Isle Royale Itinerary & Journal May/June 2012
Fuzzy Monkey & Hipster
Total days 5 (does not include travel days)
Total miles 43
Tuesday May 29th, Full day of driving Chicago-Land, to Grand Portage MN. Approximately a 10 hour drive. Camping right in Grand portage.
Wednesday May 30th, 7:30AM Voyageur II Ferry ride to Windigo. The ferry from Grand Portage to Windigo is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. All passengers must disembark when the ferry arrives in Windigo. The National Park Service will provide current conditions and a short briefing on traveling within the park. All passengers must also acquire their back-county permits. Once all passengers have their permits then you board again for passengers going to other drop off locations. For our trip we decided to start from McCargo Cove, which extended our ferry ride another couple hours. I estimate it an additional 2 hours.
Our briefing for this trip included a talk/presentation from one of the National Park staff members. Travelers were given cards and asked to read them out loud to the group. I choose the “Dispose of Waste Properly” from the stack of cards. The park staff inquires to how you’ll comply with the principle you just read. My response was if you can pack it in then you can pack it out. The remainder of the cards all had to do with some form of the “Leave No Trace” principles and back-county etiquette.
Day 1, Total miles 5.8
Hiked from McCargo Bay to Todd Harbor. 5.8 miles along the Minong Ridge Trail. We camped at Todd Harbor our first night. Since our day one consisted of getting up early and mostly traveling, we decided to make our first day shorter than the rest. Starting at McCargo Cove was a great spot for our schedule. Several other folks were there when we arrived. Since this was the first time using my REI Flash 62 pack and GPS device it took me a bit to get started hiking. I made some adjustments and checked-in with the my new Delorme InReach Satellite communicator. I also turned on the tracking feature. I set the interval to half hour rather than the per-set every ten minutes. We had wonderful sunny weather today all day. Our first night was the coldest night of the trip.
Day 2, Total miles 9
Thursday May 31th, Hiked from Todd Harbor to South Lake Desor. 1.4 miles on the Minong Ridge Trail. 2.6 miles on the Hatchet Lake Trail. 7.6 on the Greenstone Ridge Trail. Our initial plan was to hike the entire length of the Minong Ridge Trail. However, during our briefing in Windigo we found out that part of the Minong Ridge Trail was closed due to a fire. So we ended up changing our route to avoid the closed section. We choose to cross over to the Greenstone trail by using the Hatchet Lake Trail.
Day 3, Total miles 9.5
Friday June 1st, Hiked from South Lake Desor to Siskiwit Bay. 4.8 miles on the Greenstone Ridge Trail. 4.7 miles on the Island Mine Trail. If I remember correctly this was our only day with possible rain. It got cloudy and overcast but never rain hard at all. We had a few light showers but no significant downpours. The hiking was relatively easy going and enjoyable.
Day 4, Total miles 10.2
Saturday June 2nd, Hiked from Siskiwit Bay to Feldtmann Lake. 10.2 miles on the Feldtmann Ridge Trail. We observed our first moose sighting here at the Feldtmann Lake campsite. What a great experience, watching a moose pass by your tent as the sun sets. That’s what hiking is all about for me. I really enjoyed hiking the Feldtmann Ridge Trail. The trail is up pretty high and offers a lot of views on certain sections of the trail. Before descending you have a wonderful view of the entire lake, (Great views here). The campsite we choose also had several ant hills. Our amusement for the night was killing flies and feeding them to the various ant hills. It’s really quite remarkable to watch a tiny ant carry a large fly long distances back to the ant hill. Yes, I know it doesn’t take much to amuse a hiker. Hey, what else does one do with not TV or internet? Watch the ants.
Day 5, Total miles 8.5
Sunday June 3rd, Hiked from Feldtmann Lake back to Windigo. 8.5 miles on the Feldtmann Lake Trail. Up early today to hike the 8.5 miles back into Windigo. A visit to the camp store offered a sausage pizza and cold sodas. The camp store had only been open 3 days when we arrived. The shelves were well stocked and ready for the busy summer season.
Sunday June 3rd, Took the 1:00PM Voyageur II Ferry back to Grand Portage. We arrived back in Grand Portage before 3:00PM. When you get back to the docks is when you settle up for parking. Parking at the dock is $4.00 per day per car.
Sunday June 3rd, Drive home, Depart Grand Portage just after 3:00PM. 10/11 drive back to Chicago-Land area.
Are you headed to Isle Royale? Do you have questions, feel free to post them here and I’ll answer them as best I can.