9/19-9/24/2015_Feldtmann Loop and Minong

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9/19-9/24/2015_Feldtmann Loop and Minong

Post by SoonerDad » Fri Sep 25, 2015 4:49 pm

On Friday the 18th I made my way to Grand Portage, MN. The 9.5 hour drive was uneventfulother than stops for gas and a stop in Grand Marias for a pizza from Sven and Ole’s. I arrived at the Grand Portage Lodge and Casino around 4pm after quickly scouting the way to the dock so I would not have to hunt in the morning. The GPLC was under construction, but while the building was kind of a mess, my room was very nice and I settled in to eat pizza and repack my backpack.

Saturday morning I headed to the dock and we had a fairly full boat heading to the island. The lake was pretty calm so after visiting the Witch Tree we headed off to IR. We made a brief stop at the wreck of the America and arrived at the dock just after 10. Ranger Valerie gave us the LNT talk and another lady ranger gave the talk to the day trippers. Then I got my permit filled out by Valerie and she gave me a couple heads up. She told me about the thick brush between Feldtmann Lake and Siskiwitt, and she told me that at the first beaver dam on the Minong to bear left after crossing it. I was on my way by 10:45 and after passing some day trippers on the trial, I had it to myself. I spotted a red fox on the trail a little before Feldtmann and snapped a couple pics before moving forward and scaring it. I got to Feldtmann in about three hours and it got me thinking. If I had done the 8.8 miles in three hours then the 10.3 on Sunday was going to get me into camp well before noon. Since I am not real good at sitting and I wanted to stay as Siskiwit, I decided to go for it. I practically ran out to rainbow cove and back, filtered some water and changed socks and was off to the races. I didn’t think the brush was that bad but maybe other folks had beaten it down some. Pulled into Siskiwit a little after 6pm and snagged a shelter. I almost got a roommate just before dark when a boater walked up and dropped his sleeping bag on the ground outside. We exchanged hello’s and then he asked me if I was planning on sleeping in the shelter….seemed like a weird question since my stuff was strewn all over one end of it. He seemed like he might be a bit inebriated so I simply said yes I was. He then asked me when I had gotten there and I told him it was sometime in the last hour…he muttered something about them having been there for a couple hours and wandered off. If he had asked I would have welcomed him to share the shelter but something seemed a little off about him….but maybe I was just tired from almost 21 miles of hiking!

I was up with the Sun on Sunday and cooking down the trail heading for South Desor. There was lots of dew on the brush and my boots were soon soaked. I stopped for a snack and dry socks at Island Mine CG and then hoofed it to South Desor and set up my tent in one of the group sites. I had an uneventful afternoon drying out my boots and reading. By this time, my mileage eating pace had me considering the possibility of catching the Thursday boat instead of Saturday. I had built in two short days in case of weather or injuries and I was already one day ahead of schedule….I decided to see how it shook out.

Monday found me packing a wet tent fly and hitting the trail to Todd Harbor. Just after I hit the Greenstone I spooked a youngish bull moose and he ran off over the ridge. That was the only wildlife I encountered until I ran across four guys from my boat ride over that had done the Minong from west to east. I passed them between Hatchet Lake and Todd and saw nobody else the entire day. I arrived at TH before 2pm and snagged the shelter. I thought I had the place to myself, but later learned that another hiker was over at the group sites. I planned to check out the Haytown Mine the next morning and read until bedtime. One of those long eared hares snuck up on me and was less than 10 feet away when I saw it….I started doing a Monty Python riff that it was going to eat me as it ran away.

Tuesday I was off to Little Todd. I remembered the Haytown plan about the time I got to the Minong trail…Oh well! Stream crossings were nonexistent this time of year and I arrived at LT before noon. I spent some time airing out and washing some socks and my t-shirt. I built a chair on the beach to get out of the sun. This was the only place that I encountered bugs as in black flies, but they were only annoying…not biting. I was still mulling the Thursday/Saturday question but I decided to stay at LT.

Wednesday came early since I was bored and went to bed early. I was on the trail under cloudy skies with a wet tent fly before 8am. The miles went pretty easy and I hit North Desor around 10 am. I didn’t think I could take another long afternoon of hanging out, and it looked like the rain might hold off so I decided to head for Huginnin. At this point I was really thinking I would try for the Thursday boat. If there was no room I could do a day hike on the Greenstone on Friday. I cruised down to the lake for water and hit the trail. Around 12:30 the rain came…..which made the rocky and the bushy sections a joy  . I told myself that when I hit the Huginnin west junction I would decide. If it looked like it might clear up I would go to HC, but otherwise I was heading to Washington Creek and a shelter. At the junction it was still pouring and I was as wet as a person can get without actually jumping in the lake so I headed to Washington Creek and grabbed d a shelter. I decide dot leave HC to fate. If there was room on the boat I would go home Thursday. If there was not room I would do HC as a day hike on Friday.

As luck would have it there was plenty of room on the boat and after a bouncy ride back to GP I was back in the real world.

A little over 67 miles in 5 days. My feet are all good although I did end up with three blisters along the way....which is odd for me. I blame wet boots from the brush

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