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mastertangler
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02/17/2018 01:59PM
I am a planner by nature and tend to be detail oreintated. That means lots of time pouring over maps and envisioning accomplishing an ambitious trip. My first BWCA trip seen us get to Cherokee lake late in the evening sporting blisters and lugging enough fishing equipment to open a tackle store. My traveling partner, sensing my dismay, suggested thus......."You know, we don't HAVE to do the loop Al, we could stop and fish here" Suddenly all was right with the world.

Your attitude towards plan "A" falling apart and embracing plan "B" with optimism may be the difference between a satisfying experience and not.

These days I have a well thought out route or loop planned. But I am always ready, willing and able to alter that plan depending on weather or other conditions.

How well do you accept plan "B" ( or plan C, D etc )?
 
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billconner
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02/17/2018 03:03PM
My plan A stops soon after entry, usually picked at last minute, and II carry a lot of maps. Nothing to accept, noting to abandon. I have even stopped committing to an exact exit date. Like the song says "don't worry, be happy".
Northwoodsman
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02/17/2018 08:36PM
MT,

That is funny. I had the same plan, same results, and same plan B just 2 years ago. Got a late start at Sawbill EP, had WAY too much gear, arrived on Cherokee just before dusk. It was raining, wet and cold. Spent 3 nights there and backtracked the same way out. What a wonderful stress-free trip after plan B was agreed upon.

I'm like you in that I plan, plan, plan. After the trip I mentioned above I now just pick an entry point and a potential destination (no loops planned). If we get there, we get there. Our plan is normally set in place at the end of day 1 depending on how that went and how we are feeling. I don't even have a concrete day for when we will exit, we have a goal. If weather looks to be crappy on exit day, we may move it up a day or back a day. I travel with an InReach so I make sure friends and family are kept in the loop each day.
old_salt
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02/17/2018 09:04PM
Options are great. I always plan to have options.
mastertangler
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02/18/2018 08:28AM
There is of course the flip side or what I term as the negative aspect of"options". My old tripping partner (who never goes anymore) would dilly dally the day away and indeed the entire trip if it were not for me and my general adherence to a plan and a goal. Generally speaking I like the concept and clarity of a vision for an overall trip with modifications along the way.

But even that should be open to evaluation. Last year I spent the winter planning and dreaming about an ambitious WCPP month long trip. But as the time drew near reality impressed upon me that I had not put my body into a conditioning regiment which would facilitate success. Plan "B" slowly crept into noogin and I grudgingly accepted it. Last summers trip to Isle Royals, plan B, proved very satisfying.
AmarilloJim
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02/18/2018 11:44AM
I pick an entry point date, pack a certain number of days food and go from there. I don't think I've ever followed plan "A". If I don't get to a certain point of interest I just flag it for a future trip.
old_salt
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02/18/2018 12:49PM
mastertangler: "There is of course the flip side or what I term as the negative aspect of"options". My old tripping partner (who never goes anymore) would dilly dally the day away and indeed the entire trip if it were not for me and my general adherence to a plan and a goal. Generally speaking I like the concept and clarity of a vision for an overall trip with modifications along the way.


But even that should be open to evaluation. Last year I spent the winter planning and dreaming about an ambitious WCPP month long trip. But as the time drew near reality impressed upon me that I had not put my body into a conditioning regiment which would facilitate success. Plan "B" slowly crept into noogin and I grudgingly accepted it. Last summers trip to Isle Royals, plan B, proved very satisfying. "


Not suggesting wasting time as an option. Options are considered as they relate to overall trip plan and goals. Physical conditioning is considered as a factor in whether the trip plan and goals are realistic or a pipe dream.
mastertangler
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02/18/2018 03:15PM
Old Salt I didn't think you were suggesting wasting time as an option.......and agree with your philosophy of flexibility being inherent in any plan.

I was merely giving the flip side of having no plan at all. I genuinely like having a plan and spend considerable time tossing the plan around and evaluating it through a variety of lenses. But when reality inserts itself and dashes and crashes said plan the key to happiness may be being able to roll with the circumstances with the right attitude.

I believe that becomes exponentially more difficult the more trippers which are involved.
billconner
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02/18/2018 03:22PM
I agree that the larger the group, the harder it is to not have and attempt to follow a plan or plans. I'm usually on tandem trips - most often with a son - and it easy to go with the flow. The two trips with 4 - another father and son - it was their first tine and how would they know if I had a plan or not? We went, they loved it and still mention it many years later, and we came back.

I understand the appeal of planning, as I make my living as a planner, thus want nothing to do with planning, deadlines, or anything like that with the very little leisure time I have.
02/19/2018 06:48AM
I also like to have a pretty detailed plan before heading in. I'm usually pretty accurate as far as judging my groups abilities and have a group of campsites picked out for the first night. After that everything is dependant on the weather.

Since we started carrying a weather radio about 5 years ago our in trip planning has changed dramatically. The extreme example was a few years ago on a rather soggy trip to SAK and looping back out Ensign. We woke up on Vera to an extremely overcast but not too windy day. We were scheduled to leave the next day but the weather called for overcast, cool temps and a 25 mph sw wind. We made the decision to leave and when I looked at the web cam on Moose the following day I was a very happy camper. There is now way we would have paddled out Moose in those winds.

I feel the weather radio is one of those not leave home without pieces of gear. It allows us to paddle on good days and layover on not so nice days. It's a terrible feeling to be stuck in camp on a day that you planned on paddling due to weather.
bposteve
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02/19/2018 08:10AM
Advice given to me :: A good traveler has no set destination and is not intent on arriving.

Once the canoe is in the water and loaded up I'm already where I want to be. The rest is just details.
02/19/2018 09:45AM
I always have a detailed plan with options (Plan A, B, C . . .) and a good bit of flexibility (weather/layover days) built-in. My plans now are more "realistic" than the first trip (solo) I planned. I prefer to complete the plan as envisioned, since the other options are fallback options for when my physical health and/or weather doesn't cooperate. Nonetheless, I enjoy the trips even when it's Plan B or Plan C.

I've done enough trips - mostly solo - that it's easy for me to plan mine accurately. Or one with Steve, but trips that might include someone new who has never done one - that's a guessing game. Even one with my brother who has done a couple of short trips many years ago, would still be a guessing game.

I like the planning (and dreaming) process, but unlike bill who does planning as a job, I had a job that was an unplanned daily chaos that I had no control over, so maybe we're just opposite sides of the same coin ;).

I've also used my weather radio to decide to come out a day early vs. a day late.

LindenTree3
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02/19/2018 10:08AM
MT,
Speaking of weather radios, did your Sangean ever start working?
mastertangler
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02/19/2018 11:08AM
LindenTree3: "MT,
Speaking of weather radios, did your Sangean ever start working?"


Oh I'm sure "it works" if it gets the required strength of signal. I would be interested to see if it would get anything at Isle Royale. I had a cheapo version of a weather radio there last summer and I could get zip.

Then I took the plunge and dropped my hard earned dough on the Sangean due to recommendations on this very site. When it arrived I was eager to get a voice telling me the weather at lake Okeechobee..........the result was oddly familiar, crickets (static).

As per bposteve's quote.........I like it and hate it all at the same time ;-)
inspector13
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02/19/2018 11:19AM

Even if I’m adamant about a goal, I leave the path or method to achieve it flexible. Even plan Z is acceptable if that goal is met. But my main BWCA vacation goal is to have fun, and my definition of fun is broad, so I leave it up to others for the details. If I were to go on a solo trip I could even see myself making decisions at the last second, as I saw pswith5 do last fall.

andym
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02/19/2018 02:35PM
Strangely, we’ve always succeeded with plan A on our BW trips. But it tends to be plan A version 3, revision 2, beta distribution. I can’t think of a single trip where we didn’t spend more time than expected somewhere because we were either tired from a long haul or just having so much fun that we didn’t want to leave, or the weather said so.

We have a site we really love and so our plans always include an option of what we will do instead, if it is full and the folks there are staying a while.
billconner
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02/19/2018 06:01PM
bposteve: "Advice given to me :: A good traveler has no set destination and is not intent on arriving.


Once the canoe is in the water and loaded up I'm already where I want to be. The rest is just details."


Amen!
Unclered
 
02/19/2018 06:28PM
billconner: "My plan A stops soon after entry, usually picked at last minute, and II carry a lot of maps. Nothing to accept, noting to abandon. I have even stopped committing to an exact exit date. Like the song says "don't worry, be happy". "

New to the message board.............I've been to BWCA once in 2011. Doesn't your permit only allow so many days to exit? I went with an outfitter so many it's different?
billconner
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02/19/2018 08:23PM
Unclered: "billconner: "My plan A stops soon after entry, usually picked at last minute, and II carry a lot of maps. Nothing to accept, noting to abandon. I have even stopped committing to an exact exit date. Like the song says "don't worry, be happy". "


New to the message board.............I've been to BWCA once in 2011. Doesn't your permit only allow so many days to exit? I went with an outfitter so many it's different?"


You put down an estimated duration iirc but - now I'm not sure - either a full year or forever. Heck of a bargain for (senior pass) $8.
bwcadan
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02/19/2018 09:39PM
All is good when the in bwca. My worst plan B was having to choose to leave a leave 2 days early due to a dire weather forecast 2 years ago which actually proved accurate.
bct
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02/20/2018 02:07PM
I try to stay flexible. I always start with the intention of following through with my initial plan, and sometimes do. Other times, I do not. This has manifested in many ways over the years. Based on my own experiences with close calls, I go for safety when it is an option.
WHendrix
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02/20/2018 04:16PM
I too like to be flexible and adjust according to conditions. One of my favorite fishing writers says "if you knew exactly what was going to happen on a trip you wouldn't need to go".
scramble4a5
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02/20/2018 07:14PM
Since we basecamp our plan B is usually what is our second choice of campsite on a lake. Plan C is what's our backup lake if our chosen one is full. That stresses me out enough so moving every day or two would make me even more mentally fragile??
02/20/2018 07:29PM
Plan A types are way too anal for me. No enjoyment in traveling with someone who thinks he knows everything that is going to unfold. What, possibly, is the joy in that? May as well stay home with box on your head enjoying your perfect trip.
billconner
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02/20/2018 07:35PM
Frenchy19: "Plan A types are way too anal for me. No enjoyment in traveling with someone who thinks he knows everything that is going to unfold. What, possibly, is the joy in that? May as well stay home with box on your head enjoying your perfect trip. "

That's a little harsh. Some like to stick to a plan, some like to carry in ice ( go Wick!!), And others go with the breeze. Leisure and freedom - it's a great thing.

I admit, even if I eschew plans, if I go with someone with a plan, I follow it, and don't complain (not much at least).

02/20/2018 09:17PM
billconner: "Frenchy19: "Plan A types are way too anal for me. No enjoyment in traveling with someone who thinks he knows everything that is going to unfold. What, possibly, is the joy in that? May as well stay home with box on your head enjoying your perfect trip. "


That's a little harsh. Some like to stick to a plan, some like to carry in ice ( go Wick!!), And others go with the breeze. Leisure and freedom - it's a great thing.


I admit, even if I eschew plans, if I go with someone with a plan, I follow it, and don't complain (not much at least).


"


And such is the beauty of having opinions.
andym
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02/21/2018 04:15AM
Unclered: "
New to the message board.............I've been to BWCA once in 2011. Doesn't your permit only allow so many days to exit? I went with an outfitter so many it's different?"


Welcome. The exit date you put on the permit is just for the FS info. It helps them know how long people generally trip in a given area and could help them guess how many parties to look for in an emergency such as a fire or blow down. But, it is not binding.

With an outfitter you may be more committed due to getting picked up and/or letting them plan to rent that gear to other people. Still, they understand that things can change with bad weather. But I wouldn’t just decide to stay a few more days because it is so much fun. If you want to do that, you need to have your own gear or clear it with the outfitter first.
Minnesotian
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02/21/2018 08:05AM

I remember the first time I made a hard and concrete Plan A. It was a week before I was to head out on a month long Europe trip by myself. A week before leaving I had a plan to be here, then here, then here, see this, do that, meet up with these people.

Two days before departing, I ripped up the plan. I knew that in two days I would take the train from London to Dover, cross on the ferry to Calais, France, and I would see where I went from there. That month ended up being pretty awesome. Met some great people and saw more of the unknown places of Europe then I thought. Highlight was probably camping in Italy overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, in the Cinque Terre coast.

Ever since then, my trip plans for Quetico or wherever are loops, out and backs, and the such, but I always leave room for possibilities.
mooseplums
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02/21/2018 10:15AM
I used to be a plan A type, but now all bets are off at the entry point.
I go with the flow. Its more fun that way
lundojam
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02/21/2018 05:34PM
A couple years ago someone asked a similar question about a day's fishing. Somebody replied they always have a B and a C plan in case of weather, piscatorial uncooperation or running out of GAS. Turns out GAS is an acronym for give a darn. I always remember that and plan for it. it happens, after all.
andym
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02/21/2018 08:08PM
I think it is also worth remembering that sticking to a plan in the face of bad weather or other problems is a major cause of serious injuries and death in the wilderness. Plan B will keep you alive.
02/21/2018 09:27PM
andym: "I think it is also worth remembering that sticking to a plan in the face of bad weather or other problems is a major cause of serious injuries and death in the wilderness. Plan B will keep you alive."

A plan that requires that is a bad plan, like one of my early solos. ;). Actually, my Plan A will keep me alive and get me out on time. It is usually traveling ~5 hours a day for maybe 3 out of every 4 days, so in that sense Plan B is already built in. Plan B may be a longer loop, Plan C a shorter one. I view Plan A as something that should be realistic under normal circumstances, including weather, not as some kind of challenge that can only be completed by herculean effort and the grace of the gods. :).
02/22/2018 12:32PM
I start with setting a goal. Then I put together a plan that allows me to achieve my goal. Then I figure out variations in the plan that still allow me to achieve the goal.

I do this for trips. I do this in my personal life with family. I do it in my professional life with my career. I do it for what I'm going to have for supper.

Some goals are daily, others life long, but most are in between. The shorter term the goal the less formal the planning process and vice versa.
02/22/2018 06:57PM
when I'm solo I like plan A, but will change route if I have to. When with others I'm open to about anything unless they want to do a loop and many don't which is fine also.
02/22/2018 07:27PM
Frenchy19: "Plan A types are way too anal for me. No enjoyment in traveling with someone who thinks he knows everything that is going to unfold. What, possibly, is the joy in that? May as well stay home with box on your head enjoying your perfect trip. " That's why I like solos, I can be as anal as I want to, plus my girlfriend tells me that. HaHa.
02/22/2018 08:51PM
Planning is part of the trip. As I mentally experience the various options reviewing trip reports and looking at site ratings on maps and all that other data that piles up I actually get a pleasant excitement, sometimes more that the actual trip experience offers. So I always plan and A, B, C, D ..... And where indicated I will carry maps for the alternate routes.
Once on the lakes I might travel farther or take a detour or just base one day and dally around. That one is a new thing as in the past I always had to be busy doing something.
Having a back up plan and maps sure paid off when the Pagami Creek Fire blocked exit through the numbers chain. The trip back up Thomas and out was hectic, but one I had maps and had as an option if we were to travel more rather than base on Insula. My newbie partner wanted to base so we did, but in the end I got to make the loop.
mastertangler
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02/23/2018 07:54AM
Sounds like we are mostly on the same page. The one thing I would guard against is having to be out on a certain date in order to catch a plane etc.

At the very least put yourself into a position to be able to exit. Naturally that is common sense but it can be surprising how many lack it.

My plan "A" has much to do with planning logistical details in order to accomplish the vision. I.e. Do I need to go light etc. Once on the water flexibility reigns.
BlackSwanAdventures
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02/23/2018 09:06AM
one of the most crucial tisbits we can offer up, is when we are deciding an entry point.. we choose one with at least 2 route options that differ greatly, depending on wind conditions. especially when on Big bodies of water potentially.

in general we have many plans and go with how the general feel of the trip is going (paired with weather conditions)
02/23/2018 05:48PM
I have stuck with plan A for 80% of my trips. The other 20% have gone from plan B , all the way to plan Z !! Been some pretty crazy things that happen in the north woods . You just never know....
mastertangler
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02/23/2018 08:37PM
Plan A is all well and good until the unthinkable happens. Several years ago I had Harlan of Red Lake Outfitters drop me off at a remote entry point in WCPP with instructions to leave my truck some 2 weeks later at an exit.

When I went down with a debilitating knee issue the first day there was no back tracking to my vehicle. The thought of asking someone to sacrifice their trip by not only helping in evacuating me but also driving me out was to difficult to consider unless it was the last option. Instead I hit the rescue button on my SPOT and 3 hours later a 6 million dollar helicopter showed up.

Lesson learned.......give yourself an out. Had my truck been parked back at my entry point I would of tried to self evacuate. And even if I needed assistance at least it wouldn't of entailed a 60 km logging road.
02/24/2018 05:27AM
Frenchy19: "Plan A types are way too anal for me. No enjoyment in traveling with someone who thinks he knows everything that is going to unfold. What, possibly, is the joy in that? May as well stay home with box on your head enjoying your perfect trip. "

“Get off my lawn”

I plan a trip very throughly b4 we leave make all necessary arrangements, logistics, buy additional maps, update my gps with campsites, portages, fishing locations, etc. A very wise person once said “no one plans to fail they fail to plan” . That said, we modify our plan regularly as the weather and fishing dictate. Distance and effort usually are not an issue and agreed upon b4 we leave home. We have all our own gear and canoe(s) and we carry a sat phone so no issues with revising tows, shuttles, etc....
02/24/2018 08:38AM
mastertangler: "Sounds like we are mostly on the same page. The one thing I would guard against is having to be out on a certain date in order to catch a plane etc.


+1 on that, take it from somebody that missed their tow by 2 hours due to our last 6 mile paddle going into a 25 MPH constant wind.

The silver lining was, due to having to stay in the area an extra day, we got to explore the Lake Superior museum and Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth, both worth a visit if you get a chance.
mastertangler
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02/24/2018 09:56AM
Aquariums and museums......two of my favorite places. Did the shipwreck museum in the U.P. Of Michigan.

My buddy, who can be rather persuasive, suggested we not paddle moose lake but rather get the Canadian rangers to call and arrange a tow. I thought the idea completely preposterous but he pulled it off. i didn't think they would do that sort of thing.
 
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