Chat Rooms (0 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* For the benefit of the community, commercial posting is not allowed.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Trip Planning Forum
      Michwall2 - theoretical ?     
 Forum Sponsor

Author

Text

01/12/2018 07:32PM
If you were going to solo the Frost and Louse Rivers in one trip, which way would you go? East to west? West to east? East-west on Frost and west-east on Louse after looping around to the north through Little Sag? Where would you enter and exit?
 
Reply    Reply with Quote    Print Top Bottom Previous Next
TuscaroraBorealis
distinguished member(4123)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
01/13/2018 09:08AM
While I won't offer any advice on the main question, I can say I will be eagerly awaiting your trip report of this proposed route (regardless where it begins/ends).
01/13/2018 10:25AM
I'd appreciate any information or advice you have to offer, TB. It's more of a dream - maybe just a fantasy - at the moment than it is a solid plan, but . . . I feel like I'm running out of time and maybe already have to do some trips I always wanted to do. I'm hoping I'll be able to make a run at it . . . but have to get healthier and in much better shape, plus some other stars have to align.

I'm contemplating an 18-day trip, so it would be a BIG trip report ;).


NoisyWetHermit
member (50)member
 
01/13/2018 11:13AM
Enter and exit at Sawbill Lake?
Get into Alton, Kelso, go north to get onto
Louse. West on Louse until it meets Kawashiwi.
Then make your way NE to get to little sag.
Go east to Mora Lake and portage south to
reach the Frost River. Go east to Frost Lake,
then into Cherokee and south to Sawbill.
What cha think?
01/13/2018 12:05PM
That's an option, hermit - any particular reason you'd go that way?

There are several things that sparked the question. First is that most people seem to go east-west on those river, which I think is because that's downstream and makes crossing the many beaver dams easier. But, Michwall noted in the referenced thread that route finding on the Louse is harder going east-west. Plus going south-north on the Fente-Hub portage would be a lot easier than the other direction, especially with still having most of 18 days food left. Another reason would be to break up the two rivers, so there'd be a break from the numerous short portages and innumerable beaver dam lift overs.

Your route is essentially a condensed version of things I've been looking at - entry probably either at Cross Bay or Sawbill and either going up the Kawishiwi to Little Sag or possibly adding a loop around to Adams.

TuscaroraBorealis
distinguished member(4123)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
01/13/2018 12:50PM
boonie: "I'd appreciate any information or advice you have to offer, TB. It's more of a dream - maybe just a fantasy - at the moment than it is a solid plan, but . . . I feel like I'm running out of time and maybe already have to do some trips I always wanted to do. I'm hoping I'll be able to make a run at it . . . but have to get healthier and in much better shape, plus some other stars have to align.


I'm contemplating an 18-day trip, so it would be a BIG trip report ;).



"


When it comes right down to it, I dont think it will matter where you start/finish.
But...since you ask. :)

I'd start at Cross Bay and finish at Missing Link. It's purely a personal preferrence. Little Sag - Tuscarora is a favorite area of mine and I think the beauty those larger lakes exude would be magnified exponentially after having paddled through all those rivers and puddle (smaller) lakes.

I've only done sections of the route at one time, so I can't comment on the wisest direction of travel.


01/13/2018 03:46PM
Yeah, I like Little Sag & Tusc. I looked at both exits - Cross Bay and Missing Link - for an entry at Cross Bay. It's shorter to exit at Round and just walk down to Cross Bay parking; I've done that before in 2015 when I went across Howl Swamp from Cross Bay/Snipe on the way to Little Sag. And we went down from Little Sag through Mesaba and out at Sawbill in 2014, so I'm familiar with that out. I've not been up to Cherokee from Sawbill though. The Sawbill loop is a few miles shorter, but not much.
Michwall2
distinguished member(546)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/13/2018 04:24PM
East to West – You are right about most of my reasoning.

I did them both this way and I wouldn’t change that. My reasons were:

1. I wanted to go down the beaver dams. Both routes have many small and a couple larger beaver dams to navigate. I did not want to have to pull over going upstream. It is usually far easier pulling up sideways to a beaver dam on the upstream side and allow you to scout your route over.
2. In my research, I discovered that there are a couple of route finding challenges (especially on the Louse) that are easier going downstream. As it turned out, there were issues in one spot in particular going downstream as well, but that did not have the trip stopping potential as the ones travelling upstream could have been.
3. On the lower end of the Frost, on our trip, the river did have a noticeable current. There was a long stretch of meandering river that might have been more challenging to travel upstream.

Entry is a conundrum. You need to start the Frost River from Frost Lake and there is not an entry that allows for easy access to Frost Lake in one day.

Sawbill – Frost Lake is a real stretch in one day through Cherokee Lake, especially solo. (We started here for the Louse: Day 1 to Wine Lake, Day 2 to Trail, Day 3 to Mahlberg)
Cross Bay – (We used this one for the Frost). Again, you can make it in one day, but we pulled up on Karl Lake and then went to Frost. (We had ulterior motives in wanting to find a site with a northern view for potential northern lights sighting.) Solo may not be reasonable in one day.
Baker Lake? – I mention this one because it would be 2 easier days to Frost (Baker to S. Temperance/S. Temperance to Frost Lake).

Our experiences on the rivers could not have been different. We did both in August, but the Louse was low water and the Frost was high water. We pulled over every beaver dam on the Frost (even the very small 4 inch ones.) We floated over 2-3 on the Frost (avoiding a couple portages). We were able to line our canoe through a couple of rock gardens on the Frost (again avoiding at least 2 portages). On the Louse, we had to portage everything end to end. We broke the Louse into 2 parts by stopping at Trail Lake. We had the option to stop on Bolgna Lake along the Frost, but it was far too early in the day. The Louse was a far tougher route at the times we did it.

Route
We did the first half of Noisy’s route when we did the Louse. (Sawbill/Wine/Trail/Mahlberg/Little Sag/Mesaba/Sawbill) We did not continue on to the Frost. We were warned by at least 2 people coming through the Frost that it was all but impassable that year. We planned 7 days and travelled 6.

Without knowing your travel habits here is a possible route that takes in the 2 rivers and your wish to visit Adams Lake.

1Baker – S. Temperance
2S. Temperance – Frost
3Frost – Afton
4Afton – Mesaba
5Mesaba – Trail
6Trail – Mahlberg
7Mahlberg to Adams
8Adams to Makwa
9Makwa to L. Sag
10L. Sag to Tuscarora
11Tuscarora to Snipe
12Snipe to Long Island
13Long Island to S. Temperance
14S. Temperance to Baker

This is 14 days of travel. That would indeed be an epic route. An easier route back (even from Adams) would be through the Lady Lake Chain to Sawbill and either out there or complete the circuit to Baker.

Here is a second plan from the north:

1Ham Lake to Karl Lake
2Karl Lake to Frost Lake
3Frost Lake to Afton Lake
4Afton Lake to Mesaba Lake
5Mesaba Lake to Trail Lake
6Trail Lake to Mahlberg Lake
7Mahlberg Lake to Alice Lake (Visit the Pictos?)
8Alice Lake to Frazier Lake
9Frazier Lake to Kek Lake
10Kek Lake to Ogishkemuncie
11Ogish to Gabi
12Gabi to Tuscarora
13Tuscarora to Missing Link (Round Lake)

There are other options here like heading out through Seagull Lake from Kek. Or you could turn south out of Mahlberg, head through the Lady Lakes, go to Sawbill and up to Cherokee and then back out through Long Island to Ham Lake.

Does this answer your questions?
01/13/2018 07:35PM
Michwall2-

Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience on the Frost and Louse. I appreciate the time and effort that goes into such a thorough and comprehensive answer; it's very helpful.

"Does it answer my questions?" Yes, it answers the ones you can answer. Then there are the questions only God can answer, the questions I must answer, and the questions only my wife can answer. And then there's the cardiologist . . . since the heart attack a month after my 2016 trip!

I am planning 18 days in Sept for the loop, of which 12 +/- would be travel days. Most of the routes are about 80 miles +/- 5 or 6 miles (including the double portaging). I will have to look at some other possibilities you mentioned. In the past I have traveled 4-5 hours a day - about 8-10 miles not including meanderings. If (IF) i can recover and regain that kind of strength and stamina, I would have 12 days of travel and a weather/rest day every third day. I would have heavier packs to start (for the first week) than my 10-day trips. I would possibly take some shorter days on the rivers, maybe some longer ones later.

If it's a dry year, I'll likely not try it.

My first thought is to enter at Cross Bay, go Frost, Louse, Adams, Little Sag, Tuscarora, exit at Round Lake via Missing Link.

Besides the Frost and Louse Rivers, I am familiar with all but a little of the route - the sections between Long Island and Frost, and the section from the Cap-Boulder portage to Elton.

In 2014 we went from Kawishiwi Lake north through Malberg to Pan and Little Sag (I could use this to cut out Adams and shorten if necessary), then out to Sawbill through Mesaba, Hug, Zenith, Lujenida, Kelso, so I'm familiar with that part of a Sawbill loop.

In 2015 I went in Cross Bay to Snipe, then through Copper and Howl Swamp to Tuscarora on the way to Mora/Little Sag, exiting through Missing Link to Round, so I'm familiar with those options.

In 2016 I did a loop from Kawishiwi Lake to Malberg, the Fishdance pictos, Alice, Thomas, Fraser, Cap, Boulder, Adams, and out to Kawishiwi Lake.

I am not familiar with either of the two routes from Sawbill to Frost. I most likely would not try to make Frost the first day, whether I entered at Sawbill or Cross Bay.

I've never done the Frost or Louse Rivers and would really like to do them. I've been through Adams before and really liked it, but would like to spend two nights there.

Thanks again for your reply - much food for thought, many options to think about, but still unknowns, uncertainties, and unanswered questions.



NoisyWetHermit
member (50)member
 
01/14/2018 07:24AM
boonie: "That's an option, hermit - any particular reason you'd go that way?
"

I've been to Sawbill, Alice, and Homer areas,
but not the routes you are looking at.
It was really fun looking at the map and day
dreaming about what I would do. Thanks for
that! So my (low experience) reasoning goes:
1. Start and end at the same place to avoid Shuttle Hassle.
2. Start at an outfitter, since I usually forget something.
3. Do the long portage early in the trip.

Hermit
01/14/2018 07:47AM
Thanks, Hermit. So what are you going to do - are you going to do it too? It does get the juices flowing, doesn't it? I hope it doesn't end up being just a pipe dream.

I've been somewhat fascinated by people's long (in # of days) solos and have gradually done longer ones, with 12 days (2016) being the longest. I have liked the longer ones I've done.

I haven't used a shuttle too many times, but find the least hassle is by leaving my car at the exit and getting shuttled to the entry. Once we had two cars and did our own. I've done a couple where the exit was close enough to entry to just walk to the car. That's the way entering at Cross Bay and exiting at Round Lake would be - I've done that before and it's about a mile.

I have developed an extensive packing list over the years and use it religiously to make sure I pack everything. It becomes more necessary with each passing year!

I was hoping to do the long and/or tough portages later . . . after I ate most of the approximate 24 lbs. of food! Food weight becomes an issue for longer solos, but I really don't want to triple portage anything, although that initial climb on Fente-Hub may require it. I've done that portage before, so I know what's coming. Going out of Tuscarora is quite a climb too, but I'll be a lot lighter! The other issue with the rivers and some other places is just the sheer number of portages with all the loading/unloading, plus all the beaver dams to negotiate. Sometimes I think I'd rather do one 1-mile portage than eight 40-rod ones with all the lifting, especially if they have awkward landings.

Thanks for the input, Hermit - and keep on dreaming!

NoisyWetHermit
member (50)member
 
01/14/2018 07:28PM
boonie: "Thanks, Hermit. So what are you going to do - are you going to do it too? It does get the juices flowing, doesn't it? I hope it doesn't end up being just a pipe dream...

Thanks for the input, Hermit - and keep on dreaming!
"


My adult son (the Eagle Scout) and I are going up in August. That will fulfill one dream. I called my brother
today and he is up for the trip too. We've camped all over
but this will be the first time to BW for both of them.
January is the month for maps and dreams and figuring
out where we will be going, and what they want to do.

My brother in law (Whatsit, on here) is planning a June
BW trip. I'm tagging along with him too.

I'm really looking forward to these two trips.
01/14/2018 08:04PM
Hermit-
Enjoy that dream trip - how long do you have and what's the plan?

I recognize your BIL's name from the solo forum (and others). Enjoy that trip, too.

NoisyWetHermit
member (50)member
 
01/15/2018 09:24AM
boonie: "Hermit-
Enjoy that dream trip - how long do you have and what's the plan?


I recognize your BIL's name from the solo forum (and others). Enjoy that trip, too.


"

Thanks, we are going to keep it short (3 days) and take it easy. The plan is to basecamp and do some fishing. Not a lot of portages. I'm still trying to decide where to go.
01/15/2018 12:09PM
If you were on Sawbill early, you could make Gordon in a long day if you double portaged. We double portaged and made the north end of Cherokee in about 7 hours without killing ourselves.

On another trip, we did Cherokee to Baker in about the same amount of time triple portaging.
01/15/2018 02:16PM
Thanks, hooky-

If I go that way (or even the other) I'll plan to stay on Frost Lake the night before I start the river and I plan to take two days to get to Frost - I don't want to be exhausted before I start the Frost River! :) Since that's the case, I don't think there's much reason to push too hard the first day with heavy packs. Besides, I never get started as early as I plan and solo I'll have to do all the camp chores ;).
Michwall2
distinguished member(546)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/15/2018 07:00PM
I have been thinking about your need to spend some of your food barrel before you start the Frost/Louse portion of your trip. Here is a potential route starting from Kawishiwi Lake.

1Kawishiwi Lake – Polly Lake
2Polly Lake to Adams Lake
3Adams Lake to Hoe/Makwa
4Hoe/Makwa to Little Sag
5Little Sag to Tuscarora
6Tuscarora to Snipe
7Snipe to Karl/Long Island
8Karl/Long Island to Frost
9Frost to Afton
10Afton to Mesaba
11Mesaba to Trail
12Trail to Mahlberg
13Mahlberg to Kawashachong
14Kawashachong to Kawishiwi

This route would empty about 2/3 of your food before starting the Frost/Louse River. One drawback is that it does not start or end at an outfitter, but I think it meets most of your other trip goals.
01/18/2018 04:21PM
Thanks, Michwall2-

I've looked at a lot of different options including that one and similar ones. It seems like each one just introduces another difficulty - more miles/time, another portage problem, etc. That one adds 25 +/- miles to the route and the Tuscarora-Missing Link portage is almost as tough a climb with just a few days less food. The original way leaves it until the end.

I've come to the tentative conclusion that it's probably just as good to go with the basic plan of entering at Cross Bay, going to Frost and continuing across the Louse. There are fewer miles, which means fewer travel days, and more options. I may just need to triple that section of the Fente-Hub portage with a rest day before or after.

01/18/2018 06:41PM
Boonie,
We did the Louse last June. Went from Wine to Malberg in one, tough, long, but interesting day. Aside from current and beavers dams, another thing to consider is the grade. Quite a drop from Louse lake to Malberg and I'm glad I was walking downhill all day. We had to hunt for 3-4 portages due to beavers or unclear landmarks, but we got 'er done. Any questions, let me know. Rugged, beautiful, quiet route.
01/18/2018 06:58PM
Thanks, cowdoc- I remember you posted briefly about it. I will plan 2 days for it; I want to take my time and enjoy those rivers and that country while I'm there. I'm assuming my pace will be a little slower there than say, Kawishiwi to Polly. I hadn't really looked into the drop along the route, but after Fente-Hub, I'll be happy to go downhill for a while. After the rivers I can cover a few more miles per day to make up if need be, but I also have several off days planned too. It makes a lot of food weight though.

I'll keep an eye out for that trip report ;).
 
Reply    Reply with Quote    Print Top Bottom Previous Next