaborations. I'm a preparer too --- which probably only partially explains my obsession with Trip Reports --- and it's nice to more fully realize that I should plan also for scenarios where transport complications radically alter the length/start/finish of my trip.

Finally, I'm glad that you and your son made it to the Minong. I'll look for reports (and if I can't find them, I'll try demanding that you reconstruct them!).

--torpified

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thesneakymonkey
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Re: June '11 Feldtman Loop

Post by thesneakymonkey »

Was hoping to hit the Feldtman loop this year. Our seaplane reservations are still good, but we shall see how that turns out. I love reading these older posts.
Trip #1East side loop: https://youtu.be/xejNOfYWpIQ
Trip#2 Minong End to End : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... 9ZJVgtfgga
Husband_Wife_OutdoorLife on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/c/HusbandWifeOutdoorLife

JerryB
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Re: June '11 Feldtman Loop

Post by JerryB »

I have no idea how many trip reports I have posted, but there are a few and probably more than one for Feldtman. I suspect the island trails will all be overgrown, unless trail crews are working. I am hopeful that the beaver damage will be less with the new wolves. That was getting quite bad too.

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