TR: 5/29-6/9 2017 [RH-Windigo-RH via Minong]

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TR: 5/29-6/9 2017 [RH-Windigo-RH via Minong]

Post by Donk_67 » Sun Jun 11, 2017 4:16 pm

Second time on the Queen and second time crossing in fog with rain starting as we wait to board. The crew thoughtfully stowed our packs below deck in the forward cabin. There was a sizable crowd onboard with half bound for Mott island as some part of a research group. The wait to register with the rangers wasn't long, but I was anxious to hit the trail. My son and I decided to ease into our adventure by starting out on the Tobin trail bound for Daisy Farm. It rained off and on as we hiked. Took 3 1/2 hours to reach Daisy with numerous wet and muddy patches to cross; my trekking poles came in handy as I skipped from stone to stone. Didn't like my hanging options, so stayed in a shelter.

5/30: slept poorly on the wood floor, so I was up quite early. Still took some effort to rouse my 18 year old, so didn't hit trail until 7:45. Hiked the Daisy Farm trail up to the Greenstone and came across 2 bull moose in short succession near the Greenstone. Followed East Chickenbone trail where I saw big fresh tracks of a 3rd moose, but never saw the moose. Reached McCargo Cove a little before 1:30. Could have hung my hammock at site #2, but black flies were coming out, so allowed my son to talk me into taking shelter 9. Woke to discover a mouse had helped out during the night by eating food remnants from son's bowl he had neglected to clean after dinner...he didn't repeat that mistake again during the rest of the trip.Image

5/31: awake at 5 to note general overcast conditions. On trail at 8 after several cups of coffee, starting the Minong. Some of the rock was still wet and challenging to climb. Trail and weather improved the further we hiked. Spotted a Morel mushroom the size of my pinkie and found a dozen more, (larger ones) right along the trail. As luck would have it, I had a mesh bag to carry them in. Arrived at Todd Harbor at 11:30 and took site 1, although if I camp there again, I choose site 4 or 5 for their better hammock options. The mushrooms went in the pot with our goulash that evening. The sun came out and it warmed up nicely. Bugs were out, but tolerable. Dried some gear on the warm rocks next to the mine. Helped some college kids find suitable firewood and patiently waited for sunset. Caught a freakish moment of cell reception; long enough to get a text out to my wife letting her know we were still alive and in good shape. The sunset was worth the wait. In the hammock at 10 and managed a good night's sleep until 6 the next morning.

6/1: The filed itinerary calls for a "nero" day, as short hike to Little Todd, so I allow my son to sleep in. I watch the college kids go pass as we don't break camp until almost 9:30. Soon after we pass the Hatchet Lake junction and enter new (for us) territory, it starts to rain. The shower is light and brief; it gets warm and muggy, but the trail is mostly easy terrain with a few technical water crossings where we catch up to the college kids. I find more Morels along the trail, so there will be mushrooms in the pot for dinner again. We reach the spur to Little Todd around noon and decide to water up, eat lunch and push on for N Desor. Back on trail a little before 1, the Minong gets tougher as we walk the ridges in the hot sun. The views are incredible, but you have to work for them.Image

It seems like we'll never reach the next camp. I run out of water a mile before camp. It was a relief finding the sign and slogging down the hill to camp and water at 5:30. We take site 3 as it has both good tent pad and good trees for hanging. Image

I cringe when I notice the couple in site 2 have strung a hammock up between 2 birch trees. I wander over and politely express my concern about the unreliability of birch trees and make new friends in the process.

6/2: we have a long day ahead of us, but can't manage to break camp before 9:20. My new friends wake later, but still manage to leave before 9...they don't have a grumpy teen to deal with. We catch up and pass them 7 miles later. It's another gorgeous day on the Minong, but gets hot fast. The trail is challenging with its constant ups and downs along the broken ridge. I studied the map and know enough to filter water at a stream crossing before a long dry section. The beaver damns are tricky to cross and slow us down, but we manage to keep our feet mostly dry. I consider going to Huginnin Cove as we are a day ahead of schedule, but when we reach the junction, I'm too tired to walk the extra distance; the hill climbs have really taxed me. We reach Washington Creek by 4:30. We stash our packs in a shelter and make our way into Windigo to find the store open (I had hopes and suspicions that this would be the case). A cold Widowmaker and package of cookies are consumed. Their hot water wasn't working so they weren't selling shower tokens yet. My son was disappointed.
Surveying Washington Creek CG, I note tent site 12 and group sites 1 & 2 have suitable trees for hanging a hammock, alas, I stay in the shelter for a less than optimal night's sleep.

6/3: a lazy morning as we wait for our food drop coming in on the Voyauer at 10:30. The posted forecast at ranger station calls for rain. I consider a zero day. When the Voyauer arrives, we collect our package and sort out the contents. We have plenty of food in the form of dinners, but I underestimated our need for snacks, having only allowed for two a day; 3-4 would have been better for us. I'm losing weight. Since I already know the empty sugar calories in pop tarts doesn't work for me, I'm at a lose for purchasing additional snacks. I settle on a can of Pringles ( only a slight improvement over pop tarts) and a package of sausage to help supplement the snacks. It hasn't started raining yet, so after a hearty lunch/ dinner, we push out for Island Mine at 12:30. The hill out of Windigo isn't steep, but it's long and steady. I have to take several pauses...and still we catch up to the fresh off the boat backpackers. This late in the day, I fear we're all heading to Island Mine so I encourage my son to continue on ahead and secure an optimal campsite. I pass 6 or 7 hikers and reach Island Mine at 3:20. There's only one site occupied by a small group. My son selected site 3 which had the best trees for hanging my hammock. It also has the most tent pads which I'm prepared to offer up to any other arrivals. Of the 7 people I passed, only two were stopping at Island Mine. Another solo hiker took the last site around 8 that evening...even then, the group sites were still unoccupied. It started to rain lightly shortly after we had camp set up, so I crawled into my hammock and took a four hour nap. Had a late dinner and small fire in the attempt to keep mosquitoes away and retired around 9 before a few more rain showers passed through. Image

6/4: it's a short hike to our next camp (intentionally planned in case we had to take a zero day) so we lollygag around in the morning not breaking camp until 9:30. Took a short break at beneath the tower before arriving at S. Desor at 11:30. After the Minong, this section of the Greenstone is a walk in the park. My hanging options were lousy at Desor. I finally settled on two young poplar trees at group site 1. They were strong trees, but the span was far, thus I had my straps as high as I could reach. The trees pulled inward a bit when I got in my hammock; this loosened my tie outs on my tarp as the ridgeline sagged too. I suppose a clever man would have came up with a solution, but I was content to let my tarp flap a bit. The group sites are a fair bit away from the individual sites, but I was pleased to find the water access across from 1 has a sandy bottom suitable for wading or swimming...not that I did either. I took advantage of the warm sun and rinsed my hiking clothes out, even going so far as to add some soap to a gallon bag and wash my shirt which being polyester, was exceptionally odiferous (rank). Just as I had built the courage up to go for a swim, the sky clouded up and thunder could be heard. The wind picked up and I expected some weather to roll in. It never did.

To be continued

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Last edited by Donk_67 on Sun Jun 11, 2017 4:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: TR: 5/29-6/9 2017 [RH-Windigo-RH via Minong]

Post by IncaRoads » Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:28 am

Donk_67 wrote: To be continued
Thanks for the trip report. Looking forward to the "rest of the story".

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Re: TR: 5/29-6/9 2017 [RH-Windigo-RH via Minong]

Post by Midwest Ed » Fri Jun 23, 2017 10:42 am

I think the abundance of Lake Desor leeches were also disappointed at your lack of a swim. Thanks for the report thus far.
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013

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