We just got back from doing the Mudro/Crooked loop. We pushed to Lower Basswood Falls the first day and to Thursday Bay the second day where we stayed 3 nights. We saw very few people north of the falls. Our last night was spent on Gun. Day 1 was a 6 hour day, 3 hours for day 2. Coming out....5 hours from Thursday Bay to Gun and 4 hours from Gun back to Mudro (all double portaging). That was our 5th trip to Crooked....love that lake.
I did the Mudro entry in 2018 up into Crooked and out Friday bay thru Fourtown and back to Mudro.
Entry day was 8/11
We didn't hardly see a soul once we cleared Horse lake. Spent the first night at Lower Basswood Falls (awesome) and then made a 2 night camp in Wednesday Bay. (super awesome) The last day we pushed all the way back to the entry because all the sites were taken from Moosecamp lake through Fourtown. Long Day.
I loved Crooked so much that in 2020 I want to start in lac La Croix around Bottle Portage (tow) and make my way through Iron all the way across Crooked and down the Basswood river and out into Basswood Lake and get picked up by another tow and out.
If you want to go Crooked just make sure you don't have to camp anywhere near fourtown. Might just have to make it a long day on the last day.
Thanks for the insights, Tom. I did the shorter loop for a 5 day trip back over the fourth in 2017, in at EP14, through Shell > Hustler > Oyster > Agnes, then a night up at boulder bay and then back down and out through EP16. It was a great trip and we had hustler to ourselves due to the portages. I havent been to Mudro yet but was just trying to get an idea of how bad it could be.
The state park analogy scares me a little, even though ive heard it isnt as bad once you clear the falls and get onto Crooked. But that fourtown and horse are pretty much a zoo which might make a campsite on the way out kind of tough.
How would you compare Crooked to Iron in terms of traffic?
Just my opinion, but with the choice between 14 and 23 I'd take 14 every time. Mudro feels like a state park - wide, beaten down paths as "portages", and sites and latrines that are totally worn out by the end of August. LIS gets you into relatively wild places fairly quickly, and at least in mid August (the latest I've been there) it didn't feel beaten down to me at all. I haven't been up by Gebe at Labor Day, but was up there on the Fourth a couple years back and we had the lake to ourselves. I think there are enough significant portages between 14 and 16 that you'll be relatively secluded in the middle even on a busy weekend.
My group is currently planning on going in Saturday (8/31) at EP23 Mudro (7 nights) and planning on doing a leisurely Crooked Loop with two days of basecamping (2 nights at 2 sites). We merged with some friends and have an extra permit for EP14, and were considering instead doing the north loop through Fat-Slim-Gebe instead (out EP16) to avoid crowds. We have some first timers and everyone is counting down the days at work.
Anyone have thoughts on which would be better? The falls are really appealing to see on Basswood, but jockeying for campsites doesn't sound as fun, and could be an issue Labor Day week, at least at the beginning and end of the trip around Fourtown/Horse.
Any thoughts from people who have tripped either area over a Labor Day before? Gotta cancel one of them and just have to decide.