TR 9/17/21-9/24/21

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johnhens
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TR 9/17/21-9/24/21

Post by johnhens »

Made the trip to IR after a 5 year absence. Our plan was to paddle Rock Harbor.

9/17 arrived at the dock for the Queen after a night of thunderstorms. We were in a motel thankfully. Unloaded the kayaks and gear and awaited boarding instructions. After loading gear and checking in, we boarded the Queen with masks on. It was still raining. It was a rough passage. We arrived at the Daisy Farm dock and formed a line on the dock to offload gear. We were met by Rangers and told to meet at the pavilion. At this point the sun was peaking through. After the talk, we stood in line to get our permit. Folks that did not have the cash for the daily fee had to sign a promissory note to the NPS. I had my Park Pass. Shelter 4 was empty, so we took it. Tricia was tired and took a little nap. I was amazed at how much vegetative growth Daisy had. It had been a while since we stayed there. I walked around to look for the outhouses and to check out the area. I was amazed there were beaver dams on the creek that goes through camp. The boardwalk closest to the lake had been removed and a new one installed further upstream in its place. I turned on my VHF to check the weather, was able to pick up the station from MI. Later we were getting ready to make dinner when some folks who came out with us came up with a pan of whitefish they could not eat, lucky us!! As we went to sleep the winds were picking up, we could hear the bell on the channel marker as the waves picked up.

9/18 The winds were blowing in the AM so we opted to hike up to the Ojibway tower. It was warm hiking up the trail, grateful for the breeze in the open areas. The views from the tower were great. Had binnocs, looked towards the Horne fire, did not see any smoke. Some folks were heading to Lane cove, they would let us know if they could see any smoke of burned areas (they did not see either). We enjoyed the views and spoke to a few hikers moving through. We headed back to Daisy Farm. My knees do not like downhill. Had lunch at the shelter and spent some time checking out birds moving through (I am a birder). Went to the dock and chatted with other folks hanging out. We had heard moose last night, 2 bulls were fighting close. Amazing that it is dark at 8:00 pm Eastern. I got up about 4:00 AM or so to use the facilities. As I started out the door, my light caught something black in the paper birch bush in front of the shelter. It was a calf (small one) feeding on the paper birch. I looked around for the cow, but did not see her. I woke Tricia to tell her of the calf. She is normally a slow riser-but she popped out of her bag. We watched the calf as it seemed to be not bothered by us. We stood in the door way. Again I looked around for the cow and did not see one. It fed for about 15 minutes and then walked by us (still in the shelter) calling for its mom. I heard a cow and bull off toward the pavilion.


9/19 Woke early and made some coffee. Went to the dock to watch the sunrise over Caribou. Folks there mentioned hearing moose. Saw the resident fox makings its rounds. I pulled out the Outback oven when I got back to the shelter. We were having mixed berry "cake" (instead of muffins). I checked the forecast on the VHF. If I stood in a certain spot, I could get the Copper Harbor forecast which included the marine forecast for Superior. After breakfast, we walked around, most of the shelters were empty. Folks would be coming in for the monday Queen. Saw my first Compton Tortoiseshell and Mourning Cloak (butterfly). Surprised to see thimbleberry with flowers. The apple trees along the shelters near the water were full of apples. Wondered if we would see or hear wolves attracted to the apples. We hiked up the Daisy Farm trail as it was cool with a nice breeze. Passed a few hikers heading to Daisy. Seeing more Warblers moving though with the north winds. We didn't have lunch so we opted for the "senior citizen" early dinner. Tricia dehyrdrates most of our dinners. Tonight we would be having beef strogganoff. It was awesome!!
Went to the dock later to get water for the filter. We had used a Katadyn Base camp in the past, but it was not working. I had brought a Platypus Gravityworks filter. Played with it at home, pulled it out and was amazed how quickly it filtered water. Folks were coming in in numbers to take the Queen out the next day. We had pizza for dinner. Went down to the dock to hang out, saw a beaver come out from the creek. Good to hear Loons calling. 2 adult Bald Eagles flew over.

9/20 Heard moose again last night and a Great Horned Owl calling. I think this may be the first time I have heard a Great Horned Owl on IR. After grits for breakfast, went down to the dock. The lake was kicking up, was going to be a rough ride for those coming out and going back.
Said our goodbyes to folks we had met as the Queen came through the Middle Passage. I think it was a rough ride. The Queen was thinking about staying. As they finished off loading, they were giving instructions for those who would be leaving. The Queen finished loading and pulled away from the dock. 2 backpackers came running up and the NPS was able to contact the Queen which returned to the dock. We spoke to some of the folks who had arrived and told them of the moose and the fox that comes around. We knew it was supposed to be stormy that night, there was a couple who had set up their tent. We told them the shelter behind us was open if it gets bad. We had spaghetti for dinner. The fox came through about 6-6:30 every night. It was getting cloudy and the wind had picked up quite a bit. I listened to the marine forecast, calling for T-storms. Moose were active early. Storms kicked in with rumbling around 10. Full blown thunder and lightning. Hoped this would help with the Horne fire. Much cooler over night. Actually zipped the sleeping bag up.

9/21 Good storm, good deal of rain. Had coffee, pancakes for breakfast. A lot of new birds, warblers, Kinglets (50 or so Golden Crowned Kinglets), 5 Flickers in front of the shelter. Many good birds. Tricia went for a hike up the Daisy Farm trail. Met some new folks coming down off the Daisy Farm trail and coming in from Moskey. Gave water to the folks who came down the Daisy Farm trail as they had run out. The folks behind us took their tent down after it dried and moved into the shelter. It was cooler than it had been the last 3 days (mid to upper 80s), nice day. Later we paddled towards Moskey. Saw moose tracks in the sandy bottom in the narrows. A Kingfisher was seen. Also Goldeneye s.
We got back to Daisy as it was getting dark. Nice to paddle. Heard the great Horned Owl (s) 2, calling. An adult and juvenile. Quesadillas for dinner.

9/22 It was cool when I got up, coffee was good. Walked down to the dock. A few other people were down there. I think the temp had gotten into the the low 40s, high 30s overnight. Heard moose all night. The breeze picked up and the channel marker in the middle passage was dinging.
I went to the outhouses past the pavillion, there was a bull with a cow and calf. Walked back to get Tricia. When we got back to the moose, there were a couple of people there. We moved to the outhouse (using it as shelter if need be) and watched the moose. We were about 40 yds from them. Took a few pics and left them alone. Went back to the shelter and made pancakes. Suddenly the bull was next to our shelter. We saw the cow and calf run along the shore near the dock, the bull walked towards the wet area near the new boardwalk across the creek. He walked through the wet area and started to move towards the shore (past 2 shelters) then the cow and calf moved from the shore past our shelter. Of course the bull turend to follow. The three took off past the pavillion. Amazing to watch something that big move quickly and quietly!! It was fun later talking to folks who these moose were their first sightings. We walked around the cg later looking for birds. A Black Duck has been using the dammed area on the creek near the bridges to feed in. Also surprised to see a Spotted Sandpiper in there. We had heard Sandhill Cranes on differnet parts of the Island, but were surprised to see a solo Crane flying towards Rock Harbor. We also saw an Osprey. I thought I had seen a 3 Toed Woodpecker ( I had documented 1 years ago on IR ). Still many Golden Crowned Kinglets being seen. A Pileated was seen almost daily, still amazed to see one. A Kingfisher flew in to hunt the creek area. Saw many Gray Jays, but all stayed away from the shelters. In the past, we had them land on the table looking for scraps.
Later a hiker walked through. He stopped to say hi, he looked tired. We offered water, which he took (said water sources were few coming from McCargoe). I thought he might be a bit dehydrated so we offered him more water which he took. We also gave him cookies. We saw him later after he went for a swim, he looked much better. He thanked us again for the water. He was a firefighter from St. Paul. We had pizza for dinner!!
Went to the dock later, more people had come in. Talked to some folks from WI, first time on IR, who had not seen a moose. We told them of our sightings, and to be careful if they have to make their way to the outhouse at night. We saw an otter diving around the dock. It was cooling off, so we made tea when we got back. Saw the fox hunting !!

9/23 It was cool again overnight (great sleeping weather). I woke to use the facilities, looked for moose first (none seen or heard). Walked to the dock to see the stars, amazing!! We live outside the light pollution of Chicago, so we do ok for the night skies. I has seen the Starlink satellites (1st time) just before coming to IR. Hoped to see them but did not. Did see the ISS and the other ship with the 4 citizens flyover at home, did not see them on IR. Had coffee and the last of our grits. A sailboat came in in the pm. He was solo sailing from the Apostles. The NPS had pulled the bouys that mark the shoals east of the dock, I told him about those, which he was aware of. Tricia decided to hike part of the Moskey trail (I was having problems with old injuries). Many hikers were coming in to catch the boat out. A large group of college aged kids came in (they stayed at the group campsites) went to the dock to swim. Saw other folks who had come out with us, show up. The sun was out, but it was breezy on the dock. I had brought a book, so I decided to read a while. Around lunch time, people really started coming in. I had my binnocs and camera on the table. A guy asked me if I was a birder, and asked for help IDing a bird (Gray Jay). We chatted a bit, he said his friend was a birder. We watched the Ranger III head through the middle passage as it headed back to Houghton. The cooler weather the last few days had helped with the fall colors. Tricia came back from her hike and we had dinner, beef stroganoff. I checked the marine forecast for tomorrow's ride. 2-4' mostly out of the west, a bit of rolling. The birds were feeding heavily on the Mountain Ash red berries in the trees. Robins, Blue Jays, Waxwings, Sparrows, Thrushes, Gray Jays were having a feast. Some of the squirrels (and other animals I suspect)were feeding on the apples from the trees near the shelters. There were a lot of people on the dock, some ready to go,but most wishing for more time to be on IR.

9/24 Boat day. Had mocha and oatmeal (first for the trip). Checked the forecast again, same as yesterday. Began packing up, sleeping bag and pad first, then clothes. The rest gets divided between bags. There were plenty of people down near the dock, so we moved packed bags down, leaving bags with food for the end. We swept the shelter out, used the outhouse and brought the last of our gear down to the dock. Rolf and Candy Peterson (the wolf-moose biologist) came across from their cabin. They had been down at Windigo getting ready for Winter Study. We had a nice chat catching up on the wolf-moose and life in general. We chatted with 2 guys who had been dropped off by the Voyageur. They had bikes. I was curious so I asked. There is a new gravel biking trail they were doing. They had biked to Grand Portage from Duluth, caught the VII and were catching the Queen to Copper Harbor. From there, they would bike back to Duluth. First bicycles I had seen on IR!!
We were delayed leaving the dock as 2 canoists were late in getting to Daisy. The NPS went and found them and brought them to the dock. The ride back was as expected. We offloaded our gear and decided to go to the Mariner to eat before checking in to the motel. We saw other folks there we had met on the Island, it was fun talking about the trip!!
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Re: TR 9/17/21-9/24/21

Post by Ingo »

Thanks for the report! Too bad you didn't get more paddling in, but we know what Sept can be like.

Apparently taking bikes across the lake on the ferries has become more common, since both the VII and QIV list them on their rates. Years ago I was on the VII the first time it was done--no one seemed certain what to do and the NPS locked it overnight in a storage room. Now they simply make you promise not to ride, but let you walk it to your site.
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, 13: RH-PI, 14: BI-ML-CI-CH-MB, 16: RH-CI-TI-RH, 17: WI-IM-SB-FL-WC, 18: MC-PC-BI-DB-RH-DF, 21: RH-ML-DF-MB-DF
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Re: TR 9/17/21-9/24/21

Post by johnhens »

Ingo wrote: Sat Oct 02, 2021 8:12 am Thanks for the report! Too bad you didn't get more paddling in, but we know what Sept can be like.

Apparently taking bikes across the lake on the ferries has become more common, since both the VII and QIV list them on their rates. Years ago I was on the VII the first time it was done--no one seemed certain what to do and the NPS locked it overnight in a storage room. Now they simply make you promise not to ride, but let you walk it to your site.
They left the bikes near the dock. When I first saw them, I thought is the NPS allowing mountain biking? Checked the marine forecasts this week. Every day waves less than 1 foot. Light winds.
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Re: TR 9/17/21-9/24/21

Post by Ingo »

johnhens wrote: Sat Oct 02, 2021 8:20 am Checked the marine forecasts this week. Every day waves less than 1 foot. Light winds.
Figures!
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, 13: RH-PI, 14: BI-ML-CI-CH-MB, 16: RH-CI-TI-RH, 17: WI-IM-SB-FL-WC, 18: MC-PC-BI-DB-RH-DF, 21: RH-ML-DF-MB-DF
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Re: TR 9/17/21-9/24/21

Post by backwoods doc »

Is the 3-night limit at Daisy Farm suspended toward the end of the season?
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Re: TR 9/17/21-9/24/21

Post by Ingo »

backwoods doc wrote: Sat Oct 02, 2021 8:52 am Is the 3-night limit at Daisy Farm suspended toward the end of the season?
All limits are 6/1 - Labor Day, except RH goes to 9/15.
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, 13: RH-PI, 14: BI-ML-CI-CH-MB, 16: RH-CI-TI-RH, 17: WI-IM-SB-FL-WC, 18: MC-PC-BI-DB-RH-DF, 21: RH-ML-DF-MB-DF
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Re: TR 9/17/21-9/24/21

Post by backwoods doc »

Good to know. Thanks!
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Re: TR 9/17/21-9/24/21

Post by torpified »

that sounds like a very satisfying and contemplative stay! But your talk of an outback (pizza??!!) oven intrigues me. Can you say more? Is it a dry baking system?
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Re: TR 9/17/21-9/24/21

Post by johnhens »

torpified wrote: Mon Oct 04, 2021 6:12 am that sounds like a very satisfying and contemplative stay! But your talk of an outback (pizza??!!) oven intrigues me. Can you say more? Is it a dry baking system?
Not sure what a dry baking system is. We use an Outback Oven. It has a 10" pan with lid, thermometer in the lid and a "blanket" that goes over the pan that acts as the "oven". The setup is discontinued, was sold through Backpacker Pantry. For pizza, we have in the past used a crust mix (pillsbury I think) that you mix with water and would either dehydrate pizza sauce or bring a squeeze bottle and add toppings. We also make muffin 'cake" (add water to muffin mix), quesedillas, shepard's pie, cornbread (to go with chilli), Quiche, brownies.Image
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Re: TR 9/17/21-9/24/21

Post by hooky »

That's quite the setup, John. I'll to try to find a way to duplicate it.

Thanks for posting the TR.
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