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03/25/2017 07:49PM   (Thread Older Than 3 Years)
I apologize if I am breaking forum rules. I posted this in the trip planning forum and I actually meant to post this here. Please delete the other post titled Its That Time Again.

Thank goodness its finally here. The time when I finally start planning my next trip, instead of just thinking about my next trip, which are two very different things. I was already thinking about this years trip(s) when I got back from last years.

Anyways, want to do something a little different this year. Thinking about something over the Grand Marais way or the central lakes this year instead of my usual which is over the Ely way, or occasionally up Fernberg somewhere. Stuff like 35, 36, 37 and EP's further east are what I am thinking.

I have only been over on the Gunflint once and never visited the central lakes region so I really am unfamiliar with the areas. I am thinking two types of trips potentially.

1. 3-5 day trip which most likely would be a base camp somewhere with day trips to surrounding lakes, although a loop or something might work as well.

2. A 5-7 da y trip which will most likely be some sort of a loop or in and out the same way kind of a trip. I usually like to travel one day and then rest one day. Explore the surrounding lakes, paddle the lake I am on, check out campsites, hike through the forest, snap pics, maybe fish somewhere in there one day.

Can I get some suggestions on these types of trips please and thank you. Not much I can think in the way of criteria that I might be looking for but maybe a few things to help give a suggestion.

Solo trip(obviously) and I will definitely be double portaging. Probably moving average or maybe slightly under average on the water. 2.5-3.5 MPH would be my guess. I don't mind portages, especially since I would prefer ending up somewhere out of the way. That being said I would prefer paddling and/or numerous small to medium size portages instead of a few long ones. 50-150 rods not 250+.

I'm usually up between 5-6AM and on the water an hour later. Like to travel till around 2ish. I am not really looking to fish. To each their own but I personally find fishing to be very boring. Catching fish is fun, but I have never had good luck fishing. Spending 3-5 hours siting in a canoe, trying to catch one 3lb. Northern for dinner is not my idea of fun. It takes at least that long for me to find one and I would rather be doing other things. That being said I do like to eat one meal of fish so being on a lake where I can find Pike would be nice.

I don't like the large or huge sized lakes. No Basswood, LLC, Ensign type things. Small and medium sized lakes, like Stuart, Horse, Tin Can, Lux, etc. Exploration, taking pics of things, pictographs, flora and fauna, finding old logging equipment or other abandoned stuff is fun for me.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Hope you guys enjoy your trips this year.

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03/27/2017 07:19PM  
It's always a little difficult for me to give suggestions to people who have different preferences and priorities, but at least you're not big on fishing ;). I don't fish, but I do portage. There are some options that might work for you:

EP #50 Cross Bay. I did a trip from there back to Poplar after a shuttle from Rockwood to EP #50. You will likely not want to do that even though no portage is over 250 rods, because a couple are awkward and one is very difficult. I have also entered there and gone to Snipe, which is a nice lake and doable for you, but would be a short out and back since you likely don't want to do the Howl Swamp portage to Tusc, nor the portages from Tusc to Missing link (way longer than you like) and Missing Link to Round with a 1-mile walk back to EP #50. For the short trip you could go down to Long Island or even down to Cherokee and have plenty of options for the kind of trip you are looking for.

EP #47, Lizz Lake, probably fits the bill for you. A multitude of options with nothing too long or difficult, although it may be a little busy.

You have some options out the Sawbill Trail with EP #37, Kawishiwi Lake, and EP #38, Sawbill Lake. From #37 you can go north to Polly and beyond that to Malberg and have day trip options. The portages are not difficult or terribly long although the last two before Polly are separated by a very short paddle. It makes them feel almost like one portage. An option from Polly if you are willing to shuttle would be to take the Lady Chain back to Sawbill. I have not done this route, but have considered it. We opted to make a longer loop north through Little Sag and down to Kelso. From Sawbill north through Kelso you run into the long Lujenida-Zenith portage, which you likely want to avoid. I have no experience with other options out of Sawbill, but trips north to Cherokee and North Temperance may not be out of the question for you.

You'll find some information in my trip reports, but if any questions are unanswered, just ask.
03/28/2017 09:29AM  
I'd agree with Boonie's suggestions --- particularly Kawishiwi entry. You could do the loop that starts at Malberg and go up to Adams/boulder and then back out. Fishdance is close on that loop so you could sidetrack to that lake for pictos and a general feeling of eeriness (as others have reported :). Fishing is a good option on that loop.

If I can cobble together 7 days, I will go in Round/Brant and head in to Gabi/Ogish and back out. It's a Good route for fishing and exploring and most of the lakes, although large can be traveled by staying close to shorelines or ducking in/out of islands. Just a thought.
03/28/2017 06:26PM  

You can check out my trip reports and photos for additional information on some of those. I double portage and usually travel for 5 +/- hours in a day with an occasional layover day. I usually average about 2 - 2.5 mph traveling, depending on the mix of paddling and portaging. I value solitude the most, so I usually look for some longer, tougher portages to thin the crowd. I prefer to do one longer portage as opposed to a few short ones to reduce the loading/unloading.

I've done 3 trips through EP #37, Kawishiwi Lake, and liked it. It can be a little busy up to Polly, even Malberg, but much quieter after that. The first leg up to Polly skirts the edge of the Pagami Creek wildfire. Double portaging, it's 8 miles to Polly, 9 miles to the north end, maybe 1 or 2 beaver dams on the way up. It's 12 miles to Malberg, but there's a lot of shoreline if you have to paddle around all those long skinny arms looking for a site. It sounds like on a travel day, you might travel that far . . . ? If you want more information on that, I can look it up - just ask.

Adams would be within your range for the longer trip, assuming 4 solid days of travel to get in and out. Actually, I came down from Boulder to Malberg in a day on my last trip (sept 2016 trip report). Adams is a beautiful lake in my opinion. I really enjoyed the paddle from Boulder down to Adams. Paddling on the Kawishiwi River is very nice if you just stop at Malberg. I went down to the Fishdance pictos on the last trip and have also made a side trip and camped on Amber Lake in the past. You can also go NE on Kawishiwi River like we did on the 2014 trip for a day trip.

From Malberg, you could also day trip out the Louse River. Good luck with the planning. If you have any questions on any of the suggestions, just ask here or email me directly.

04/01/2017 07:04AM  
When I read your O.P. the first things that popped into my head were what boonie has suggested.

I really love the area you get to from EP 47 Lizz. So many different directions you can go from there.

I will add 39 Baker for you to ponder. My daughter and I saw a lot of moose from the EP to Jack Lake and while we were camped on Jack.
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