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  1. #1
    1bigpaddle's Avatar
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    Looking for information about Isle Royal?

    Im planning a trip to the Isle Royal in Lake Superior. Looking for tips, suggestion, thoughts from those who have been there would share. Water, unexpected rules, bugs, camp sites, ect
    The trip is planned for early August. Any information would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Senior Member BuckeyeFan's Avatar
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    I was there August 2022 and going back this Sept. During my previous trip, I hiked from Windigo to Rock Harbour. Terrain was easier than Dolly Sods, but not sure what you've done. Bugs were a minimum. Water was fine but if there are algae blooms, you'll need to avoid the affected lakes; nothing will make the water potable. Be sure to grab a gas can that others have left behind. I was able to get a full can. Don't count on having a shelter; 4/6 nights we were tenting. What's you're route plan? PM me if there are specific questions you want to discuss.

    Sent from my motorola one 5G ace using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    New Member R2Hanger's Avatar
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    If you go early in the season be sure to have a bug net for your head. The tiny black flies can be maddening. My buddy and I went the week before Memorial Day and those little suckers almost made two grown men cry.

  4. #4
    chromedome's Avatar
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    the best strategy for IR, in my opinion, is to get up early and hike to your campsite for that night as early as possible so you have a better chance at getting a site with suitable trees for a hammock. Set up camp and explore that area for the rest of the day. Then repeat the next day. With a tent it wouldn't be so bad, but its pretty slim pickins for good trees. My wife and I have been there twice and hammock camped both times, but it wasn't easy. we had some pretty sketchy hangs. Had some pretty awesome ones though too. If there is more than 1 person in your group that is hammock camping, i would strongly consider a tent set up. If we ever go back, I would probably take our tent, unless i were to go solo.

  5. #5
    KayakerBee's Avatar
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    If you’re planning on doing any kayaking use caution around Blake Point, it can get rough depending on the wind. An acquaintance did a circumnavigation back in 2018 I think it was and said it took all of her L4 skills in certain places.
    If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat. - Mark Twain, 1894

  6. #6
    Senior Member BuckeyeFan's Avatar
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    Not sure if you've read this. A 2024 version should be out soon.
    https://www.nps.gov/isro/greenstone-newspaper.htm


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  7. #7
    1bigpaddle's Avatar
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    Thanks, I’ll definitely reach out as I get deeper into the plans. And we get some things narrowed down. We were looking at 4 of us in a group. Water and the algae blooms were some of our concerns, as I would like get to the interior of the island for a few days.
    As for stoves I have always used an alcohol stove and a packable wood stove. But I understand the wood stove is out due to rules. Unless I’ve miss read. Thanks again

  8. #8
    1bigpaddle's Avatar
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    We did have hammocks as the preferred method of sleeping, but if trees will be an issue overall, I will certainly look at the tent. Did you find the better trees available for hanging to be on inside of the island or more to the outside, or more in pockets?

  9. #9
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    I hiked Isle Royale in 2017, and wrote a rather detailed report on hammock suitability. It's been 7 years, so many of the details are probably obsolete (trees grow, tree die). But I think it does give a reasonably overall view. Here is my report from 2017:

    Isle Royale National Park: Hang report, June 3-9, 2017
    Here are the new hammocking rules for Isle Royale National Park, quoted directly from their 2017 “Greenstone” newsletter, which can be downloaded from the park’s website:

    “Hammocks: In campgrounds, hammocks may only be used within the existing
    impacted area of designated campsites – not in the surrounding trees or vegetation.
    Hammocks may not be erected at shelter sites or within 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.”

    Even before these new rules, there have been some questions regarding the hammock suitability of Isle Royale. I therefore took notes during my solo hike from Rock Harbor to Windigo, June 3-9, 2017.

    The Executive Summary: I was able to hang every night at Isle Royale, while following the rules. In general, at most of the campgrounds, some but not all of the individual tentsites were suitable for one hammock. Fewer would work for two, and very few for more than two hammocks.

    The details:

    3-Mile: there are four individual campsites, numbered 6,7,8, & 9. Site #6 was occupied, and I did not want to intrude. But I looked at 7,8, & 9: Site #7 is OK for one hammock, site #8 is OK, but one might have to tie back a branch. Site #9 is dubious for hammocks.

    Daisy Farm: I did not stay here, but just passed thru. I looked at four of the six ind. tentsites. Sites #15 and 17 are very good for a hammock. Sites 16 & 18 are OK.

    Moskey Basin: an excellent campground, but only two ind. tentsites. Both are good for a hammock.

    Chippewa Harbor: I only stopped here for lunch. Neither of the two ind. tentsites are particularly good for hammocks, but this is a gray area. At each site, one could hang one hammock on the approach trail, just a few feet away from the actual tentpad. This would not block anyone’s access to a different site, and it would not trample untrampled ground. I think this would follow the spirit of the park rules, if perhaps not the letter. I don’t know if a ranger would agree.

    Lake Ritchie: four ind. sites: #1,2,&3 are good for hammocks (#2 is best; I stayed there). Site #4: no.

    W. Chickenbone Lake: Sites #1 and 6 are excellent, could fit several hammocks. But they also have the best lake views, and would fill up first. Sites. 2 & 4: OK for one hammock. Sites 3 & 5: no.

    McCargoe Cove: all three ind. tentsites are good for one hammock; some might accommodate two.

    Todd Harbor: my favorite campground on the island. Ind. sites #1 & #6 are good, site #5 is OK for a hammock. Site #2: no. I stayed at site #4, which is the best hammock site I found on the island. It could fit several hammocks, has great harbor views, and best of all, has rather uneven ground and large tree roots to scare off the tent people.

    Hatchet Lake: perhaps the poorest campground for hammocks. Sites #1,2,& 4: no. Site #3 could fit one hammock (but warning: it uses a birch tree).

    Desor South: Sites #1 & 2 : OK for one hammock. Sites #3 & 4: no.

    Washington Creek: there are five ind. sites: #2 & #6 are OK; #12 is OK, maybe fit two hammocks. Sites #5 and #11: no.

    Summary: I was able to hang every night, at the following campgrounds: 3-Mile, Moskey Basin, Lake Ritchie, Todd Harbor, Desor S., Washington Creek. I had a small inflatable pad (Klymit X-lite, ~7 oz.) as a go-to-ground backup, but never used it. It was a great trip, with mostly good weather, 3 moose, nice views (esp. the McCargoe to Todd Harbor section), and strenuous, rocky trails. The rocks on the east end of the island are the main reason my feet chose not to try the Minong; that’s why I switched to the Greenstone after Todd Harbor). Overall, I think Isle Royale is perfectly hammock suitable for a solo hanger, although one must be prepared to go to ground. Two hangers would have a somewhat harder time, unless they could share the same set of trees. More than that would rarely work; Isle Royale is really not suitable for a group hang.

    Caveats: I was there rather early season, and I typically get an early start each morning and reach my destination by mid-afternoon. If you go there peak season, or like to sleep late, you may find more competition for tentsites. On average, I found only about one tentsite other than mine filled each night. It seems like the shelters are more popular than the tentsites; I don’t know why.

    Another caveat: One has to be a little more flexible with trees than in many places. My ideal tree distance for my Dutch 11-foot netless with whoopie sling suspension is about 15 feet; I can go shorter (maybe ~11-12 feet?) by using a becket hitch to replace one or both whoopies, but I never did on this trip. I did go long, perhaps to ~20 feet, resulting in a low hang (perfectly comfortable, but awkward to get in and out). Also, I did a couple times have to hang from birch trees, which I usually try to avoid. But these were healthy and sturdy.

    Hope this post helps anyone thinking about Isle Royale.

  10. #10
    Senior Member BuckeyeFan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1bigpaddle View Post
    We did have hammocks as the preferred method of sleeping, but if trees will be an issue overall, I will certainly look at the tent. Did you find the better trees available for hanging to be on inside of the island or more to the outside, or more in pockets?
    I can tell you, Island Mine will accommodate more than a single hammock in the group sites. I would recommend planning to take a tent and use the hammock as the backup when conditions allow.

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