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      Trip Report - Stuart River to Stuart Lake
 
  Last Visit: 10/20/2019 07:46AM

Entry Point 19 - Stuart River

Stuart River entry point allows overnight paddle only. This entry point is supported by Kawishiwi Ranger Station near the city of Ely, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 28 miles. Access is a 480-rod portage to the Stuart River.

Number of Permits per Day: 1
Elevation: 1237 feet
Latitude: 48.0955
Longitude: -91.9887
Author Message Text
30Smoke
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10/08/2018 11:19PM
 
New Trip Report posted by 30Smoke

Trip Name: Stuart River to Stuart Lake.

Entry Point: 19

Click Here to View Trip Report
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bwcasolo
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10/09/2018 05:42AM
 
good job, what a haul!
boonie
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10/09/2018 06:09AM
 
Enjoyed the report and pictures, Brian. Sounds like a nice trip, but challenging under the circumstances. Glad you were able to enjoy it. That's one of those places I haven't been yet, but is on my list and this report just whets my appetite.
Driftless
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10/09/2018 08:54AM
 
Great trip under tough conditions!
sedges
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10/09/2018 09:48AM
 
A beautiful fall trip. I love the colors, especially the larch. Timing of travel is important when days get shorter as you well learned! Great adventure. Thanks for sharing it.
Northwoodsman
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10/12/2018 04:03PM
 
I was tired and worn out just reading your trip report. Getting a late start that first day was the killer. It's tough when there are no campsites along the way and you have to make it a long distance on the first day. I think it would be more enjoyable (and safer) if 1) you got an earlier start on the first day, 2) lightened your pack weight, and 3) chose an EP that has campsites within a few hours so you can stop earlier if you need or want to. We have all been there, tweaking and refining your gear and route seems like a never ending process. I enjoyed your trip report and the photo's. You picked a beautiful time for your 4th trip of the year.
DuluthPak
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10/14/2018 08:11PM
 
I truly enjoyed your trip report. I have done that route many times and I have also done many solo trips. I've stayed at that same island campsite. That Dahlgren portage is one of the most beautiful walks in the BWCA. Solo trips are without a doubt something very different. It took me a few trips before I was comfortable with myself and my gear and my methods. I still embrace traveling with my wife and friends the most, but I have found a special place for my solo trips too. Thanks for sharing your trip including your struggles. To be honest, I think you put yourself in harm's way by starting that journey so late in the day and forcing yourself to travel at night on that difficult route. I'm glad you weren't hurt or worse. Again, thank you for sharing the good and the bad of this trip as that's how we all learn.
30Smoke
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10/15/2018 11:18AM
 
I'd like to thank everyone for reading my trip report. I'd like to thank Boonie for his help with gear and getting portages to a double, lots of my gear was recommended by him. Also, Northwoodsman, your endorsement of the Chota Hippie waders kept my feet warm the whole trip; the boots are a bit big and heavy though. This was my third solo and ninth trip overall, so I felt things were under control, but as many have mentioned, I should have been ready at the get go and on the trail.
Many take-aways from this trip.
1) Getting the bags packed and ready to go is a priority. I was up late Saturday night/Sunday morning and just starting throwing stuff in my bags. Fall travel required extra blankets and clothing for my ditch bag, so I would have something dry and warm. Gloves are super important, need to find something that will keep my hands dry and warm! Other than that, I had the right gear, just overestimated my conditioning.
2) It is important to get the early start, especially with the long portages and travel. I overestimated my level of fitness and what my feet could take. I should have done more training with packs to get use to the weight and endurance.
3) Safety: I never felt in danger, as I had a good headlamp, and the travel I did in the dark was very slow and safe. I was ready to put the tarp up and wait until morning if I thought there might be problems, but I could hear the running water well in advance, as there were no other sounds that night. It actually turned out to be the neatest experience on the trip!
4) Biggest take-away is don't panic! I had never traveled in the dark, but I surprised myself by staying calm. I did have that "what have I got myself into" moment, but I will learn from this experience and carry it forward and hopefully have many safe trips, which means not putting myself in the position of night travel.
Finally, I would like to try it again, but I may look at labor day weekend vs the first week of October. I will continue solo's because there are so many places I would like to visit, and I only have one paddle partner!
So everybody stay safe out there and happy paddling.
boonie
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10/15/2018 08:59PM
 
I think you must have cut your pack weight almost in half since the first trip! :) Still seems like a lot to me, but you're younger and stronger than I am. It sounds like you were fairly well equipped for some tough conditions, too, and comfortable being alone out there. Glad you were able to have a good, enjoyable solo.
djwillco
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10/16/2018 06:28AM
 
Thanks for the trip report and pics! Went up the Stuart River a couple of years ago and this brought back some good memories.
30Smoke
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10/16/2018 01:23PM
 
boonie: "I think you must have cut your pack weight almost in half since the first trip! :) Still seems like a lot to me, but you're younger and stronger than I am. It sounds like you were fairly well equipped for some tough conditions, too, and comfortable being alone out there. Glad you were able to have a good, enjoyable solo. "
packs 130 to 100 and no loose gear
canoe 70 to 35 - so 200 to 135 makes it doable. I think I drop another 10 to 15 - less fishing and less camera's. Most of the pictures were on the lumix camera you recommended. It's waterproof and easy to pull out of my PFD jacket to take a picture when needed.
But i still like my Nikon and multiple lenses - but 65 lbs is a big deal. I am hoping to drop 20 lbs off my frame this winter and maybe another 20 next year to get down to 200lbs personal weight, then everything should be even easier.
But speaking of that first trip - I did the Boot to Ensign portage and it took 4 hours, same time as Stuart River 450 rod portage.
So thanks again for your help with the gear list and advice! I just might become a good soloist!
boonie
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10/16/2018 03:45PM
 
I was thinking while reading your trip report that you had become a soloist and were actually enjoying a trip with difficult weather and long portages. :) So much different from how discouraged you sounded after that first one. Getting it down to two manageable loads to double portage makes it a lot easier; losing another 35 lbs. between you and gear would make it even easier. I think with the things you have now learned and changes you'll make, that you'll really enjoy the next solo trip.
sedges
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10/16/2018 03:53PM
 
You have a lot of room to shed weight in your outfit. The big difference in the last two outfits shows you get it and you will likely shed a little more each time you go.


As I have aged, shedding outfit weight has become a necessity for continuing tours. My last three tours were all ten days. The outfit dropped from two 65 pound loads to two 50 pound loads to two 45. Much of that was a lighter canoe, but I replaced a white gas stove with an alcohol stove, pack fewer clothes and had to wash clothes along the way. Not a lot of redundant clothes. I'd figure the coldest temp I could possibly have and plan on wearing all of my clothes in that situation.


I never over pack food, especially on a short trip. Even on a ten day trip my working hard big appetite foesn't kick in until the fifth or sixth day. Unless there are special dietary requirements, food can get real light. Choosing food that requires simple cookware also eliminates pounds. Cookware is one place that it is inexpensive to shed weight. Thirty-five pound food pack for a four day trip is the first place to cut pounds.


Some reductions get expensive. Going from a 4 pound tent to 2 pounds or less is going to cost me a bunch. I set a little aside when I can and eventually I'll get that tent. I wouldn't do it if the old one(1980s) wasn't on its last go 'round. Same with sleeping bags.


If that 3/4 person Timberline tent in your first photo is what you carried on the trip you could shed quite a few pound just going to a 2 person tent. There are pretty roomy 2 person tents in the 4-5 pound range these days.


Camera and lenses are certainly hard to give up. If you are a professional photographer and the purpose of your trip is production of fine photographs a big kit is a necessity. But hey, people are filming amazing video on iPhones that go on to full production. I finally settled on a Canon Elph170 in a tiny little pelican case. It is flexible enough to get exposures that I am satisfied with for the purpose I put them to. I took it as a challenge to get decent photographs from a pocket sized kit. This is certainly a place to shed weight and volume.


Sorry to be so long-winded, but I feel you are moving the right direction. I've picked up good ideas from this board over the years that have made my trips more pleasant. Looking forward to your next report!
30Smoke
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10/16/2018 09:24PM
 
sedges: "You have a lot of room to shed weight in your outfit. The big difference in the last two outfits shows you get it and you will likely shed a little more each time you go.


Sorry to be so long-winded, but I feel you are moving the right direction. I've picked up good ideas from this board over the years that have made my trips more pleasant. Looking forward to your next report!"



No need to be sorry for giving great advice! I have learned lots from this board over the last few years. I have come a long ways from my first trip and hope to keep learning more each trip. My weakness is I keep reading trip reports and finding more places I would like to visit, so I need to knock a few sites off the list each year. Then there are the places I would love to go back to!
Thank you!
TomT
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10/17/2018 06:39AM
 
Nice report and I loved the pics with the captions. You sir, are a better man than me. First off I never would have done a long portage like that in October. You can find solitude at almost any entry point for way less work (late in the year). And doing it for about 6 hours in the dark solo?? No way I would attempt that. But hey, it's YOUR adventure. That's the beauty of going solo.


I'm sure you learned quite a lot and it's normal to not enjoy your first few solos, or I should say - miss being with others. I wouldn't give up on the solo thing just yet. I've found that I really like a partial solo where I pre arrange a meet up with others for some of the trip. That's my perfect trip these days.


Thanks for taking the time to write it it up!




"Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." --- George Bernard Shaw
30Smoke
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10/17/2018 08:30AM
 
TomT: "Nice report and I loved the pics with the captions. You sir, are a better man than me. First off I never would have done a long portage like that in October. You can find solitude at almost any entry point for way less work (late in the year). And doing it for about 6 hours in the dark solo?? No way I would attempt that. But hey, it's YOUR adventure. That's the beauty of going solo.


"



Thanks for the nice words. As you may have figured out - I did learn a lot - the 6 hours in the dark was not planned. The nice thing about solo's is learning about yourself. I used to be nervous in the dark, but was glad to find out I had the inner strength to face the adversity and overcome it, while remaining calm and safe. Knowing what I know now, I would have done an easier trip in October, especially with the weather forecast.
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