Easy Itinerary

Questions about trails and campsites on the island.

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hooky
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Easy Itinerary

Post by hooky » Thu Jan 02, 2020 3:42 pm

Mrs. hooky loves the North Shore and wants to go to the GP Monument again this year and loaf around in Gran Marais. We did this a couple of years ago and it was killing me to so close and yet so far, especially as I drove past the turn off to the boats. I think I've talked my better half into doing a split vacation where she gets her North Shore time and I get some island time. The catch - I'll probably only get 3 nights on the island and they won't be long mile days. I could probably get her to do HC loop without much of a fight, but I haven't been to McCargoe or Chippewa. I'm wondering about taking the VII to McCargoe and getting picked up at Chippewa. This will either be the week before or the Week of Memorial Day.

Where would you spend night #2, Chickenbone West or Lake Richie?


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Re: Easy Itinerary

Post by Bobcat1 » Thu Jan 02, 2020 3:57 pm

Either one is good. There is a significant climb out of W. Chickenbone and the top (jct Indian Portage Trail w/ Greenstone Ridge) is a great place to drop packs, turn right and make a bit of a climb to arguably the best views on the Greenstone Ridge. I would stay at Lake Ritchie and take your time getting there. Then it's a relatively easy (but not level) hike down to Chippewa Harbor. W. Chickenbone is also only an hour from McCargoe Cove!

Sounds like a great plan!
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Re: Easy Itinerary

Post by dcclark » Thu Jan 02, 2020 4:04 pm

I don't think you can go wrong with either choice (even going all the way from McCargoe to Chippewa Harbor in one day is doable, although more than I'd enjoy). I second Bobcat1: Take it easy, stop everywhere you possibly can and enjoy the hike. Make decisions about when you're going to stop on the fly, depending on how you feel.

At McCargoe, be sure to head up to the mine, check out Pine Mountain, and enjoy the fire pit!

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Re: Easy Itinerary

Post by hooky » Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:23 pm

She loves to camp, but the backpacking isn't her thing. I thought this would be a nice easy one that I could get her to buy into. I could take on a little extra pack weight so we could have a few more camp comforts. We could lollygag around in the morning breaking camp and stop to take all the pictures. I wouldn't have to keep reminding her that we still have miles to go. I hate being that guy with her and I'm positive she doesn't care for it either. :D

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Re: Easy Itinerary

Post by Ingo » Thu Jan 02, 2020 8:05 pm

I have been in a similar situation, although even 5 mile days would be pushing it with Mrs. Ingo. So what we did as my add-on to our U.P. vacation, was stay at the RH lodge and did the Passage Island tour and day hikes. Getting out to Passage Island was on my bucket list and you pretty much have to stay at the lodge (or housekeeping cabins) to make it work. But it's probably too early in the season to work for you.

If you do MC->CH I would definitely stay at Richie the 2nd night (over WC), being a little over halfway and making the 2nd day the shorter day. It also gives you more time to explore around CH.

I did a solo WC -> HC -> WC trip that was laid back and relaxing. If you go after Memorial Day, the store may be partially open, even if before it officially opens. Some possibility of even a shower (but don't make promises!) And a couple options for day hikes (Grace Overlook, Minong Trail).

A third option would be RH -> TM -> DF. This would allow the most scenic day hikes for shoreline views (Scoville Pt) and ridge views (Mt Franklin and Ojibway). If the lodge is renting at that time, you could even get a boat or canoe, go down and camp at Daisy, day hike up the ridge, and visit the lighthouse/fishery/research cabin across the harbor--all without backpacking--although you'd obviously have to return to RH. Probably not the trip you would otherwise plan, but if something like that is the most pleasant for her, it does get you back to the island :).

In any case, hope it works out!
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Re: Easy Itinerary

Post by dcclark » Fri Jan 03, 2020 9:58 am

I think I misunderstood your initial posting -- are you going to the island with Mrs. Hooky, or are you each going your separate ways?

If you're looking for a light route because your wife isn't interested in a longer one, then I also recommend Lake Richie for your second night (but check the water quality warnings first).


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Re: Easy Itinerary

Post by torpified » Fri Jan 03, 2020 10:59 am

On the hypothesis that Mrs hooky isn't totally up for overnighting in the woods (a condition she would share with Mr torpified) but might be up for rides on dinky boats: your MC-CH itinerary is consistent with her taking the VII with you to MC, then carrying on to RH and hanging out, commodiously sheltered, there for three nights before taking the VII to collect you at CH. If she hasn't visited IR before, this might convert her!

(You may be able to guess that I devote a considerable amount of my limited ingenuity to devising gateway wilderness experiences for Mr torpified, in the hopes of getting him deeply enough hooked that he'll want to undertake backpacking trips longer than the shortest possible.)


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Re: Easy Itinerary

Post by JerryB » Fri Jan 03, 2020 2:29 pm

Consider McCargo to Moskey to Chippewa--three of the top sites in my mind.

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Re: Easy Itinerary

Post by hooky » Fri Jan 03, 2020 3:39 pm

JerryB wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 2:29 pm
Consider McCargo to Moskey to Chippewa--three of the top sites in my mind.
That hadn't crossed my mind. Moskey is one of my favorites too, but the 4 mile out and back from Richie won't be a crowd pleaser.

Thanks to all of you for the advice. Mrs hooky is OK sleeping in the woods, but doesn't care for all the "endless" hiking. Our weekend camping getaway is a 12 mile loop in the Hoosier National Forest that's a dispersed site on the water at 5 or 7 miles, depending on if we go clockwise or counter clockwise. She says the best thing about day 1 is the campsite and the best thing about day 2 is a late brunch at one of our favorite restaurants. That route is basically the same level of effort we'd be doing in the HNF with an extra night and a boat ride on each end.

Selfishly, I don't want to do RH. This would be a good opportunity for both us to see some new trails together. She really like the pictures from my trip a few years ago where I did the Feldtmann loop but turned east at Island Mine and got picked up at Malone, so if this goes well I think a Fedtmann loop and a night at Washington Creek would be my next way to get her to go back.


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Re: Easy Itinerary

Post by Midwest Ed » Fri Jan 03, 2020 4:43 pm

Assuming you get to McCargoe Cove on schedule and things are going OK, I suggest Lake Ritchie over West Chickenbone. You can always change as conditions require.

Your hesitant Mrs. hookey, is a much more hardy hiker/camper than my Mrs. Ed was. She once humored me with a single overnight in Rock Harbor. Her idea of roughing it was when she could only take one suitcase into the hotel room.
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Re: Easy Itinerary

Post by Tom » Sat Jan 04, 2020 7:41 am

JerryB wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 2:29 pm
Consider McCargo to Moskey to Chippewa--three of the top sites in my mind.
^^^ This. Absolutely.

When I've helped GPIR staff a trade show here in Minneapolis, we've shared this itinerary with many an 'interested, but not sure' hiker. They've come back the following year to tell us how it went well and how they are planning the next trip to see more of the island. I just took my son (10) on this route last summer for his first trip; it's a great overview of the topography and geology the island has to offer.

McCargoe and Chippewa are no brainers, because they are docks for the Voyageur II and it works out quite well for a three night trip. Either the Mon-Thu or the Sat-Tues pattern works, depending on time of year.

As for Moskey, it's in a different league than Ritchie and West Chickenbone, IMHO. While those camps serve their purpose, for a more reticent hiker like your wife, the option to enjoy a shelter (esp if the weather is rainy) plus the view (and sunrise!) from Moskey, the dock, picnic tables... they all add up to a pretty easy sell to hike that last 2 miles. I've also tended to note that when I do stay at McCargoe or Moskey, when I'm hiking out many campers are still picking up at WC or Ritchie when I pass through. WC is a 'late camp' anyway, I think because the way the sun rises there, and then there is the whole pick up tent, etc, vs how you can pack out of a shelter.

If it helps sell it, that 2 miles is technically a portage, too. Certainly not the most difficult hiking on the island. Keep it in consideration!


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Re: Easy Itinerary

Post by Bobcat1 » Sat Jan 04, 2020 11:10 am

The guys are right, MoskeyBasin is fantastic. But in favor of Lake Ritchie is exactly the fact that it is interior. No docks, no powerboats, less of a crowd, no shelter doors slamming. This is the place where you will get a true sense of wilderness backcountry, with fewer intrusions from the outside world. The lake is gorgeous, and moose are frequently there in the evenings. Be aware that, in recent years, Lake Ritchie is one of the lakes that might get algae blooms, which makes the water undrinkable. It should be posted atMcCargoe Cove, and when you get your permit at Windigo, if this is a consideration.
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Re: Easy Itinerary

Post by booyah » Mon Jan 06, 2020 7:28 am

I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, but as I told my kid before going last year "There is no such thing as an easy trail on IR".

Remember this as you are planning and prepping. The climb from West Chicken Bone to Livermore/Lasarge can be daunting to someone who is not used to hiking with a pack.

That said if you are taking your time and traveling easy its certainly doable, but I would advise against trying to do McCargo to Chippewa in a day unless you're pretty serious :-) (aka not me)

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Re: Easy Itinerary

Post by hooky » Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:54 am

We'll probably make the call about Richie vs. Moskey when we get to Richie. You can't beat a sunrise at Moskey.

She's in full planning mode right now...for Grand Marais after we get off the island. :lol:

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Re: Easy Itinerary

Post by hooky » Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:11 pm

With the new schedule posted and the way work and family schedules fall, we'll go in on 5/20 and come out on 5/24. That will let us do one night each at McCargoe, Richie, Moskey, and Chippewa. Hope the harbors are ice free and it's not still covered in snow at that time.

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