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Rob Johnson
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12/28/2010 07:45AM
Clearly hoping a certain moderator chimes in on this one.

How easy/what is the technique for walking in bogs in the Bdub?

It is pretty clear from the bits & pieces I've picked up in these threads that the PMA we've chosen to tackle (Mugwump)includes some blowdown area. From the satelite images it looks like we can avoid some of this if we are willing to walk through bogs...wondering just how tough that will be.
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12/28/2010 07:59AM
I'm no bog walker, but from what little wandering I've done thru them, its easier, for me, to stay on the edges instead of plowing through the middle.

The ground is a bit more firm along tree lines, the 'grass mounds' are not always what they seem. Most of those grass piles WILL move, and most sink a bit. what looks dry can be a very wet experience. Trees are your best bet. there's more of an anchor through a tree line, or patch of trees. Either way, you will get wet :) I also have zero experience hauling gear through said bogs. Just myself and a gun (while hunting) or my water bottle, haha.

It IS easy to 'leave no trace' in this area, any path you may inadvertently make will disappear in a week or less.
12/28/2010 07:27PM
Like Amok, I like to find a semi firm edge to walk on. Bogs can be very nasty when you find yourself in thigh deep, stinking muck. Also, avoid camping near them. The bugs will be 10 times as bad.
12/28/2010 10:45PM
oh, yeah. the only time I encountered bugs that September trip was walking around through the bog ... so I bet they are horrid during the summer months!
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12/29/2010 01:14AM
you don't have to go to the BWCA to find wilderness bogs in minnesota. i have to admit i am a bog junkie. these are the real wilderness gems of minnesota. however to walk in them requires that you carefully appraise your plans. conditions in bogs are constantly variable due to water levels and such. one beaver dam can make the whole bog an impenetrable mess. but you just never know until you are there. so as far as planning goes, i guess you really can't plan. that is the wilderness, it determines what you are capable of accomplishing. i guess that this must be the allure of the PMAs. i have spent more then several nights (solo trips) sleeping inside of my canoe as it was the only dry area around. this can be really grim stuff. from my experience any route that follows high land is preferable to bog walking. in PMAs i always look to find high rock ridges rather that take my chances in wetlands. always.
12/29/2010 08:24AM
It can be a difficult and dangerous thing to do, especially in Spring and Fall with cold water temps.

I do not walk bogs in the BWCAW as often as my name might suggest and I only do so to access areas or to portage through to a spot in a PMA.

Bogs are very slow to recover from any intrusion. A foot print or breakthrough will be visible for years.

If you do walk in Bogs I suggest the following...

1) First time across be as light as possible and confident that you can maintain your balance with what you are carrying.

2) Have a walking stick, a tree branch or at least a paddle for balance.

3) Use the stick, paddle or whatever to probe the next step to make sure it will support you. Usually bogs are few inches to a foot thick or so but they float over water that is anywhere from a few inches deep to many feet deep. In addtion the muck at the bottom often is a foot or so deep and can be like cement or quicksand should your foot get into it.

4) Take your time and wear your PFD. Be willing to let your boot or footwear go if it gets stuck in the muck-better to lose a boot the your life.

5) Do not walk through bogs by yourself unless you have no other option. It is best to have a partner to help just in case.

6) If the footing gets dangerous carefully go back and try another path or better yet abandon the attempt.
12/29/2010 10:32AM
i knew you'd have some good advice, Bogwalker. Thanks for chiming in. and wow, jwartman. i've never even contemplated 'exploring' a bog, or sleeping in my canoe before because of nowhere else to be. call me a wimp, but i'm all for going around most of the time.
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12/29/2010 11:28AM
I second everything Bogs said and add:

I look for trees. There are often three foot or so high pine trees. The bog is usually much firmer around them.
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01/07/2011 08:37PM
There is some major bog walking to reach Yodeler and, though my experience was that it was firm enough to hold me, it made me feel much better having the canoe beside me... leave pack in canoe and drag canoe across bog.
Guest Paddler
02/27/2011 09:32AM
Be careful!
Rob Johnson
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02/27/2011 09:47AM
quote forestmaven: " Be careful!"

Hole must be really deep for the canoe to be completely sunk!
Guest Paddler
02/27/2011 10:26AM
I guess he was a double portage guy.
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