May 2018 McCargo-Daisy-Moskey-Chippewa

Reports or links to reports on trips.

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JerryB
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May 2018 McCargo-Daisy-Moskey-Chippewa

Post by JerryB » Tue May 22, 2018 1:58 pm

From May16-20, my brother and I were on the island following the route noted above. I have been there about a dozen times and it was my brother’s second trip. I hope this report is helpful to someone.
The Voyageur: We travelled on the Voyageur both ways and the trip was great, as usual. This was the rockiest trip I have taken, but there were high winds and waves. The captain did a great job and I saw no one getting sick.
Day 1-McCargo: We were dropped off at McCargo Bay at about 1pm. A handful of us got off and most did not stay. McCargo is one of my favorite sites, so we spent the night. After settling in, my brother and I decided to hike out to the mine, about ¾ of a mile down the Minong. It is a nice hike and helped us loosen up for the days ahead. If you do this, you will see a post marking the side trail to the mine. Taking that trail, you will soon come into a fenced off pit, filled with ice on this trip. Keep going, farther than you think you should. There are other sights and looks into the mine. You will see some mine tailings. Climb up that and you will have a view of a small pond where I am sure moose can, or should be, found, not that I ever saw any there!

On the way back to camp, near the group site, we saw a cow and one-year calf just above the trail and about 20 feet ahead of us. The calf quickly scampered off but the cow showed no inclination to move. If we moved forward, it might be seen as aggressive to her. If we moved too far back, we would lose sight of her and then not know where she was. So, the standoff lasted about fifteen minutes. She was calm, ears upright, but simply not interested in moving. Up close and personal with a moose in the first two hours of our trip!
That night, we had a fire in the community ring. The wind was cold and strong. And cold! Overnight, the temperature slid into the low to mid 30’s but we were in our bags by then. Along the shore in the evening was uncomfortable. We met a solo hiker, Glen, with whom we would hike the next day. Just before our arrival, he had slipped on a rock in a creek and took a hard fall. His small finger was dislocated, by quite a bit, I was told. He instantly jerked it back into place—I do not know if I could have done that—and was suffering some discomfort. He had planned to hike to Lane Cove the next day, but decided to go with us to Daisy instead. Great guy and I hope his hand is feeling better now.
As I said, temperatures dropped overnight and we stayed in a shelter—notoriously cold. We were fine. My brother set up his solo tent in the shelter and I hung a tarp over me. In addition to that, I used a down bag with a quilt thrown over it, down booties and a down hood. I never felt chilled even once. I thought I was overdoing it but I am glad I planned for the worst.

Day 2 McCargo to Daisy: The next morning, we hiked out past East Chickenbone to the Greenstone. I was anxious to see East Chickenbone for myself. For years, I have heard nothing good about it and my quick look at the distance between camp and water proved it all true! Several times on this trip, I ran into hikers who were planning to stay there, at least until I dissuaded them. I am always surprised by folks who go out to the island without a bit of research. Maybe they do not know about this forum and what a resource it is!

The hike on the Greenstone to the Daisy cut off was magnificent. Perfect hiking weather away from the lake and some of the views were breathtaking. I had not hiked this part of the trail before and enjoyed it very much. Along the way, we had another moose standoff, similar to the first. We came across a massive bull moose just off the trail. Again, we could not advance and going back risked losing sight of him. He was not agitated but keenly aware of us, staring regularly in our direction. Eventually, he wandered off and we got out of there! All in all, we ended up seeing nine moose, all but three from close range. That is certainly a record for me!

I was also impressed with Daisy Farm. For as many sites as it has, it does not feel like a little city at all. Of course, it was largely empty. I learned that a ranger is again stationed at Daisy. One will be at Malone this summer too. I think that is very good news indeed. We met the ranger, who is also an EMT. He looked over our new friend’s hand, which was now swollen and bruised. He did what he could for Glen but, frankly, the damage was already done and with feeling in his hand, Glen decided to continue his trip.
Another cold evening and cold night.

Day 3 Daisy to Moskey: Next morning, we headed off to Moskey, one of the last trail sections on the island I had not experienced. Lots of exposed rock, big step ups and downs and elevation changes. Frankly, if it were a longer trail, I would rank it among the more difficult on the island. It would have been treacherous in the rain. We were done with moose for the trip and saw none on this day or the next two.
A NOTE ON TRAIL CONDITIONS THROUGHOUT OUR HIKES: The trails were in great shape. Very few deadfalls, or they had already been cleared. Unlike in recent years, none of the trails was overgrown at all. Not sure if this will hold true into the summer but it was the case for us. Finally, we had almost no rain during our trip and, while there was some mud on parts of trails, it was not too bad. There is sign of beaver activity everywhere on the island. Fortunately, none of it impinged on the trails we took.

Moskey is an awesome site. The shelters are right on the water with tremendous views. Of course, that made them a bit chilly on this trip, but well worth it. There are great rocks on the opposite side of the dock and we enjoyed exploring those for quite some time. Do not be afraid to push through some brush and look around over there. The next morning we had a gorgeous sunrise.

Day 4 Moskey to Chippewa: Knowing that Chippewa has only four shelters, we were up and hiking by 6:30. It looked like rain and we really did not want our last night to be spent soaking wet. We made great time and were surprised when Chippewa appeared before us. Along the way, we experienced about five rain drops, but that is all. Again, perfect hiking conditions. When we arrived, there were still two open shelters. We chose a shelter near the dock but lower than two others and well shielded from the still-strong, and cold, wind. Within thirty minutes, the skies opened up for about fifteen minutes. Fortunately, by then, we were firmly ensconced in our nice dry shelter!

By the end of the day, there were six of us at Chippewa, five of us waiting for the Voyageur the next day and Nick, of this forum. Nick is a kayaker and had spent about a week at Chippewa stranded, waiting for the weather to improve enough to let him paddle to Malone. Nick acted as our informal host and even ended up feeding us all that night! Thanks, Nick. We also took a few trips up to the top of the nearby ridge for some great views. I had not done that before and I doubt I could have found my way without some of the expert guidance we enjoyed. We also checked out the old “school house”. Always interesting. (Go through the group site and beyond for that sight.) A bald eagle flew overhead many times and it was great to see.

The evening was a bit more comfortable but we had a hard freeze overnight. I did manage to wake up at about 2:30 am to, ahem, take care of some business. The stars were spectacular. I woke my brother up to see them as well.
Day 5 Pickup at Chippewa: Misreading my watch, I was awake far too early. But we enjoyed our last morning on the island. Nick finally caught a break and set out for Malone before the Voyageur arrived. I promised him I would take a picture of him on Superior as we passed. He, wisely, stayed close to shore and the Voyageur was about a mile away when we passed, so that picture was never taken. Sorry, Nick!
Dining to and from Grand Portage: On the way up, my brother and I ate at the Angry Trout in Grand Marais. I had my usual: whatever the catch of the day was (trout) as a dinner. A huge plate of fish, salad and fresh pasta. Amazing! We promised to stop by its next-door neighbor, Dockside, on our way home for some smoked fish and great pickled herring. I was soooooo disappointed to get there too late on our way home! I consoled myself at Betty’s Pies in Two Harbors. Ah well,….

Final Question of Loss of Appetite: I have always meant to ask about this. On every hiking trip, I lose my appetite. This trip was worse than usual. I can barely stomach looking at food. I have had a few theories over the years. Once, I thought it was the altitude, but this happens at low altitude. Then, maybe it is hard exertion? No, on this trip it hit on day one, when I had done nothing. Another hiker at McCargo had the identical issue. He had to consciously set aside a lot of time for a meal so he could slowly choke down some food. On this trip, I was good with pancakes, chicken bouillon and, strangely, fried SPAM. I was able to choke down some GORP to keep me going. I think I am going to scale back food on future trips and rely on Ramen, Cup-A-Soup and pancakes.
Image[/img]
Does anyone else experience this?

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Tom
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Re: May 2018 McCargo-Daisy-Moskey-Chippewa

Post by Tom » Tue May 22, 2018 7:30 pm

Woohoo! Thanks for a great start to the 2018 Trip Report season! I love reading other's experiences on the Island, and yours is no exception. Glad the weather and trails cooperated. I recall one of my first trips to the Isle in the 90s when the moose population was high, and the repeated need to stop and wait a moose to clear a trail... It really slow down the pace, and after a while we were tired and just wanted to get to camp. We literally became sick and tired of seeing moose... That said, it gives a great time to just set an watch them much closer than most people will ever get in their lifetime. (To be fair, I think it was 15 moose on the trail between Siskiwit and Feldtman one day, with some cow/calf pairs that you can never get between.)

To respond to your question, I too tend to loose appetite on backpacking trips. I've never locked in on the physiological response, but imagine it has something to do with the schedule being way different than my routine - Be it riding a ferry for hours; hiking a good portion of day; etc. There is a component of exertion, of course, but I know there is more at play. It does make one need to be conscious about calories; in the sense that you certainly need to be getting enough energy so you don't totally bonk out on a trail...


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Re: May 2018 McCargo-Daisy-Moskey-Chippewa

Post by Midwest Ed » Tue May 22, 2018 8:59 pm

Great a great trip and report, Jerry. I'm glad you had at least dryer if not warmer weather, but for this time of year you made out quite well. I heartily agree about the trail along the Rock Harbor channel being some of the most rigorous, tiring and a real leg burner, especially the 4 miles to Moskey Basin. I also agree on liking Daisy Farm. It's size turns off many but even when it's packed I like it. There's plenty of opportunity for solitude during any trip, but I am one that enjoys meeting others and sharing experiences, and Daisy Farm is the perfect "gathering place" for this. I hope you'll be able to share some pictures once you get some sorted out. It seams clear the moose sightings will be going up dramatically in the coming years, at least for awhile. Maybe you've discovered the secret I've been looking for to engage in a more successful diet...sleep in my backyard :oops: .
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013

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Re: May 2018 McCargo-Daisy-Moskey-Chippewa

Post by Ingo » Tue May 22, 2018 9:17 pm

Enjoyed your report Jerry!


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Re: May 2018 McCargo-Daisy-Moskey-Chippewa

Post by zims » Wed May 23, 2018 3:13 am

Thank you for the trip report! Arriving myself next Tues. I am planning on cold nights (hence -20 sleeping bag). I am glad you saw moose, and sounds like you enjoyed your hiking. As for appetite, I think lots of us over pack food, we panic at the last minute thinking what if. I always have food left over, I have cut back drastically on snacks, and only bring 1 dehydrated food per day, single serving if I can find it.


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Re: May 2018 McCargo-Daisy-Moskey-Chippewa

Post by torpified » Wed May 23, 2018 7:23 am

Hooray for the season's first trip report, and a splendid one at that! Thanks! I especially appreciate the tips on mine and Chippewa Harbor exploration, since those are two places we're hoping to go in a few weeks.

my moose question: the big bull on the Green Stone Ridge -- was he near the western Daisy Farm junction? And did he have a broken ear? If so, he may be the same guy some of us saw in the same place last year.

appetite: mine totally deserts me when backpacking at altitude. Ramen is about the only think I can choke down. (Fortunately it tends to be in abundant supply.) Even at lower altitudes, it seems like I'm nowhere near as hungry as I ought to be. I have no idea what gives, but schedule disruption ---and maybe atavistic low-grade background panic at being out in the open, where the saber-tooth tigers can get you --seem like reasonable hypotheses.


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Re: May 2018 McCargo-Daisy-Moskey-Chippewa

Post by JerryB » Wed May 23, 2018 7:46 am

I do have a few pictures--a great sunrise--but I have never been able to figure out how to successfully post them.

Glad I am not the only one with the weird appetite issue!
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Re: May 2018 McCargo-Daisy-Moskey-Chippewa

Post by JerryB » Wed May 23, 2018 7:47 am

Don't ask me how I did that!


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Re: May 2018 McCargo-Daisy-Moskey-Chippewa

Post by JerryB » Wed May 23, 2018 7:56 am

beaver sign.jpg
The attachment beaver sign.jpg is no longer available
Not sure this will work. One, a very common sight of beaver activity. The second, a frosty breakfast table (that is my coffee cup) at Chippewa.


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Re: May 2018 McCargo-Daisy-Moskey-Chippewa

Post by JerryB » Wed May 23, 2018 7:56 am

frosty table.jpg


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Re: May 2018 McCargo-Daisy-Moskey-Chippewa

Post by Midwest Ed » Wed May 23, 2018 9:50 am

JerryB wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 7:47 am
Don't ask me how I did that!
What? Take the picture or post it? :lol:

That's a beautiful picture.
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013


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Re: May 2018 McCargo-Daisy-Moskey-Chippewa

Post by Midwest Ed » Wed May 23, 2018 9:52 am

JerryB wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 7:56 am
frosty table.jpg
There should be 2 imprints of melted frost created by 2 frozen butt cheeks. Time for photoshop.
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013


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Re: May 2018 McCargo-Daisy-Moskey-Chippewa

Post by Tortuga » Sat May 26, 2018 3:50 pm

With my own early trip turning into a September trip, it’s reports like this that keep me sane. So thankful for the shared stories!

As for hiker appetite, you’re not alone! I think we have a tendency to drink less water than we need causing various degrees of dehydration. One of the biggest symptoms is loss of appetite. I know on my first backpacking trip I was severely dehydrated and ended up losing 9lbs in 5 days. Very nearly ended up hospitalized. So that’s my two cents.


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Re: May 2018 McCargo-Daisy-Moskey-Chippewa

Post by Midwest Ed » Sat May 26, 2018 4:34 pm

Tortuga wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 3:50 pm
I think we have a tendency to drink less water than we need causing various degrees of dehydration. One of the biggest symptoms is loss of appetite.
You are spot on. Three years ago I had the opportunity to spend a couple of days in Death Valley. It was winter so the temperatures were mild, but the humidity was below 20%. I thought I was making a special effort to drink plenty of extra fluids. When I got back to Vegas I began to get nauseous after a small meal. I thought I was coming down with the flu or something so I went to bed. The following morning I was worse and a friend drove me to an urgent care clinic. After a brief interview, the doctor had me diagnosed and they gave me an IV right there. Perked me right up but it still took a couple of days of rest to fully recover an appetite.
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013

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Re: May 2018 McCargo-Daisy-Moskey-Chippewa

Post by jrwiesz » Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:02 am

Thanks, Jerry for sharing your journey.

The moose encounters sure do help one slow down, don't they? :)

Adding a comment addressing hiker dehydration.

One will, most likely, never come across an expired hiker with an empty food sack and a liter of water in his canteen.

Noo one, most likely, drinks enough of the right fluids on the trail, IMHO.

And yet, we labor on, because

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"And standing on the the crest of the Greenstone Ridge, I suddenly had this desire to retreat north to where I just come, to stay in the backcountry, to spend another day in a place where the only deadline I had was to pitch the tent before dark."
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