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Isle Royale National Park

Tuesday, July 18, 2023 - Wednesday, July 26, 2023 -- $1700 ★★

Isle Royale National Park is one of the most beautiful and isolated ecosystems in the country. Situated in the middle Lake Superior, it is a several hour boat ride from Minnesota, Ontario or Michigan. Isle Royale boasts charismatic megafauna such as Moose, Wolves (less than 20 remain on the island), Fox, Eagles, Osprey, Rabbits and the Red Squirrel.


There are swimming opportunities most days in either tolerably cold Lake Superior or in several warmer, inland lakes: Chickenbone, Desor and Hatchet.


Botanical bonus: We will be visiting Isle Royale during the wildflower season and the beginning of berry season: raspberries, blueberries, ubiquitous thimbleberries and the not-so-tasty serviceberries.


Our trek will begin in Grand Marais, MN where we board a Seaplane for an unforgettable flight over the largest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Superior. We'll start hiking at Rock Harbor on the far East portion of Isle Royale. Every day, we'll walk Westward on soaring ridges atop a geologic syncline (fold in rock layers) working our way towards Windigo almost 50 miles away having traversed the entire island.


The long days of Summer are prime time to visit the North Country. So why not join us to see a wonderful place, improve your fitness level and lose some fat?



Weather

Weather is always an important concern when hiking. Summer is the ideal time to hike on Isle Royale. In fact, July is the warmest month of the year in this region. Expect daytime hiking temperatures into the 70s and nighttime temperatures in the 50s. Remember too that weather along the coast can vary greatly from weather mid-island. Here are the historical weather averages Be prepared with lots of rain protection, bug protection and water containers that add up to 4 liters of capacity.



Probable Trip Leaders

Beau Devlin
Any Other Guide(s) TBD

Difficulty

Although the trails are rugged in places, our hiking distances that are not overly aggressive, especially when considering that we'll have up to 15 hours of daylight this time of year. Elevation changes are fairly moderate as well, making this trip both fun and accessible.


Ruggedness of the trails are dependent upon how recently crews have maintained them. In 2012, the trails were free and clear so walking was unimpeded. In 2014 and 2020, the trails were overgrown and made the trail somewhat more difficult in places.



Cost

$1700 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a room with another participant during the 2 hotel nights (although on the first night you are likely to get a solo room). You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Duluth, MN (DLH), personal equipment, restaurant meals eaten off the trail and any gratuities for guides.


Covered expenses include 2 hotel nights, 6 days of trail meals, ground transportation, sea plane transport, ferry transport, park fees, park permits and awesome guides.



Tipping: In order to keep our prices competitive with (and hopefully favorable to) other outfitters, we shamefully can’t pay our guides as much as we think they deserve. Like most other guiding services, we rely on the generosity of our participants to make up this shortfall by tipping the guides. While tips are not required or expected, if your guides have served you well, please consider a gratuity so they can continue living their extravagant lifestyles of eating powdered meals, sleeping in the dirt and pooping in smelly outhouses and small holes they've dug.



Important Notes


Here is an online map of our 2022 route. We will attempt to procure Lake Desor instead of Island Mine but can't be sure until the park lets us know what they've awarded us.

Our itinerary will change depending upon our group size. If we are 6 or fewer, we will change our route to hug the shore and use smaller campsites instead of the ones listed in the itinerary


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Itinerary
Weather
Guides for this trip
Cost
Important Note
Difficulty (Please Read)

Itinerary


Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Fly or drive into Duluth (DLH). Please plan to arrive by 1PM as we have a 3 hour drive up to Grand Marais when the entire group is assembled. Let us know if you can't make it by 1PM so we can make alternate arrangements.


If you fly in, call or text the guides and they will pick you up and take you to Econo Lodge Airport, 4197 Haines Rd., Duluth, MN, 55811, (218) 722-5522. where we will be set up in either a breakfast room, lobby or a conference room. If you drive in, just meet us here.


Equipment shakedown. We go through your pack and examine everything you brought, looking for any items you may have omitted or forgotten


Trail mix distribution from our make-your-own Trail Mix Bar


"Before" body composition measurements and temperatures taken


Go to the Trailfitters Store, 600 E Superior Street, Duluth, MN 55802, 218-722-6776 for forgotten and last minute equipment purchase if necessary. Store is open unitl 9PM.


At around 3PM, we will drive to , 2935 East Highway 61, Grand Marais, MN 55604, 218-387-1833


Either before we leave Duluth, along the way or after we get to Grand Marais, we'll go out for an opening dinner and trip orientation. Cost of dinner is not included in the trip cost.



Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Early wake-up as we are a two hours away from Grand Portage and must arrive by 7AM

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Second set of "before" measurements taken


All the items that you won't bring on the trail will be set aside and put in storage at The Outpost Motel, 2935 East Highway 61, Grand Marais, MN 55604, 218-387-1833


We will provide a Continental Breakfast in the morning


Shuttle to the Grand Marais / Cook County Airport.


Shuttle drivers will then drive up to Grand Portage to park there all week and either drive or take another shuttle back to the airport, so there will unfortunately be 1.5 hours of down time.


IMPORTANT: Minnesota is in the Central Time Zone, Michigan (Isle Royale) is in the Eastern Time Zone. Your phone may pick up signals from towers in either time zone so make sure you know precisely what time it is.


Board a sea plane for Rock Harbor. Note: Our group may be split over two or more flights a few hours apart


IMPORTANT: There is a 40 pound weight limit to your pack (yay!) but it means that you may not be able to bring every comfort item you desire. However, you can (and likely will) bring more stuff in a carry-on. Don't pack water in your pack, but get it on the Island at Rock Harbor.


Pick up fuel at Rock Harbor (we can't fly with it)


Short (15 minute?) ranger orientation


Begin Hiking at Rock Harbor, elevation 600' (Lake Superior is at 600' above Sea Level)


Hike 3.6 miles on the Rock Harbor Trail (visit a cave along the way) to Threemile Campsite


Camp at Threemile Campsite, Elevation 600'


Miles today: 3.6. Total miles: 3.6


Bailout: Rock Harbor


Thursday, July 20, 2023

Hike 0.2 miles on the Rock Harbor Trail to the Mount Franklin Trail


Hike 1.5 miles on the Mount Franklin Trail to the Greenstone Ridge Trail


Hike 2.5 miles on the Greenstone Ridge Trail to the Mt. Ojibway Fire Tower, elevation 1133'. Nice view from the tower.


Hike 1.7 miles to Daisy Farm Campsite


Camp at Daisy Farm Campsite, elevation 600'


Miles today: 5.9. Total miles: 9.5


Possible bailout: Daisy Farm Dock


Friday, July 21, 2023

Hike 0.2 miles to the Daisy Farm Trail


Hike 1.7 miles on the Daisy Farm Trail to the Greenstone Ridge Trail, elevation 975'


Hike 5.8 miles on the Greenstone Ridge Trail to the Indian Portage Trail, elevation 825'


Hike 0.2 miles to West Chickenbone Lake Campsite


Camp at West Chickenbone Lake Campsite, elevation 675'


Miles today: 7.9. Total miles: 17.4


Possible bailout: McCargoe Cove Dock


Saturday, July 22, 2023

Hike 0.2 miles to Greenstone Ridge Trail, elevation 825'


Hike 7.7 miles on Greenstone Ridge Trail to Hatchet Lake Campsite


Camp at Hatchet Lake Campsite, elevation 725'


Miles today: 7.9. Total miles: 25.3


Possible bailout: Todd Harbor Dock


Sunday, July 23, 2023

Hike 4.3 miles to Ishpeming Point Fire Tower, elevation 1377'


The view is disappointing here.


Hike 3.8 miles to South Lake Desor Campsite


Camp at South Lake Desor Campsite, elevation 850'


Miles today: 8.1. Total miles: 35.1


Possible bailout: Todd Harbor Dock


Monday, July 24, 2023

Hike 11.3 miles to Washington Creek Campsite


Camp at Washington Creek Campsite, elevation 600'


Miles today: 11.3. Total miles: 46.4


Possible bailout: Windigo


Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Hike 0.3 miles to Windigo


Optional Day-Hike to Windigo Mines on the Huginnin Loop


Miles today: 0.3. Total miles: 46.7


Possible bailout: Windigo

Board the Voyageur II at 1:00PM for a 3 hour boat ride to Grand Portage


Shuttle almost 3 hours back to Duluth


After measurements taken


Check into local hotel (TBD)


After measurements taken


Dinner and awards Ceremony (Dinner cost not included in trip price)


This is the official end of the trip. You are welcome to spend the night at the hotel, however if you drove and would like to get on the road or if you flew and would like to schedule a late flight (or a red-eye if this is a West Coast trip) you can definitely do so.


Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Take Free Shuttle to Airport or we will pay for a shared cab/Uber


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