Isle Royale trip 2009

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philranger
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Isle Royale trip 2009

Post by philranger » Tue Sep 15, 2009 6:28 pm

Friday September 4, 2009

The journey begins as we drove northward towards Grand Portage. It was getting late and we decided to spend the evening in Grand Marias and had a tasty meal and beer at the Angry Trout. I’ve heard so much about this place on this forum site, we just had to check it out. We both had the fish and chips and it was pretty good. We headed back to the motel and packed up the backpacks.

Saturday September 5, 2009

We were all showered and on the road by 6:45. I vaguely remember that the Voyageur II was scheduled to leave at 7:30 a.m. so it was pedal to the metal. We got to Grand Portage by 7:15, but after securing the vehicle we got to the boat at 7:30 and got the evil eye from Captain Mike.

I counted at least 34 other passengers heading to the island. Once we get out into lake Superior, I notice that the water is pretty calm, but there is fog obscuring our view of the island. On the trip over, I met Trekker Jeff (from the IR forums) and his wife. After an uneventful trip over, Ranger Amy does the LNT talk on the dock. She mentions there are only 24 wolves on the island. As soon as she releases us, I head up to the Ranger Station for the permit.

We load back up for the trip up to McCargoe Cove. The fog is still with us, but we can at least make out the shoreline. McCargoe Cove is as beautiful as I remember it. We land and grab our packs and head up the hill to find a shelter. While we were unpacking, it was discovered that my backpacking friend Jerry, forgot to pack any Nalgeens. I have two, so I guess we are doing the trip with two.

We gather some firewood for the campfire pit and I discovered a moose antler in the undergrowth. I bring it back over and place it in front of the shelter door. I decided to go for a swim and meet Emily and Gabe from the Twin Cities. Gabe said the water was “bracingly cold” and he was right. I vowed I would take a swim at each camp during this trek.

Last time I was here at McCargoe, I vowed I would bring items to make s’mores and I did. We started a fire around 7:45 but only Emily and Gabe come down. We could hear an owl up on the hill somewhere. We chatted a bit, but by 9, we put out the fire and headed home.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

We got up and ate breakfast and then headed over to the Minong Mines for a visit. There are still lots of thimbleberries scattered along the trail. We discovered 3 entrances to the mines and do some exploring before heading back to McCargoe. We have a short hike over to W. Chickenbone today, so it’s OK that we don’t get an early start.

We pull into WCB and discover we are the first and only folks here. We select site #6, the one closest to the Greenstone and located right on the lake. What a beautiful site. While setting up our camp, we were visited by a Park Ranger. This is the 2nd time in 5 visits that this has happened. We try our hand at fishing, but get no bites. The two snagged lures give me reason to go for a swim. The water is much warmer than yesterday’s McCargoe dip.

We meet two women who are also from the Madison area. One claims to be the ex-wife of one of the teachers I knew from my High School. What a small world. Jerry decides to head up to the Greenstone for some sunset pictures. I said “good luck” knowing that the 1/4 mile hike up is almost vertical and I don’t feel like doing that twice on this trip.

Jerry returns, but said the trees obscured his view of the sunset. He also forgot how steep the climb out of WCB was. Darkness falls and we head in to get away from the mosquitoes.

Monday, September 7th.

Labor Day features our longest planned hike. 6.4 miles from WCB to Moskey Basin. We meet several groups on the trail between Lake Richie and the Greenstone. We reach Lake Richie by 10 and push on towards Moskey basin. Upon our arrival, we discover we are the first to arrive and take shelter #2. The ladies we met last night come in behind us and grab shelter #1. Last time I was here at Moskey Basin, I met Rolf and Candy Peterson.

It was a pretty warm day and we spent part of the afternoon fishing and swimming. We also got quite the eye full, as 2 couples move into shelter #4. One of the women is wearing a very skimpy red bikini and is putting on quite a show. Unfortunately, she is rather loud and has a high voice reminiscent of SNL’s Victoria Jackson. I met a guy named Dave from Chicago who is solo hiking Isle Royale. He states he wanted to come here 16 years ago, but a family got in the way. He is working on visiting every National Park.

I thought the wind and the waves would make a nice symphony tonight, but everything dies down and darkness envelopes the camp by 8.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The moon comes up and illuminates the world so brightly, I thought daybreak was near. I checked my watch and discovered it was 3:33. Today we are planning on back tracking to Lake Richie, so we aren’t really in a hurry to get going. We try some fishing, but get nothing. There is a pack of young children running through the campsite this morning. I counted 5 boys and 3 girls and they are clueless about noise and courteous behavior.

By 10:40, we are packed up and ready to head out. It was a warm day again and we covered the 2 miles in a little over an hour. We met a couple portaging the trail and they don’t look like they are having fun. We pull in and grab site #4 and are pleased it was pretty shady. Spent the afternoon fishing, swimming, reading and napping. Jerry catches the first fish of the trip, but let it go. Around 6:30, we hear a loud chatter coming from the lake. It’s the family with the 5 boys and 3 girls canoeing towards the Lake Richie canoe site. Those parents are very brave.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

We are up early and try our hand at fishing again. I snag one and get it to shore, only to have the line break. The Pike is about 18 – 20 inches long and rests in the water some 3 feet off the shore. Jerry takes his rod and hooks his lure onto my lure and successfully brings the fish back to shore. Just as we were about to land it again, it breaks the line, lands in the water and takes off. So if anyone catches a Pike in Lake Richie with 2 lures in it’s mouth, they’re mine.

We are packed up and heading to Chippewa Harbor by 9 a.m. We only encounter a solo hiker coming from CH. He informs us all the shelters are full of squatters. We arrive in CH by 11:45 and find the solo hiker was correct. All the shelters are full, so we head back to the tent sites. There is a couple from Michigan in the first site, so we grab the next one. Our site doesn’t have a picnic table, but we make due. The group site is soon occupied by a gang of 6 men, who are using rowboats. Jerry and I hike over to the old “schoolhouse”. Along the way, I find and collect a piece of a shoe, an old tin can and a piece of china with green printing. I add my contributions to the collection and we head out farther towards the harbor opening. The water looks beautiful today.

We were talking to Jim and Sue from Lansing, MI near the dock when we got invited up to one of the shelters. We soon discover they are occupied by 5 elderly women who have returned to Isle Royale after 12 years. They are celebrating the retirement of one of their members. They share some homemade cookies and chocolates with us. It’s really dark as we stumble back to our campsite and call it an evening.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The six guys in the group site wake me up with their noise. I checked the watch and it reads 5:06. By 5:40, it’s quiet again and they are gone. When we finally get up, one of the first thing we do is go over to the group site and commandeer a picnic table and bring it back to the tent site. We say goodbye to Jim and Sue and continue packing. We are aware the Voyageur II should be arriving around 9. Around 8:40, we heard the distinct noise of a boat motor and go into a panic as we continue to pack. Jerry heads to the pier and discovers it’s only a Park Service boat.

We take our stuff to the pier and await the arrival of the VII. The five elderly woman are there also wanting to say “hi” to Mike and assure him they are “OK”. When the VII docks, I noticed there are 2 bicycles attached to the top. About 5 people get off. One guy brought a whole mess of stuff. He obviously is not backpacking anywhere.

Once underway, I get the same bittersweet feeling I get at the end of each trip. I am happy the trip went well and we had a great time, but I’m saddened that the trip is over and it’s time to head home. Once out onto Lake Superior, I head to the bow and soak in the sun and the wind. On the way back to the cabin, I notice captain Mike is all by himself and I ask him if I can come in and join him. He replies “absolutely”.

I first met Mike when he was the deckhand under Captain Fritz back in 2005. I stayed in the cabin talking with Mike until Washington Harbor. We spoke about navigation, the summer, Scouts, movies and food. I’m sure he was happy just to get someone new to talk with. The chat seemed to make the time fly by and we were soon in Washington Harbor heading towards Windigo. Mike said they were picking up another 14 passengers.

Upon our arrival, I headed up to the trading post for some sandwiches. After 6 days on the island, my body was craving some fresh food. My dreams were soon dashed as I discovered they had no sandwiches or soda. I bought a pair of socks for my daughter Kari and head back down the hill. The Ranger station is also closed. You would think they would keep the station open for the half hour the VII is docked so they can sell some merchandise, but alas.

The trip back to Grand Portage was spent talking to other travelers who I recognized from the trip over last Saturday. Because the water so was so smooth, we arrive back in Grand Portage by 2:30. Once we were all off the boat, we say our goodbyes to all the folks we met and recognized from the trip. I shook Mike’s hand and said “Hope to see you again next year Mike.” He replied, “Me too, have a safe trip home.” And we did.

Here's a link to the pictures. (I sure hopes this works)

http://s108.photobucket.com/albums/n23/ ... le%202009/
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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DonNewcomb
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Re: Isle Royale trip 2009

Post by DonNewcomb » Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:17 pm

Are "Squatters" anyone who don't have their backcountry permit on the door? I was going to talk with some "squatters" at McCargoe Cove until I realized that they were the trail crew. No permit, no sign, no nothing. The other point is that twice zero is still zero and there is no extra charge for a group of campers to each sign up for an individual backcountry permit. While we can grouse and say that they should have taken only one shelter, there's really not much that can be done.

I think we met those 5 women on the 4th on a boardwalk between Daisy Farm and Rock Harbor.

Bikes? What did they plan to do with them. There's only a few of miles of trails you can ride a bike on.

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jeastbur
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Re: Isle Royale trip 2009

Post by jeastbur » Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:45 pm

Great trip report, philranger.

Looks like we both filtered water from the exact same spot at WCB #6:
http://s108.photobucket.com/albums/n23/ ... CN0849.jpg
http://picasaweb.google.com/josheastbur ... 9367286834

I'm also surprised you saw people with bikes. I didn't think you were allowed to bring them to the island since they restrict anything with wheels on it in the backcountry.

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Re: Isle Royale trip 2009

Post by DonNewcomb » Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:24 pm

jeastbur wrote: I'm also surprised you saw people with bikes. I didn't think you were allowed to bring them to the island since they restrict anything with wheels on it in the backcountry.
Bikes would be prohibited from the wilderness areas but you could ride them back and forth between the housekeeping units and the restaurant at Rock Harbor. From the photos of the bikes it looks like they probably had the idea that they were going trail riding.

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philranger
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Re: Isle Royale trip 2009

Post by philranger » Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:39 am

Night limits are eliminated after Labor Day, so you can stay at any camp for as long as you want.

The two bikers rode their bikes from Grand Portage, MN to Copper Harbor, MI. They then took the Queen back to Isle Royale and the VII back to GP.
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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mihiker
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Re: Isle Royale trip 2009

Post by mihiker » Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:59 am

Thanks for sharing your trip.
Grrr! Squatters make me angry.

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DonNewcomb
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Re: Isle Royale trip 2009

Post by DonNewcomb » Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:40 am

philranger wrote: The two bikers rode their bikes from Grand Portage, MN to Copper Harbor, MI. They then took the Queen back to Isle Royale and the VII back to GP.
That's quite a ride; something like 408 miles, unless they went direct, which can get a little damp. :lol:

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Ingo
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Re: Isle Royale trip 2009

Post by Ingo » Wed Sep 16, 2009 10:31 pm

DonNewcomb wrote:
jeastbur wrote: I'm also surprised you saw people with bikes. I didn't think you were allowed to bring them to the island since they restrict anything with wheels on it in the backcountry.
Bikes would be prohibited from the wilderness areas but you could ride them back and forth between the housekeeping units and the restaurant at Rock Harbor. From the photos of the bikes it looks like they probably had the idea that they were going trail riding.
A few years ago there was a guy with a bike on the boat with us, crossing from MN to MI. He said the NPS required that they store the bike while he was on the island (just overnight in this case) so it wouldn't be used. He had to get permission from the NPS before bringing the bike on the boats at all and thought it was quite a hassle. So no biking even around R.H. (unless the policy has changed since).
79: worked RH, 01: BI-DB-RH, 02: MC-LR-WL-CH, 05: MI-CI-MB-DF-RH-TM-RH, 09: MC-BI-DN-RH, 11: WC-HC-WC, 12: MC-CB-HL-TH, 13: RH-PI, 14: BI-ML-CI-CH-MB, 16: RH-CI-TI-RH, 17: WI-IM-SB-FL-WC, 18: MC-PC-BI-DB-RH-DF

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DonNewcomb
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Re: Isle Royale trip 2009

Post by DonNewcomb » Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:43 am

From the NPS ISRO website:
Is there off-road biking on the Isle?
No wheeled vehicles are permitted on Isle Royale, including bicycles or canoe portage devices. Wheelchairs are permitted.
I guess you just have to get it classified as a "wheel chair". Maybe some sort of recumbent bike.


jeffkoz
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Re: Isle Royale trip 2009

Post by jeffkoz » Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:23 pm

I met a guy named Dave from Chicago who is solo hiking Isle Royale. He states he wanted to come here 16 years ago, but a family got in the way. He is working on visiting every National Park.
I ran into a guy from Washington State while hiking from Navajo Mountain on the AZ/UT border down to Rainbow Bridge at Lake Powell who had visited every National Park and National Monument. The hike from Navajo Mountain to Rainbow Bridge was his last of them all. He was doing them all solo. Very inspiring.

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Re: Isle Royale trip 2009

Post by BlackCoffee » Tue Sep 22, 2009 7:15 pm

My husband and I experienced the girl with the annoying voice and the red bikini at McCargoe Cove (we were on Isle Royale 9/4-9/11). She kept leaving the toilet lid open in the outhouse so that the flies could get worse, sprayed the whole seat with urine (and didn't clean up after herself), slammed the outhouse door, polluted the atmosphere with her loud voice, and lost a flip flop in the water which she complained loudly about (apparently it was a designer flip flop). It was the one and only bad experience of the 8 days we spent on Isle Royale.

Other than that we had an incredible time and I'll be posting about it soon with a link to pictures and such.
Thanks for sharing your story!

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