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Trip report August 23 -September 5 2011 Minong/ Greenstone

Posted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:13 pm
by Redbad
This was my first trip to IR

23 August -- Left McClain State Park (Michigan) at 7:30 AM. Purchased last minute items (batteries) at the Wally world in Houghton. Boarded the Ranger III at 9:00 AM and had a flat ride to IR. Arrived at Rock Harbor at 3:00 and departed for Daisy Farm starting at 3:15 PM. Arrived at Daisy Farm at 10PM or so and met some nice campers who also had arrived late who helped with H2O and with campsite (we split a campsite).

24 August -- Lazy morning at Daisy Farm. Departed for McCargoe at 11 AM. Rain -- made the upclimbs and downclimbs on the Greenstone more technical. I appreciated gaiters. Saw my first moose, which was laying down right off of the trail. Both of us were quite startled to see each other. The moose was a male, probably a juvenile with a shoulder height just under 6 feet and a nice set of palms still in velvet. Arrived at McCargoe at 7 PM or so and had the WORST mac and cheese ever (Dollar store mac and cheese). Boiled H20 with the Dragon (MSR Dragonfly stove) -- sorry neighbors.

25 August -- Woke up at 7 AM. Obtained water down at the dock -- filtered it. On trail by 10:30 or so. Explored the Minong mine site. At Todd Harbor by 6 and snagged the shelter. I shared the shelter with Josh from Madison, WI. Ate down the bulk a bit with 2 potato soup mixes, extra noodles, cheese and sausage. I slept in my sleeping bag for the first time, which was almost excessively warm (prior to this I had been sleeping in my bivy sack without using the sleeping bag).

26 August -- Rain during breakfast. Stalled by spending time repacking backpack. Hiked to Little Todd. Made it across the creek with the fallen trees serving as a bridge without getting my feet wet. Soaked my feet while sitting on the rocks in Lake Superior while filtering water. All attempts at a campfire using driftwood failed. Nice breeze from the north but it got COLD overnight (bivy sack only).

27 August -- Got up with the sunrise (it was hard to sleep with my teeth chattering). Made water and headed back to the Minong Ridge trail. The Minong Ridge trail is very technically difficult with navigation from cairn to cairn and with orange painted trail blazes thrown in. Made it to North Lake Desor at 5:45. Ate dinner and prepared to get on the trail early for Washington Creek.

28 August -- On trail early. The trail from North Lake Desor to Washington Creek is technical (multiple beaver dam crossings, exposed rock crossings, and brush covered trails). Made it to the Washington Creek campground at sunset. Found an open shelter. Moose sighting #2 involving a female and calf who were cutting through the campground to feed in Washington Creek. I ran back to the shelter when momma moose acted aggressive (in the twilight I was not taking chances). Momma and calf spent several minutes grunting at each other right outside of the shelter (where I was cowering in the dark). They finally moved off into the creek and I was able to get water and use the pit toilet. I ate a cold dinner of Logan bread and malted milk in the dark. The moose were splashing in Washington Creek for most of the night.

29 August -- Coldest night yet. I appreciated the sleeping bag. I went to the Windigo Ranger Station to pick up my food shipment and to mail some items. While waiting for the Voyager II, I looked at the displays at the ranger station and went to the store to purchase floss (my backpack needed some repairs) and a shower token ($6 for a shower). Dropped off the mail (which got cancelled with the Windigo Ranger Station stamp). The Voyager II had my food package aboard and I picked it up from the ranger. I went back to my shelter and fixed the tear in my backpack with the floss. I hiked back to Windigo to take my $6 shower (5 minutes). Back at the shelter I ran Mike's trail side laundry and laundered my shirts, socks and underwear in my cookpot. Enjoyed some goodies in my food package and enjoyed a relaxing day with no hiking. In the evening I went to a presentation on the moose at IR at the Ranger Station.

30 August -- Another cool night. Repacked gear and headed out on the Greenstone. Much less technical than the Minong. The Greenstone from Windigo to South Lake Desor is not much different from the hiking in southwest Michigan (both involve hiking through a maple forest). Arrived at South Lake Desor at 8 PM and had a meal of Logan Bread and water. It rained during the night.

31 August -- Rain throughout the day. Very wet hiking through the underbrush. Really appreciated gaiters. Made Hatchett Lake. Am attempting to wear dry clothing overnight and I look like the Michelin man.

1 September -- Wear drying clothing seems to have worked. I woke up to a nice day without rain. The Greenstone finally gave some spectacular views on the summits overlooking the southwest. Made West Chickenbone Lake at 6:45 or so. I tried fishing but the reeds extended to far to roll cast. The varmint cong infiltrated my campsite and chewed a hole in my GORP bag.

2 September -- Thunderstorm overnight. I stayed dry, if somewhat uncomfortable, in the bivy sack (I did not set up my tarp). I placed the tarp over my backpack and gear. The red squirrel really wants my food. Two snowshoe bunnies also came right up to me. I have to prepare for rain. It rained during packup and there was not much more to do than to cover everything with the tarp and wait for the rain to pass. The last day on the Greenstone. I think that the Minong, for all of its difficulty, is much more intimate than the Greenstone. The Greenstone is much more heavily traveled and does not have the scenery to go along with it. On the Greenstone it is hard to differentiate between IR and a host of trails in N. Michigan.

Hiked back to Daisy Farm and found a shelter. Lots of boats at the dock.

3 September -- easy morning. Repaired backpack again. Did a day hike to Rock Harbor to visit my parents (who were spending the weekend at the Rock Harbor Lodge). Walked back to DF arriving at 11 PM.

4 September -- Woke up to a powerful wind. Learned that the IR Queen was not running due to the 9-12 foot waves out on Lake Superior. Hiked to Rock Harbor. Had pizza and Bells (Kalamazoo beer) at the Greenstone Grill. Official 96 miles or 114 miles (pretty good for a first trip to IR). Crashed in my folks room in one of the housekeeping lodges. Also got a shower for free... management need not know of this....

5 September -- Ferries were running. Left for Copper Harbor on the Queen.

Re: Trip report August 23 -September 5 2011 Minong/ Greensto

Posted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:35 pm
by Tampico
So, you'll be back then, eh?

Re: Trip report August 23 -September 5 2011 Minong/ Greensto

Posted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:12 am
by Redbad
That's the plan :D

I am thinking about kayaking/canoeing from RH to Chippewa Harbor and then working my way through the various lakes/ portages to McCargoe and then working my way through the 5 fingers back to Rock Harbor...(I will need a canoe/kayak to do this however)