TR 8/12 - 8/18 2018 - McCargoe Cove - Todd Harbor - Hatchet Lake - Ishpeming Tower - Malone Bay.

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philranger
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TR 8/12 - 8/18 2018 - McCargoe Cove - Todd Harbor - Hatchet Lake - Ishpeming Tower - Malone Bay.

Post by philranger » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:29 pm

8/12/18 - My daughter Kari and I drove to St. Paul to collect my Niece Lynn. This would be my 9th trip to IR, Kari’s 5th trip and Lynn’s 1st. Travel was care free until we hit some construction on Hwy 35 near Rush City. Traffic was crawling for several miles.

On the way up Hwy 61 along the Northern coast, I was saddened to see the Northern Lights Restaurant was closed in Beaver Bay because of a fire. In 2005, Jerry and I stopped there on the way home and were treated to a most excellent dining experience.

We pulled into Grand Marais with the intentions of eating at the Angry Trout. It was pretty busy for a Sunday and we were told it would be a 45 - 60 minute wait. Ah, No. So we noticed the Voyageur Brewing Company across the street. Their spacious, multi-decked outdoor seating was wonderful. We each order drinks and food. Absolutely delicious! Goodbye Angry Trout.

Heading north to Grand Portage we checked into the Lodge for the night. The remodel is complete and they have created a wonderful facility. The evening was spent packing our backpacks and then enjoying the last soft night’s sleep until Friday.

8/13/18 - We were up early to finish up packing before heading to the the Hat Point Marina. We arrived early and headed to the dock. Lot’s of folks preparing to make the Voyage over on the VII. From the looks of things, there are just as many people going to the lodge as there are campers, unless campers are now using suitcases.

Captain Jack said there was 45 going over. The ride over started in fog, but was pleasantly smooth. By the time we got to IR, the fog was gone. I always get excited when we enter the North Passage and start heading towards Windigo. Ranger Valerie is awaiting our arrival and she remembers me. I volunteer Lynn for a card during the L-N-T presentation. Permit secured, we are back on the VII and headed for McCargoe Cove.

We arrive at McCargoe Cove on schedule and grab our backpacks and head up to a shelter to change into our hiking gear. It’s almost 1 pm and it’s very warm. I am not looking forward to this 6.6 mile hike to Todd Harbor. Along the way we run into a Scout group from Milton, WI (just south of Madison) and a pair of hikers named Dustin and David. They point out 2 moose swimming down below in Otter Lake. Our first moose sightings. Dustin is hiking barefoot! WOW!

During a pack off break, we hear a twig snap and observe 2 female moose within 20 feet. They aren’t startled by our presence and continue to browse. Moose number 3 and 4.

We finally pull into Todd Harbor. I am spent and rely on the girls to get dinner ready. Afterwards I head down to the water for a refreshing dip. Sufficiently cooled down, I dress and head back to the campsite. Unfortunately, the cooling effects of the dip disappear because of the heat and humidity. Sleep was difficult because it was just too warm. Happily, the mosquitoes aren’t too bad.

8/14/18 - We are scheduled to camp at Hatchet Lake tonight. Before heading out, I convince the girls to go with me to look for the waterfall. We find the Mine surrounded by a wooden fence, but can’t hear or see any waterfall. Our early start enables us to get a jump on the heat. We arrive at Hatchet Lake no worse for wear. I am convinced by my daughter to push on to the Ishpeming tower, which would add on another 4.2 miles, but eliminate hiking 11.2 the next day.

We decide to pull a Philmont Scout Ranch trick and cook a supper for lunch and eat a non cook lunch for supper. With bellies and water bottles full, we head up that ass kicking trail to the Greenstone. Once on the Greenstone, we push westward to Ishpeming, arriving to find the tower pretty much obscured by vegetation. A considerable difference from my first visit here in 2005 when the area around the tower was fairly bare.

We pitch our tents under the tower and are pleased with our decision to push on. Tomorrow’s hike to Malone Bay looks more manageable for this old guy. During the night, I get up to observe the night sky. I always make a point to get up and check the sky for meteors and the Northern Lights. There isn’t much open sky to observe anything, except Cassiopeia and Perseus. I’m thrilled to see stars and that it’s not raining . . . like they predicted several days earlier.

8/15/18 - Up early again and packed up before we run into a couple who stop at the Tower for a break. We sheepishly confide that we spent the night here last night and not at Hatchet Lake. We say our goodbyes and head off to Malone Bay. The hike starts off going up and down a few ridges before heading east and skirting Siskiwit Lake. The trail is overgrown and not maintained. There are many downed birch trees and the trail is overgrown with vegetation. Thankfully, the trail is mostly in canopy and not under the sun. Along the way, we encounter a beaver dam. When we checked in at Windigo, they informed us to just walk over it and find the trail on the other side. The low total of wolves have allowed the beavers and the moose population to explode.

For only a “7 mile” hike, we are beat up. The overgrowth slices up our shins and forearms. We have to be extra careful to watch our footings to avoid obscured roots and rocks. We arrive at Malone Bay and grab a shelter. The view out over the water is just incredible. From the shore, we can see the lighthouse on Menagerie Island. The wind is blowing into the shelter, but dissipates as the sun sets.

During the night, I get up to check for meteors and the NL. I saw one small shooting star, but I am in awe of the display. The sky is full of stars and the Milky Way is clear. My friend Kurt is an amateur astronomer and once told me if you can find Delphinus the Dolphin, you have great eyesight. I ponder my existence in this universe. If each one of those stars in a sun with planets revolving around it, there has to be others out there. During the night, I grab for my knit cap. It is turning out to be a chilly evening.

8/16/18 - We try to sleep in, but the sun is making it hard. I get up and leave the girls sleeping. I head to the shore and just watch the waves splash onto the rocks. I see some exposed erosion fabric and move some heavy rocks to recover it. There are three piles of cairns on a rock ledge and I decide to add one too.

I head back to the shelter and grab the stove to heat up some water for coffee. The girls finally wake up. We were instructed to be at the dock by 9:30 for extraction by the VII. After a leisurely breakfast and pack up, we head for the dock. I entered the public building and read the captions under the photos and marvel at the collection of bones displayed here.

The VII is on time and picks us up, but we are delayed because they need to secure 4 sea kayaks. The voyage over to Windigo goes by and I chat with the leaders from two separate Scout groups, including the leaders from the group we saw on the Minong. I also chat with two young men about the importance of Scouting and finishing up their Eagle Scout rank. Both are Life Scouts and have impressive service projects in the works.

We arrive in Windigo and grab our backpacks and just take them to the pavilion. We head up to the store for a packaged ham and cheese sandwich and a $1.99 Keweenaw Brewing Widow Maker and Pick Axe. Seriously, why does this store only charge $1.99? Clearly they could charge $6 - $8 and people would still jump at the chance to drink cold beer. Oh, and if you bring the can back (uncrushed) you get your dime deposit back. LOL.

We head out to the shelters and find most are empty. Probably most of the folks got on the VII and headed home. The afternoon is spent leisurely relaxing and playing a new card game called “Sushi Dough”. As the sun starts to set, we hear water splashing and get a chance to observe a young male feeding on water plants. The show goes on for an hour or more. These animals are just fascinating to me. Moose #5.

During the night, I get up but notice the sky is partly cloudy. The haze and vegetation prevents the same experience I had the night before.

8/17/18 - We are jostled out of our sleep by the sound of someone falling. It reverberates throughout the small wooden shelter. At first, I thought maybe Kari or Lynn tripped and fell down, but then I hear a splash in the creek in front of our shelter. I get up to observe a large bull moose feeding. Moose #6. He must have caught the back corner of the roof as he passed by the shelter. I tell Kari and Lynn it would have been cool if we had been sitting at the picnic table as he came around the corner. They both disagree with my enthusiasm. Later two more moose appear in the Creek, Moose #7 & 8.

My goal is to pack up and take the packs to the pavilion and go on the Feldtmann Trail to the Grace Harbor Lookout. We drop our packs and head up to shop for souvenirs at the store and Ranger office. While sitting on the bench outside the Ranger office, the girls are not thrilled with hiking to the Lookout. While debating the trip, Ranger Bridget appears and gathers a group of day trippers to take on the mile long hike through the nature area. The girls are OK with this. Bridget is friendly and informative and does a good job keeping everyone interested and engaged.

We end the hike back at the pavilion and we decide to eat lunch using the leftover food we have. After lunch, Bridget appears again to begin a presentation on the health of moose by the observation of their bones. She again keeps the group interested and I find the information and her presentation very interesting.

I thanked her and we took our packs to the awaiting Sea Hunter. I am greeted with the friendly face of Captain Ben Silence. He will take us home. By 2 pm. we are aboard and heading out for home. I am feeling pensive as another Isle Royale trip is coming to an end. We head out to the Rock of Ages lighthouse before heading back to Grand Portage. Along the way, I strike up a conversation with a gentleman named Jefferson. He states he is an actor and has performed in many theater presentations and has appeared in Momma Mia and Law and Order. We chat about our trips and our other travels. He is gracious and fascinating.

We arrive back at the Hat Point Marina and Kari and Lynn help form the human chain to unload the backpacks. Once they are all off, we grab ours and head up to the car. I take the parking fee envelope to the marina office and Captain Don informs me that the parking was free because no one from the Tribe showed up to collect the fees.

We say our goodbyes and head over to the Trading Post for some caffeine for the road. The drive south along Hwy 61 is smooth with little traffic. Our destination tonight is the Best Western - Bridgeview in Superior, WI. I arrive and discover I am the “Guest of the Day” and receive a room upgrade and a mug.

After showers, we headed over to the Hammond Steak House. Sorry Fonixmunkee. Tradition won out over adventure, so I’ll have to try the Thirsty Pagan on my next trip through the area.
I had the steak and scallops with hash browns and a salad. Absolutely delicious. We head back to the hotel with full bellies. Sleep comes quickly as I melt into the soft bed.

8/18/18 - Up early to eat the breakfast buffet by the pool. We head out and south on I-35 heading towards the Twin Cities. Traffic is fairly light. When we approach the construction area around Rush City, the South bound lanes continue to flow freely. Not the same story for the poor souls in the North bound lane. They are backed up for miles.

A quick lunch at Old Chicago in St Paul, we deliver Lynn to her parents and we are back on the road heading home to Madison. Traffic is heavy for a weekend, but we make it home by 5.

Well, another Isle Royale trip is in the books. This trip was special for many reasons. I got to go backpacking with my daughter Kari again (our fifth trip together) and expose another person, my niece Lynn to the beauty of the island. I got to chat with Ranger Valerie, Captains Ben, Jack and Don along with so many other interesting backpackers. The official moose count was 8.

Hiking the Hatchet Lake trail from the Minong and the Ishpeming Trail to Malone Bay finish a goal that has taken me 9 trips to complete. I can now claim, I have hiked on every major trail on the island. With that, I feel this might be the last backpacking trip for me. 2 - 5 miles is OK, but those 6+ trips are getting hard. Maybe I’ll take up canoeing.


Here are the photos: http://s108.photobucket.com/user/islero ... ale%202018
Isle Royale Trips: 2005-RH to Windigo via Greenstone. 2006-McCargoe Cove to Chippewa Harbor. 2007-RH to Daisy Farm and back. 2008-Feltmann loop. 2009-McCargoe Cove to Chippewa Harbor. 2013-Minong Ridge. 2014-Windigo + Huginnin Cove. 2015-Lookout Louise to LC to DF to MB. 2018-McCargoe to Todd to HL to Malone Bay.


Donk_67
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Re: TR 8/12 - 8/18 2018 - McCargoe Cove - Todd Harbor - Hatchet Lake - Ishpeming Tower - Malone Bay.

Post by Donk_67 » Wed Aug 22, 2018 3:43 pm

Sounds like it was a great trip. Barefoot backpacking...wow! No thanks. Seems I need a few more trips to catch up to your number. Hopefully I’ll have #4 and 5 under my boots next year.

Thanks for sharing.


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Tom
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Re: TR 8/12 - 8/18 2018 - McCargoe Cove - Todd Harbor - Hatchet Lake - Ishpeming Tower - Malone Bay.

Post by Tom » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:36 pm

Sounds like a great trip! Bummer the elusive falls at Todd remain, well, elusive.

I also had my first-but not last stop at Voyageur Brewing this summer. It's a great addition to Marais. I'm sure I'll be going back.
philranger wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:29 pm
Maybe I’ll take up canoeing.
If you haven't paddled IR, you must. Not unlike where you are at, after I had hiked all the trails the island had to offer, I decided I was ready to discover it by water. (And, well, hike those portages, too.) The inland water route is a great first trip by paddle. It's fun to see a different view of the camps; and, as my brother-in-law so eloquently stated as we were gently and effortlessly sliding across the water with packs setting in the hull, "Yeah, I could get used to this."
While I hope I have more miles on the trail in me, it seems we've been alternating a paddle and hike for our last several trips. I recommend it.


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Re: TR 8/12 - 8/18 2018 - McCargoe Cove - Todd Harbor - Hatchet Lake - Ishpeming Tower - Malone Bay.

Post by Midwest Ed » Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:19 pm

Tom wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:36 pm
If you haven't paddled IR, you must.
I wholeheartedly concur with Tom. I loved the Island from the beginning but my canoe trip was over the top. My only regret is that I never found a regular rowing partner.

Sounds like you had a great and successful most recent trip.
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013


torpified
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Re: TR 8/12 - 8/18 2018 - McCargoe Cove - Todd Harbor - Hatchet Lake - Ishpeming Tower - Malone Bay.

Post by torpified » Fri Aug 24, 2018 1:01 am

Thanks for the awesome trip and report, and congratulations on the completing the trail circuit and the many moose encounters! (I've been trying to imagine what it would be like to have a moose brush up against your shelter when your shelter is a tent.)

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Re: TR 8/12 - 8/18 2018 - McCargoe Cove - Todd Harbor - Hatchet Lake - Ishpeming Tower - Malone Bay.

Post by MikeT » Sun Aug 26, 2018 4:09 pm

Thanks for the report!
We made the switch many years ago due to my Dad getting too old to backpack and I certainly do not regret a single moment. It gave me a much wider appreciation of the island and Lake Superior.
Mike T.
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philranger
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Re: TR 8/12 - 8/18 2018 - McCargoe Cove - Todd Harbor - Hatchet Lake - Ishpeming Tower - Malone Bay.

Post by philranger » Fri Aug 31, 2018 8:25 pm

That’s it. My next trip will be via water.
I still need to try the Ranger and a plane ride.
Sounds like my next trip is taking shape.
Isle Royale Trips: 2005-RH to Windigo via Greenstone. 2006-McCargoe Cove to Chippewa Harbor. 2007-RH to Daisy Farm and back. 2008-Feltmann loop. 2009-McCargoe Cove to Chippewa Harbor. 2013-Minong Ridge. 2014-Windigo + Huginnin Cove. 2015-Lookout Louise to LC to DF to MB. 2018-McCargoe to Todd to HL to Malone Bay.

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