Feedback on 8 day backpacking trip

Questions about trails and campsites on the island.

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sabinajiles
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Feedback on 8 day backpacking trip

Post by sabinajiles » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:51 am

I am planning my first trip to Isle Royale and have put together an 8 day solo itinerary for a sort of loop on the east side of the island. I’m not sure on dates yet since it depends on the results of some medical issues but I am open to suggestions on the best times. I’ve purposely left the mileages short so I’ll have time to explore, take a lot of photos and just relax. I’ve also tried to stay in some of the campsites that others say are their favorites. I would appreciate feedback about anything from the more experienced campers. Any oversights, possible issues or helpful suggestions.

Day 1: Isle Royale Queen to island. Hike to Lane Cove. Overnight there.
Day 2: Lane Cove to Daisy Farm. Overnight there.
Day 3: Daisy Farm to McCargoe Cove. Overnight there.
Day 4: McCargoe Cove to Lake Ritchie. Overnight there.
Day 5: Lake Ritchie to Chippewea Harbor. Overnight there.
Day 6: Chippewa Harbor to Moskey Basin. Overnight there.
Day 7: Moskey Bay to Three Mile. Overnight there.
Day 8: Daisy Farm to Rock Harbor. Take the Isle Royale Queen back to Copper Harbor.

Also, I am a hammock camper and wonder if I would have any problems or issues using a hammock in my selected campsites? I also tent camp and have no problem taking a tent. I would actually prefer to plan on a tent than having to possibly go to the ground with a hammock. Thoughts on this.
Last edited by sabinajiles on Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:15 am, edited 1 time in total.


Midwest Ed
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Re: Feedback on 8 day backpacking trip

Post by Midwest Ed » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:41 am

The campgrounds on the eastern end are generally closer together and more prevalent. This makes for creating added flexibility in itineraries for the eastern end. I suggest posting an proposed itinerary here and once you seem fairly firm in it, there is a sticky post in the Trip Reports section for posting itineraries. If you haven't already done so, get a copy of the park annual newsletter "The Greenstone". There is a section that specifically addresses hammock usage.
Hammocks: In campgrounds, hammocks may only be used within the existing impacted area of designated campsites and not in the surrounding trees or vegetation. Hammocks may not be erected at shelter sites or inside shelters. Appropriate hammock locations may not be available; plan on bringing a tent. Choose trees with care; many cannot support a hammock. Hammock use must not damage trees.
I do not know of any compiled list of "hammock friendly" campgrounds or more specifically tent sites that are so, but you can search on the term "hammock" presently returns 16 pages of a variety of discussions from other hammock users regarding their experiences. In general though, the park is not super hammock friendly from an environmental perspective. From what I've read, also be wary of Birch trees.

Regarding itinerary flexibility, you can alter yours at anytime during your stay (not so for designated groups of 7 to 10 people) but edit your permit before you turn it in when you end and of course pay attention to the rules for maximum consecutive night stays at campgrounds.

Everyone has there own favorites for campgrounds and there own hiking style. Unless you really enjoy the strain and push, I'm like you and would rather take my time. Also consider building in at least one "zero" day that you may or may not need. My favorite campground is Todd Harbor. I also prefer campgrounds on the Big Lake not just for aesthetic reasons but they are typically cooler on summer days and with the extra breezes, the bugs are less. For the east end I think you hear Moskey Basin and McCargoe Cove listed at the top for most people. East Chicken Bone and Daisy Farm get somewhat lower marks. The former due to the longer trek down a hill to get water and the latter because it can seem overly busy and sometimes crowded (although I like DF I guess because I like meeting people). If you go during the peak weeks of July and early to mid August you can expect some campgrounds to sometimes fill up but the normal etiquette is to simply double up and share tent sites. Shelter dwellers may even invite you in but I've never invited myself into someone else's shelter. At sometime (typically in June) you can expect an outbreak of black flies. They can be terrible so bring a headnet (always bring one, not just in June). They typically swarm in smaller locations so they aren't terrible everywhere, all the time (usually). To avoid the bugs and crowds, May is pleasant but cooler and the hiking can often be slower due to mud, downfall trees, and even snow. After Labor Day, the crowds (not really the correct term for Isle Royale) thin out and a few mosquitoes will linger.
Last edited by Midwest Ed on Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:20 am, edited 4 times in total.
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013


Topic author
sabinajiles
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Re: Feedback on 8 day backpacking trip

Post by sabinajiles » Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:21 am

Midwest Ed wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:41 am
The campgrounds on the eastern end are generally closer together and more prevalent. This makes for creating added flexibility in itineraries for the eastern end. I suggest posting an proposed itinerary here and once you seem fairly firm in it, there is a sticky post in the Trip Reports section for posting itineraries.
My bad. I meant to post my itinerary but forgot to do so. Should have had my coffee before posting! I've edited my original post to include it.
I am aware of the regulations concerning hammocks. I just wondered if anyone had anything to add from personal experience. I am strongly leaning towards tent camping just so I don't have to worry about it and to take advantage of using any open shelters. Is there any unwritten code or protocol about solo campers using shelters?


kolo
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Re: Feedback on 8 day backpacking trip

Post by kolo » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:15 pm

Is there any unwritten code or protocol about solo campers using shelters?
All campsites are on a first-come/first-serve basis, whether it is a group or solo party. Like you, I was concerned about this because I often travel solo and try to use proper etiquette (good style) when camping. I really like the shelters and have used them often in my trips to the Isle.

Of course I have also offered space in a shelter when it was prudent or the right thing to do! On one of my trips, two backpackers got off the boat in Washington Harbor when it was down pouring. They had originally planned on backpacking to Island Mine on that first day, but it was raining too hard. They didn't know the Washington Creek campground and I offered the shelter I was in, as refuge. I really believe in Karma, Trail Magic, and Paying it Forward. It is good style and comes back to you in positive ways!

At Isle Royale, most people are good about looking out for others. It is one of the many things that make it such a special place.

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