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Grumpy
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02/25/2011 11:49AM
My wife has made up her mind that she would like to enter the BW. My wife has never canoed before let alone slept in a tent (maybe a dozen or so times), also she don't know how to swim. Yes, I know that I have my hands full. But she is insisting on doing this...

Would someone be able to share a relatively easy paddle and portage route? Also what time of year would be best? We used to get a campsite at Trailsend Campground and do a day trip with the kids. But she would stay at camp.

What do you think of Stuart Lake for her maiden voyage? First ever portage 480 Rods! What better way to brake her in?

Thanks in advance for all of your advice!

Grumpy
 
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Mort
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02/25/2011 12:32PM
Good for her Grumpy! I wish my wife's health still allowed her to join me on trips like she used to do.

Needless to say, you have many, many route options to pick from. Two that come right to mind are Little Indian Sioux River North to Loon Lake, ...or Hog Creek to Perent Lake.

If you stay off the more popular routes, I think that the beginning week or two of August would be the best time of year for your wife to be introduced to the B'dub, because the weather tends to be the most stable, water is warm for shallow wading/swimming, and the mosquitoes are significantly fewer and less pesky that time of the summer.
Woods Walker
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02/25/2011 05:08PM
The LIS & the Moose rivers would be great trips. My 1st trip with my wife was out of Kawishiwi Lake & we just did the one portage into Baskatong & we had the lake to ourselves.

Troy
02/25/2011 06:33PM
Lizz EP #47 might work for you since it's small lakes and easy portages. Several loop options from there or you could basecamp and have daytrip options in all directions.

Bugs could ruin a trip for my wife and make her not want to go back so we go in August. Less bugs and warmer water. We've gone the beginning of Aug. and the end of Aug. and we like the end much better. There were a lot less people at the end of Aug.

Stuart? Trying to get her to quit before she even sees the water :)

Good luck and I hope you both have a great time.
paddlefamily
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02/25/2011 06:58PM
Wonderful! I agree with the others.

Hegman Lakes EP 77. Scenic, not too far up the Echo. Staying on smaller lakes limits wind issues. :) Get off the beaten path and camp on Little Bass Lake. Portage to it is a little hilly, 180 rods. Hike some of the Angleworm Trail for a day trip.

Little Indian Sioux EP 14. Area is really lovely. Scenic lakes, Devil's Cascade. Base camp on Shell, leaving numerous options for day trips.

Moose EP 16. Take the river to Nina Moose Lake to Nina Moose River and loop back through Ramshead and Lamb Lakes, back out to Moose River EP>

Isabella River EP 34/35 has easy portages, easy paddling and is good moose habitat.

I agree, go late summer/early fall for less bugs = happy wife.

How many days are you thinking of going?
02/25/2011 07:06PM
quote ducks: " Lizz EP #47 might work for you since it's small lakes and easy portages. Several loop options from there or you could basecamp and have daytrip options in all directions.


Bugs could ruin a trip for my wife and make her not want to go back so we go in August. Less bugs and warmer water. We've gone the beginning of Aug. and the end of Aug. and we like the end much better. There were a lot less people at the end of Aug.


Stuart? Trying to get her to quit before she even sees the water :)


Good luck and I hope you both have a great time."

+1

im really fond of hog creek also.
Savage Voyageur
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02/25/2011 07:24PM
Welcome aboard Grumpy,
Chose a trip that will make it not break it for her.
If you make it too hard for your wife she will never want to return again. I would go in late August or early September, Less people and bugs. Also choose a lake that is not too big so the wind will not be a problem. There are lots of lakes that are smaller to choose from. Lakes that are long are what to look for, less portaging, more paddling. Loop trips are nice for the reason that you see something new each day. But nothing wrong with a trip to a lake then travel back the same way. Keep it simple and easy and you will have a Paddle partner for life. Enjoy your trip.
PineKnot
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02/25/2011 07:53PM
Wow. The opportunity to take a virgin into the BWCA! And you still call yourself Grumpy?? :-)

Take her to Seagull. Base camp there and take a couple day trips. You’ll love it, and so will she. And I’m envious!
02/26/2011 02:18AM
Keep it a secret where you are going the whole time. A day before the trip plan/get permit for a rout that will be downwind. Getting der will be an ease and base-camp.
Grumpy
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02/27/2011 08:56PM
Thanks for everyone's input. My wife and I were up way late last Friday. It was really fun seeing her getting all excited. We looked into LIS, Moose River, Hog Creek, Moose Lake and she even thought about the Stuart River Portage. We decided on LIS!!! Reservation made and all is well.

Grumpy
BWPaddler
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02/28/2011 10:04AM
Please come back and let us know how it went... glad you enjoyed the planning together. What has changed her mind these days?
salukiguy
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02/28/2011 12:27PM
Is it possible she could take an adult swim class at the Y or local college befor you go?
SevenofNine
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02/28/2011 02:59PM
quote Grumpy: "Thanks for everyone's input. My wife and I were up way late last Friday. It was really fun seeing her getting all excited. We looked into LIS, Moose River, Hog Creek, Moose Lake and she even thought about the Stuart River Portage. We decided on LIS!!! Reservation made and all is well.


Grumpy"


Welcome to the board and good luck on your trip. Best advice I can give is do your best to make things easy for her. Talk to her about what she wants to do (travel, fish, etc.) and get out on a lake in a canoe before you go up north so she knows how canoeing will be like.

Make sure she has decent/warm clothing and a warm sleeping bag!

Let us know how things went.
BearBrown
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03/02/2011 01:22AM

Make sure she has decent/warm clothing and a warm sleeping bag!


Let us know how things went."


A warm sleeping bag is a must for the ladies. I know my girlfriend is a freeze baby, especially at night. A sleeping pad to insulate from the ground will help a lot too.

On my trip last august, we took a newbie with us. She had never canoed or camped and can't swim. And she still had a blast figuring it all out. We took it pretty easy, but she was a trooper. Hope your wife loves it.
friman001
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03/02/2011 08:30PM
I was a first timer, my lady was a first timer, and my 2 year old 15lb dog was a first timer. The Mudro loop (to horse, to fourtown, and back) was perfect. We can't wait for next year.
03/03/2011 09:37AM
That's awesome Grumpy. Good luck and have fun. LIS is on our to do list. It gets recommended on here a lot.
Grumpy
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06/21/2011 05:52AM
8 more days! My wife is getting a little leery on this trip. I am getting a little antsy! I am so looking forward to this trip. I need to make it as enjoyable as ever for my wife and my daughter. The latter does not want to go at all. Does anyone know how busy it is around the 4th of July weekend? Are there any fishing hotspots that I should be aware of? As it stands, we are planning on going up to loon lake. I know that there will be boats with motors, but if we were to go to shell, I heard that the portage is a little tricky. Anybody been there this year that could shed some light on that?

Thanks for all of your comments.

Wayne
billconner
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06/21/2011 07:03AM
My wife went with me once and still complains about the discomfort of the mummy style sleeping bag and the discomfort of the sleeping pad (1 1/2" full size thermorest). Consider a large rectangular sleeping bag and an Exped DX9.
nojobro
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06/21/2011 08:04AM
People often say to keep it easy for someone's first trip. While I don't advocate a tough trip, I don't think you need to do the easiest trip ever, either. Part of the fun of the BW, for me (a woman, note), is the challenge. So don't make it a no-portaging trip, but don't do the Angleworm portage, either.
shoreviewswede
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06/21/2011 11:58AM
Grumpy, I have not traveled that route, so am not speaking from experience.

You say your destination is Loon... but are portaging into Shell? looking at the map, that looks like the hard way to Loon.

Just from looking at the map, route from EP to Loon looks like a very rational trip for your requirements; good dose of paddling without long portages.
Grumpy
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06/21/2011 12:25PM
quote shoreviewswede: "Grumpy, I have not traveled that route, so am not speaking from experience.


You say your destination is Loon... but are portaging into Shell? looking at the map, that looks like the hard way to Loon.


Just from looking at the map, route from EP to Loon looks like a very rational trip for your requirements; good dose of paddling without long portages."


I revised my last post, I heard that the fishing on Shell is awesome. That is why I brought it up. We are most likely going to go up to Loon. Hopefully the reservation I put on a campsite did not get lost?
06/21/2011 02:13PM
I (another woman) agree with Nojobro. It doesn't have to be super-easy to be fun. Let her rise to the challenge a bit.

And I personally love my mummy bag, so go figure?

I seem to be atypical, as I like to go in the spring when the flowers are fresh, the campsites fresher, and the loons have their chicks with them on the water. (mid-June). Yes, it is bug season. For me, the bugs are a small price to pay to have the aforementioned treats, so I guess all women aren't alike. I prefer colder weather to hot, so we don't go in July or August. The very last part of August or early September is nice, though. But whenever you are going, you will have the opportunity to have a great trip. Enjoy!

On my first trip in 1971 I was new to canoeing, new to camping, and I loved it! (I could swim, though. Be sure she wears a PFD in the canoe at all times, please. We do even now and we are both swimmers.) I am just as enthusiastic about planning trip #26, or whatever this next one is, as I was in planning trip #2.

She'll love it. Write a trip report once you get back. Maybe you can write a report together. :-)
06/21/2011 09:07PM
(1) Make sure she has the right clothes and enough of them.

(2) Make sure she has a warm, comfortable sleeping bag and pad.

(3) Make sure she knows the proper way to get in the canoe (hope you have a pretty stable one) - both hands on the gunwales, weight low and over the center line of the canoe. Make sure she knows to stay vertical and keep her center of gravity between the gunwales.

(4) Relax, have fun, enjoy the trip.
serenityseeker
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06/21/2011 09:30PM
Bring a solar shower or at the very least baby wipes.

Make sure she has a warm enough bag and a decent sleeping pad. I do not do cold and most other ladies I know hate it as well.

If she does not know how to swim, make sure she is willing to wear a PFD on the water or find some swim lessons before you go.

Shell is a great lake. I was just there. The portage to Shell can be a challenge for the less in shape people or those not expecting it. It was for me.

If you were not aware, Loon allows motors. so you will run into motor boats there.

Have a great trip!!
Divainthewild
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06/22/2011 12:06AM
If you are planning on camping on Shell, the portage to Loon will not happen. Trust me. I've been there a gadzillion times. As Serenity Seeker said, Loon is a large, motorized lake and the portage across Devils cascade is straight up and down. I wouldn't wanna carry a canoe over that, although some warriors do.

For her first trip may I suggest that you plan on camping at Lower Pauness. You have several day trip options open at that point and the portages are very beautiful and short. Don't forget to visit Devil's Cascade.

If you chose to do the Shell portage, it's not a hard portage but it's long and the beginning is all up hill. It's definitely worth it though.

Make sure she has lots of warm stuff and don't forget to permathin all your clothes. Have way too much fun!
Grumpy
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06/22/2011 05:47AM
I should probably clarify my intentions. We are planning on going up to Loon Lake to base camp. I want my wife and daughter (14)to enjoy themselves. So if it turns out to be an awesome trip for the two of them, they will want to go again. We are taking our two boys (20 & 16) and thier friend (16) along. I dont have to make sure that they have fun. So there will be 6 in our group.

I only brought up going into Shell for the fishing. My wife saw a couple of pictures (one of a guy who is muddy to his knees it is on the maps portion of this site) of the portage and got turned off on that route immediately. I was wondering if anyone had been that way this year, that could tell me about the portage. I know portages can vary from year to year.

I will have fun! I hope that my two girls will also. If it turns out that they do, we will do a loop and maybe a little more challenging. I do want to take the Stuart Lake portage again.

I want to thank all of you who have given me advice! It's nice to have a site like this where people can share thier experiences.

Wayne
Canoodler
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06/22/2011 08:40AM
Grumpy, any trip into the BW in July and the first part, at least, of August will be busier than late August and into September. Expect to see a fairly constant stream of canoes coming in and out on the LIS route when you are going. Many portages will be crowded unless you are lucky on your timing. Finding a campsite will be a challenge if you put in on a weekend day unless you make it to, say, Shell Lake the first night. There a plenty of choices on that lake but even then it will not be easy to find a site.

We went to East Loon Bay on one trip in August and just by luck found a beautiful sand beach site that was relatively remote. It is the cove site facing across to the "pinch-off" to Little Loon Lake. The entire trip from the LIS put-in to this point is a little challenge, so I would assume you and your family are in pretty good shape, or that you plan to carry the bulk of the weight. If you are lucky to find a campsite before this East Loon Bay spot, take it and go in the next day. I would base-camp at this East Loon cove and come out the way you came in, noting that the Devil's Cascade portage is steep up now. Do spent time at Devil's Cascade - this is a gem of a small canyon! There are numerous short trails off the portage to viewpoints in the canyon. Leave as early in the morning at the LIS EP as you can to avoid crowds and to give yourself plenty of time.
Divainthewild
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06/25/2011 01:34PM
Well Grumpy - one thing you got going for ya is that you are bringing portage monkeys to help get over that DC portage. That rocks.

If seclusion is what you are looking for, you wont find it on Loon. Remember, it's motorized and a highly used lake. I've never camped on Loon so I can't help ya out with campsites.

The girls will LOVE the portages if they don't have to carry anything heavy. The first portage on LIS has a beautiful waterfall and of course the DC portage is extremely scenic.

Fishing is excellent on Loon but be careful of big waves on this lake. Make sure you consider this when planning your trip. I suppose if you stay in one of the bays, you should be fine. Personally, I loath motorized lakes when we are in our canoe.

The only thing that will ruin it for the girls is if they get uncomfortable. Cold, rain and wind will make a girl real crabby, real fast. Be sure they have good raingear and let them know that it also works fabulous for a windbreaker. I wear my raingear more for the wind and cold, then the rain.

Firewood is an absolute MUST for us gals. A cloudy, rainy day can bring spirits down but a nice toasty warm fire to play in will make 'em all happy. Don't forget extra tarps!

Have a great time!!!
jwartman59
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06/29/2011 12:33AM
for a wife approved trip i would recommend lake one or any of it's easily accessed neighbors in late september or early october. the crowds are gone, the bugs are gone. it may get chilly at night but that may work in your favor.
Grumpy
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06/29/2011 05:40AM
19 hours before we hit the road north. It is amazing to see the change that my 14 yr old daughter is going through. At first, she did not want to go on this trip. She finally told me last night, that as everyday passes, she has been getting more and more excited. To make sure she has a good time, I gave her my rain gear. My sacrifice = her enjoyment.

We head out tomorrow at 12:30 am. A little over 5 hours driving and we are there! Anyone recommend a good place for breakfast?

This will be the maiden voyage for my canoe.

Thank you all for the advice given, now it is up to me to make sure it is an ejoyable one! But, that won't be hard to do.


Craig K
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06/29/2011 06:52AM
Have a wonderful trip Grumpy!

Remember to slow down on the portages if you need to to keep it enjoyable for them. Let them explore the Devils Cascade area.

I'll be doing that same trip in a month with my son so I'm looking forward to your trip report.
06/29/2011 07:39AM
Stay safe, and have a TREMENDOUS TIME enjoying the great outdoors. Don't forget to slow down every now and then and just savor nature!
BWPaddler
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06/29/2011 01:42PM
Enjoy that canoe! I think the family experience will be just fine. Look forward to hearing about it on the other side :)
Grumpy
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07/06/2011 12:20PM
We had an awesome trip. My wife does not swim so her biggest fear was to tip over in a canoe. Accomplished! Nothing to be afraid of anymore! Tipped over before we even started to paddle! Life jackets on, allowed me to grab her from the scruff of her neck. All she could do is laugh! When we made camp, she wandered off to get some firewood. Her left leg went out on her and she landed her right hip on a rock. Can you say purple bruise! We base camped at Lower Pawness. Saturday we day tripped over to Shell. My lovely bride stepped in a deep mud hole. (trying not to get her boots wet) The bridge is in need of repair. She was able to clean her boot and her sock here. On the way back, she ended up stepping of the edge of the bridge and got stuck in the muck. She also got a huge (2") sliver in here right knee. Finally got back to camp. She pulled the sliver out. Can you say another bruise!

After all was said and done, all she could say is...

WHEN ARE GOING TO GO AGAIN!!!!

I am not so Grumpy anymore! I now have a paddle partner for life.

I will try and get a trip report out to fill you in on the rest of the not so boring trip we had!
Canoodler
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07/06/2011 12:53PM
Grumpy it is nice to hear of your "successful" trip to Lower Pawness. Who was responsible for the canoe flip? I bet it was your "klutzy" wife! Imagine how much punishment she took on the trip and still wants to come back fighting!! My hat is off to her! So, instead of Loon Lake you settled on a less ambitious trip. I think that was a good decision. Did you get to go to Devils Cascade?
Grumpy
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07/06/2011 03:35PM
My son was the one responsible for the canoe flip. He tried to get in with out getting his feet wet. My wife has been a fighter and a trooper. We have battled through cancer together and won! She is a survivor on all accounts.

We made it to Devils Cascade. Good time was had by all. Her foot started to swell from her limphodemia. So travel was slow at best.

My daughter did not have a good time at all. She said she was bored! She made up her mind to never go again.
shoreviewswede
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07/06/2011 03:41PM
I have not taken as much abuse in 8 trips. :0

I am glad she enjoyed the trip that you thoughtfully planned.
nojobro
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07/06/2011 03:41PM
She certainly had a heck of a first trip! I look forward to the trip report.
07/06/2011 05:48PM
So glad to hear, Grumpy, that you have a paddling partner! And glad to hear that she not only survived, but that she made it her own!

Congratulations!
Jackfish
Moderator
 
07/07/2011 07:16AM
quote Grumpy: "After all was said and done, all she could say is...

WHEN ARE GOING TO GO AGAIN!!!!"

You are, indeed, a lucky man. Congrats on a great trip. :)
Thaumaturgist
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07/07/2011 12:38PM
quote Grumpy: My daughter did not have a good time at all. She said she was bored! She made up her mind to never go again."
She might change her mind in a few (7-8) years. I'm hoping to bring my daughter some day (She's 11 now) I've asked her to go, but keep getting the "Are you crazy?" look. She wants nothing to do with an outdoor throne room, fully stocked w/ the Minnesota state bird.
SevenofNine
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07/07/2011 01:47PM
Congrats Grumpy, glad you guys had a great time.
Grumpy
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07/07/2011 08:59PM
Thanks all! I am not done working on my daughter. I have posted a trip report.
 
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