TR: 8/19-24/2015 [Windigo to Rock Harbor via Minong Ridge

Reports or links to reports on trips.

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TR: 8/19-24/2015 [Windigo to Rock Harbor via Minong Ridge

Post by noon_thirty » Mon Sep 28, 2015 3:14 pm

My first trip to Isle Royale was a great success. I set off with my dad and his two friends, who did the Feldtmann Loop, from Grand Portage on a great Saturday morning.

We arrived without any issues, heard from the Ranger about LNT, got my permit, filled up with water and set out to boogie to North Desor just before noon. I kept a steady pace for most of the way, and stopped for water and a rest by a creek. Two guys passed me here, and I gave them some time to get ahead of me before moving on. I caught up with them at the second beaver dam and heard them talking about two others that were in their party. They again took off ahead of me and I continued my steady pace to the campground. I did get to the point where I could see Lake Desor and got my hopes up that my destination was close, and then those ridges wore down my enthusiasm. At one point, one of the guys came back the other way having forgotten or dropped his sunglasses on the trail. I hope he found them. I let out a shout of joy when I finally got to the turn off for the camp site. The other guy I saw on the trail there was setting up their area in site 3 and a younger guy was set up already in site 2, having come from McCargoe that day. I set up camp, made dinner and passed out.

After waking up late and getting a lazy start to the day I set off with the original intention of making it to Todd Harbor. But after about two hours of getting my butt kicked on the ridges and realizing that I should have gotten going a bit faster that morning, I changed my mind and decided to stop at Little Todd. With having a shorter distance in my mind, I stopped and enjoyed the views a bit more and stopped for a nap on one of the ridges, which I was awoken from by the call of a faraway moose. Made it to the camp site, did water chores and laid down for another nap after getting everything set up. The group of men that were at North Desor also showed up at one point, but we didn't socialize much. Enjoyed the lake front, listened to some podcasts and set about re-planning my route to Rock Harbor.

I woke up the next morning to a very dewy tent, but having learned my lesson from the previous morning, got going with a bit more pep in my step. Having had much more rest from the previous day, it was a lot easier as well. I motored through the forested section between Little Todd and Todd and passed two men going the other direction about halfway between Little Todd and Todd, one a bit of a grump and the other very pleasant. Stopped for lunch at Todd Harbor, before pushing on to McCargoe Cove. While the Minong Ridge Trail I had heard is often wet and troublesome, I did not have this issue. Was able to snag a shelter, set up my tent inside to dry off the dew from the morning and took a nap, before heading down to the fire pit, where there was quite a lively and friendly group. I had a wonderful evening just chatting and being friendly with the others there. Woke up around 5 am to some flashes in the sky. It was rather cloudy, so I couldn't tell if it was lightning or the aurora, but I didn't hear any thunder. I tried to take some pictures of the flashes, unsuccessfully, but did manage some nice star photos, so not a total loss.

Got up and going a couple hours later, finished water chores and set off for Daisy Farm. I was not expecting the immediate climb to East Chickenbone, but made it just fine. Saw significantly more people this day, double the number of people of saw before arriving in McCargoe easily. Both the Minong and the other trails were pretty dry, except for one spot where I chose the wrong route to try and cross a mud pit. Otherwise, the trip to Daisy Farm was easy and uneventful. At the turn off though, I was so used to route finding and following slightly trampled areas as the way to go, I initially ignored the very clear trail and set off almost as if to bushwhack (kind of in the opposite direction) before remembering that I was on a more traveled part of the island and that the obvious trail is the route I should take. The campground was rather empty and once again snagged a shelter to myself. Enjoyed taking in the lake and chatting with some other people who are island veterans.

Knowing I once again had a short day, I took my time getting ready in the morning. And after 4 clear sky days, a front full of clouds had rolled in, making getting out of my sleeping bag in the morning a bit harder. No matter though, it did stay dry the whole time I was hiking to Rock Harbor, where once again, I had a shelter to myself and I was all set up by the time the rain came in the early evening. I watched as the small groups from the Voyageur II hit the trail and tried to get some rest before knowing I had an early morning, making sure I wouldn't miss the boat the next morning. I was a bit disappointed that everything was closed up when I was there, but I guess that just means I'll have to come back again another time.

The boat ride was a bit bumpy the next morning back to GP the next morning, and meeting up with my dad and his friends in Windigo was a nice reunion.

I will say that I was a bit surprised to be the only solo female that I saw the whole trip, and that there were only 5 female backpackers I saw the whole time out of the around 30 people I came across. In any event, it was a great trip and even though I did end up rerouting from my original plan, I think I would not have had as an enjoyable of a trip if I had stuck to my original itinerary.

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Re: TR: 8/19-24/2015 [Windigo to Rock Harbor via Minong Ridge

Post by philranger » Tue Sep 29, 2015 6:45 am

Glad you got to stop at Little Todd. That is one of my favorite camps. My daughter and I did the Minong going the other way in 2013. It was very challenging . . . as advertised.
Thanks for sharing your report.
Isle Royale Trips: 2005-RH to Windigo via Greenstone. 2006-McCargoe Cove to Chippewa Harbor. 2007-RH to Daisy Farm and back. 2008-Feltmann loop. 2009-McCargoe Cove to Chippewa Harbor. 2013-Minong Ridge. 2014-Windigo + Huginnin Cove. 2015-Lookout Louise to LC to DF to MB. 2018-McCargoe to Todd to HL to Malone Bay.

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Re: TR: 8/19-24/2015 [Windigo to Rock Harbor via Minong Ridge

Post by jerry » Wed Dec 16, 2015 7:28 am

In early June at Washington Creek/Windigo there were more women then men.

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