Scoutdad & Scoutkid- 2002

Reports or links to reports on trips.

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Scoutdad & Scoutkid- 2002

Post by ScoutDad » Sun Apr 05, 2009 8:55 pm

This is a report of the first trip my 11 year old son and I took in 2002
July 6 - July 10, 2002

Friday July 5th 2002
Arrived at Copper Harbor and stayed overnight at Lake Fanny Hooe Lodge/Hotel and had dinner at the Tamarack Restaurant-chopped steak and Scoutkid had his standard; chicken strips and fries. We scouted out the dock location as well for our 8 AM Saturday departure.

Saturday July 6th 2002
Boarded the Queen, and had a smooth ride to the island...only regret was forgetting to bring the cards and yahtzee dice...we'll remember for the return trip. Arrived at the island under beautiful skies and 72 degrees (eat your heart out 90 degree Cincinnati!), completed our permit, and attended orientation given by Ranger Suzanne. After a quick snack from the store (with a 22% surcharge) we were off for Lane Cove via the Tobin Harbor Trail. The views of the harbor were magnificent, including the many loons we saw. For a 41 year old guy and his 11 year old son, we were making good time...though Scoutkid was moving a little slower than I had in mind. I realized that a change to our itinerary would likely be made; I wanted this first trip to be one he remembered with fondness, not recalled as a grueling march! The thunder I kept hearing as we hiked made me question the positive forecast we had heard at the ranger station, but we were prepared if it turned ugly. After switching over to the Mt. Franklin Trail, we passed a beaver dam/pond, and heard what we were sure was a moose feeding, though as much as we manuevered, we were unable to spot him through the foilage. I hoped that this would not be our sole encounter while on the island. Reaching the top of the trail, crossing over the Greenstone was a relief to Scoutkid as I told him it was downhill from here to Lane Cove...and downhill it was... It was quite steep, making me watch my step, and making me thankful we had both brought our scout staffs(now recuperating in our garage, awaiting needed repairs to the worn rubber tips). We arrived at Lane Cove and finding two campsites already taken, pitched out tent in site#2...and after filtering water and a good meal, were treated to a beautiful sunset, and the sound of loons in the cove. We went to bed and slept soundly, though I awoke at 2 AM to the sound of rain on the tent, but it stopped after only 5 minutes or so.

Sunday July 7th 2002
Woke up to a cool sunny day, the tent was a little damp but we shook it out and packed it up. After breakfast we were off to our next camp, Moskey Basin, though based on Scoutkid's pace the day before, I anticipated camping at Daisy Farm instead. (It was here where I made a mistake I won't make again... We each carried 2-1L nalgene bottles. We filled those, and I debated filling the 2L platypus bottle I carried in my backpack as a spare. I chose not to, and sacrificed peace of mind because of the hot, dry conditions we found on the Greenstone from Mt. Franklin to Mt. Ojibway... While we ran out of water only a 1/2 mile from Daisy Farm, it caused this Dad a little concern...I won't make that mistake next time). While hiking up the Lane Cove Trail, we met a lady conducting a bird study; after chatting, she mentioned her husband does a wolf study on the island, at which time I said she must be Mrs. Rolf Peterson! She was suprised that I knew a little about her husband's study. She wished Scoutkid well on his quest for his backpacking merit badge, and we were on our way to the Greenstone. We met a couple we had met on the IR Queen at Mt. Franklin who took a picture of us with the skyline in the background, and continued on towards the tower at Mt. Ojibway. As I said previously, the heat took a toll on Scoutkid, and we made brief pauses in the shade to cool off. The shade of the lookout tower made a nice rest stop before heading down to Daisy Farm. It was on the Mt. Ojibway Trail at Tobin Creek where my moose-free trip worries were cast aside. There in the creek was a cow feeding in the water, content to stand there as I snapped a few pictures. We were lucky in getting one of the last shelters at Daisy Farm, then immediately filled our nalgene bottles with cool Superior water. Though there were warning signs posted in our shelter about Ransom the fox, we never ran into him.
We met members of a scout troop from Indiana, and I got a few tips from the leaders about group trips. We slept well in the shelter, mosquito free and with a cool breeze off the lake, though I decided that at 41, I need more than a 1" thermarest pad for my aching bones! Either I need to sacrifice the lightweight pad for the few extra ounces of a thicker pad, or become adept at swiping sleeping scoutkid's 3/4 pad and doubling up!

Monday July 8th 2002:
Woke up to another perfect day, the weather so far scores a 100%! We decided to move to 3 Mile camp today, leaving the balance of the day for exploring around the camp, and foregoing the longer trip I had originally planned. Leaving my son with pleasant memories this first trip now seems more imporant that getting the miles under our belts. NEXT time we'll challenge the trails a bit more as IR veterans. We arrived at Three Mile in short order, and found shelter #10 vacant. Right on the shore, across from the smaller western dock, it gave us a fantastic view of the lake. Our immediate neighbors were a dad and his son, doing the same thing we were... a father & son island experience. Our kids played together for the rest of the day. His dad told me that when they arrived at 3 mile around 1 PM, they saw a lone wolf cross the trail, pause and look at them, and move on towards the lake! I was hoping only to HEAR a wolf, and they were lucky enough to actually see one! After dinner, Scoutkid made friends with members of the trail crew staying at the group campsite. He has now decided that when he's older he wants to be...what else?... part of an IR trail crew!

Tuesday July 9, 2002:
6:30 AM I wake up to the sound of something moving outside of the shelter. I open my eyes and grab the camera just in time to see a moose nose round the corner of the shelter about 2 feet from me! A cow and her male calf move into the plants right in front of our shelter, and stay there while I slowly swing open the shelter door and take about 5 photos. Even though only about 10 feet away, the cow never shows concern at me taking flash pictures! The moose stayed in front of our shelter for almost 5 minutes. I woke up Scoutkid, who of course looked up for 5 seconds, said "wow", then fell back to sleep. This was an unexpected, welcome close encounter! Later that morning I got a lesson about the caliber of person that visits IR.... I had used the latrine across from our shelter, and hung my watch on the nail on the wall. I realized 45 minutes later that I forgot it, and went back to hopefully retreive it. I looked at the nail when it had hung, and the watch was gone. But, glancing towards the comode lid, I saw that a thoughtful hiker had placed it there in view to insure that I would find it! Anywhere else I may have opened that latrine door to find my watch gone....but here on Isle Royale I was surrounded by people that hold reverence for the island, and each other. Thanks you kind stranger, whoever you are! After breakfast, we packed up and headed to Rock Harbor to stay the night and catch the boat in the morning. We paused at Suzy's Cave to explore for a few minutes, and then continued on. We arrived at Rock Harbor Campground just as we heard the IR Queen sound it's horn at 12:30, announcing it's arrival at Snug Harbor.
We found an open shelter, then headed to the store to buy 2 shower tokens. It's amazing how much dirt you can wash off in 5 minutes! I was a kind and caring father, letting Scoutkid shower first, just to make sure the water was good and hot when I took mine. I also broke down and bought a cell-pay phone calling card to call home and let them know all was well (see Cell phone note below). The phone worked fine, but after the surcharge, a 10 minute card cost almost $20.00 ! Dinner at the snack bar was a nice change from rice and pasta, and then we attended an 8:30 program in the auditorium on Ojibwa culture...very interesting! We went to bed in the shelter, and were thrilled at around 10:30 to hear the wolves howling...I never would have imagined we'd hear them from the Rock Harbor campground.

Wednesday July 10 2002:
We spent the morning pack free...hiking to Scoville Point, and enjoying our last day on the Island. At 2:30 we loaded our gear and left the island on the Queen, and compared notes with the passengers we had previously sailed with on Saturday. Another smooth, calm crossing brought us back to Copper Harbor, where the ship was welcomed back to the harbor by the waitresses and waiters of the Harbor Haus Restaurant doing a dance on their patio. A nice dinner at the Harbor House, then back the the Fanny Hooe Lodge for a good nights sleep in a bed, then sadly back home...

The weather was perfect, we saw our moose, heard our wolves, made some friends, it was everything we had hoped it would be, and we will positively be back!

Cell Phone- I had packed my verizon cell phone to make a call to Scoutmom from the Greenstone, telling her all was well. Some posts to the board had said you could receive a signal on IR, while other posts said the phones were useless. While I did receive a strong signal, all attempts to complete a call resulted in a recorded message from Thunder Bay Cellular Service, directing me to call their business office M-F for assistance. Whether I could have called them and paid for a call with a credit card I don't know, but I doubt it's worth bringing the phone next time. I even tried dialing "O", and still got the recording. We ended up using the pay cellphone at the store to check in with home.

Mosquitos- I had read about the effectiveness of Ultrathon insect repellent by 3M, it was rated highly by consumer reports. We used that, and had treated our clothes with Pemethrin repellent spray from Sawyer Products. I have to say, that though the insects were numerous and persistent in the places we hikes & camped, I didn't receive a single bite the entire trip!

Water Treatment- I met several hikers complaining of the silt they were picking up with their filters/purifiers. My Sweetwater had a "siltstopper" filter inline, which prevented any clogging. Without a silt filter, using a bandana or coffee filter to filter the silt or filtering from another container after allowing the silt to settle is a good idea.
My profession is to always find God in nature.
- Henry David Thoreau -

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Re: Scoutdad & Scoutkid- 2002

Post by Backpacker534 » Mon Apr 06, 2009 12:11 pm

ScoutDad, welcome to the forums! It sounds like you and your son had a very enjoyable time on the island. Hopefully, he liked it enough to want to return there with you again sometime.

I've been to the island several times and cell phone use was hit and miss. There were a few times when I had a couple "bars" and was actually able to complete a phone call home, and others when the signal just wouldn't reach out far enough.

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