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Isle Royale in May

Hi all, looking for any advice for a 5 day trip to isle royale sometime in may. Ill be leaving from Houghton MI, takeing the park service ferry. Im a pretty accomplished backpacker and oudoorsman, but still looking for any tips from anybody who's been there. Any ideas about how long in advance I need to make reservations of any kind, and key items to bring....(I know late spring/early summer in the north woods, = rain gear and mosquito netting) I also carry a handgun with me, and MI recognizes my states handgun permit....island with wolves on it, ill carry an extra pound of security with me, but as far as transporting it on a ferry, you have to turn it over to the master of the vessel in a locked case.....once I get to the island, am I just going to have to lug an empty hard case around in the bottom of my pack? I'm culling any gear that is not trip essential for this one, but at the same time not going completely ultralight. Any help would be great!

Unless the rules have changed, you do not need to make back country reservations.  I don't know about the ferry, I've always taken the ferry from Minnesota.  Rain gear and bug spray are essential.  It may get cold at night so a decent bag and some warm layers are a good idea.  You won't need the gun, you'd be lucky if you saw a wolf.

Make your ferry reservations as soon as they allow for it. I've been on a full boat.

I believe firearms are not allowed in National Parks, regardless of state regs.

In any case, you don't need it. At last survey, there were less than 8 wolves left on the island (500 square miles). When the population was at its height of 24 wolves, they were still unseen. My buddy has been on the island 20 times and has only seen a wolf once--it fled on sight.

A gun is totally unneccesary in Isle royale. No bear population and as stated above any wolf you encounter is going to most likely take off. Use of firearms in the park is forbidden. You can carry it but not discharge it. The firearm policy is listed on the Isle Royale website under laws and regulations.

They changed the gun law back in 2010 Goose.  Firearms are allowed in National Parks now.

On Isle Royale you are more likely to get trampled by a moose than anything else.

You can carry a firearm in a national park as long as the state regs allow it....i did my homework on the subject prior to hikeing the chisos mountains for 4 days in big bend last spring.....i know the chances of a wolf encounter, let alone an attack are slim to none....but im a "better safe than sorry" type person.....i was just wondering if anyone had delt with this.....mainly wondering how far out to make ferry reservations and what to expect as far as crowds....ive read that yellowstone gets as many visitors in a day as isle royale does in a year....anybody know when the crowd peak usually is? Im going there pretty much for the total isolation experience. Thanks for the input.

I suppose peak time is probably July, but that is a guess.  The island is most crowded around the ranger stations.  In general the Minong Ridge trail will have fewer people than the Greenstone Ridge.  Total isolation is not the easiest thing to attain there since you are essentially relegated to designated sites on major trails.  You may not see many people during the day, but some will wander into campsites in the afternoon and evening.  To avoid crowds I'd go early in the season or late.

With all due respect, and IMHO of course, you contradict yourself talking about not packing non-essential items and then suggesting you "need" a gun in a subsequent post. Each and every time any of us goes into remote areas the greatest risks of the entire journey are driving to and from the trailhead. I don't carry a gun in Grizzly Country because I know barring truly long odds the only reason to have a gun is for the human animal. If I ever come to fear other people on the trail my trail days are over. Carry your gun if you must, but honestly I just suggest you don't do it at the expense of other gear with a far higher probability of being a piece in a puzzle to save your life. 

Keep in mind if you were to actually shoot a wolf or moose in "self defense," you would either spend time in prison or go broke paying the legal fees to stay out of prison.

Cold at night?  How about cold during the day.  The water in Lake Superior is cold.  In May, on a rainy day, it could be in the 30's.    A little snow is even possible.  A sunny day might get into the 60's, but not if there is wind off the lake (and you are in the lake.)  But if it is cold, that will keep the bugs down.

January 27, 2021
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