TR: 28/5/18 - 1/6/18: LC-WCB-LR-MB

Reports or links to reports on trips.

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MattC
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TR: 28/5/18 - 1/6/18: LC-WCB-LR-MB

Post by MattC » Sat Jun 02, 2018 1:44 pm

We left Copper Harbor for the Queen on a mild, foggy morning. The ride to IR was smooth while the fog didnt break until we were roughly 20 miles outside of the park and her silhouette finally emerged. It would be my second time there but a first for my brother and we started to get anxious for what waited for us. As the boat docked, we could finally feel the warmth of the island that would last well into our first night there. The LNT talk went fine, just like last time and I jumped to second in line to obtain our permits.

We took the Tobin Harbor trail towards Lane Cove. Ive read multiple reports of how amazing it is, which proved right. Lane Cove was closed my last visit in 14 due to a new pit toilet being installed. We met Kevin and Steve at the junction before heading down there and shared some stories. Snapped a few pics, wetted our whistles and off we went. I had read the trail is tough and boy were they not lying. Tough down hill with multiple switch-backs and janky board walks but we would see and hear most of the Isle's fauna. Snakes, turtles, beaver and saw a moose's rear end and abour a 100 yards later we were grunted at to let us know we were too close but we never saw that particular moose. At dusk, the loons started to really chirp up and strongly believe we heard one of IR remaining 2 wolves howl. The weather was absolutely perfect and pretty much zero bugs. We tried shore fishing mostly knowing we wouldnt catch anything but decided to cast out anyways for practice as my brother and I are completely new to fishing. We caught snags! The cove was warm enough to get waist deep and un-snag our spoons. We made some dinner and set up the go-pro for a sunset with light that lasted well to midnight. This would be our best night, weather and bug wise. I slept like a rock and was even hot as my 20° bag seemed too much but as we kept going, that would change; fast.

We left campsite #2 up the treacherous, dead-end Lane Cove trail towards West Chicken Bone. 15 miles of overcast and huge gusts of wind. Stopped at Mt. Franklin and then 2Ojibway Tower for lunch. The air was still mostly mild but had a hint of chilly air. Lunch and pictures at Ojibway and we were off again, constantly switching from shirt to jacket to regulate our core temps. Still, no bugs. That would change eventually. Up and down consistently along the Greenstone. We stopped at several over-looks to meter our distance from WCB and it almost seemed to get farther away. What a ball buster that trail was and I developed my first 2 blisters from IR. After 8 hours and a little confusion on the trail, we finally made it to West Chicken Bone and the grounds had No Vacancy after we arrived. We met Aaron and Phil? (Edit:Jeff) who were portaging along the inlands and served us fresh fried walleye. I could feel the protein surging through my body. Very cool dudes and gave us some tips, like that our spoons were too small. Our camp wasnt on water so we had to walk a bit to the communal spot. Chris caught the first fish and it was a beautiful perch. Red Devil spoon enticed it! We let it go and we weren't prepared for cleaning it at that point. Didnt catch anything but snags from there and lost two spoons. Aaron and Jeff were going to Lake Ritchie where they were heading in a few days and had nothing but great things to say about the Northern fishing there and we were stoked to hear that as we came prepared for pike fishing.

As the temps cooled with the sun dropping, bugs finally emerged and seemed interested in us but nothing too crazy. I recieved my one and only mosquito bite there. It was mostly biting black flies there. After sun set, i got into my tent and bag, totally whooped from the days hike to be woken up by wind I can only describe as 10 steam engines hurtling over the ridge. It was strong for roughly 30 minutes before it calmed down and we got some quality sleep.

The next morning, we packed up and headed towards Lake Ritchie where we met some sloppy, soggy trails but nothing compared to later in our trip. Saw old wolf scat that was confirmed by NPS. It was an easy 3 mile hike in and we arrived early to set up camp and fish. It was hot and bugs were not present and I caught a perch on my first cast. Then two more, which wouldve made a nice meal but decided to let them go as it was around 1-2pm, sunny and figured we had plenty of time towards dinner for some more with a nice northern. The island had different plans. It quickly changed from sunny to stormy with only a couple lulls in between where we could fish. My brother caught a nice 18" northern but after landing it, it quickly flicked off the hook and went back into the drink. It turned cold and the rain picked up as we huddled around the stove for a shitty Mountain House meal. Several hours later, the rain lulled again and decided to throw a hook with a neon green and yellow worms on it and caught a healthy 30" northern on my 3rd cast. We released it because the sky was so dark, we didnt think there was enough time to clean him up and it proved right as it started down pouring and would sustain until very early the next morning. I took a tent pad that was downhill and took on some water inside my tent. Brother was mostly dry but we probably had about 30 feet distance and could barely communicate over the storm. This would be the last time I was 100% dry for my trip.

We woke to a sloppy, muddy mess nearly everything was saturated from the nights rain. The temps were cool and the sun shined just long enough for us to make it to Moskey Basin. I wanted to push to Three Mile to set us up nicely for the next morning and board the Queen but another front was coming in. A ranger relayed a small weather report to us while looking for a boy who left his buddy after an argument. He ended up OK but him and his buddy sat next to us on the boat ride back. Erie silence between them.

Moskey Basin was beautiful. Warm with abour an hour or two of sun then became cloudy and rained. I wasnt able to dry anything out completely, including my boots. I was still warm, thanfully, so we did a small, quiet, dusk hike to try and see the cow and calf that apparently was directly behind our shelter. Luckily, our portaging neighbors caught them on video. They said the calf was frolicking around. Boy, I really wish I saw that. The neighbors were fishing as well and were heading to intermediate lake and wood lake the next couple days. Showed us photos of some monster steelhead, northern and moskey they caught. We were jealous! Maybe next time we'll be able to clean one to fry. We stayed ay #2 at Moskey and it was gorgeous. Right on the water and we watched ducks snack on small fish for hours. We cooked most of our food and had IR's restaurant in mind the whole 11 miles back from Moskey the morning we were to leave. Unfortunately, the restaurant doesnt officially open until the 5th. Cold beer and a couple cigarettes would be our lunch before boarding the Queen. The Rock Harbor trail was a complete soggy mess. My feet were already soaked from Ritchie and along with the cool, over cast weather, it didnt do me any favors. You couldnt make it 100yds just about without running into a soggy/sloggy trail filled with craggy rocks and ruts. You really see the impact of so much foot traffic. The "March to Daisy Farm" is apparent. Only down fall to the isle in my opinion. I ended up wet and cold but completely happy for my trip to that beautiful archipelago.
Last edited by MattC on Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.


ekimknife
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Re: TR: 28/5/18 - 1/6/18

Post by ekimknife » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:43 am

We probably crossed paths at some point. That wind at night was an intense thing to wake up to!


torpified
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Re: TR: 28/5/18 - 1/6/18

Post by torpified » Mon Jun 04, 2018 6:22 am

thanks for the report! Is there any hiker slang that names that point in a trip that's the last time your feet will be dry?


Topic author
MattC
LNT Expert
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 6:00 pm
Isle Royale Visits: 1
Location: Nashville, TN

Re: TR: 28/5/18 - 1/6/18

Post by MattC » Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:21 am

ekimknife wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:43 am
We probably crossed paths at some point. That wind at night was an intense thing to wake up to!
Very possible. If you saw two goofy looking guys, that was us! :lol:


Topic author
MattC
LNT Expert
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 6:00 pm
Isle Royale Visits: 1
Location: Nashville, TN

Re: TR: 28/5/18 - 1/6/18

Post by MattC » Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:28 am

torpified wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 6:22 am
thanks for the report! Is there any hiker slang that names that point in a trip that's the last time your feet will be dry?
Perhaps for IR it could be "The Final Countdown" (queue the song) and keep trekking! :shock:

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