AmarilloJim: "boonie: "It's been said a trip with a dog is not a "true solo" ;)"
Yeah, the guy with multiple personalities is never truly alone :) At least that's what I tell people. Besides, at least one of me is able to talk to a rock . . .
boonie: "It's been said a trip with a dog is not a "true solo" ;)"
haha! boonie, my uncle said the same thing to me.
boonie: "It's been said a trip with a dog is not a "true solo" ;)"
Does that apply to the voices in my head also?
It's been said a trip with a dog is not a "true solo" ;)
johndku: "If the dog is well behaved, will stay in camp, listens to commands, etc., take the dog. Put yourself in the dog's shoes, it will have the time of it's life.
You forgot to mention "and will carry its own gear and food"
If the dog is well behaved, will stay in camp, listens to commands, etc., take the dog. Put yourself in the dog's shoes, it will have the time of it's life.
Solo it is y'all! I appreciate all of the feedback.
Time to plan the route and decide if my golden is coming with me or staying with the wife.
I would never hire a guide. Maybe some people have a good reason to, but I don't understand it. Why not just ask if someone on the site wants to go with you? Or just go solo?
Are you unfit to carry your own gear? Do you not understand how, or are physically unable to navigate to your campsite, setup camp, cook your own food, or search for fish? If that is the case then by all means hire a guide. But if you are able to do all those things then why do you need a guide?
If you a simply unwilling to go alone then I do not think that is a good reason. There are other ways to get around that.
Since so many dynamics of the trip have changed, you could also consider taking a different route. One scenic area where you would have a multitude of options that would allow you to stay flexible and not have to paddle any big water would be EP #47 Lizz & Swamp Lakes up the Gunflint Trail. Put in at the access or stay at Rockwood the night before entry and paddle from their landing. Most Lakes are a 20 - 30 minute paddle across/through, long and narrow, and the portages are relatively short and easy. Not a lot of traffic during the time you are planning. Decent fishing and good chances to see moose and other wildlife. You could go as far as you want, or as short as you want. Last year we went a week earlier than you are planning and put in at Round Lake (Cross Bay EP) and paddled back to Rockwood. There are a lot of lakes to explore in that area and a lot of options. The lakes are super easy to navigate and you definitely wouldn't need a guide. Carl and Mike at Rockwood can provide all the intel and guidance that you need regarding the route, campsites, portages, fishing, etc.
Ditto what many others said - go ahead and do a solo. Be less ambitious as far as distance traveled per day. You'll want to stop earlier, set up camp, get your firewood etc., and then be able to get in some fishing. If you pick a smaller lake to camp on - depending on length of stay, you can figure out the lake/cover a higher percentage of it, as far as fishing.
I wouldn't mess with a guide.
Nothing against Guides, but you won't need one in the BWCA.
My first trip was just myself and seven year old son, so essentially it was a "solo" trip that required extra gear, and we had no idea what we were doing. We did five nights, traveled every day, no problem, had a blast. Watch your maps and you won't get lost.
And worst case scenario even if you did get turned around, the BWCA isn't that remote that you won't bump into somebody soon who can set you back on the right track. And take leeches, that will almost guarantee you catch fish.
My first trip was solo, and it was also my first canoe camping trip. I had some car camping with a tent experience, but no backpacking experience. It was a great trip!
What I have learned since that trip:
1. Fishing from a solo canoe is frustrating if it is windy. The answer is to troll. There are numerous threads on that.
2. Chores do take a lot of your time solo. Have shorter travel, efficient meals (dehydrated one pot), and gravity water filter. (You can do other chores while the water is filtering)
3. Have as many days out as you can, so that you can stay in a good place for a day or 2, or more! I wouldn't shorten a trip because I was solo, I would lengthen it if possible.
I vote go alone, but if you think it would be uncomfortable, or you really want the best fishing, get a guide.
Either way, I'm sure you will have a great experience.
I'd go solo, no guide. My first BW trip was similar, buddy dropped out at the last minute. Took a week long trip from Island River EP 34 back to Farm Lake. A little too long of a trip but I had a great time. Packing up and moving every day was a pain and cut into my fishing time. Don't know what kind of equipment you have but paddling solo will be different. I was in a 70lb tin can and was at the mercy of the wind at times. But I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Have a great trip!
Also a backpacker.
The map skills I expect (hope?) you have from backpacking are very transferrable to wet work, and I think a guide would not be necessary - unless you really just don't want to solo.
I'd go solo if I were you. Play it by ear and just have fun. Other option I would consider is finding a solo person on here who might want to go.
You'll find fish if you make it to the Basswood river by and between the falls, with or without guide. Not even necessary to get to Crooked proper to find good fishing
Another vote you do not need a guide. I wonder what could a guide do that you could not figure out on your own and is it worth the money . There is a forum for going solo you may want to look at with some ideas about being alone, really alone. In general doing the chores leaves plenty of time to fish, read, explore and just sit by the fire. Especially if you mostly base camp and do not move a lot except day trips to fish or explore nearby lakes.
In addition to the trip partner forum you might want to consider going alone with plans to meet others for part of the trip. Your dates are early for me this year, but I would love to meet up, especially the first couple days and share stories and eat fish you caught. I no longer fish, but advertise I am good at collecting firewood and bringing a side you might enjoy.
Catching prize fish isn't as important to me as catching fish to eat. One of my favorite things to do is eat the fresh fish I do catch. I would think on a solo a lot more of my time would be dedicated to chores and exploring instead of fishing all day.
I would do a solo trip in that situation and have when friends backed out of a trip.
As previously mentioned navigating around the BWCA is not hard and with good map and compass. And GPS, even just on a cell phone, works well if you do get truly turnaround.
I am a very casual fisherman at best. If you have your heart set on great fishing I could see the value of a guide to show you the best areas and techniques but it’s not that important to me.
If you're worried about getting lost or navigating. You'll find that getting around the BW is relatively easy. Campsites and portages are great points of reference. Learning to use a compass will take 15 minutes. Many Lakes well require only 1 compass bearing if any to get across. Your Backpacking skills will carry over to the camping aspect.
If fishing is a high priority, I would say do the guide thing, or better yet, post something in the trip partner thread. You will find people looking for people to do trips north. The main thing is gelling with the guide, or any person you go with. I’ve had fishing guides that I could spend all summer with, and I’ve had some that I could barely spend a afternoon with..
Wanting to get some feedback on a guided trip vs not taking a guide. Originally I had a group of six, but all have dropped out due to work or family. I'm still very committed to going and have always wanted to do a solo camping trip. I am a decent paddler and a good backpacker, but I have only been to the BWCA one time and it was with my uncle who has 37 trips under his belt. We base camped on Basswood near US point and day tripped from there.
This trip was originally planned for EP 23 for six days (May 23-29), but I will shorten it to a 4-5 day paddle. With a guide, we would travel up to Crooked Lake, but without a guide, I would limit my trip due to my lack of experience in the BWCA.
In your opinions, would you advise I bring a guide for my first trip alone to the BWCA or can I do a true solo and keep the planning and travel to a minimum?
My only goals are fishing and relaxing to the beautiful sound of loons.
Thank you to everyone for your feedback!