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Paddle4Hike
 
08/21/2017 08:27PM
Greetings. I have been absorbing much of the fantastic insight from the very generous posters and paddlers on this sight in preparation for my first BWCAW trip. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience and knowledge with the paddling community!

I have planned my first (and solo) trip with a Snowbank entry and looping North thru Abinodji then back East and South to finish with the countdown of Four through One. Planning 7 nites for the trip with the expectation that I will have at least 2 layover days either 'cuz of weather, or preferably 'cuz I like the spot.

I have read quite a few posts where the winds/ waves on Snowbank have been an issue. My goal is to paddle away from the potential crowds and experience some of the solitude and beauty of the BWCAW. I expect to be on the water just before midday, Aug 30th. I would welcome and appreciate any insight, suggestions and recommendations from the folks here. Thank you in advance!
FYI...Since it's my first trip, I have chosen my EP fairly randomly, so I am open to alternatives....availability being the obvious factor...

 
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08/21/2017 09:42PM
A few random thoughts for you:

Snowbank is notorious for wind problems. The usual way to get around wind problems is to travel early, say sunrise to early afternoon. Your entry day plan is to enter when the likelihood of wind is increasing. In your favor is the fact that it's not quite autumn then and the weather may be more stable; hence less likely to produce higher winds. Your best bet would be to try to be on the water early, if possible.

I have not entered at Snowbank, but I believe an alternative route is Parent, Disappointment rather than Snowbank, Boot , if that is your plan.

Your route should be quite doable in your time frame even with the layovers. I assume your route is Ima, Thomas, Insula, and through the number lakes to exit at Lake One, where you will have left your car. I am not familiar with any of it beyond having gone through Thomas last fall on a long loop from the other direction, possibly Alice if you go through Alice to Insula.

There is actually quite a bit of availability left for your entry date, depending on whether you're locked into an Ely area entry, or other variables.

Hope you have a good trip! BTW, here's a link to Gary Hamer's slideshows on YouTube, which includes a June Snowbank trip and their struggle with wind the first day on Snowbank to give you an idea of what you may encounter.

Blatz
distinguished member (460)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/22/2017 06:40AM
I was on Snowbank last year and I will echo what others said the wind can be an issue. I would get a morning start but that's not always doable on the way out. Also the canoe launch has a dock. It's really an pain in the ass to load and unload especially solo.
TomT
distinguished member(4785)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
08/22/2017 06:53AM
I'm starting a solo on Pickerel Lake so can relate to your issue of wind. I'm planning to check out the landing area the day before then getting on the water about 1/2 hour before any light. I figure I will be able to paddle in the dark for a bit with no problem. Now, if there's wind at that time I will definitely wait till light. Best of luck to both of us!
Lailoken
member (36)member
 
08/22/2017 07:50AM
Hug the shore when can, use islands as wind breaks and paddle like hell when need to. I also find if have trailing winds, need to look back for rogue waves and find that if keep paddle in water, can serve as stabilizer/outrigger to some degree.
Guest Paddler
 
08/22/2017 10:44AM
Thanks for the heads up on the wind issues. I did watch Gary's slideshow and it provided some good perspective.
Boonie- You are correct on my planned route Ima, Thomas, Alice, Insula, the numbers. I like the suggestion of Parent, Disappointment and will keep it in my hip pocket based on what time I can hit the water and conditions.
I am not locked into Ely at all. There are soooo many options, I finally just chose one for what I hope is the first of many trips. I am open to suggestions!

I am driving up from Louisville, KY and expect to hit the Ely area around 7 or 8 pm on the 29th. I have some flexibility in where I drive to start the trip.

Blatz and Lailoken- thanks for the tips and info. Much appreciated!

TomT-Have a great trip and be safe!
Paddle4Hike
 
08/22/2017 10:47AM
quote : "Thanks for the heads up on the wind issues. I did watch Gary's slideshow and it provided some good perspective.
Boonie- You are correct on my planned route Ima, Thomas, Alice, Insula, the numbers. I like the suggestion of Parent, Disappointment and will keep it in my hip pocket based on what time I can hit the water and conditions.
I am not locked into Ely at all. There are soooo many options, I finally just chose one for what I hope is the first of many trips. I am open to suggestions!


I am driving up from Louisville, KY and expect to hit the Ely area around 7 or 8 pm on the 29th. I have some flexibility in where I drive to start the trip.


Blatz and Lailoken- thanks for the tips and info. Much appreciated!


TomT-Have a great trip and be safe!
"

Signed......
Paddle4Hike
sedges
distinguished member (157)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/22/2017 10:59AM
If you are going to be in Ely the night before you could get on the water much earlier than mid afternoon. I know its the morning after a long drive, but Snowbank can be rough. Or it might be like glass. Getting an early start just improves your odds for a pleasant paddle.

You could stop early and relax that first day after you get off the big lake.
08/22/2017 12:32PM
If you are going to be there the evening before, you should definitely get on the water earlier. I don't know your plan for picking up your permit and getting from entry point to exit . . . ? Maybe you can accomplish some of it as soon as you get there.

If you aren't aware, you can arrange to pick up your permit at a cooperator (outfitter) as early as the day before entry. At the least, most will be open later and earlier than the USFS office. If you are already planning to use an outfitter for shuttle service between your entry and exit, this will definitely be a time saver.

I liked the travel through the Alice-Thomas area; you can check my trip report/pictures for a little info and a quick look. If you have time at Alice, consider a side trip to see the Fishdance pictos.

Even with double portaging (if single isn't your plan), your route isn't long at all for that number of days. Depending on how well you're traveling, you could possibly extend farther. At the least you'll have plenty of time for layovers and side trips.

It's probably not worth trying to plan a whole new trip through a different entry at this late date. Just try to get as early a start as possible. It's a little too far out to bank on it, but the 8/30 forecast looks pretty good for you.

Hope you have a good trip! Enjoy yourself and let us know how it goes.
Paddle4Hike
 
08/22/2017 01:10PM
I will shoot for as early a start as possible. I was trying to manage my own expectations assuming it would be too late to pick up permit the nite before, and unsure how long to allow in the morning to get it and get in water.

I will check out your trip report today! And I will be sure to post one after my adventure.

Thanks for all the input folks!!
emptynest56
distinguished member(835)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/22/2017 02:04PM
Paddle4hike
Too bad you couldn't change your entry point to Kawishiwi Lake, #37. There is much smaller water to get to some of the places you really like. I also would think traveling on the Kawishiwi River west and north of Malberg Lake would be a blast for a soloist minus the teeth clenched big water. And then you can get to Thomas and Alice from there.
Also, maybe you know this, but a radio that picks up the NOAA weather is worth the weight. I have one for trips and I only care about wind speeds. For full disclosure I did a solo on a 3 person trip to Fish Stake Narrows of LLC.
Blatz
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08/22/2017 06:47PM
Getting an early start at the beginning of the trip is easy. Exiting with an early start on Snowbank would require camping on or near there.
 
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