Minong Trail June 2011

Reports or links to reports on trips.

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Blackdog
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Minong Trail June 2011

Post by Blackdog » Sun Jun 19, 2011 12:46 pm

June 14th--Finally! After a year of deadlines, audits and emails, it’s time for my Isle Royale trip. I shut my computer off , hugged the wife and kids and tried to console my sad dog since she realizes…this trip she will not be coming along. I drive up to Holland , stop at a SHT trailhead and crash in the back of my van.

June 15th-The VII leaves the dock around 7:15 and we arrive at Windigo around 9:30AM. We go thru our LNT orientation, get permits and board the boat again. This year I’m hiking the Minong trail from McCargoe Cove to Windigo. We arrive at McCargoe at 12:30 central time (all times in the TR are central). I do some shifting of my gear, chat a little with the other hikers and hit the trail by 1:00. The weather is perfect as I head to Todd Harbor. The trail appears to be recently cleared as there is freshly cut logs and fresh chainsaw woodchips all along the trail. The trail is very easy to follow. About two miles in, I see my first moose (which turns out to be the only one I see on the trip). He is in a swampy area and is just jumping out as I come around the corner. I catch just a glimpse of him as he disappears into the woods. I trek along the trail, stop to talk with a few other hikers along the way and admire the views. I arrive at Todd Harbor at 3:30. The campsite has awesome views, so I spend the rest of the day down by the lake listening to the birds sing and waves gently splashing against the rocks. Occasionally soaking my feet in the very cold lake.

June 16th- Got up around 5AM. It rained a little overnight, but not very much. I got packed up at 5:45 and hit the trail. The vegetation from the overnight rain made for a soggy trek towards Hatchet Lake. The trail itself was in good shape. The 1.4 miles from Todd Harbor to Hatchet Lake was relatively flat and a very easy hike. Once I got to the Hatchet Lake/Little Todd Harbor junction, that’s when I started to encounter some downfall. It wasn’t too bad and provided a little variety to the relatively easy hiking. My feet were getting pretty wet from the surrounding vegetation, but I didn’t feel any blisters coming on. I crossed an interesting ‘bridge’ as I approached the Little Todd Harbor junction. The bridge was just old logs which looked like they were coming to the end of their existence, but they held me as I slowly crossed. I passed Little Todd Harbor and continued onto the ridge. Knowing this is a very tough 4.6 miles (from the forum), I change my soaking wet socks and dump out the remaining water from my boots. The section was just like advertised, it was physically tough but there were many cairns which really helped navigation. I carefully scanned the ridge for cairns and hike along the ridge. I startled a solo hiker who was resting and enjoying the views. She didn’t expect to see anyone so early in the morning. We chatted for a bit and then I was on my way. The views were outstanding even though it was a pretty overcast day. I had planned to get on the ridge early in the morning to beat the heat. I can imagine one could bake up there on a hot day. Being caught in the rain would also be treacherous because of slippery rocks. I made it through without either one of those situations. I got to N Desor campsite around 11:30 in pretty good shape. Shoulders were a bit sore and I had lots of socks to dry, but overall things went better then I expected. I was pretty taxed after the 11.2 miles today, so I spent the rest of the day down by the lake and resting for the hike to Windigo tomorrow.

June 17th-I woke up around 5AM and packed up. I hit the trail by 5:30. The section from N Desor to Windigo starts out right away with a large hill and then more rock hopping. Almost more then I was ready for at that time of the morning, but at least it was cool out. By mid morning the sun was out and it was hot. This section turned out to be a little tougher then I expected. At times the trail was easy going then there would be more rock hopping and looking for cairns. The cairns weren’t as plentiful as the day before so I did more stopping and playing the old game of ‘where’d the trail go?’ I thought many times about the solo hiker that I had passed and hoped she was able to follow the trail ok since I was doing a lot of searching for bent down pieces of grass and cairns. I built a few cairns at some points that seemed to need one. I kept a general bearing of 246 degrees as my guide which helped when the trail wasn’t immediately visible. The sun was really beating down by 8:30am. I crossed a very long human made bridge. The bridge was very well made and plenty wide, but since I’m a naturally wobbly walker anyway, I felt like a tight rope walker in the Barnum and Bailey circus. I probably looked like one too…poles out horizontally walking slowly. I did have one thought…‘I’m glad I’m not hung over right now’ Following the bridge was another up hill that was tough. After a series of more rock hopping and ups and downs I made it to sign that says ‘Windigo 1.8 miles’ I dropped my pack and knew I had made it. The Minong kicked my ass a bit, but I knew what I signed up for when I decided to hike the Minong in 3 days. I arrived at Washington Creek at 11:00am. I grabbed shelter 13. I spent the day bumming around Windigo and waiting for moose, which never came. A fox came by and posed for a picture, then proceeded to sit down and stare at me. We looked at each other for awhile as I was actually waiting for him to beg or rollover, but I guess he hasn’t learned those tricks yet.

June 18th- Got up and headed to Windigo. I chatted with the nice solo hiker I met along the trail (that frequents the forum, but hasn’t created an account yet). Closed circuit to her….I won’t mention your name since you prefer to fly under the radar….you’ve hike many trails at IR and did the Minong solo…I think it’s time for you to join us and create an account! Plus I’m dying to know what book you ended up buying.

I hopped on the Sea Hunter at 2pm and headed home. Just in time for Father’s day.


Summary of the trail….

--The first 12.7 miles are pretty easy kind of giving you the sense that this is going to be easy, then the trail turns physically and somewhat mentally challenging. So I’d say about half is easy and half is hard.

--Watch for cairns! (what’s with the cairn Nazi that wrote on the walls in the Todd Harbor and N Lake Desor outhouses?)

--Todd Harbor campsite is outstanding

--Another great trip to Isle Royale


Special thanks to the people who maintain this forum and those that post to it. I enjoy reading everyone’s stories, looking at pictures and the information it provides. Also, thanks to the crew of the VII and Sea Hunter for getting us safely to and from the island.

pics
http://s1179.photobucket.com/albums/x38 ... le%202011/
Last edited by Blackdog on Sun May 20, 2012 7:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.


jerry
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Re: Minong Trail June 2011

Post by jerry » Sun Jun 19, 2011 1:31 pm

Thanks for the pictures and trip report! Reminds me of last year's trip for me. I call the tree bridge you mentioned a high tech Isle Royale bridge. We got our feet wet there.


DayDreamin
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Re: Minong Trail June 2011

Post by DayDreamin » Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:58 pm

Blackdog. My Buddy and I were the two hikers that followed you along the Minong trail. We however spent a night at Little Todd. Well worth the stop IMO. AT Desor North, a Wolf made a visit to our campsite. He didn't want anything to do with us, and left in a hurry. We arrived at shelter 13 around 3 on Saturday. I really enjoyed the Minong trail. Im not sure what kind of shape I would have been in, if we had hiked it in three days.. props to you.


andrew1184
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Re: Minong Trail June 2011

Post by andrew1184 » Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:37 pm

Blackdog wrote:what’s with the cairn Nazi that wrote on the walls in the Todd Harbor and N Lake Desor outhouses?
I wrote down what was written in the N. Lake Desor outhouse (with a wonderful addition at the end by someone else):

CAIRN
KILLER
CORP.

JOIN THE CORP.

LEAVE NO STONE STANDING

CAIRNS ARE LITTER

2005 95 CAIRNS DESTROYED
2007 57 AND COUNTING
2008 FINALLY GOT LAID. DON'T CARE ABOUT CAIRNS ANYMORE.

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Rafiki
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Re: Minong Trail June 2011

Post by Rafiki » Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:12 am

Hey Andrew. It's Tim :) Were you the Andrew with a certain Steve that I saw on the trail in between Todd and Little Todd. Whom I also saw back at Windigo a couple of days later an hour before you left. I still aim on writing my trip report sometime this week, but have been taking care of somethings that built up while I was on vacation. If you are the Andrew that I speak of, how is your knee doing?
343.1 Miles Hiked: 2004 (3 Days), 2010 (11 Days), 2011 (13 Days), 2012 X 2 (8 + 12 Days), 2013 (9 Days/Paddling)

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Backpacker534
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Re: Minong Trail June 2011

Post by Backpacker534 » Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:59 pm

Blackdog, I enjoyed your report and the photos. By the way, I think that large bird you saw was a Sandhill Crane ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandhill_Crane ). I saw two of them when we came into the shelter area at Washington Creek in 2010 and I heard them again this year (2011) when I was at Siskiwit Bay. They have a very loud and distinct call which you can listen to at this link http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Sand ... ane/sounds.


Topic author
Blackdog
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Re: Minong Trail June 2011

Post by Blackdog » Tue Sep 13, 2011 4:39 pm

Hi Backpacker534

I think you are right! I was wondering what those birds were. When I took those pictures on the trail, I watched them for awhile and then they took off. They had a huge wingspan and the sound of their wings flapping was really loud. It was really cool. I saw two more (or the same ones) later in the day as I crossed one of the beaver ponds on the Minong. Thanks for letting me know what they were…maybe I’ll see them again next year.

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