Isle Royale Trip

Dates

Departing Sunday, August 21, 2022, returning Friday, August 26, 2022. Monday, August 22 to Thursday, August 25 on Isle Royale.

Transportation

To/From Houghton/Copper Harbor

Approximately 8.5 hours (555 miles) from Detroit to Houghton. It may make sense to split up the trip in one or both directions in Cheboygan.

https://goo.gl/maps/LzHz1Wz42JNZ9URn9

To/From Isle Royale

We will be taking a seaplane to and from Isle Royale. Ferry information remains below for posterity.

Seaplane

Our seaplane departs from Houghton at 2 PM on Monday, August 22, 2022. The flight takes approximately 45 minutes to fly to Windigo on the southwestern end of Isle Royale. The price is $360 round trip. 45 lbs. gear weight limit per person. No flammables (e.g. stove fuel) or firearms. Our return flight is 5 PM on Thursday, August 25, 2022 from Windigo.

https://www.isleroyaleseaplanes.com/

Ferry

Ferries depart in the morning from Houghton (Ranger III) or Copper Harbor (Isle Royale Queen IV).

Ranger III

$140 round trip, $70 one-way. Free parking. Departs Houghton on Tuesdays and Fridays at 9 AM EDT. Takes ~6 hours to reach Rock Harbor. Departs Rock Harbor on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 9 AM EDT.

https://www.nps.gov/isro/planyourvisit/ranger-iii-info.htm

Isle Royal Queen IV

$150 round trip, $75 one-way. Parking $10/night (max $50). Departs Copper Harbor daily at 8 AM August 1-September 9. After September 9, Mondays and Fridays only. Takes ~3 hours to reach Rock Harbor. Departs from Rock Harbor in the early afternoon.

https://www.nps.gov/isro/planyourvisit/isle-royale-queen-iv.htm

Paperwork

Entrance Fees

Standard entrance fee is $7 per person per day. $60 national parks season pass covers 1 person + 3 guests for a calendar year. Matt is planning to purchase a season pass, which will cover the rest of the group.

Permits

  • Must obtain overnight permit at Windigo or Rock Harbor visitor center
  • If traveling on Ranger III ferry, can obtain permit from ranger on board
  • If group has 7-10 people, need a special group camping permit
  • Groups larger than 10 must split up

Route

Tentative route: Feldtmann Loop Windigo -> Island Mine -> Siskiwit Bay -> Feldtmann Lake -> Windigo (or the reverse)

Feldtmann Loop map

This will be a 4-day, 3-night trip. Depending on conditions when we arrive on Monday, we will determine direction we will go around the loop. We will also need to decide if we have time after arriving around 3 PM to make it to the first campsite or if we camp the first night near Windigo and skip the Island Mine campsite, which is generally considered to be the least interesting site on our route.

Day Section Miles Shelters
1 Windigo to Feldtmann Lake 8.5 ?
2 Feldtmann Lake to Siskiwit Bay 10.3 ?
3 Siskiwit Bay to Island Mine 4.3 ?
4 Island Mine to Windigo 6.5 ?
  TOTAL 29.6  

Gear

The following describes recommended gear for the trip. Tailor to your personal needs/comfort as desired.

Big Four

  • Pack
  • Tent/Shelter
  • Sleeping Bag/Quilt
  • Sleeping Pad

Water/Food Storage/Cookware

Clothing

  • Trail runners/hiking boots
  • Socks (preferably not cotton)
  • Underwear
  • Base layers (wool or synthetic, not cotton)
  • Hiking shorts/pants
  • Rain jacket or poncho
  • Mid-layer (fleece)
  • Down jacket (depending on temps)
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Bandanna/buff
  • Sleeping clothes (if desired)

Misc

  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Toilet paper/wet wipes/trowel
  • Ziploc bags
  • Bug spray/head net
  • Sunscreen
  • Small first aid kit
  • Headlamp/flashlight
  • Multi-tool
  • Trekking poles (if desired)

Food

Aim for 2500-3500 calories/day. Nuts, seeds, trail mixes, dark chocolate, and oils are good calorie-dense options (i.e. offer the most calories for the least amount of weight).

Avoid foods that are heavily hydrated or come in cans. For example, rather than a can of tuna bring the kind that comes in pouches. Instead of a can of beef stew you would want to bring dried ingredients in a freezer bag and then add water in camp or on the trail.

Pre-packaged backpacking meals are also an option.

Breakfast

Coconut Chia Oatmeal (~5 oz, 600-750 calories)

  • 1/4-1/2 cup rolled oats (e.g. Quaker Oats)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp protein powder
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut flakes
  • 2 tbsp raisins (or other dried fruit)
  • 2-4 tbsp sliced almonds or walnuts
  • few dashes of salt
  • cinnamon to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut oil (if desired for extra calories)

Store ingredients in a plastic bag. Boil 10-12 oz of water. Once boiling, remove from heat and stir in ingredients. Let sit for a few minutes to absorb water and cool slightly.

This is my go-to. Can also substitute/add chocolate chips to mix up the flavor a bit. Other ideas include bagels + cream cheese or an egg burrito using instant eggs in a tortilla.

Snacks

  • Trail mix
  • Dark chocolate
  • Protein bars
  • Beef jerky
  • Pringles
  • Chocolate-covered raisins
  • Chocolate-covered pecans
  • Oreo cookies
  • Yogurt-covered pretzels

Lunch

Lunch on the trail will probably look more like a bigger snack unless you want to pack a sub/sandwich/tortilla/etc.

Cookie Dough (~4 oz, 500 calories)

  • 2 oz cashews
  • 0.6 oz rolled oats
  • 0.6 oz chocolate chips
  • 0.7 oz maple syrup
  • 0.1 oz vanilla extract
  • Salt/cinnamon to taste

Put cashews, rolled oats, salt, and cinnamon in a food processor. Chop until fine but not so long that you make cashew butter. Blend in vanilla extract and maple syrup. If too dry, add more syrup. Mix in chocolate chips by hand. Form into 4-5 bars and store in plastic bag.

Dinner

Beans and Rice (~6 oz, 650-800 calories)

  • 2 oz instant beans
  • 1.5 oz instant rice
  • 1 oz hard cheese (cheddar, etc)
  • 1 oz corn chips (e.g. Fritos)
  • 0.2 oz taco seasoning
  • Salt/pepper/red pepper flakes to taste
  • 0.5 oz olive oil (if desired for extra calories)

Boil 10-12 oz of water on stove. Add beans, rice, and seasoning. Simmer for 60 seconds. Dice cheese and stir in. Add fritos and any additional ingredients or spices.

Additional Information