TR: 6/18 - 6/25, 2022 [Paddling] [Inland lake loop]

Reports or links to reports on trips.

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TR: 6/18 - 6/25, 2022 [Paddling] [Inland lake loop]

Post by TopCarrot »

Here are the opening comments of a larger trip report coming later.

No bloom warnings as of 6/25.
The canoes for rent in Rock Harbor were brand new. Make sure to grab a portage yoke if needed, only 3 of the 6 had them.
We did the 4 portage trails in and out of Siskiwit and all deadfall had been clear, which was super nice.
We caught fish in all the inland lakes but none in Superior, other boaters said they were out deep.
The fire from last year did not burn as I would have expected. Realy interesting.
Moose count estimates are as low as 1300 which is markedly down from the peak of nearly 2000.
Black flies were the worst I've had and actually bit this year.
Cold nights still... Down to the low 40s on the coast.
As for "how wild is it?", Daisy Farm should have a cotton candy stand and a hot dog cart.
I have tons of micro improvements that we implemented and have ideas for the next trip that will be shared.
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Re: TR: 6/18 - 6/25, 2022 [Paddling] [Inland lake loop]

Post by torpified »

I'm sorry about the blackflies (https://www.nfb.ca/film/blackfly/), and looking forward to the details!
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Re: TR: 6/18 - 6/25, 2022 [Paddling] [Inland lake loop]

Post by TopCarrot »

We were 3 couples on this trip. Half had been out before and half were on the first trip.
We left Friday after work and drove through the night. We are about 10 hours from Copper Harbor. I don't like this approach, but otherwise it takes an extra day off work and kids arrangements. Travel was fine, only traffic was around Chicago. Some gas stations in the UP had the pumps on but we didn't find any open all night until Hancock.
We brought two canoes a 12.5 Old town and a 14 Old town. The 12.5 was extra wide and super stable but didnt cut or steer very well. The plan was to rent a 3rd in Rock Harbor.
We got to Copper Harbor around 5:30 and parked at Harbor Haus and watched the sunrise.
Loading the canoes was easy enough, they had us pull up right away and bring them over first thing. The Queen was pretty full, 91 of whatever it holds 96 or 98 idk. Waves calm for the passage. Captained Jamie took us over
Along the lines of that other thread, the orientation on the island is getting worse. Four points on How wild is it. Low on micro trash which is my hobby horse. We picked up 30-40 pieces of found trash throughout the course of the trip, lots in daisy. How wild is it? was our running joke for the rest of the week. Loads of fun.
I filed for the pass and another rented the canoe and we were in the water by 12:30.
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Re: TR: 6/18 - 6/25, 2022 [Paddling] [Inland lake loop]

Post by Bobcat1 »

Ya know, in southern New Zealand, there's an area known as Fiordland, that is breathtakingly beautiful. And it is a stunning tourist draw until the sandflies come out. Sandflies are the local variety of blackflies - bigger than gnats but still pretty small compared to houseflies or deerflies. And they bite like.....Anyway, according to Maori legend, the blackflies are there so that humankind will visit but not stay, because otherwise humans would never get on with the work of living.......
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Re: TR: 6/18 - 6/25, 2022 [Paddling] [Inland lake loop]

Post by backwoods doc »

TopCarrot wrote: Mon Jun 27, 2022 6:53 am The canoes for rent in Rock Harbor were brand new.
What kind of canoes? Aluminum? Weight?
2018, 2019, 2021 (all by canoe)
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Re: TR: 6/18 - 6/25, 2022 [Paddling] [Inland lake loop]

Post by TopCarrot »

backwoods doc wrote: Mon Jun 27, 2022 2:56 pm
TopCarrot wrote: Mon Jun 27, 2022 6:53 am The canoes for rent in Rock Harbor were brand new.
What kind of canoes? Aluminum? Weight?
We brought two fiberglass weighing in at 56 and 62 lbs.
Rock Harbor was renting Grumman Al, best guess they were 17ft and 80-90 lbs.
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Re: TR: 6/18 - 6/25, 2022 [Paddling] [Inland lake loop]

Post by TopCarrot »

We headed out of Rock Harbor with the wind at our back. We had a pretty open schedule for the week. If things went perfect (paddling speed, wind, waves) we would have liked to make Chippewa which contains 5 miles of open Superior. If the waves were too much but we still were making good time then we would make Moskey, and maybe make the first trip of the long portage to Richie. If nothing quite worked out right or if we thought the waves would be better in the morning we would stay at Caribou.
We made it to Caribou in under 2 hours trolling for fish the whole way. We took a break walking to the other side to survey the crossing and the waves. Superior was calm as could be with the wind heading southwest. It was the best outlook one could have hoped for. After a break and a snack, we headed out through the island to make the crossing and hug the shore the rest of the way. I was still trolling but hit two snags around the island and figured it best to pull everything and focus on the water. There were several pebble beaches and coves where we could have landed if the weather switched and we stayed close together the whole way. It was long and tiring with each outcropping towards the end being a false hope of the destination harbor. With much relief, we made the harbor but still had plenty of paddling to go, as felt like a great distance to the dock. Two shelters were already taken when we arrived, we grabbed to 3rd and someone else paddled in later to grab the 4th. A group of 3 kayakers circling the island, one motor boat out fishing, and a pair of canoes were to other groups.
Our lead fisherman headed out to fish the harbor and the rest set up camp.
We saw loons and eagles from the dock as well as a beaver and an otter.
Every night we took a list of highs and lows.
ME: +Caribou, -1 hr of sleep
Le: +getting a shelter, -Van ride and sleeping in the van
TB: +going to bed and beginning the canoeing, -The van, the ferry, and the last two hours of canoeing
SE: +not puking, fun seagulls
JB: +making Chippewa on a half-day, -exhaustion
TE: +making Chippewa on smooth water, -exhaustion coming into the Harbor
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Re: TR: 6/18 - 6/25, 2022 [Paddling] [Inland lake loop]

Post by treeplanter »

TopCarrot wrote: Mon Jun 27, 2022 6:53 am......Moose count estimates are as low as 1300 which is markedly down from the peak of nearly 2000.......
That's a dramatic drop in moose numbers! I look forward to reading the Winter Study report, when it's published.
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Re: TR: 6/18 - 6/25, 2022 [Paddling] [Inland lake loop]

Post by TopCarrot »

We woke up on day two to nice temperature but clouds moving in and a possible T-storm on the schedule.
Winds were moving everything north and we hoped that as we headed south towards Malone we’d be more inclined to miss it. We had leisurely breakfast as most everyone was still getting a handle on the gear situation. I will say that my water filter drip setup made water a breeze for the whole trip even with a group of six. I’ll link to it. We got everything loaded up and pushed off right as the Voyager came into sight and we all scattered to give them a clear shot at the dock. Could not have asked for better weather. a breeze and slightly overcast. For about 10 minutes down Chippewa Harbor. Then it started to sprinkle. Rain only was heavy for 5 minutes and was mostly done by the time we reached the portage post. We did troll a little the whole way with no success and I will link the canoe troll mounts we used. They worked but were not the best design and had some field issues. I did have concern the portage post last would be hard to spot but all 5 were clear and right where you’d expect them from the map. The portage from Chippewa to Whittlesey was our first but a good one for the first. At 0.6 miles and low elevation change, we weren’t sure the best mix of what and who to carry what. I started by carrying the heavy Aluminum canoe to get it out of the way. Everyone carried their pack and the extra gear and paddles. Leaving behind the two fiberglass canoes and my pack. I was first and made it about halfway before setting it down for a break. This was the last time I set a canoe down short of the goal. After this, if I needed a break I would just tip the front down and stand it upright. I am pretty tall and found that easier than setting it down and picking it up. Counting my break in the middle we made it to the Whittlesey in 16 mins. Three us of headed back to grab the last three items. The yoke on the Aluminum was so much nicer it was padded and rested nicely but those extra 30-40 lbs are rough. The fiberglass balance is nice but pinches the shoulders.
We were not sure what campground we wanted to stay at that night (Whittlesey, Wood, or Malone) so we embarked on a slow troll of lake Whittlesey. Slow to two of the boats was paddle straight to the next portage post. Slow to the third boat meant cast into every crevice. The other boat with me as we headed across nailed a nice-sized pike. And soon as we had it in the boat the other trolling line caught a walleye. We did not have the pliers or knife out so we pulled into the campsite and waited for the last canoe to pass and took a tour. Whittlesey did not impress and after checking the outhouse the wind and rain picked for a few more minutes. Once the 3rd canoe meet us they had a nice pike as well. So we knew the pressure was off for the day and headed on to see if Wood would be our stop. The second portage went about the same as the first. There is more elevation change and start right out with a hill climb. By the time finished up the bugs were there to greet us. So we rushed out into the middle of the lake for a break. I heard Wood was great fishing but most of the line did not make an appearance the rest of paddling for day two as we had enough and already portaged 3 fish.
Wood Campground looked nice but the thought of getting a shelter pushed us on. Wind was again at our back as we hit Siskwit with some waves but manageable. We passed the unnamed island between Ryan and Wood and noticed a beautiful butte for a lunch stop next time by and headed on hugging the southern shore. The landing spot to meet the trail is just past the mouth of the falls and enough space to land two at a time. When we got to Malone we were the first and picked the shelter most protected from the weather as that was to be the coldest night and winds off the big lake. Two separate groups of hikers made it in later that evening and left before 8 am the next morning. A camp fox patrolled for most of the evening as we fried up two of our fish. The meals were on point. TE and SE had never been to IRNP and I did not micro-manage their packs too much given that we had so little hiking to do. This allowed a great perspective on some extra items to bring.
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Re: TR: 6/18 - 6/25, 2022 [Paddling] [Inland lake loop]

Post by TopCarrot »

Here are those links.
Water drip
viewtopic.php?p=30307&hilit=water+filter#p30307

Rod holders
South Bend Clamp-On Rod Holder from amazon

The bottom c-clamp section bent too easily and one of the threads stripped and one swivel end busted. The top section held up fine. I have a modification idea, that may happen this summer. and I will get it posted if it happens.
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Re: TR: 6/18 - 6/25, 2022 [Paddling] [Inland lake loop]

Post by TopCarrot »

I missed that we went back out onto Siskwit the evening of day two. I caught a Lake trout just west of the big rock off the point of eagles nest island. TE caught two more pike closer to the mainland.
There was also rolling thunder most of the afternoon but it was always far enough away that we were in the clear.
Highs and lows
TE: +wind at our back on Siskwit -going too fast through Whittlesey
TB: +caught fish, got a shelter early, and saw a bald eagle
Me: +JB getting that first fish into the boat -rain right after we started and the mosquitoes on the second portage.
JB: +caught fish and they taste amazing -rain kept getting worse
SE: +fishing -I didn’t check any
Le: +spruce tips with fish platter in a shelter - cold most of the day
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Re: TR: 6/18 - 6/25, 2022 [Paddling] [Inland lake loop]

Post by TopCarrot »

Day 3 and 4 were amazing. And I am sure they will be classic memories for everyone in the group.
Because we had made Malone so early we now had plenty of space for a zero-day or two. Aside from a group of three kayakers we had meet at Chippewa, we saw no other campers days 3 and 4 and the first part of 5.
The morning was chilly and the fog push in off of Superior five or six times. Temperatures were easily 40 degrees warmer at Siskiwit lake by that afternoon. Fishing, eating, and bathing was the grand agenda. Morning fishing on Siskiwit I caught another lake trout about 100 ft further west of that same big rick off of eagle nest island.
The lunch menu was fresh grilled lemon pepper lake trout fillets on a bed on thimbleberry leaves with a side of charred spruce tips and cheesy smashed potatoes. #roughcamping
We marched back up to Siskiwit and took a swim and bath. Some people fished the dock at Malone and caught two more Pike.
Last edited by TopCarrot on Sat Jul 02, 2022 7:23 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: TR: 6/18 - 6/25, 2022 [Paddling] [Inland lake loop]

Post by TopCarrot »

Sorry got cut off…
We did fish all of eagle nest and made it to that tiny unarmed island between eagle and Ryan. No luck but had a few jump off. That little island was not the one with the butte but I got out and walked it to see if there was a clearing. Nothing big enough to sit but no bugs. Afternoon of day 3 finished with a dinner of northern pike fried in a light breading of bagel crumbs seasoned with coffee and molasses and a side of tomato basil risotto. We had way under estimated the amount of breading to pack (slap yo mama’s). But we had a bag of bagel chips that hadn’t been snagged yet. I went down to lake and found a nice mortar and pestle and ground out the bagel chips into a flour. And mixed it with a coffee molasses BBQ rub. Turned out great. And meant that we would have enough breading to make it. In the evening we setup a cold smoker over the grill and smoked the rest of the fish we had as we were heading inland in the morning. I have pictures of this setup and it added a ton of flavor and dried them up in 3 hr. Grill and then on top was a twig stove to draft the smoke up. Fish were stacked and layered with split wood shingles. Tented in foil. We stayed on feeding it till 11p.
Highs and lows
TB: +enough undies to make it the rest of the way clean, no other campers, hygiene game on point (now) - didn’t catch a fish (yet)
SE: +amazing food all day -didn’t catch a fish (yet)
JB: +food obviously, down day, feet don’t hurt -TE cutting his hand, SE not catching yet
Me: +dinner and a cherry pie, how well the mortar worked -talking about catch and release for tomorrow cause we have enough
TE: + the smoker and bath in Siskiwit -losing a monster at the edge of the boat
Le: +the high after the swim -kids aren’t here, they’d love the food
Last edited by TopCarrot on Sat Jul 02, 2022 6:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TR: 6/18 - 6/25, 2022 [Paddling] [Inland lake loop]

Post by TopCarrot »

Dinner and the smoker
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Re: TR: 6/18 - 6/25, 2022 [Paddling] [Inland lake loop]

Post by torpified »

your culinary exploits astonish me! It's all I can do to boil water for via and ramen. Do you test these systems at home first, or do you improvise them in the field??
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