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      Trip Report - BeaV's 2022 Solo Border Route Challenge
 
  Last Visit: 07/13/2024 10:25AM

Entry Point 14 - Little Indian Sioux River North

Little Indian Sioux River (north) entry point allows overnight paddle only. This entry point is supported by La Croix Ranger Station near the city of Ely, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 32 miles. Access is a 40-rod portage heading North from the Echo Trail.

Number of Permits per Day: 6
Elevation: 1364 feet
Latitude: 48.1466
Longitude: -92.2103
Author Message Text
BeaV
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03/29/2023 02:05PM
 
New Trip Report posted by BeaV

Trip Name: BeaV's 2022 Solo Border Route Challenge.

Entry Point: 12

I wrote up this recap last year but just never posted it for others to read, until now.

For some reason, I can't get paragragh spaces to show up on the trip Intro within the Trip Report so I'll copy that here so it is easier to read and not just a runon and on!

Background- in 2017 I set what was the fastest solo time (at least that I knew of) for the Border Route from International Falls to Lake Superior. My time was 91 hours and I had followed the Canada/US border proper thinking this was the route canoe racers Verlen Kruger and Clint Waddell had paddled back in 1968. Later I learned that these racers and future adventurers had taken a more direct route and thus, recent paddlers have too taken these shorter route options. Really, the route isn’t fixed….it’s up to the paddler to choose, as long as there is no support and is in the spirit of Kruger and Waddell. So in acknowledgement and commemoration of what these two paddlers did, we call this route the Kruger Waddell Challenge. Paddling skill, physical endurance, mental toughness, woodsmen skills, and old-school navigation abilities are the attributes required to be successful.

Following this new shorter route, Kevin McCann (aka Muddyfeet) of Sartell MN, set a new record of 84 hours 11 minutes in 2018. Of course, this got me thinking “I wonder how fast I could do this new route?”. The seed was planted. There was one problem with both known fastest solo times- they weren’t completely in the spirit of Kruger/Waddell or for that matter, the Voyageurs of long ago. Both modern records were set with the assistance of a GPS for navigation (both Kevin and I had turned on our GPSs only a little but still resulting in an asterisk for doing so). Successful navigation is such a big component of the Challenge that to be in the spirit of history, technology substituted for “woodsmen’s skills” is a disqualifier for direct comparison to Kruger & Waddell’s 1968 80-hour 40-minute record.

So now back to the present, my goal was to see how fast I could paddle this route and navigate it with only experience and map & compass. I let a few people know of my plans. I paddle trained in moderation putting in somewhere around 300 miles on the water during the spring and summer. As the planned September 3rd, 2022 launch date approached, I picked up the paddling pace and started portage training, too. But for some unknown reason to me, my motivation did not pickup. I’m not sure why, maybe because I remembered how hard my 2017 trip was- pain, exhaustion, hallucinations, and long nights. Then with only 2 weeks until launch, an old back issue flared up. Terrible timing! I had a hard time just sitting or standing. I didn’t dare portage train with any weight on my back or shoulders. Grrrr!!! I gingerly tried to keep doing a little walking and a little paddling but both activities were painful, and it was hard to train for more than an hour. My only pain relief came from lying flat on my back on the ground- not the way to set a speed record.

Motivation did not increase but doubt sure did. Could I sit in the canoe for more than a few hours, could I ignore or suppress the back pain, could I carry weight on my shoulders? This is not what I wanted to face and it kind of made me angry. Self-doubt and lack of resolve is not something I accept. I had no plans to back out. Finally, with just three days until launch, the back pain eased up and I got back to planning the little details of the route, sleep plan, paddling pace, food and gear selection. I roughed out a quick itinerary to figure out where I will be when darkness falls every night and came up with a possible goal of 70 hours. 70 hours…it seemed too fast, but my scribbles on paper showed me it was possible.

70 hours was based on neutral winds, no navigation errors, and my back holding up. Navigation I had control of. My back I didn’t. The winds…well I had some choice here. I didn’t have to launch on September 3rd, I could wait a few days for a favorable wind forecast if need be. Butterflies entered my stomach.

September 2nd came with a forecast of mostly light winds but not favorable. Headwinds and or crosswinds only for the next 6 days. I wanted a day or two of west or northwest winds, but none were forecast. So much for “my choice” on mitigating unfavorable winds. I decided to launch on the 3rd regardless. I camped that night in Black Bay of Rainy Lake ready for an early start. I went to bed that night in my tent dissatisfied with the wind forecast but with new resolve to try my best. Butterflies gone!


Click Here to View Trip Report
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Grandma L
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03/29/2023 02:57PM
 
BeaV, Thanks for putting this out. I appreciate reading about the adventure. When I track your adventures, I just get the dots on the SPOT map and can only try to imagine how it is going. This report brought it all to life.
straighthairedcurly
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03/29/2023 04:25PM
 
I loved reading this. You are so descriptive of the mental and physical challenges you endure with an accomplishment like this. I only hope to finish this year and sit in awe of your drive and capability to do this so fast and continuous. Thanks for posting!
YetiJedi
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03/29/2023 07:35PM
 
Simply...wow. Very impressive accomplishment. Thank you for sharing your report. Between the fog, the moose and calves, blisters, wind, lack of sleep...I don't know how you did, especially in the record time. Your feat is inspiring and I admire your tenaciously laser-focused approach to reaching your goal. Well done!
JimmyJustice
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03/30/2023 09:35AM
 
Again, congratulations BeaV. It's fun for me to live vicariously. :) Well earned my friend, well earned.

Fate whispers to the warrior "You cannot withstand the storm" and the warrior whispers back "I am the storm". Unknown.
lundojam
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03/30/2023 07:53PM
 
fuckin-A

"Life is not a beauty contest. It is a fishing contest." --me
scotttimm
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04/03/2023 09:40AM
 
Life goals. Glad you set an unbeatable record so I don't have to stress out about trying to break it ;)
Voyager
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04/03/2023 09:57PM
 
According to my rough calculations it would be theoretically possible, in an 18 1/2 foot long canoe, with no sleep, and decent tailwinds to break the 60 hr. barrier. But don't wait for me guys! Now who wants to try to beat Clint and Verlin's record, in the true spirit, with a 100 pound canoe, and their heavier paddles and gear.
jfinn
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04/07/2023 10:10AM
 
BeaV,


First a well written report. Good flow, descriptive and yet very brief without feeling rushed.


Second; wow. To average 3 MPH for 66 hours is absolutely remarkable. If you have a file with way points or split times, I'd love to geek out on that (packing list too). Your navigation skills, knowledge and recall of the route are on world-class levels. And having done this with back issues and lets say less-than-ideal physical prep is impressive. Lastly, the ability to perform in that sleep deprived state, making decisions and continuing to push on is frankly hard to comprehend.


I did the route with a twist (started at Crane and went across the Oyster group) in 6 days back in 2020. I paddled for long days but I wasn't trying to set any records (obviously). Major headwinds from the Granite River till South Fowl beat me down like nobody's business. Having also run >25 ultra marathons, I understand that side of things as well. To say I am blown away is an understatement. Well done sir!
OCDave
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04/07/2023 07:33PM
 
Thanks for the post BeaV.


I audibly guffawed at work reading how odd you found that someone would be enjoying a campfire into the wee hours of the morning. What must they have thought about the solo paddler on the water at that same time?


I watched your video series about your paddle to Alaska several years ago and that trip still dwells in my mind anytime I slide my butt into a canoe.


Thanks again
unshavenman
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04/15/2023 05:04PM
 
Kudos BeaV. You are absolutely amazing!

Endeavor to persevere.
TuscaroraBorealis
Moderator
 
04/16/2023 04:49PM
 
Amazing accomplishment!!!


I enjoyed the writeup/storytelling as well. The comic irony of your comment, "I paddled past a campfire with people still up and was puzzled why anyone would be up at this hour?" caught me completely unaware and was a laugh out loud moment. Would be fun to know, and juxtapose, what kind of "puzzling" thoughts they may have entertained as they heard/seen you paddle past?


Well done all around, thanks for sharing.
HighnDry
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04/18/2023 05:57AM
 
I've read this several times. I still can't figure out how you did this -- without sleep. I generally go bonkers and hallucinate after less than 6 hours of sleep. I can't imagine stretching that feeling out to 2 plus days....

"It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”
BeaV
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04/24/2023 04:09PM
 
Thanks everyone, glad you enjoyed the story.
BeaV
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04/24/2023 04:10PM
 
jfinn: "BeaV,
If you have a file with way points or split times, I'd love to geek out on that (packing list too). "

An easy (relatively) way to see my tracks is to go to the WaterTribe site. Click on the "Tracking Map" button on the top of their home page. Then you have to select "MNKC2022" from the Event pull down menu, then select "beav" from the Challenger pull down menu, then select "Show tracks, OK, help and current waypoints only" from the Display Detail pull down menu, and then click on the "Regenerate View" button. These are my tracks and some intermediate times where I hit an OK message on my Spot.


Packing list- I have a gear list on an excel spreadsheet if you want to see that.
HighnDry
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04/25/2023 08:20AM
 
I'd be interested in seeing your packing list as well, Beav. I have a rough idea how I'd put together a single portage pack but I'd like to see the details in your list for comparison.

"It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”
JimmyJustice
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04/25/2023 08:36AM
 
I let you in on Beav's "patent pending" packing list:


1. Clothes on his back
2. Nalgene or cup, which ever is nearest the door on his way out.
3. Peanut M&M's.
4. Extra helping of Grit.

and a grape fruit chew taped to the bow to keep him motivated.

Fate whispers to the warrior "You cannot withstand the storm" and the warrior whispers back "I am the storm". Unknown.
TomT
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04/30/2023 06:29PM
 
It’s always fun for me to read a BeaV trip report. I would never be able to go over 24 hours paddling and portaging without sleep let alone 40 something like you did. It’s truly amazing but records are meant to be broken and someone with the same drive and much more favorable winds will someday do it. But man, you set a great bar for people to chase.

"Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." --- George Bernard Shaw
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