I will email you the route info and itinerary I put together for it along with some explanation. I had put together a plan for 7 1/2 days with a layover. A couple of the ending days were short and we essentially completed it in 6 days with 1 layover day and a 1 1/2 mile paddle the final morning. We didn't fish either.
boonie: "I hear ya'. If you're thinking about that loop, read my trip report and Steve's (inspector13). Besides the Fente-Hub portage, there's a Zenith-Lujenida portage, which a long one. There was also a partially flooded out portage on the way from Polly to Pan, otherwise nothing much to worry about. The Fente-Hub portage has a decent trail, but it just gains 100+ feet very quickly. Zenith-Lujenida is long and has some ups and downs and a flooded out portion."
So is it feasible to do that loop in 5 days? Like Day 1 is get a ride from Sawbill and Day 5 is head back to Duluth? On a trip like that we want to take at least one day to rest on Sag. One day on Wine would be great too, but that might be its own trip.
Edit* An extra day on wine would make it a 6 day, not saying I would have 2 rest days and still do it in 5 days.
Zenith-Lujenida portage has a small section described as a 'goat trail'. I mistakenly thought you were searching for something easy. If you'd welcome a challenging non-basecamp route--that would be it!
I hear ya'. If you're thinking about that loop, read my trip report and Steve's (inspector13). Besides the Fente-Hub portage, there's a Zenith-Lujenida portage, which a long one. There was also a partially flooded out portage on the way from Polly to Pan, otherwise nothing much to worry about. The Fente-Hub portage has a decent trail, but it just gains 100+ feet very quickly. Zenith-Lujenida is long and has some ups and downs and a flooded out portion.
boonie: "Warning! The Kawishiwi to Sawbill loop I mentioned has a very steep one - Fente-Hub - BUT you'll be going uphill! :)"
If I did a longer trip I would expect hard portages and that would not be a limiting factor. As long as we know about them ahead of time and can plan around them a bit then it's fine. What I hate is either expecting a shorter one then trying to climb up and down boulders as tall as I am with a canoe or having a long day then running into a tough portage when we are already exhausted. Last year at Vernon it was the only portage in the trip so we over packed and underestimated the portage. If it had been raining then the steep portion of that portage would have been dangerous.
Warning! The Kawishiwi to Sawbill loop I mentioned has a very steep one - Fente-Hub - BUT you'll be going uphill! :)
hooky: "Sawbill to Cherokee, then down and out through the fire chain. Either go to Cherokee first night and then down through temperance to Smoke/Burnt or do it it the other way. It's some pretty country.
We have considered this one, and it is a stop on several of our options, but just Cherokee and the fire chain would be a route we could do in 3 nights. I think I would rather travel further and see more.
For portaging, I am fine with longer ones. It is the steeper ones that are the problems. We've gone 200+ rods on flat ground no problem, but Brule to Vernon last year was a pain. Downhill where the canoe scrapes the ground and hits rocks is the worst. I'd rather walk an extra 200 rods on flat ground than deal with that again.
Sawbill to Cherokee, then down and out through the fire chain. Either go to Cherokee first night and then down through temperance to Smoke/Burnt or do it it the other way. It's some pretty country.
Take a look at Poplar Lake, off the Gunflint Trail. There are several loop options of different lengths.
For Example, you can go Poplar to Caribou to Gaskin to Winchell to Omega to Otto to Pillsbury to Allen to Caribou etc. You can add Meads lake if you don't mind the portages (portages = privacy) or continue as far west as Long Island Lake, coming back through Ross, Sebeka, Rush and Skipper. Or you can add Brule Lake into the mix and still have a loop.
I did this one year for a 4 nighter: Entry #64 - East Bearskin-->Alder: camp & fish on Alder with day trip to Johnson Falls for a swim. Paddle back to E. Bearskin #64 to exit. Just one short portage E. Bearskin to Alder. Easy access to a couple other smaller lakes from Alder.
Loop can be done in this area, as well.
motors allowed on E. Bearskin but I only saw two. They waved and kept a distance. Camps and homes along E. Bearskin north shore up to the BWCA boundary line. a beautiful paddle.
Yeah, if you have 6 days/5 nights you can do a nice trip; you'll appreciate the extra time. How far would you feel comfortable traveling? Any limitations on portages?
I haven't done the Frost, but we did a nice trip from Kawishiwi to Sawbill (see thread about that area) - can you shuttle? I've done a couple of trips through Kawishiwi Lake (see reports), but haven't exhausted the possibilities.
You might also want to consider a Brant or Missing Link entry.
We usually go on shorter trips to satisfy my wife who is home with little ones. This year I have some vacation, she doesn't, and we are at the point where we have two kids and are talking about a third, plus my tripping buddy is talking about starting a family and having kids, too. That leaves us thinking we had better get in a good trip while we can.
This is my 5th year going so I have all the gear for pretty much any trip within reason in the summer, but the longest trip I have been on is a 4 day/3 night trip. Any suggestions?
My ideas so far started with a Sawbill to Wine and the loop in that area, but that was thinking 3 nights. We could do more in that area though.
Then we considered a Frost loop where we start and end in Sawbill going through Cherokee and Wine. Never been to Cherokee so that would probably be a basecamp day.
Another thought I had was Brule to Cherokee, Long Island Lake and back through Davis and the Cones.
Lastly, I was thinking about spreading out further than Brule or Sawbill. Maybe head up the Gunflint. I've always tried to exit and get home in one day, and that's 7 hours of driving plus stopping to unload my buddy in Duluth. If I took an extra day to get home, then I could drive further, but that takes a night off our trip.
What are good options if we want to get away from others and like to see sights like cliffs and waterfalls?