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distinguished member (121)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/03/2008 02:30PM
I am just wondering if anyone could fill me in on a little information. I am in the final stages of planning a trip to the BWCA in Sept. My friends and I want to use EP #54 as the beginning of our trip. Here is what I am wondering:

1. How safe is it to just leave your car at the EP?
2. Since the 2006 fires, is this area rebounded at all?
3. Is this a good place to go for your first ever trip to the BWCA?
4. What is the fishing like on Sea Gull, alpine, or red rock?
5. Is there any place that I can leave my car at that doesn't charge a fee and that would be safe.

I guess any information that I can get from everyone the better I will be. Thank you to everyone who responds. I will be adding pictures as they come.

Matt Miller
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04/03/2008 02:53PM
*Cars rarely are vadalized at EP's. It has happened but it does not happen often. I have left my car at EP's for several days at a time and more than a week often and never had an issue.

* All areas that had fires have rebounded and are seeing new growth. They certainly don't have tall trees yet, but the trees are growing, the blueberries are often plentiful and wildlife has returned. It will be a good yet different experience with you seeing evidence of the fires and yet seeing plenty of regrowth.

*Seagull-Alpine-Ogish is a great area. I used to take Church youth through this area for their first trip and they all enjoyed it. Go see Agamok Gorge south of Ogishkemuncie or head up to Knife. Go up through Red Rock to Saganaga. Look for the 400 plus year old cedars on Seagull Lake. You will have a great time in this area.

*Fishing is usually good all around here. Many people have gone to Saganaga, Ogishkemuncie, Gabigichigami for years specifically for the fishing. The biggest Northern I have even caught in my life was caught on Eddy Lake. You will find good fishing in here. Of the three you mentioned Red Rock may be the best, but I might suggest you head further west to Ogish, Jenny and Eddy for fishing.

This is a popular area so I would not worry about your car.
distinguished member(4457)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
04/03/2008 03:16PM
The fishing on Seagull, Red Rock and Alpine will mostly be walleye, bass and pike. Lake trout can be found on Seagull, perhaps more easily on the western end.

You can choose to start your route paddling the entire length of Seagull Lake or you can get a tow from Seagull Outfitters to the end of Threemile Island (about 1/2 way across). I'm suggesting the tow to you because then you can leave your car at the outfitter's lot which is lit and probably better watched than the public lot at the public landing. There is also a bunkhouse at the outfitter's if you choose to stay the night prior to your trip.

Here's a good description of the lakes you asked about.

Seagull, Alpine, Redrock Loop

Are you outfitting yourself? There are several outfitters in the Seagull Lake area if you are in need of their services. Seagull Outfitters is directly on Seagull. Tuscarora and Voyager aren't too far away either.
distinguished member (241)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/04/2008 04:05PM
My $.02 is that while I agree that the area is recovering and this is a unique experience with value, in terms of managing the expectations of your group this area is not typical of what people think of when they think of the BWCA. There is extensive visible fire damage pretty consistently to the narrows of Ogishkemuncie. With the Seagull tow, you can reach this area easily in a day. The portages are short and easy, and you can avoid wind on the bigger waters of Alpine and Ogish by sneaking behind points and islands. Ogish has some great campsites, and would be a good base camp lake from which to fish Jenny or Eddy as mentioned.

I do not know the condition of Red Rock Lake, as I haven't been there. But I wanted to share with you our own experience from paddlinig this area last summer. The fire damage and recovery is really neat to see, but can wear on you after a while. You need to know what you are getting into if you choose to paddle this area.

distinguished member (121)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/06/2008 05:19PM
So with all the damage from the fires would any of you say that i would be wasting my time going there? I have also looked into starting my trip on East Bearskin Lake. Is there anyone who might have some information on this area as well? would it be a better trip to take vs. EP 54?
distinguished member(4457)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
04/06/2008 05:28PM
No, its not a waste of time. The area is still beautiful. Its regrowing. All the stages are really interesting.
distinguished member (241)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/07/2008 09:44AM
Not a waste of time, that wasn't my point. It's just you should know what you are getting into for the purpose of people's expectations. This area is not typical of the BWCA in areas not recently touched by fire, yet this stage of forest regrowth is also part of the natural cycle. It would be great to experience it, it's just not for everyone, and if you want dense forest and tall towering trees, this might not be the place to see it.
04/08/2008 07:13AM

How are the bugs expected to be in the burned out area v.s. non-burned area of the bwca?
distinguished member (241)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/08/2008 08:41AM
Alpine Lake, which is definitely in the affected area, was the only place we encountered bugs on the trip, but we stayed there after a brief rainshower, and during a very dry period (there was also a fire ban). We were sitting at camp after dinner and heard this high-pitched humming, and realized it came from a swarm of mosquitoes hovering around 7-10 feet off the ground. They were not so terrible on the bite, but we retired to the tent pretty quickly.
distinguished member(659)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/08/2008 08:42AM
I have to strongly second the info about the EP's being safe. Obviously you need to take precations and not leave valuable things lying around. Also, it is a good idea to not leave any food in the vahicle, so reason to entice a hungry critter.

I have left my car at a number of different EP's with never a single issue. I do have an older car, but i think any problems are very few and far between.
distinguished member (121)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/08/2008 09:01AM
Thank you to everyone who has responded to the questions. I am really anxious to get up there and do some camping and fishing as well. How are the ticks this time of year in the BWCA? What is the #1 Choice for dry frozen meals? My crew and I are looking at a few different brands and flavors and I was looking to get the general consensus on what everyone thought. Also how heavy are most peoples bag when they go to the BWCA?

04/08/2008 04:55PM
Matt, (an old veteran here, 36 years, many trips)

Probably the peskiest things you'll encounter in September will be chipmunks, red squirrels and mice, not ticks or bugs! Keep your packs closed up and trash and exposed food to a minimum around camp! A squirrel can chew right through a heavy nylon pack, and they do love your food!

You won't get a "consensus" on freeze-dried food from anyone on a website. Everyone has their own opinion--many people refuse to take ANY at all! If I could choose only what I like, I would go with Mountain House almost exclusively for the flavor (but we are now limited to low-sodium items, so that pretty much excludes all of their fare).

How heavy your packs are will depend partly upon whether or not you plan to single-portage, how many are in your group, and how long your trip will be. As we have gotten older, we have decided that we "need" more creature comforts, so we carry more stuff! Some people travel very light and do without. It is your choice.

We have parked our vehicle at entry point lots many times and have never had any trouble with vandalism or critters. Our trips are usually 8-12 days, but we don't drive brand-new luxury vehicles, and we also don't leave any valuables in sight either.

The area you have chosen used to be exceptionally beautiful, in my opinion. We haven't been there since the fire, but from the photos, it is greatly changed. Renewing, but changed. The area starting from East Bearskin would be more "typical" BWCA beautiful, but there is no bad place in the BW! Just being there is Heaven enough!

Have a great trip!

distinguished member(1484)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/09/2008 12:13PM
My choice for meals is fish. We have never been skunked. You can always troll up a Northern if you get late in the day with nothing on the stringer but this is not typical.

I realize others like to bring the freeze dried Mountain House type meals. I like them but they are too expensive. We bring along some noodle or rice packets for sides and oatmeal for the mornings. Don't forget coffee for the AM and some packets of drink mix for the after dinner alcoholic beverages if you drink...
04/09/2008 02:01PM

all good advice.

In September I wouldn't worry about bugs at all. If you want you could spray down your clothes with permethine before your trip. Walmart has it. It is sometimes called Permathrone or Tick Repelant. That will kill any ticks that do crawl on you.

I don't have an opinion on the best freeze dried foods, but I would keep in mind that for some items supermarkets may be cheaper. Instant oatmeal for instance, puddings, side dishes, etc. Buy the freeze dried main courses, but check out the supermarkets for the rest.

I'm not sure what my packs weigh. I would suspect I don't ever go heavier than 50#s and probably much lighter. Don't go too heavy. When you put the pack on you want to say "Hey, this isn't heavy" and not "Well ... I think I can make it."
04/09/2008 05:48PM

never a problem with vandalism ~dozen trips parked at various EPs

as spartan pointed out bugs are not an issue in the fall shoulder season-mice, chipmunks and red squirrels are.

i have found so many inexpensive, tasty, dry, easily prepared meals at the grocery store that i rarely bring any commercial backpacking meals. closest thing would be cache lake foods.

fishing throughout this area is reportedly solid (never been myself). i have an uncle that crushes walleye on alpine!

i say go for it. september (after Labor Day) tends to be a quieter time in the BWCA (although a lot of the die hards on this board love paddling in the fall-in part due to the lack of crowds). with the fires traffic on the gunflint side is down but they can use the business and this makes for a quieter experience.

i talked to a cool gentleman from the Tuscarora Lodge who said they are leading fire ecology trips which sounded pretty neat!

i have been in the eastern area near east bearskin and it is a great area. you can't go wrong either way!

distinguished member (121)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/10/2008 02:05PM
Thank you to all who posted comments on here. i think my group and i are going to go to alpine and set up camp there then explore the rest. If anyone else has information feel free to post more.

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