First Time Itinerary Advice!

Questions about trails and campsites on the island.

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wetherille10
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First Time Itinerary Advice!

Post by wetherille10 » Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:29 am

Hi All!

Hoping to get your expert advice on my itinerary for a west to east trip on the Greenstone Ridge Trail.

My best friend and I are visiting the island 8/12-8/18 for a 5 nights. Due to ferry availability (it seems like we picked a busy week!) we are planning on hiking from Windigo to Rock Harbor in 4 hiking days. Then we will spend a night at Rock Harbor, take the Voyageur back to Windigo on Thursday, spend one night there, and then finally head back to Grand Portage on the Sea Hunter on Friday.

In terms of campsites my plan so far is:

Day 1: Windigo to South Lake Desor – 11.3 miles
Day 2: South Lake Desor to Chickenbone W – 15 miles
Day 3: Chickenbone W to Daisy Farm – 7.9 miles
Day 4: Daisy Farm to Rock Harbor – 7.1 miles
Day 5: Voyageur from Rock Harbor to Windigo - kayaking or day hiking
Day 6: Sea Hunter back from Windigo to Grand Portage - kayaking or day hiking in AM

Would you recommend any change to campsites? Are we missing out on any amazing spots? We have experience doing 15+ mile days, but would love perspective on the mileage.

Also, are there camping spots at both Rock Harbor and Windigo? Suggestions for day activities at Windigo for Thursday afternoon/Friday morning? I heard we could rent kayaks which could be fun and a change of pace from all the hiking!

Thanks in advance for the help!


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Re: First Time Itinerary Advice!

Post by ARRC » Wed Aug 01, 2018 9:11 am

Moskey basin is one of the coolest campgrounds on the island, but may not work for this trip other than checking it out. Yes! Campsites and shelters at both ends of the island. Hugginin loop is and afternoon hike. Kayaks can be rented at Windigo.

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Re: First Time Itinerary Advice!

Post by wetherille10 » Wed Aug 01, 2018 2:41 pm

Great advice thanks!!

I did have one version going from Chickenbone W to Moskey Basin on Day 3 and then from there to Rock Harbor on Day 4. Would it be worth a few extra miles to do Moskey Basin over Daisy Farm?

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Re: First Time Itinerary Advice!

Post by dcclark » Wed Aug 01, 2018 3:21 pm

Moskey is beautiful. It's worth staying there if you can.

I've done Moskey to Rock Harbor in one day -- 12 miles. I was dragging at the end, but it was doable. Most of those 12 miles are about as flat as the island gets, but remember that it will still be rocky and rooty. If you're an experienced backpacker, and are sure you can handle several long days back-to-back, then I'd add in Moskey.


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Re: First Time Itinerary Advice!

Post by wetherille10 » Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:42 am

Ok sounds like a plan! It sounds like we can play the last couple days by ear and swap Daisy with Moskey if we are feeling good with the mileage.

Can't wait!


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Re: First Time Itinerary Advice!

Post by torpified » Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:14 pm

something to keep in mind (possibly as a reason to come back for a second trip!) is that the GRT gets really awesome E of the first Daisy Farm junction. If you exit there for Moskey, then follow the coast to Rock Harbor, you'll miss the best part of the ridge. One way to have (some of) it all would be to go to Moskey via the Ojibway fire tower (and Daisy Farm!) on Day 3. It would add some miles and require some backtracking---by then you'll be able to gauge how to weigh that.


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Re: First Time Itinerary Advice!

Post by wetherille10 » Fri Aug 03, 2018 9:14 am

Oh that's a great point! Looks like we'll just have to see how we feel after our 15 miler on day 2.

Thanks everyone for the advice!!


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Re: First Time Itinerary Advice!

Post by Donk_67 » Sun Aug 05, 2018 1:26 pm

I did S. Desor to Chickenbone on my 3rd. Trip to the Isle. It’s a fairly long day, especially in the heat on the Greenstone. I’m not suggesting it’s impossible and I don’t know what you 15+mile days covered in the past, but I’d definitely start early. There were water sources past Hatchet Lake in June that didn’t show on map, but I’m not sure if they’ll be there in August. Enjoy your trip.


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Re: First Time Itinerary Advice!

Post by wetherille10 » Sun Aug 05, 2018 2:09 pm

Thanks, Donk_67! That's good to know.

We did a couple 15+ days on a section of the PCT in California, but I hear the Greenstone can be slower going than other trails. Would you suggest any campgrounds along the route if we feel like it's going to be too much? The only other option I could think of was stopping at Hatchet Lake, but that's only 8 miles in so a little early to call it I would think.

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Re: First Time Itinerary Advice!

Post by Ingo » Sun Aug 05, 2018 2:34 pm

Just had a thought--you could catch the Voyageur II at Daisy Farm (or Chippewa) instead of R.H., allowing you to stop at Hatchet Lake and avoid the 15 miler. If you already have reservations for R.H. it shouldn't be hard to change, but you do need reservations.
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Re: First Time Itinerary Advice!

Post by Donk_67 » Sun Aug 05, 2018 7:22 pm

Jumping on Ingo’s thought, you could do:
Day 2: Desor S. - Todd Harbor: 11.8
Day 3: Todd- Chickenbone W: 9.3
Day 4: Chickenbone-daisy: 7.9
Day 5: Daisyfarm - Windigo via Voyager

Or stick with your original itinerary as it’s doable. When I did it, I left Desor around 7:30, took an 1 1/2 hour break at junction to Hatchet Lake while my son fetched water and arrived at Chickenbone around 5. I was tired, but recovered quickly. Shortly after Hatchet junction we crossed a stream (water source) that wasn’t on the map...but no guarantee that it flows in August; thus the side trip down to Hatchet.


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Re: First Time Itinerary Advice!

Post by torpified » Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:25 am

wetherille10 wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 2:09 pm

We did a couple 15+ days on a section of the PCT in California, but I hear the Greenstone can be slower going than other trails. Would you suggest any campgrounds along the route if we feel like it's going to be too much? The only other option I could think of was stopping at Hatchet Lake, but that's only 8 miles in so a little early to call it I would think.
FWIW: I've sampled some stretches of the PCT in CA (mostly between Kennedy Meadows and Lake Tahoe). My totally subjective assessment is that IR miles, especially on the Greenstone Ridge, come easier than those PCT miles. The elevation changes in IR are much, much milder, and the trail surface (even the rootier, rockier stretches) is kinder. So I suspect you've got this. (That said, the enhanced Voyageur launch option would still have the advantage that it skips you over what many people, including me, consider the least transporting part of the route.)


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Re: First Time Itinerary Advice!

Post by wetherille10 » Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:29 pm

Thanks everyone! I think we are going to try to sick to our original plan, but great to know we have some options.

We’ll let you know how it goes! On the drive to Grand Portage now!


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Re: First Time Itinerary Advice!

Post by Breezypointer » Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:10 pm

I realize this is a very broad approximation but how many hours does it take to get from Windigo to S Desor, and from S Desor to W Chickenbone?

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Re: First Time Itinerary Advice!

Post by jrwiesz » Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:18 pm

Breezypointer wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:10 pm
I realize this is a very broad approximation but how many hours does it take to get from Windigo to S Desor, and from S Desor to W Chickenbone?
6 hrs to S Desor, 8 hrs to W Chickenbone from S Desor. YMMV.
"And standing on the the crest of the Greenstone Ridge, I suddenly had this desire to retreat north to where I just come, to stay in the backcountry, to spend another day in a place where the only deadline I had was to pitch the tent before dark."
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