Solo Trip report 5/24/16-5/31/16
Day 2 Wednesday, rained on and off during the night and got going about 7 am to Sisikwit. The trail is very thickly low lying brush on each side, so it doesn't take long for your boots and clothes to get wet. Changing socks was not helpful, they just get wet right away despite sealing my boots. I had some home made Tyvek shoe covers which were very helpful, but the brush would move them around. On another ridge I was able to call the wife again for the last time due to no signals any where else. Rain was light at times but the brush was dripping wet. Arrived at Sisikwit around 1100 and was able to get a shelter. Got into my rain pants and some dry clothes and put my clothes out to dry on the brush. The wind was very strong and crashing of waves with alternates of sun clouds. No other campers. Met no one on the trail. It was foggy all night and very humid with nothing really drying.
Day 3 Thursday, got up and going around 700 or so and the waves and wind was strong. Put on my damp clothes with one foot beginning to hurt from wet feet and a hot spot. Walking down the trail now to Island Mine and the trail follows the beach, then goes in then back out. Had a GPS which was great for me because I lost the trail and then eventually found it. Got into the woods and began to head west towards Island Mine. Had to cross the small streams, mud and roots that happened from the rain. It sprinkled on and off and was very foggy with wet brush. Had my Tyvek covers on and the brush was not nearly as bad with it being in the woods now. This is not a bad section to hike but it is in the woods with no great views. Got to Island Mine and took off my boots and put on new socks which were basically damp ones. I had taken about 4 pair along. My feet were hurting more, so I taped them up now. I was developing blisters on the ball of the feet. During this trip, I was not that hungry and lost 6 LBs but had some jerky and pushed on to South Lake Desor. I still have not see anyone and have not met another hiker yet. I got to SL Desor about 12noon or so and no one else was there. Set up camp and tried to rest my feet and drained the blisters. I was planning next days trip when a squirrel was attempting a intrusion towards my tent and chased him off with many small stones and eventually a small log. I had initially planned on staying at Hatchet, then Chickenbone then to Daisy and RH but the ranger said the Minong Trail from Tood Harbor to McCargoe wasn't that bad. So on Friday I thought I would see how I was doing.
Day 4 Friday, got going around 620 and made it to Hatchet, looked around and thought I will go to Todd. Walking to Todd, I didn't meet up or see anyone else. I got about a half mile from Todd and the temps must have dropped by 10 degrees. It was about 1100 and no one else was there. I got a shelter and started setting up, limping now due to foot pain. About 30 minutes after arriving 3 guys came through who were on there way to McCargoe Cove. They said they were at Hatchet and just got going. I told them I would see them tomorrow because I get going early and they sleep in. I then never saw another person all night. The temps were in the 40's again at night and it rained on and off with fog and humidity.
Day 5 Saturday, Feet are killing me but got on the Minong and the trail is not really marked and I am glad I had my GPS. Crossed a small creek and the log that I thought was for stepping on sunk getting my foot wet. There are no bridges on this section and not really any cairns. By now the rocks were very slippery due to the on and off rain and moss and constant fog. The trekking poles saved my butt more than I can count. Although I did fall 3 times on the entire trip and the last time scraping my elbow. Anyway with it being solid fog there was no scenic views, just the fog all around me. I got to McCargoe and never saw another hiker on the trail. I was wondering if anyone hikes this time of year. At McCargoe I finally camped where there were other people. I met up with the 3 guys and helped them filter water with my gravity works. There Sawyer system was a major fail. They were headed to Chickenbone to fish. The boat came in from Grand Portage and dropped off some people including 6 guys with 3 canoes who were going to portage the width of the island. I talked to a few people but layed low trying not to walk on my aching feet. They were catching fish from the dock here. It continued to be very foggy, humid and rain at times. Everything I had was damp or just plain wet from the humidity.
Day 6 Sunday, got going a little after 6 with the plan to get to Daisy Farm and grab a shelter. It began to rain shortly after leaving and put on my tyvek covers which I had modified and fixed the issues, my rain pants which I noticed later were on backwards but they worked and my Houdini jacket. Yeh I looked like a idiot but was reasonably dry. The trail goes up and down crossing streams and along small lakes. I got to the Green stone and got into Daisy Farm around 11 or so I did't see any moose but I was looking at the trail to avoid falling. I noticed two younger girls who looked like they just stepped out of a nice motel and they took one look at me and they looked like they saw a freak. I got a shelter, set up my stuff and figured out where I had to to for the next day. It had been several days with the blisters feeling like hot pokers on the ball of my feet. The sun just began to maybe peek through then it rained, this went on most of the evening. The humidity didn't seem quite as bad, but it rained and rained. I could still see the humidty in the shelter with my flashlight on. I still had not met another hiker on the trail yet. I had fallen not far from Daisy Farm, landing on my back. The wood bridges were very slippery and water was running down the rocks.
Day 7 Monday, got up and hit the trail before anyone else was up around 615. You could see a sunrise over the bay and my weather radio told me that today it was going to be a sunny day. I got on the Franklin trail and headed north towards the Greenstone/ Ojibiay tower. I was a couple of miles on the trail and saw a couple of moose. They were crashing through the woods headed towards the Ojibiway tower direction. I thought they don't move like a white tail deer. I walked another half mile and had to stop to adjust my pack, looked towards the east and saw two moose, they were browsing and headed towards the ridge. Watched them for about 15 minutes, they spotted me and slowly moved on. I proceeded to the tower. No cell reception and feet are killing me. I headed towards the east now and finally got to the Lane Cove, Look Out Lousie, Three Mile junction. I stopped checked my gps and headed towards the 3 mile direction. I was thinking of what I hiked last year and kinda laughed looking at Lane Cove only 3 miles away. I thought this 64 year old body was glad I changed to a 7 day trip. I got about .2 from 3 mile junction and lost the trail, back tracking until I found the Cairns. In the process I slipped going down on some wet rocks. Abrasion to elbow and thought I hope I didn't break anything. I didn't. I have this rule that when I stop or go from campsight to campsight that I will always check 3 times before I move on. I remembered that and looked back finding a 1 liter bottle laying on the rocks. I got to the Tobin trail, then took that to Rock Harbor. I still had not seen any hikers on the trail since leaving Windigo. I was about a half mile from RH when 3 people who looked like they stayed at a motel and I could smell there deodorandt were casually walking around. When I got to RH I saw a ranger and he said the boat is coming in and you better go find a shelter ASAP which I did. I was hopefully leaving the next day. My blisters were now draining pus and my left foot was swelling up. I washed some clothes in my portable shower and used the dryer at RH. I packed my blisters with antibiotic oint and that felt better. I was thinking glad my wife talked me into a 7 day trip instead of 10.
Day 8 Tuesday, plane came in on time. No fog and it was cold 42 and sunny. We flew across the entire length of the island to make a pick up at Windigo. AS we flew along side the island I was thinking, how in the H did i walk this thing. Got to Windigo picked up two passengers and flew into Houghton. I limped to the car, came back to the airport found a bathroom stall used some baby wipes, changed into clean clothes. Went to a Walmart and got some food for the 6 hour drive home. My left foot was swollen so I had to go shoe less in the car. I wasn't going to look at it now. Got home and showered ate and went to urgent care and got a antibiotic and next day foot looked more normal. Still have healing blisters but planning next years adventure. Weather was mainly in the 40s at night on Sisikiwit it felt like upper 30s and highs in the 70's. It was constant foggy. Found out the plane did not fly Friday, Saturday and Sunday due to fog.