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Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Packrafting Isle Royale--need advise on 09/07/2010 13:09:28 MDT Print View

I'm considering a trip with the fiancee to Isle Royale. We plan to use the resort on the island as a base, and do a lot of day trips, maybe an overnighter, and hopefully some water activities.

My main question is regarding packrafting around the smaller islands surrounding Isle Royale. Is this an acceptable watercraft to diddle around on CALM days, or should I not even consider taking a packraft on Lake Superior in any conditions?

What about packrafting ON the island? Does anyone have any experience with this? There seems to be enough lakes and streams to get some use out of a packraft.

I'm looking at the Alpaca rafts, but am really interested in the Flyweight Designs Flytepacker raft. Much cheaper!

Any and all comments welcome!

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Packrafting Isle Royale--need advise on 09/07/2010 13:45:33 MDT Print View

Dave Chenault hauled his packraft around up there last summer. Dave? Comments?

View his video on Dave's Bedrock and Paradox blog.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Packrafting Isle Royale--need advise on 09/07/2010 13:56:42 MDT Print View

Thanks for that link, Sam. I thought I remembered Dave doing an Isle Royale trip as well.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
packrafting Isle Royale on 09/07/2010 15:22:42 MDT Print View

Travis, I brought my boat along on the trip I did this July. In summary:

I'd be surprising if any of the rivers/streams on the island are boatable, even in a packraft. Maybe at the peak of spring runoff, but doubtful.

The interior lakes, exterior beaches, and chains of islands on the eastern end would make for some very interesting packrafting opportunities. A hiking and packrafting trip on Isle Royale is firmly on my to-do list.

You'd certainly have to be very careful with the weather, especially out on Lake Superior itself. Packrafts are slow in a straight line, and small. Big crossings would be commiting, and put you at risk if wind blew up suddenly.

Here's my vague plan for a future trip, starting and ending in Windigo. Ideally I'd like to go in autumn, just to see the island then and be away from bugs.

-Walk the Feldtmann Ridge trail to Rainbow Cove, then walk the beach and packraft the headlands all the way around Point Houghton to Siskwit Bay. On our plane flight in the beaches from The Head to past Long Point looked like they'd made for good travel.

-Hike the Island Mine trail up to the Greenstone, then over Mount Desor and down to Lake Desor South. Packraft over to Desor North, hike to Little Todd Harbor.

-Packraft and bushwack to Todd Harbor along the coast.

-Hike to McCargoe Cove.

-Packraft, portage, and bushwack through Pickerel bay, Lane Cove, Stockly Bay, and Duncan Bay to Duncan Bay Narrows CG.

-Hike the Greenstone to Mount Obijway, then down to Daisy Farm.

-Paddle across Moskey Basin, then bushwack and paddle past Wallace Lake and Mason Lake to Chippewa Harbor, Lake Wittlesey, the coast, and Malone Bay.

-Hike up to Ishpeming Point, down to Desor South, cross the lake again, hike the Minong back to the end and go home.

The idea is to hit the best trails, the most remote regions, and good high points. Boating and hiking when it makes sense. Presuming that most winds will be coming from the west(ish), open water travel is designed to be in an easterly direction. Of course, you could hit a week with crazy winds and the whole trip could be much harder or impossible. It could also be really, really cold in the boat.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: packrafting Isle Royale on 09/07/2010 20:48:46 MDT Print View

David,
That sounds like a really cool plan! Have you figured out how many miles or the time it'd take for that route?

What packraft do you have? I like the price of the FlytePacker, but I'd be able to use the Alpacka for many more things.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: packrafting Isle Royale on 09/07/2010 23:09:00 MDT Print View

Travis, its difficult to estimate the route time because wind can drastically effect flat water speed in a packraft. I'd plan on at least a week with a bonus day built in. You could always hike a bit more to speed things up.

I have a Yukon Yak with a spraydeck. $$$$$$ for sure, but worth it. A deck is especially valuable to keep out rain and spray; sitting in a boat is a lot colder than hiking. Packraft trips demand a totally different clothing strategy.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Packrafting Isle Royale--need advise on 09/08/2010 09:36:24 MDT Print View

I'd need to plot those specific points you mentioned on a map as I recognize about half the place names from memory but not all of them. I presume you've studied the bushwhacking options closely, Dave? Isle Royale is chock full of swamps and I wonder how much luck you'd have on any bushwhacks that weren't along a shoreline.

alastair humphreys
(alastairhumphreys) - MLife

Locale: UK
Alpacka on 09/08/2010 15:34:58 MDT Print View

I can totally vouch for how good Alpackas are. Definitely worth the money. I used one in Iceland this summer and it was awesome:
http://www.alastairhumphreys.com/adventures/transiceland/
Alastair

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Sam.... on 09/08/2010 15:45:18 MDT Print View

Sam,
I just realized I put this thread in G-Spot, and it should probably be in either the trip reports/announcments, or the packrafting section. Could you move this please? Thanks.

Alastair,
Very cool trip indeed!

Edited by T.L. on 09/08/2010 15:55:52 MDT.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Packrafting Isle Royale--need advise on 09/08/2010 19:09:25 MDT Print View

David,
If you ever come to Isle Royale or the surrounding area, let me know if you'd ever want a hiking partner. While I love hiking with my fiancee, I'd also like to go out with some other people!

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: isle royale on 09/08/2010 23:59:10 MDT Print View

Travis, will do.

Julian Watson
(JulesWatson) - F
Alistair - wow ! on 09/09/2010 07:13:37 MDT Print View

Great iceland trip mate. Like they say, It doesn't have to be fun, to be fun.

rudi hargesheimer
(rlhargesheimer) - F

Locale: Midwest
packrafts lake superior on 06/05/2011 15:36:37 MDT Print View

I am heading to Pukaskwa National Park to pack the 80 mile Coastal Trail with a packraft. Anyone done this? It should be great because there are many islands to poke around and awesome headlands geology.