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Entry Point 52 - Brant Lake

Brant 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 a canoe landing at Round Lake with an 85- and a 35-rod portage to Brant Lake. This area was affected by blowdown in 1999.

Number of Permits per Day: 4
Elevation: 1500 feet
Latitude: 48.0692
Longitude: -90.8455
Author Message Text
Rob Johnson
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07/14/2011 11:45PM
 
New Trip Report posted by Rob Johnson

Trip Name: Mugwump PMA -- A Fine & Pleasant Misery.

Entry Point: 52

Click Here to View Trip Report

I always wondered why somebody didn't do something about that. Then I realized I am somebody. Lily Tomlin
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bumabu
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07/15/2011 06:47AM
 
Great report Rob, sounds like pure adventure.

Who I am precedes what I do, not the other way around.
nojobro
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07/15/2011 08:27AM
 
Haven't read it yet...but I like your title. ;-)
alpine525
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07/15/2011 08:38AM
 
I enjoyed your trip report - it sounds like you had a challenging time - I'm sure it's a trip you will always remember. Thanks for sharing your journey.

Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace. Dalai Lama
TuscaroraBorealis
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07/15/2011 08:51AM
 
Excellent report! Thanks for taking the time to share your story & photos.


Trips seldom go exactly the way a person envisions them while planning. That's usually where the "adventure" really begins. Sounds like you guys had enough adventure for 5 trips? ;-} It was very interesting & informative to hear how you overcame the obstacles presented on this trip. A trip to remember for sure.


I really love that area! And, I agree, that site on Tuscarora is really nice. I was windbound there once for a few days, so I got to know it quite well. :) It seems that Tuscarora portage gets downplayed some around here. But it's definitely one of the tougher ones you'll encounter in the BWCA. Especially coming from the direction you guys did.


Sorry to hear you were given bad news upon your exit. To be sure, that's a tough situation. That's the downside of "disconnecting" while out in the wilderness. Don't think there is a realistic good solution to that problem???
PINETREE
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07/15/2011 08:53AM
 
Good reading,nice.
wawasee
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07/15/2011 09:21AM
 
Great trip report I hope both of you have healed up from the trip!
nojobro
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07/15/2011 09:50AM
 
Rob, a great read!!!


I have a question...did you only have one pair of pants along? The one pair plus rain pants? Because I know I would have been digging to get at dry pants and I would have put my rain gear on over it and suffered the heat rather than suffered the wet. Well, at some point it gets too hot, but...that just sounds miserable. I always bring two pair pants plus rain pants (even on a three night trip) because frankly I am fearful of being soaking wet. Me dislike!


I really loved your attitude about the trip out of Travois...taking it one step at a time and tackling it item by item. Much better for morale than thinking of all the work yet to be done. Sometimes that type of thing is hard to remember to do when you're in the thick of it. Good job, and a good reminder.


I would have been nervous about getting so far from all of my gear (when you left the canoe and a pack and went on ahead) though I certainly understand wanting to "make it there."


I think you are in great shape now to tackle trips with the kids. I don't know the ages you're talking about but they will always need food and water handy and extra dry clothes. You won't forget now to always keep water with you. Kids always get plenty wet, which is why some extra clothes for them can be nice. On my next trip with kids I'm considering three pairs of shoes for each...sounds ridiculous on the surface but on our trip the kids had rain boots and sandals, and once kids' rain boots get wet inside they stay damp, and sometimes sandals weren't enough (too cold out). Though I have to say, the kids did not once complain about being uncomfortable in damp rain boots. I would have been miserable. So maybe it was okay. They did have wool socks (though the little one's were too big which was annoying...I had bought the smallest pair of wool socks at Gander but she's only 3 and they were too big).


The reason the hotels were booked in Spooner is that it was Rodeo weekend. I was up there at the cabin...you should have called. LOL. Damn, that would have been great, as I was sitting around the campfire with bruceye that very evening. Shucks.
nojobro
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07/15/2011 10:14AM
 
Here is the Wiki article about lenticular clouds. Thought someone else might be interested.
Chilly
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07/15/2011 12:08PM
 
Rob,


Was wondering how many people you talked to admit spending time on Travois lake before and who told ya that Travois had lakers and Marble had walleyes? Your the only other group I know that admitted going there and I'd love to chat about it sometime. Was thinking walleyes aren't native to this area of the bwca and I can't understand how they would end up in Marble.

I'd imagine Travois lake got it's name after someone needed to build one to drag someone or thing out of the area.

"Now days these kids take out everything: radar, sonar, electric toothbrushs" Quint
Rob Johnson
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07/15/2011 12:15PM
 
I did have one more pair of dry pants but I was reluctant to use them until we were finished hiking and back at camp.


You are right about us not running out of water again. Last trip we learned to stay off the lakes during big waves and this time it was keep lots of water with you and secure the maps well when portaging.


I suspect I will never reach the point where we don't learn some lesson on every trip.

I always wondered why somebody didn't do something about that. Then I realized I am somebody. Lily Tomlin
Rob Johnson
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07/15/2011 01:45PM
 
quote Chilly: "Rob,



Was wondering how many people you talked to admit spending time on Travois lake before and who told ya that Travois had lakers and Marble had walleyes? Your the only other group I know that admitted going there and I'd love to chat about it sometime. Was thinking walleyes aren't native to this area of the bwca and I can't understand how they would end up in Marble.


I'd imagine Travois lake got it's name after someone needed to build one to drag someone or thing out of the area. "



The fish stories came from those 30 year old studies done by the DNR that you can find on the Voyager maps. Marble was actually rated as "more walleyes than average". Given that not many people fish Marble we were expecting the walleyes to jump right into the canoe.


It is funny that you mention..."willing to admit time on Travois". Much of the information we got was second hand. Statements like, "I heard So-&-So thinks Travois is the best lake in the Bdub but he would never admit that to anyone else."

I always wondered why somebody didn't do something about that. Then I realized I am somebody. Lily Tomlin
Chilly
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07/15/2011 02:43PM
 
One thing I didn't understand was the 1966' peek just West of the 'island'. The hills NE up to the kek trail were every bit of said 300' but the supposed 300' pyramid hill just to the West looked only 100' high. What's your take?

"Now days these kids take out everything: radar, sonar, electric toothbrushs" Quint
Rob Johnson
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07/15/2011 03:30PM
 
quote Chilly: "One thing I didn't understand was the 1966' peek just West of the 'island'. The hills NE up to the kek trail were every bit of said 300' but the supposed 300' pyramid hill just to the West looked only 100' high. What's your take? "


It is there but it is heavily forested. I actually have a picture of it taken from the high point of the Kek Trail. That peak is centered in this photo. Travois is just to the left of this picture.

I always wondered why somebody didn't do something about that. Then I realized I am somebody. Lily Tomlin
Gobbler
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07/19/2011 06:50AM
 
Rob Johnson,



When My boys and I were hiking the Kek June 27th - July 1st 2011, we see this canoe way hell and gone up the Kek, far from any "normal Portage". I figured someone took a wrong turn got lost and finally gave up and dropped the canoe. But read in a one of your private forums that you were trying to get to Travois Lake and made it!



We saw foot steps on the kek for quite awhile then they disappeared before we got to the Harness Lake campsite. I can't imagine how tough it was getting that canoe to that elevation on the trail. Kudos go to you and your adventurous spirit.



And I believe our "lost sole" mystery is solved.



I wished we'd taken a picture of the canoe, but we were too exhausted to stop we just kept putting one foot in front of the other.


Great trip report, by the way.
Boppa
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07/19/2011 09:26AM
 
Rob,
Enjoyable report, great title.
I would be willing to state that when we stop learning something from each trip we take, it is time to stop taking them.


Enjoyed the attitude you both brought, your willingness to share and especially condolences regarding your grandmother.
Boppa

"Yesterday is the past, Tomorrow is the future, Today is a GIFT, that is why it is called the present".
Rob Johnson
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07/19/2011 11:36AM
 
quote Gobbler: "Rob Johnson,




When My boys and I were hiking the Kek June 27th - July 1st 2011, we see this canoe way hell and gone up the Kek, far from any "normal Portage". I figured someone took a wrong turn got lost and finally gave up and dropped the canoe. But read in a one of your private forums that you were trying to get to Travois Lake and made it!




We saw foot steps on the kek for quite awhile then they disappeared before we got to the Harness Lake campsite. I can't imagine how tough it was getting that canoe to that elevation on the trail. Kudos go to you and your adventurous spirit.




And I believe our "lost sole" mystery is solved.




I wished we'd taken a picture of the canoe, but we were too exhausted to stop we just kept putting one foot in front of the other.



Great trip report, by the way."



That is amazing that you saw the canoe. I am chuckling now thinking how ridiculous it must have looked there. Given how "un-used" that section of the Kek trail seemed to be we thought for sure no one else would ever see it.

I always wondered why somebody didn't do something about that. Then I realized I am somebody. Lily Tomlin
Gobbler
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07/19/2011 11:59AM
 
Other than meeting two canoers at the Thomas Lake portage, your canoe was the only sign of "activity" we saw on our 42 mile trek.


We'd had already lost the trail 3 times between Gabi and Agamok that morning, so we had done some bushwacking too. I guess it gave us something to think about other than the ascent to 1950' on that warm Tuesday afternoon.
PortageKeeper
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07/19/2011 03:24PM
 
Great report! Welcome to the club!
Things that you'll now firmly believe in...
Keep all necessary items (water and tablets, some food for existence, map & compass, some means of shelter, first aid etc.) with you at all times.
Get a hammock. It is a BIG, small item when bushwhacking, as there is always a place to hang your hat for the night.
Pack light, and then get rid of half of it.
Bring blazing tape (flourecent pink), put some on any gear left behind, and on a tree branch above it.
Learn how to recognize every hill, gully, bog, creek etc. that is on your map and you will know where you are... within reason.
Thanks for taking us along... though it was likely easier while sitting in front of this screen.


“The more you know, the less you carry” Mors Kochanski
Zulu
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07/20/2011 08:13AM
 

Rob - That was a great report! I enjoyed it very much. You are are a very good writer. Thank You for sharing it with us. I hope you have many great trips with the kids in your future.
Amok
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07/20/2011 08:56AM
 
Awesome trip report!

Trust, but verify. The Lord will provide !!!!
cheesewiz
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07/20/2011 12:38PM
 
enjoyed the report. Sometimes the most difficult trips are the most memorable.

I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal labotomy!
Rob Johnson
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07/20/2011 10:04PM
 
BTW -- several of you have complemented me on my choice of title...just so you know...you are complementing me for re-using a title from an author I enjoy = Patrick McManus. I suspect you knew that but I didn't want to take credit for originating the title.


If you haven't read any of his work...stop by your local library it is worth the read. It is old fashioned humor that always involves the great outdoors.

I always wondered why somebody didn't do something about that. Then I realized I am somebody. Lily Tomlin
PaddleAway
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07/21/2011 08:57PM
 
Rob, great trip report, finally had a chance to sit down & read it end-to-end this afternoon. I remember reading about your plans to test the Kek Trail & though you were nuts, now I'm certain!


I'd be curious to find out how many PMA attempts turn into something other than what the participants expected. We also had an interesting 'attempt' to get to Ferne Lake in the Fungus Lake PMA - & like you, arrived without the canoe for various reasons. I'll bet the percentage is fairly high!


Hope you get another crack at a PMA soon. Like you, my next trip, which is coming fast, will be a short, quiet one with the kids.
cowdoc
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07/21/2011 10:03PM
 
Nice report! Interesting to hear what lies beyond the beaten path.

"What could happen?"
jamotrade
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07/22/2011 03:13PM
 
Awesome adventure! You exploits put some of my more "difficult" trips to shame. Great writing! You really brought the adventure to life!!


BRAVO!
TomT
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07/23/2011 10:18AM
 
Parts of this trip report made me exhausted as I read about the long portages and bushwacking. And seeing the gorilla tape on your feet - ouch! that must have hurt when taking it off.


I've always wanted to do a trip like this but now (I'm 51) I would have to be in the best of shape and go as light as humanly possible.


I would also second the suggestion by someone else of using a sleeping hammock to eliminate weight and bulk vs. a tent. I would definitely replace the duffel too. I started my BWCA trips long ago by carrying a duffel and it's not very fun.


Well, it was a very enjoyable read and I got a feeling that someday you and your buddy and maybe your grown up kids will tackle something similar. After all, it's in our blood. :)


Here's me with my duffel on a solo trip in 1984.




"Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." --- George Bernard Shaw
paddlefamily
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07/28/2011 12:54PM
 
Wow. Where to start? Gives impact to the words "primitive mgt area". Maybe no management at all? Great story that you shared. Really enjoyed it. And you kept your humor in spit of it. Did you retire the duffel? :)


Rob Johnson
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07/28/2011 08:57PM
 
quote paddlefamily: "Wow. Where to start? Gives impact to the words "primitive mgt area". Maybe no management at all? Great story that you shared. Really enjoyed it. And you kept your humor in spit of it. Did you retire the duffel? :)



"



We hope to retire the whole concept of the duffle. We hope to be half that weight the next time we tackle a PMA.

I always wondered why somebody didn't do something about that. Then I realized I am somebody. Lily Tomlin
Rob Johnson
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01/07/2012 01:28AM
 
So 6 months have passed since our trip. One of the advantages of getting old is that your memory fades. You forget about the bad stuff sooner than you used to and you can re-read your own adventures like you were reading someone elses!


The canoe/camp bug is finally back. I didn't find myself checking in here more than was healthy until just recently.


Our trips this year will not involve a PMA and actually won't involve the BDub at all. Here is what Heavy Canoe & I have planned:
-a winter camping trip in a couple of weeks to the Chalk Hills area on the Wisconsin-U.P. border. This will be an easy trip due to my recent hernia surgery
-a winter camping trip to either the Porcupine Wilderness or the Whisker Lake Wilderness area in March
-the first annual Dads & Kids trip will be in the Highlands Wilderness. We've opted for easy and bailout options for our first trip.
-a car camping outing at a time and location yet to be deteremined.

I always wondered why somebody didn't do something about that. Then I realized I am somebody. Lily Tomlin
MidwestFirecraft
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03/12/2019 06:12AM
 
Found this report searching for PMA trips. Well written and great photos. This read like a perfect canoe trip. Had to laugh when I read this: "newspaper for fire starter." I have not used newspaper to start a fire since the mid 90's. Every morning we would start the wood stove at my grandparents cabin with newspaper. They are both gone now and the good memories came flooding back. I can still smell the smoke as the kindling took. Thanks for the great trip report and memories.
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