Newbie Weekend Trip Input

Questions about trails and campsites on the island.

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michealhortons
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Newbie Weekend Trip Input

Post by michealhortons » Sun Apr 07, 2019 3:54 pm

Two friends and I both almost 16 and are planning on going camping on the Isle. We a relatively inexperienced backpackers and campers: though have experience doing long walks and bike rides (I did the MS150 last year for reference.)

What would be a good weekend adventure itinerary? Also packing list ideas and items, we all did a school project on Isle Royale and are fascinated with its complexity and beauty but we have no idea what we are doing. Because of budget constraints, the current plan is to rent gear from the University of Minnesota Duluth.


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Re: Newbie Weekend Trip Input

Post by Midwest Ed » Sun Apr 07, 2019 5:43 pm

Welcome to the forum.

Gaining some overnight experience with your gear is my first and maybe best advice. This might be hard to do since it's going to be rented. Can you rent the same gear twice or multiple times over a longer period? Keeping the chosen gear lightweight and not taking unneeded equipment is the desired result.

Secondly, while I have no doubts that your youth and physical condition can most likely take on whatever Isle Royale can throw at you, choosing proper footwear is very important. Street running or walking shoes do not normally provide the correct sole or ankle support. A twisted ankle is much more probable in this type of hiking than on the level walking. The traditional approach is an above the ankle hiking boot. More recently, some have opted for what are called trail running shoes. The correct ones (IMO) have very rigid soles that also protect against twisted ankles. Making sure your footwear selection is well broken in is paramount. Blisters ruin more hiking trips than anything else.

Lastly, for now, is to make sure you have the proper clothing. Layers for varying degrees of warmth as The Island will at times be cooler than expected and rain gear should be required even if it's just an insurance policy for a weekend adventure.

Researching the posts here for the gear lists of others and their trip reports would be a good next step. Plus, if you can swing at least a 3 day weekend your opportunities on The Island will expand quite a bit.
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013

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Re: Newbie Weekend Trip Input

Post by Base654 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:00 pm

I agree with Ed. especially on the foot wear. If you plan on continuing to camp. You can start collecting gear with foot wear. spend more now for the good stuff and save by not replacing junk later. If you have an REI around you, keep an eye out for "garage sales" where returned gear is resold for cheap. most has little or nothing wrong with it. I patched a 90% off tent, works great now.

last year I helped a 20 year old who "hopped" from one rock to the next. The landing rock was wet and slippery... On day one of his trip he had torn something in his knee and could barely walk. As your youth has you passing us old guys o the trail, remember that everything is slippery. Don't jump because you can without a second thought, step carefully. BTW unless you can't move or are seriously injured, you are expected to get yourself out. He hobbled his way to the shore and paid big $$ for a water taxi after a Ranger deemed it non critical.

REI also has a good general camping list to start planning from. They are a bit excessive at times, but a good start.


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Re: Newbie Weekend Trip Input

Post by torpified » Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:26 am

With an IR trip under your belt before you're 16, I bet you're not going to be inexperienced backpackers for long!

You're getting good advice about gear and strategies. As for the itinerary--there are a lot of options, all excellent, but what would be most excellent depends on details about you and your trip. What are your constraints? How many nights will you spend on the island? Are you getting there and back on the Voyageur? And what especially struck you when you did your school project? The geology? The wildlife? The mining history?...?

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Re: Newbie Weekend Trip Input

Post by michealhortons » Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:31 am

torpified wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:26 am
With an IR trip under your belt before you're 16, I bet you're not going to be inexperienced backpackers for long!

You're getting good advice about gear and strategies. As for the itinerary--there are a lot of options, all excellent, but what would be most excellent depends on details about you and your trip. What are your constraints? How many nights will you spend on the island? Are you getting there and back on the Voyageur? And what especially struck you when you did your school project? The geology? The wildlife? The mining history?...?
Thank you all for the quick responses. We were fascinated by the mountains as well as the remoteness and the man versus wild feeling. You know what I mean? We were kicking about three possible ideas though are open to other ones.

1. Climbing some mountains maybe Sugar or Desor.

2. Doing a loop to and from the Windigo Dock though we may be time-limited on that.
Image

3. Chilling around Malone Bay after being dropped of by the ferry as that seems popular and beautiful and doing day hiking.

As for gear, we likely could get our hands on some used good-value hiking shoes and rent the rest from UMD Rental Center. Also how much does a permit cost?


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Re: Newbie Weekend Trip Input

Post by kolo » Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:37 pm

1. Climbing some mountains maybe Sugar or Desor.
I am not trying to burst your bubble but these are not mountains in the sense that you are probably thinking. They are basically high points on the Greenstone Ridge. Much of the Greenstone is covered in trees and you would not have very good views on these two points.

With your limited time and experience, a simple adventure at Washington Creek would be great plan. You could camp there and day hike to a couple places like the Grace Creek overlook or Hugginin Cove. If you have the time you could backpack to Hugginin and camp there too. You could rent a canoe and camp at Beaver Island (1 mile from Windigo dock).

By keeping your trip simple you could make it a pleasant first time experience and also learn from the experience!

Thank you for participating in the MS150 Bike Ride! I have MS and I am grateful for your support!

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Re: Newbie Weekend Trip Input

Post by IncaRoads » Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:47 pm

michealhortons wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:31 am

2. Doing a loop to and from the Windigo Dock though we may be time-limited on that.
For a weekend trip (2 nights), doing the Feldtmann Loop is a bit too long on distances.
michealhortons wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:31 am
3. Chilling around Malone Bay after being dropped of by the ferry as that seems popular and beautiful and doing day hiking.
Malone Bay can't be done in a weekend.

Upon leaving Grand Portage MN, the Voyageur II ferry takes two days to circumnavigate the island clockwise and return to home port. The first day stops are at Windigo, McCargo Cove, Belle Isle, and Rock Harbor (spends night). The next day stops are at Daisy Farm, Chippewa Harbor, Malone Bay, Windigo and then back to Grand Portage.

Do you mean after being dropped off by the Voyageur II ferry at Windigo, you will camp nearby at Washington Creek, and do day hiking while base camped there?
michealhortons wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:31 am
Also how much does a permit cost?
Nothing for the permit. $7/day per person usage fee.


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Re: Newbie Weekend Trip Input

Post by Midwest Ed » Mon Apr 08, 2019 5:58 pm

Your plan proposals do not intersect well with a "weekend trip". A true weekend trip from Duluth to Windigo would have you arriving in Windigo about 9:30 am CT on Saturday and then leaving Windigo the next day, Sunday at 1 pm CT. In order to get more suitable advice, I suggest thinking through your options and time availability and comparing them to the ferry schedules. Once you have made that step, the advice received can make more sense.

It's hard to experience much in just one weekend or one night but I must admit that I have been in Copper Harbor, MI many times and more than once was very tempted to buy a round trip fare on the Isle Royale Queen just to spend a couple of hours on The Island. The Grand Portage Sea Hunter does offer same day round trip fares but it makes a bit more sense since the trip is much shorter.

Note: Not understanding the distances, times or logistics involved or the "lay of the land" can make for initial planning to be a bit difficult. I have some work colleagues that live in a smaller northern European country. They were here, in the upper Midwest, working for a couple of weeks. When I asked them what were their plans for weekend they responded, "We are thinking about renting a car to go see the Grand Canyon."
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Re: Newbie Weekend Trip Input

Post by torpified » Tue Apr 09, 2019 6:19 am

Especially if you've just got one night on the island, the Windigo-based options kolo describes sound like a perfect way to get your feet wet and help you decide what you want more of on your next trip. (I feel like every trip to IR is partly scouting for the next one.)


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Re: Newbie Weekend Trip Input

Post by kolo » Tue Apr 09, 2019 7:36 am

Especially if you've just got one night on the island, the Windigo-based options kolo describes sound like a perfect way to get your feet wet and help you decide what you want more of on your next trip. (I feel like every trip to IR is partly scouting for the next one.)
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Re: Newbie Weekend Trip Input

Post by hooky » Tue Apr 09, 2019 3:17 pm

If it were me, I'd hike to Feldtmann lake Saturday. Go watch the sunset at Rainbow Cove. Get up early and hike back to windigo to catch the Ferry. I don't have the mileage chart handy but I think it's around 7.5 miles each way. You'll get a great view from the overlook. Feldtmann is a great spot to see moose. Rainbow cove has awesome sunsets and you can explore the beach. If you're really adventurous. you could head towards Siskiwit via the Feldtmann Ridge trail for an out and back to get another great overlook view and climb the open part of the fire tower there. You can also see what's left of the old wooden fire tower.

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