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flynn
member (25)member
 
09/28/2018 09:35AM
Hey all,

I took a 9 day trip in June through Knife, Kek, Fraser, Ima, Ensign, and a 6 day (planned to be 8 but storms cut it short) in September through Knife, Cherry, and back through Knife. I typically enjoy putting in decent amounts of travel and I don't mind 4-8 portages in a day depending on length (ideally 2-4 miles tops). I like paddling but I also like portaging because you get variety in scenery.

I missed the Fall colors by just a bit in the trip earlier this month. I want to drive up for 1 or 2 nights for a quick reprieve with beautiful scenery and some fishing. I would prefer the eastern side (Ely/Tofte) due to familiarity of that area. I don't want 6 hours of travel in and out, ideally 3-4 hours tops.

Where should I go? I want to see Malberg but it's too much travel this late in the season for a spur of the moment trip so I'll have to save Kawishiwi Lake for another year. I haven't gone through Sawbill yet and I'm wondering if I should just pop in there and head west over to Grace or maybe east to Burnt/Kelly. Both seem like decent options in terms of travel time, and are far enough away from Sawbill that I feel like I should expect not to see many people this time of the year. One plus for Sawbill is that I can drive up on Friday after work and camp overnight in the campground and then get on the water early on Saturday.

What about going through Tuscarora Outfitters and plowing through to Tuscarora? The 362 rod portage from Missing Link to Tuscarora doesn't exactly sound exciting but I've heard it's a nice lake. Any reason to head to Snipe instead? I don't need a ton of travel like my summer trips; I'd be up there for the scenery and isolation more than anything.

I should note, I don't have a canoe so I need to rent one, and I don't have a roof rack so I can't pick up a canoe in town and drive to a particular entry point myself. I either need to stay with an outfitter on an entry lake or get transportation to the entry point which eats up time and money and I'd prefer to avoid that if possible.

If I do go, it'll be in the next week or two before it gets too cold, and I might not even be able to make it before it's too cold for my current gear (no winter gear). I appreciate any and all suggestions! Thanks very much!!
 
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THEGrandRapids
member (50)member
 
09/28/2018 10:01AM
I outfitted with Sawbill Outfittrs this Spring. They are top notch. I think there are enough options from there. That would be my pick. I also have to imagine the colors are peak right now. There is another thread about a webcam at Lutsen, can check that out to judge foliage.
andym
distinguished member(4352)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
09/28/2018 10:04AM
Some outfitters will loan or rent you foam blocks and straps to put a canoe on top of your car. That will open up your options.

For outfitters on a lake, there is also Kawishiwi Lodge on Lake one with the option of heading west down the river. If you go east through the lakes, check for threads about bear activity on Lake 4 or talk to the outfitters about it.
09/28/2018 11:12AM
The Tuscarora idea sounds nice. Portage is long but well traveled and a decent path. Spend an afternoon and night on Tusc and then hit the Howl Swamp portage over to Copper and then up to Snipe for night 2. Back out through Missing Link the next day.
SevenofNine
distinguished member(2276)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/28/2018 11:18AM
cowdoc: "The Tuscarora idea sounds nice. Portage is long but well traveled and a decent path. Spend an afternoon and night on Tusc and then hit the Howl Swamp portage over to Copper and then up to Snipe for night 2. Back out through Missing Link the next day."

I would recommend just going to Snipe and explore from there via day trips unless you want to camp on Tuscarora.
A1t2o
distinguished member(612)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/28/2018 01:19PM
For an easier 1-2 nighter, I would head to the burning chain from Sawbill. They are nice lakes and great for a short trip. I plan on taking my son there as one of his first trips when he is old enough.

Another fun one is Brule. You could stay on Brule and explore the lake or head to South Temperance, the Cones, or Vernon. I have done everything but staying on Brule and it is a great area, but it does have larger areas of open water that you might want to avoid if the weather report mentions wind. You can stick to the islands in those conditions and just avoid the open water.

Tuscarora was a beautiful lake and I wish I could have spent more time there. I don't know about the portage though because we entered the wrong bay in windy conditions and took the long way to Missing link. I do not recommend doing that unless you want to visit a more remote area with not as well maintained portages.
VoyageurNorth
distinguished member(2611)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/28/2018 01:28PM
If you go up to #16 Moose River or #14 Little Indian Sioux, you should find some great colors, a nice short trip & the Echo Trail road up to those areas is currently blazing with colors too.
flynn
member (25)member
 
09/28/2018 08:59PM
Thanks for all of your suggestions! Boy, Snipe actually looks like a perfect place to hang out for 2 days. I like the interesting shape with the narrow spots. I forgot about the Sioux-Hustler area and remember seeing Shug Emery hike it in the Fall - it looked beautiful. However, I'd probably want to get to Shell, and that's more work than getting to Snipe. Snipe sounds easiest because I can stay at Tuscarora Outfitters and get there in 2-3 hours from the entry point. Then I can relax, take photos, fish, and eat, all in the wilderness. If I decide it's just too nice to sit around and I want to travel the second day, I could head down to Tuscarora, and then back up to Round through Missing Link on the third day. Well, at least there are plenty of options!!
VoyageurNorth
distinguished member(2611)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/28/2018 09:10PM
Have a great time & stay warm and dry!
Michwall2
distinguished member(649)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/29/2018 11:06AM
cowdoc: "The Tuscarora idea sounds nice. Portage is long but well traveled and a decent path. Spend an afternoon and night on Tusc and then hit the Howl Swamp portage over to Copper and then up to Snipe for night 2. Back out through Missing Link the next day."

+1
sedges
distinguished member (303)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/29/2018 06:10PM
Snipe is a pretty little lake. Consider going out through Cross Bay to Ham and the Cross River Access or spending your second night on Cross Bay Lake. Its a short walk back to Tuscarora Outfitters. Cross Bay is a charming lake as well with lots of moose habitat. The first campsite you hit on Snipe is very nice. The southern-most one on Cross Bay is a five star for sure. This would be my go-to short trip if I lived close enough to do them.

From Sawbill the Cherokee to Temperance than south and back to Sawbill. A challenging little loop with some steep portages. But you'll be traveling pretty light on a three day trip.
 
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