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      Trip Report - Frost River Loop Via EP50--Cross Bay Lake--Solo
 
  Last Visit: 06/18/2019 04:39PM

Entry Point 50 - Cross Bay Lake

Cross Bay Lake entry point allows overnight paddle only. This entry point is supported by Gunflint Ranger Station near the city of Grand Marais, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 45 miles. Access is thru the Cross River with two portages to Ham Lake and a 24-rod portage to Cross Bay Lake. This area was affected by blowdown in 1999.

Number of Permits per Day: 3
Elevation: 1670 feet
Latitude: 48.0760
Longitude: -90.8222
Author Message Text
Ottertailvoyageur
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05/23/2018 12:54PM
 
New Trip Report posted by Ottertailvoyageur

Trip Name: Frost River Loop Via EP50--Cross Bay Lake--Solo.

Entry Point: 50

Click Here to View Trip Report

Be alert. The world needs more lerts.
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boonie
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05/23/2018 02:20PM
 
Thanks for the report. I thought you'd enjoy it. I think you'd enjoy Little Sag if you make it there, and of course, a little time on Tuscarora.



I've been on all of it except from Long Island down to Frost and across to Afton. I hope to change that this fall if there's enough water.


I find it odd on some of my trips, the places where I sometimes see no one for days when I'd expect to, then someone where I don't expect it.


Glad you had a good trip.
Northwoodsman
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05/23/2018 04:10PM
 
Very well documented and superbly written trip report. I know that you were really looking forward to Trout fishing on Tuscarora; that's a perfect reason to go back. I have a couple of the same Ursack's that you used that I planning on using this fall. Glad to hear that you liked them. They look the the AllMitey model from the pictures if I'm correct. What made you choose the Magic over the Prism for this trip?
Ottertailvoyageur
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05/23/2018 07:14PM
 
Thanks guys. I appreciate your positive feedback and kind words. This certainly was a good trip, and I look forward to exploring up in that part of the wilderness in the near future.


Funny you should mention Little Sag. I was just talking with the guys at Rockwood about potentially heading that direction. I’ve alread had my map out on the kitchen table! What do I need to know about traveling in that area?


Those Ursacks are handy, but not without fault. I brought two on the trip, but actually had all of my meals packed into one. The second one carried my ziploc full of drink mixes, coffee and crystal light mostly, along with my fish cooking kit, eating utensils, my GSI teapot and nestled bowl, and my “meal cozy”. That cozy worked great for maintaining the temperature of freeze dried meals after adding the boiling water and waiting the several minutes for the food to rehydrate. The meals all came out piping hot. I liked the way food packed into the Ursack, it seemed like a bottomless pit, plus they weigh considerably less than the bearvaults. Also, three days into the trip I was able to combine everything into one bag and the empty bag got rolled up and put away.
The bags were a little stiff to work with, but I’m sure they get better after a few uses. It was also hard to find trees with the right criteria for hanging them. I think it’s important to hang them due to their crushability.
Overall, you’ll be quite happy with them this Fall.




Be alert. The world needs more lerts.
Ottertailvoyageur
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05/23/2018 07:51PM
 
Oh, and when I was at Rockwood they let me paddle around on Poplar with all three solo models they carry. The Northstar Northwind was a good paddler, but a little too small at 15’. The Prism goes 16’6” and has plenty of room for as much gear as you could dream of bringing, and it’s very responsive for a solo canoe of its size. The magic is 16’ and my two packs fit perfectly. With a tad less tumblehome than the Prism the Magic rides a little closer to the water and this totally paid off as I was knifing through that high wind on Tuscarora. I never felt like that boat was going to tip over.
Honestly though, at 29# the Magic is a full 5# lighter than the Prism. That was the deal clincher.

Be alert. The world needs more lerts.
Ottertailvoyageur
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05/23/2018 08:27PM
 
*Not tumblehome but rather sheer*

Be alert. The world needs more lerts.
boonie
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05/23/2018 08:41PM
 
What I can tell you about traveling in the Little Sag area-


You were only one short, easy portage away when on Mora, so you already know about getting there from Cross Bay. Of course, you could also enter at Missing Link and you pretty much know that too. I've also gone through Little Sag on a trip with Steve (inspector13) from Kawishiwi Lake to Sawbill Lake - 2014 trip reports and 2014 pictures in my albums at Shutterfly . I enjoyed that trip. IIRC, it was about 50 miles double portage. Requires a shuttle though - we had 2 cars.



Although I haven't done it, you could go west through Brant EP (out of Round Lake like Missing Link) and go west then south into the N side of Little Sag. The N shore has some burn.


I never did care much for the Prism, but maybe I just never got it trimmed right. I liked the Magic the first time I paddled one; like you I liked the low shear line and it paddle fast compared to the previous canoes. I've used the Northwind the last couple of years and like it a lot too. It has plenty of room for me and my stuff.


I also switched to Ursack for less weight and bulk, but it is sometimes hard to find a good place to tie it.



30Smoke
senior membersenior membersenior member
 
05/25/2018 12:12AM
 
Thanks for sharing your trip, I enjoyed it. I have tried two solo's, my last one went better than the first, hoping to write up and post soon. Also thanks for the gear reviews. Since we can't live up there, it is nice to escape through others journies. PS, I played legion ball in West Fargo, saw your profile live there. Hopefully i will get to read more of your adventures!
anthonyp007
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05/25/2018 08:57AM
 
Loved the report! Bummer about the trout on Tuscarora, I try to look at it as a positive when there’s something you wanted to do, but just couldn’t get to it. It’s a great excuse to go back! I’ve never been to this area and your trip has piqued my interest. Sorry to hear about your new compass, I seem to inadvertently lose something many trips as well. Last year it was my sunglasses. I’m sure the Rangers appreciated your kind words.


Tony

Tony
SevenofNine
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05/25/2018 10:54AM
 
Great trip report. I loved reading about your trip and following along, thank you.



One bit of advice on writing. Add paragraph breaks to improve readability. Thanks again for sharing.

The best part of this journey here is further knowing yourself - Alan Kay
ozarkpaddler
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05/25/2018 02:21PM
 
Enjoyed it thoroughly! I too enjoy this area of the BWCAW. Too bad about the new compass, but there is always something special about those old pieces of gear that's shared the trail with you over the years.

"Let us live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry." Mark Twain
mmarksnp
membermember
 
05/26/2018 11:11AM
 
What an excellent trip report. We will be doing the Frost in July and it was great to hear up to date info. Rather than turning North we will go directly to the Louse and maybe double your 42 hours of not seeing anyone else. Be forgiving of the large group looking for a site late. I used to feel the same but it happened me with my Boy Scouts. We were up at 4:30 for that wonderful first light paddle and we had a long way to go. We started in Alice with the plan to get through Ima and find a site after clearing Ima. There were no sites open all the way to Disappointment and then into a nasty headwind out of the SW we checked every site on Disappointment without success. Finally we got the the southern end of Disappointment at 5 after 15 portages on day 9 of a 125 mile trek and portaged 1 more time into Parent before finding a site.
So, it can happen to the best of us.
Anyway, your trip report is just superb. Since you missed the beaver slap here is a link to a video I was lucky enough to get on Bear Trap.
Thanks for the report!
Angry Beaver on Bear Trap
Tbone
new member
 
05/26/2018 05:45PM
 
A well written report and enjoyable read. Thank you!
Ajoutdoors
membermember
 
05/27/2018 07:26AM
 
Nice report. I paddled the Frost on 5/22 and stayed at the same campsite on Frost Lake as you did. Thanks for the firewood. I checked maps when I got back to Sawbill and even those maps showed the pencil lake portage on the north side. (My map is from 2007) I walked my canoe across the top of the rapids to get to the portage, very sketchy with slippery rocks and current. Pretty impressive that you were able to go past Afton. I was pretty much done for the day at that point. A group of eight came by around 820 pm. I offered them a place to stay but they carried on and probably ended up paddling in the dark.
Ottertailvoyageur
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05/27/2018 11:27AM
 
You’re welcome for the firewood! ....I sawed, split, and stacked that little pile of spruce but then the wind stayed a little too high to have a safe fire, at least in my estimation.


One of my pet peeves is when I get to a campsite and there is wood strewn about, most of it just rotten old crap or evergreen boughs with green/brown needles. I’ll generally clean up a bit, and then create my own small pile of decent wood. I often leave a little for the next party, but in my mind there is a slippery slope there with the “Leave No Trace” principle. I know this has been discussed at great length on this forum.


I’m glad I’m not the only one who knows about that portage being on the wrong side of the river! ...Mike at Rockwood looked a bit skeptical when I brought it to his attention.


Happy paddling!

Be alert. The world needs more lerts.
Jaywalker
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06/05/2018 01:48PM
 
A fine read of a report - thanks for sharing. I am hoping to do the Frost River soon too. Crazy about the compass, and its too bad you didn't get to stay on Tusc, or at least drag a line across the lake. Sounds like a great trip overall though. On your final notes about your distances - are you sure that's right? What you've got shows almost 1/3rd of your route as portage, or did I misread?
boonie
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06/05/2018 05:13PM
 
I'd say 1/3 portage is about right assuming it includes the two extra trips to double portage since that's the way my trip mileage looks.
Ottertailvoyageur
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06/06/2018 04:08PM
 
The double portaging is where the mileage really piles up, as it involves taking a second and third trip across.
I’d love to still be able to single portage, but my middle-aged back and knees can’t handle hauling that much gear at once. Plus, while double portaging a person gets to enjoy a nice walk in the woods on the empty-handed trip back for the canoe and small pack.

Be alert. The world needs more lerts.
Jaywalker
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06/06/2018 07:42PM
 
Wow, that really adds up. I double portage too but have never added it all up before. I don't use a GPS.
Jaywalker
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06/06/2018 07:42PM
 
Wow, that really adds up. I double portage too but have never added it all up before. I don't use a GPS.
mmarksnp
membermember
 
06/06/2018 10:48PM
 
If you sign up for an account p a d dle planner you can plot your trips and customize your settings for average portage speed, time to unload/load, average paddle speed, and number of trips per portage. It is pretty excellent.
Northwoodsman
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07/05/2018 06:43PM
 
Regarding the portage distances... I have tripped with this guy before; he's not a paddler who uses portages to get from one lake to the next, he's a portager who uses a canoe to get from one portage to the next. His screen name should be Ottertailportager. But seriously, read the trip report, it's a good one. It's also the May Trip Report Winner!
Ottertailvoyageur
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07/26/2018 10:15AM
 
"Ottertailportager" .... I like that. Nice ring to it.

Be alert. The world needs more lerts.
hooky
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08/01/2018 03:49PM
 
That Cross Bay site is great. The light is perfect late in the day. I have nearly the same pictures from not quite a year before.


Looking back at the portage from Rib. I think yours was taken from the water, whereas I'm standing on the site.



Looking north from the campsite.


“It is clearly absurd to limit the term 'education' to a person's formal schooling.” - Murray Rothbard
jcavenagh
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08/10/2018 11:25AM
 
Thank for the report.
I've never traveled this route.

LNT - The road to success is always under construction. http://hikingillinois.blogspot.com/
520eek
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03/11/2019 11:11PM
 
Nice report! On day 3, last photo...I will call it the narrows. Where is this spot?

I couldn't wait for success, so I went ahead without it!
Ottertailvoyageur
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03/24/2019 08:57PM
 
That narrow passage is on Snipe. Very nice lake.

Be alert. The world needs more lerts.
LindenTree
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03/25/2019 10:31AM
 
Nice report thanks,
I hope to make it back to Long Island Lake this summer, I havn't been there since 2006 when I was fighting the Famine Fire, I had a square stern canoe with a 9.9 merc.
I'd rather be on it with a canoe.
Silva compass is the bees knees, I've used them for 30 plus years in the forestry service.

May the rivers be crooked and winding, and your portages lonesome, leading to the most amazing view.
Cc26
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03/25/2019 03:23PM
 
nice
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