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      Trip Report - Sawbill + Louse Loop SOLO / female paddler
 
  Last Visit: 08/22/2019 11:29AM

Entry Point 38 - Sawbill Lake

Sawbill Lake entry point allows overnight paddle only. This entry point is supported by Tofte Ranger Station near the city of Tofte, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 25 miles. Access is a boat landing at Sawbill Lake. This area was affected by blowdown in 1999.

Number of Permits per Day: 14
Elevation: 1802 feet
Latitude: 47.8699
Longitude: -90.8858
Author Message Text
paddlefamily
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09/26/2016 04:30PM
 
New Trip Report posted by paddlefamily

Trip Name: SAWBILL + LOUSE LOOP SOLO / FEMALE PADDLER

Entry Point: 38

Click Here to View Trip Report
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missmolly
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09/26/2016 05:17PM
 
Women paddling + solo paddling = A fine, fine time


Nice report. I liked the tips at the end.

I will paddle eternal, Kevlar and carbon.
boonie
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09/26/2016 06:01PM
 
I enjoyed your report very much. I solo a lot and always like to hear about others' solo trips, especially first solos. It seems a lot more people (including women) are giving it a try.


It sounds like yours went fairly smoothly for a first one, but that's probably due to all your other experience. That sounds like a pretty nice route for your first solo - a little more remote than many would choose - but not a bad thing in my mind. It sounds like you were well-prepared for it and enjoyed. I've been down through the part from Mesaba (came down from the north) and enjoyed it.


You're the only other person I know who eats ProBars! I like to keep the whole meal thing simple on my solos. Who do you get your other meals from?


Thanks for the report.
Mocha
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09/26/2016 07:28PM
 
the Louse river is one of the prettiest areas of the BWCA, giving the feeling of really being off the beaten path. lovely photos.
paddlefamily
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09/27/2016 09:27AM
 
quote boonie: "I enjoyed your report very much. I solo a lot and always like to hear about others' solo trips, especially first solos. It seems a lot more people (including women) are giving it a try.



It sounds like yours went fairly smoothly for a first one, but that's probably due to all your other experience. That sounds like a pretty nice route for your first solo - a little more remote than many would choose - but not a bad thing in my mind. It sounds like you were well-prepared for it and enjoyed. I've been down through the part from Mesaba (came down from the north) and enjoyed it.



You're the only other person I know who eats ProBars! I like to keep the whole meal thing simple on my solos. Who do you get your other meals from?


Thanks for the report. "



Thanks Boonie. Ha, I like the ProBars because of the high fat/high calories. Plus they're lightweight for the calorie count. I use them on my long distance hikes as well. My breakfast and lunches are simple, high calorie/fat foods: Justin's Nut Butters, jerkey, cheese, homemade trail mixes, salmon/tuna foil pack, ProBars, Bhurja Mix (found at Target), toasted coconut chips to name a few. I also like the high calorie protein powder drinks from Packit Gourmet and Vega Protein for a quick on the go breakfast. Dehydrated dinners come from Outdoor Herbivore, Packit Gourmet or Camp Chow.


What do you use?


Yes, choosing a remote trip was intentional. I've been dreaming of an out of the way trip and felt very comfortable with it.



boonie
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09/27/2016 05:18PM
 
A lot of similarity - I have a ProBar for lunch because it's more of a meal (375-390 Cal.) than a snack like other bars. I thought maybe you got the idea from one of my posts because nobody else has ever mentioned them, but . . . it just proves great minds think alike (or fools share the same folly) :). I have calorie dense mixed nuts with some raisins (3:1 ratio) in them for snacking. I've also found the Outdoor Herbivore (OH) snacks - CinnaMonkey and CocoaNutty Chomps to be good high calorie snacks. I've pretty much gone with cold cereals (and hot coffee) for breakfast, mostly OH's Maple Blueberry Crunch and Toasted Sunburst Muesli. I have used the protein smoothies from Packit Gourmet (PG), but they don't seem to stick with me like the OH cereals - too much sugar, I think. The PG Jamaican Peanut Porridge is delicious, but there's only 200 calories in a packet. It's more like a thin smoothie even with a drastic reduction in the water added than it is like a hot cereal. Dinners are usually one of several OH dinners or one of several Hawk Vittles dinners. I especially like Hawk's Bacon Baked Beans and Cashew Curry. I have quinoa substituted for the couscous in the curry.
hooky
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09/28/2016 12:37PM
 
Nice report and great photos.

“It is clearly absurd to limit the term 'education' to a person's formal schooling.” - Murray Rothbard
paddlefamily
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09/28/2016 04:13PM
 
quote Mocha: "the Louse river is one of the prettiest areas of the BWCA, giving the feeling of really being off the beaten path. lovely photos.
"



Yes, it's a gorgeous area and I'd love to do a Sawbill - Louse - Polly - Lady Chain Lakes loop someday. Thought about doing that this time, but doing a first solo with the dog was enough variety this time.
Mocha
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09/28/2016 05:16PM
 
quote paddlefamily: "quote Mocha: "the Louse river is one of the prettiest areas of the BWCA, giving the feeling of really being off the beaten path. lovely photos.
"




Yes, it's a gorgeous area and I'd love to do a Sawbill - Louse - Polly - Lady Chain Lakes loop someday. Thought about doing that this time, but doing a first solo with the dog was enough variety this time. "



our party of 2 did the frost river (starting at Ham lake), louse river, kawishiwi river (to fishdance) then turned around and headed north to Boulder then east to little sag out out to round. some of the "most bestest" (that is correct and means "way more"!) bwca we've ever traveled.
paddlefamily
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09/29/2016 12:19PM
 
our party of 2 did the frost river (starting at Ham lake), louse river, kawishiwi river (to fishdance) then turned around and headed north to Boulder then east to little sag out out to round. some of the "most bestest" (that is correct and means "way more"!) bwca we've ever traveled."



ooh. that sounds like a great route. we've done hame lake down to long island, but i've been itching to cover the frost loop as well. did you go in the spring?
Mocha
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09/29/2016 05:09PM
 
nope, we went late september... the only time we had. spring would be better. we lost track of portages and beaver dams along the frost river, but the rest of the trip was decent. we had 4 days of no people, only large groupings of loons, geese, ducks... all heading south.
muddyfeet
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10/12/2016 01:35AM
 
Congrats on a successful first solo- Great way to challenge yourself indeed! That sounds like a route to add 'to the list'!


Tell us about re-entering the prism from the water- How did you do it? Do you think it would be possible on choppy open water?


Do you use your iPhone for maps/navigation? What app? Do you bring an solar charger or extra battery?


I've also had the experience that many "5 star rated" campsites are not actually as great as they once might have been for the heavy use reasons you stated.





"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread; places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul" -John Muir
1bogfrog
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10/13/2016 08:36AM
 
Thanks for a good trip report with some very useful tips. It is fun to see other women out soloing, and you covered some of my favorite areas! I haven't yet gotten brave enough to take one of my dogs with me. Given their general naughtiness, I think I'd consider them more of a detriment than anything. I glad you had such a wonderful trip and thank you for sharing!
paddlefamily
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10/19/2016 02:31AM
 
quote muddyfeet: "Congrats on a successful first solo- Great way to challenge yourself indeed! That sounds like a route to add 'to the list'!



Tell us about re-entering the prism from the water- How did you do it? Do you think it would be possible on choppy open water?



Do you use your iPhone for maps/navigation? What app? Do you bring an solar charger or extra battery?



I've also had the experience that many "5 star rated" campsites are not actually as great as they once might have been for the heavy use reasons you stated.




"



I didn't have any problems re-entering the prism from the water. I assume you're referring to when I dumped? Thankfully, it wasn't very dramatic. When I dumped, I was in chest deep water (I'm 5'6"). I drug the canoe about 20' to the edge of the pond. It wasn't much of an edge due to the flooding and I couldn't get onto land because of the flooding and all the brush, but the water there was only about 1-2' deep. Everything floated (which wasn't much - the pack and the dog mat) as I keep everything packed or clipped to the pack or canoe thwarts. I pulled all my stuff out of the canoe and dumped the mostly full canoe out of all the water. Choppy water would be a different story. Depending on temps, how close I am to land, among other things, would determine how I self-rescue (hence the reason I always wear a pdf and zip my ditch kit inside of it). Because this route didn't have large lakes or deep bays, I was able to almost always paddle 30' or less along the shore, mainly because I can enjoy the details of the flora/fauna better, and it provides a margin of safety.


I use a good ol' map and compass for navigation. I carry a smaller map and compass in my ditch kit. I have a solar charger (Goal Zero) but rarely bring it because I have decent camera batteries (including extra). On a separate note, I thru-hiked the BRT in the spring and while I navigated with map and compass, I had Gaia GPS app on my phone for backup. I never needed it, but it was nice to know it was available. It doesn't require cell service. I did look at it once just for fun on the trail just to see it working.


Hope you get to explore this area sometime - I'd go back again, especially to explore more of the Louse River system.




paddlefamily
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10/19/2016 02:53AM
 
quote 1bogfrog: "Thanks for a good trip report with some very useful tips. It is fun to see other women out soloing, and you covered some of my favorite areas! I haven't yet gotten brave enough to take one of my dogs with me. Given their general naughtiness, I think I'd consider them more of a detriment than anything. I glad you had such a wonderful trip and thank you for sharing!"


Yeah, I'd always hoped I could take her and I'm glad she did well. She and I hike and trail run together, so I didn't have concerns about how she'd behave on portages. Then, I spent some time with her during the summer getting her used to the canoe on land and in water. She still wasn't 100% into it until a couple of days into the trip, but she stayed still, which was what I cared about most. :)
TuscaroraBorealis
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10/23/2016 11:31AM
 
Great report!


I too appreciated the tips section. Sounds like you had scenery & solitude with enough challenges to make it an incredibly rewarding adventure. I've always liked that area around Wine Lake. Thanks for taking the time to share your report & photos.
ozarkpaddler
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10/24/2016 07:39PM
 
Nice report, (+) really liked the twilight tent pic; perfect depiction of the BWCAW for me

"Let us live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry." Mark Twain
jaek5199
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12/28/2016 03:27PM
 
Thanks for a fun and detailed report. Really enjoy reading others adventures, especially the solos. I just did my first one this fall in the same general area but not as long. I also have a Prism and have only had it out once, so I was really interested in your comments about it. Sounds like you have quite a system worked out. I'd be interested to see a pic of your canoe fully loaded on this trip, including the rocks you mention. Did you put those in the bow/stern/both? Great trip report! Thanks for sharing.

JohnMN
TomT
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12/29/2016 09:40AM
 
Very nice report and pics. I really like all the details too. I don't know how you can get everything in a 45 lb. pack but it's inspiring. I'd like to know about or see your fishing tackle too.


My feeling on bringing a dog (I've done it solo twice) is that it's a solo physically but not mentally. There's a difference being "with" a dog and going by yourself. I enjoy it so much more when I'm with my dog. It's something to occupy your thoughts and even talk to. I found myself saying to Luna on a difficult portage "This really sucks eh?" But she loves portaging so much that she didn't agree with me. :)






"Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." --- George Bernard Shaw
Eric7753
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01/06/2017 07:15PM
 
That was a wonderful trip report, it is nice to read other people successes and "learning opportunities". My daughter wants to bring her dog on our trip this fall. To be convinced that is a good idea, we will have to do several practice trips and see how she does.

A vacation day not on the water, might as well be a work day...
paddlinjoe
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01/10/2017 03:08PM
 
Wow, what beautiful pictures. I am not much of a photographer, and tend to take pictures to just document where I have been to evoke memories of trips. There is such a symetry and motion to your compositoins, they are mesmorizing.


Your trip report was a joy to read, in particular I enjoy when people reflect on items that did/didn't work for them at the end of a trip.


I am curious what tips you found helpful in aclimating your dog to the canoe? We don't currenly have a dog, but we do have a couple of kids, maybe there are some transferable tricks. :-)

paddlinjoe
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