1st time solo traveler.

Questions about water transportation and fishing on the island.

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Pvibe2010
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1st time solo traveler.

Post by Pvibe2010 »

I've done 6 trips in the Boundary Waters, but never alone. This is my first large solo trip. I was thinking of 7 days, coming into RH via seaplane. Renting a kayak for the 1st few days to explore and then hike/camp the balance - maybe going down to Windigo. I will not be portaging, since it's too much for me, only hiking. Any recommendations on routes/areas to explore? Is 15 miles too far to hike in a day? Maybe it's better to stay in the RH area, so no matter what the weather, I'm always close to RH?!? Any help is appreciated.
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Re: 1st time solo traveler.

Post by torpified »

My exposure to the waterborne options is glancing, so others should chime in. But if the idea is to kayak from a RH base for a few days before mounting a hiking trip, that seems like a great idea.

-Even bounders like me can enjoy the kayak/hike combo that starts from RH's seaplane dock ("inland" on Tobin Harbor), goes to the hidden lake dock, then proceeds by foot to Lookout Louise and back again (with an option for an out-and-back, of any duration of your choosing, along the eastern stretch of the Greenstone Ridge trail).

-I'd happily spend another day just kayaking around Tobin Harbor, seeing what there is to see. Presumably there are Rock Harbor options as well, where how attractive they are varies as a function of weather/lake conditions.

-which leaves you needing a 3-5 day backpack plan. There are tons of amazing options here; I'm sure that others will weigh in with specifics.

Anyway, your mixed-mode approach seems like a superior introduction to IR!

Edited to add: sorry, one more thought (because I've been there): the rental kayaks are doubles. At least in Tobin Harbor's relative calm, they're manageable for a single person. And most onlookers (the majority of whom are fish) don't make it conspicuous that you've failed to find a kayak partner in a context that appears to presuppose that you will.
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Re: 1st time solo traveler.

Post by Bobcat1 »

Keep in mind Rock Harbor campground has a 1-night limit. However, the is a boat-only campground at the mouth of Tobin Harbor called Merritt Lane, that is a beautiful place to spend a night. Stop at the Hidden Lake Landing and hike up to Lookout Louise on your way up or back. Then you can spend another night at Rock Harbor or take off to 3-Mile on the trail for your backpacking. On the eastern end of the island, while you may be solo you will not be in solitude, and you may find you meet more interesting people that way. If you want solitude, maybe skip the boating or wait until your last day. Fly to Windigo and hike back to Rock Harbor via Feldman Lake loop, where you will find a lot less people. 15 miles/day sounds like a lot to me, based on the questions you ask. It depends on your fitness but also on your skill level at things like setting up and packing up, filtering water, etc, and the weight of your pack.
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Re: 1st time solo traveler.

Post by backwoods doc »

Pvibe,

The Greenstone has plenty of great information: https://www.nps.gov/isro/planyourvisit/ ... r_2020.pdf

Also see Jim DuFresne's Foot Trails and Water Routes book.
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Re: 1st time solo traveler.

Post by Base654 »

Depending on the time of year there are people on the trails and definitely in the campgrounds. You will have your alone time, but there is almost always someone around for emergencies.

There are no overnight rentals on canoes or kayaks. I won't get deep into it but, the waters around the island can change states in just a few hours and requires experience and preparation. Lake Superior sank the Edmond Fitzgerald, it act more like an ocean than a lake. Record waves are above 26 feet. Canoeing or kayaking in Tobin, Washington or Rock harbors is a great way to see the island and is generally calm and safe.

If you will no be portaging because it is "to much for me" then I would suggest planning a trip of 5-7 miles per day. I consider myself experienced and relatively fit for 50 with a very light pack. 15 miles on Isle Royale is a serious day for me, and I won't do those back to back.

When I fly I like to take advantage of the ability to drop off and pick up at opposite end of the island and do an end-to-end, but for a first trip consider staying at one end or the other. The east end has a lot of trail miles and a lot of campgrounds close enough together to make easy days if you need them. Don't worry about doing shorter days, the ups and downs will make you feel like you have hiked much further. relief map I would suggest:

1. Daisy Farm
2. Moskey basin/Daisy Farm
3. Moskey basin
4. Three mile
5. Lane cove
6. Rock harbor

You are required to leave an itinerary with the rangers when you land, but you don't have to stick to it. the above schedule allows you to see a lot but still be able to cut days short or skip camps and make some longer days. Daisy Farm and Moskey have nice days hikes for relaxed days of exploring.

Any trip is a good trip, have fun.

Depending on the time of year you will need to plan on rain and/or cold. Spring offers nice warm days, but the nights can be cold. snow can often be found into June on shaded north facing slopes. Fall will generally warmer, but comes early like the boundary waters.
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Re: 1st time solo traveler.

Post by Pvibe2010 »

Thank you sooooooo much for this valuable info.
As for water, I planned to refill at the campgrounds. Is it accurate that all campgrounds offer water?
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Re: 1st time solo traveler.

Post by Hobbes »

Pvibe2010 wrote: Wed Dec 16, 2020 9:50 am Thank you sooooooo much for this valuable info.
As for water, I planned to refill at the campgrounds. Is it accurate that all campgrounds offer water?
Jumping in here - I took my first trip to ISRO as a solo a few years ago and loved it! Excited for you.

In my experience all campgrounds offer water you must filter or boil either from Lake Superior or an inland lake/stream. There is at least one (E. Chickenbone, I think) where the water source is about a half mile away down to the lake edge to get the water.

At Island Mine, the water source is a small stream that depending on conditions might only be running at a trickle, but I have been able to get water from it.

At Windigo and Rock Harbor, there is a potable tap that is open most of the season (but I have been there when it is shut off towards the end of Sept) so you don't have to filter there if the tap is open.
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Re: 1st time solo traveler.

Post by thesneakymonkey »

Pvibe2010 wrote: Wed Dec 16, 2020 9:50 am Thank you sooooooo much for this valuable info.
As for water, I planned to refill at the campgrounds. Is it accurate that all campgrounds offer water?
there is access to water ...you still have to filter boil and/or treat it. In many cases the source is lake superior or an inland lake
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Re: 1st time solo traveler.

Post by kolo »

thesneakymonkey wrote: Wed Dec 16, 2020 5:08 pm
Pvibe2010 wrote: Wed Dec 16, 2020 9:50 am Thank you sooooooo much for this valuable info.
As for water, I planned to refill at the campgrounds. Is it accurate that all campgrounds offer water?
there is access to water ...you still have to filter boil and/or treat it. In many cases the source is lake superior or an inland lake
thesneakymonkey, I am glad that you pointed this out! I was afraid that the original poster thought that there was water "on tap" at all the campgrounds.
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Re: 1st time solo traveler.

Post by thesneakymonkey »

kolo wrote: Wed Dec 16, 2020 7:54 pm
thesneakymonkey wrote: Wed Dec 16, 2020 5:08 pm

there is access to water ...you still have to filter boil and/or treat it. In many cases the source is lake superior or an inland lake
thesneakymonkey, I am glad that you pointed this out! I was afraid that the original poster thought that there was water "on tap" at all the campgrounds.
yea that's how I read it to! Hopefully they see this
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