Trailfinding/Navigation (August)

Questions about trails and campsites on the island.

Moderator: MikeT

Post Reply

Topic author
Hobbes
NewbieCake
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2018 2:02 pm

Trailfinding/Navigation (August)

Post by Hobbes » Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:42 am

First-timer with a late-August itinerary (had to delay from first boat due to the ice this year). Starting in RH and heading to Windigo by way of Moskey, the Greenstone, and then the Feldtmann Loop.

For those who are familiar with these trails, what's the level (if any) of difficulty trailfinding/navigating? Would like to get a sense of what to expect, how often (if at all) I'll be needing to break out the map and compass. I don't have any kind of GPS, other than my phone, but I was only planning to use that for pictures.

Thanks for any and all help.

User avatar

Tom
Forum Moderator
Posts: 704
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2008 9:16 pm
Isle Royale Visits: 14
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota

Re: Trailfinding/Navigation (August)

Post by Tom » Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:07 pm

All of the trails you will be on are well tread and easy to follow; there is a portion of the Feldtmann trail West of Siskiwit Bay camp that has been a bit overgrown the past couple years (maybe a crew finally got there) but other than that, just follow the trail in front of you. The trail intersections are marked well enough with post signs; as are all entrances to camps which include a campsite map.


Midwest Ed
IR Expert
Posts: 1028
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2010 1:25 am
Isle Royale Visits: 8
Location: Quad Cities, IL

Re: Trailfinding/Navigation (August)

Post by Midwest Ed » Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:17 pm

If you are not planning to leave the designated trails then you should not ever need a compass, but some people always carry one as an insurance item. A map is still good to have if for not other reason than for planning and setting expectations for the day. The National Geographic map is the most highly recommended and used.

For the most part the trails are very well marked and easy to follow as they are well traveled. In a few places though you might find yourself taking a wrong fork. This is most common on some of the treeless spots on ridges where the trail essentially is over barren rock (fairly smooth basalt flows). In these areas you will find periodic piles of small rocks called cairns that mark the trail. After a short while you will also begin to observe a slight dis-colorization of the rock where previous people have walked. If you take a wrong turn you will fairly quickly realize it to simply backtrack to recover.

The Minong Ridge section of trails (which it seems you will not be using this trip) is the least maintained and people have sometimes had to backtrack longer distances than normal. I would discourage people from venturing off trails and attempting to go "cross country" on their first trip. The off-trail vegetation in most places is extremely dense & rough, making for very slow and sometimes painful trekking. The valleys can be quite swampy and wet, but the designated trails have man made boardwalks to keep you dry (for the most part).
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013


johnhens
Forum Moderator
Posts: 1533
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2007 4:10 pm
Isle Royale Visits: 33
Location: Big Rock, IL

Re: Trailfinding/Navigation (August)

Post by johnhens » Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:36 pm

I always bring a compass. Sometimes I want to get to a spot off trail. As others have mnetioned, if youare staying on the trails, usually intersections will have a 4x4 post with directions and mileage. Lokk on all sides of the 4x4 to amke sure you are going the right direction particualrly if the post has a base instead of being in the ground.


Lane
NewbieCake
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2018 11:45 am

Re: Trailfinding/Navigation (August)

Post by Lane » Wed Jul 04, 2018 3:42 pm

I observed that it is very difficult to 'get lost' while hiking the trails, but that if you do get lost, you can really get lost. My only knowledge of the trails before I went there last week was from this forum. Once you get there, it becomes intuitively obvious. Carried a compass - took it for a walk. As an aside, I also took my head lamp for a walk. Used it only once when packing up last morning in heavy rain.

Post Reply