- Posts: 20
- Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2017 5:56 am
- Isle Royale Visits: 6
- Location: SE MI
We took the Queen from Copper Harbor and arrived on the island on Sunday, July 2. After arriving in Rock Harbor we grabbed some rental canoes and started our paddle to Moskey Basin, somewhere around 9 miles down the shoreline. The weather was perfect all afternoon, warm and calm water. We stopped at the Edisen Fishery and took a short hike to the Rock Harbor Lighthouse and were able to see the museum displays and climb to the top for some amazing views. On our way out we were treated to a fun little show at the dock by a group of 3 or 4 otters. They were chatting it up, catching and eating fish, and generally just being entertaining. We passed Rolf and Candy Peterson in their canoe as they returned from a 12 day circumnavigation trip and made plans to stop by their cabin on our way back the next day. The rest of the paddle was smooth and steady and we set up camp at a Moskey Basin group site well before sunset. The mosquitoes were definitely present at Moskey, but not bad all in all.
Monday, July 3: We took our time with breakfast and loading up and hit the water just as a decent headwind started pushing down the basin, but it was sunny skies and warm temps again all day. We stopped by the Peterson's cabin on the way back and spent about an hour learning and talking about their research and years on the island. I had Rolf as a professor for many classes at Michigan Tech, and actually had a class with Candy many years ago, so it was great to see them again and the fact that they were able to spend so much time with us was a highlight of the trip for all of us, but especially for the boys. We took our time paddling back in and the winds calmed down throughout the day, putting us back in to Rock Harbor in early afternoon. We set up camp at one of the group sites near town and took advantage of the restaurant for dinner.
Tuesday, July 4: We packed up and hit the trail from Rock Harbor to Daisy Farm, following the coast and enjoying the sites. Another sunny day with temp in the 60's along the water. The trail was quite muddy in spots but it was all part of the fun. We took our time and stopped to see the sights like Suzy's Cave. We rolled in to Daisy Farm and chose Group Site 2 for our stay. This was a nice location and the bugs were not bad at all. Taking some advice from Candy Peterson, we decided to take an evening hike from Daisy Farm up and over the ridge to Lake Ojibway to look for moose. We found our way to the lake and were able to watch a cow moose feeding for quite some time, it was definitely worth a few more miles of hiking.
Wednesday, July 5: We loaded up in the morning and headed inland towards the famous E. Chickenbone campsite. We took the trail up the ridge, passing the west side of Lake Ojibway and hit the Greenstone Ridge several miles in. The trail was awesome, gaining elevation the whole time as we left the coast. We joined the Greenstone Ridge trail and followed that in to E. Chickenbone, enjoying the views and sights along the way. The weather was quite warm, near 70 I would guess and clear skies. We worked up a good sweat for sure, but again, the mosquitoes were no problem at all. The flies were making their presence known for sure, but they did not bite so they were more of a minor annoyance than anything. We arrived at E. Chickenbone with most of the kids sweaty and about dry on water supplies, but in great spirits none the less. So... E. Chickenbone. I had never been to this camp, but obviously had heard all the reviews about it. As I mentioned, we were required to stay in the group sites so that limited our choices on camping, but I did not think that this area was as bad as people say. The hike for water was a chore for sure, as you have to slog down the ridge for quite a distance, then we had to haul our 12 L gravity filter bag back up to the camp several times. So, for that aspect is was a pain, but the group site we stayed in was quite nice really. The outhouse was definitely in need of some repair, but all in all a decent place to stay the night. The flies were there, but not too many mosquitoes and we had a cool encounter with a fox in camp that evening.
Thursday, July 6: This was a longer day for us, a bit over 11 miles I believe, backtracking up the ridge and then continuing on the Greenstone over Mount Ojibway and Franklin and then cutting down the ridge to Three Mile. Our packs were a bit heavy as we chose to carry extra water for the kids, as we knew options would be limited along the ridge. The weather was great, with more clear skies and sun. We felt the heat on the exposed sections of the ridge but it was quite bearable and nothing to complain about for sure. We had lunch at the fire tower and enjoyed the views of the island. We set up camp at Three Mile and watched some storms blow by in both directions, but never had more than some wind and a short sprinkle of rain at camp.
Friday, July 7: An easy 3.5 mile trek back to Rock Harbor where we enjoyed lunch at the grill before catching the Queen back to Copper Harbor.
The trip was amazing and we will all remember it for years to come. Being a group of 8 definitely limits options for camping, and you don't have the choice to use any of the shelters, but I don't think it really impeded our trip very much. I am also glad that we decided to make it a "hybrid" trip with both canoeing and backpacking, as the canoe days were a lot of fun and we got to experience some things that never would have been possible on foot, such as climbing the lighthouse and meeting the Peterson's. The trails were technical, rocky and muddy and we enjoyed every mile of them. We were very lucky with both the weather and bugs for sure, as I never once used my rain gear or bug net.
- Posts: 222
- Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2016 4:06 pm
- Isle Royale Visits: 3
- Location: Ann Arbor, MI