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      Easy trip in Quetico Lake?     

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TominMpls
distinguished member(531)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/17/2018 05:11PM
Despite a summer full of longer trips for both me and my daughter, we may try to do a short easy trip with my wife over labor day. I want to avoid crowds but she needs a route without much portaging and so Quetico Lake looks promising. I haven't been in the Q before. We're all fine with poop trowels.

So is Quetico Lake a good choice for this? Are there decently secluded sites reachable without much portaging? Daughter and I love portaging so tend to plan trips around little lakes with lots of portages (daughter actually prefers backpacking), so this isn't the way I tend to think about trips.

Also, is it still true that I can't reserve until 5 months in advance, and will I need to call the instant it comes available to get a labor day permit on Quetico Lake?
 
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old_salt
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02/17/2018 05:35PM
If you want a trip with no portages, put in at French Lake and paddle out to the Isle of Pines area on Pickeral Lake. French River is scenic and if you’re quiet, you may see wildlife. Beautiful area that should be fairly quiet at that time of year.
Jackfish
Moderator
 
02/17/2018 06:09PM
You don’t call to make reservations in Quetico anymore. You do it all online. And yes, reservations may be made no more than five months in advance of your entry date. You will probably be fine, but I would still make a reservation as early as possible, primarily because of the Labor Day weekend. Keep in mind that it’s not Labor Day weekend in Canada but many Americans do enter from the north.

As for Quetico Lake, there is only the one portage around the waterfall between Beaverhouse and the Q river which leads into Q lake. It can be a little tricky there depending on current, but it’s very doable. Once you’re on Q Lake, there are literally dozens and dozens of campsites for your choosing.
billconner
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02/17/2018 06:47PM
I'd say very good choice. The only possible challenge is crossing Beaverhouse can be tough in bad weather. On the other hand there are some nice sites on Beaverhouse either in the event of bad weather first night or as a posdible destination. Quetico Lake does have it all - pictos, falls, beaches, fish, burn areas, and great sites.
dentondoc
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02/17/2018 09:27PM
If you head into Quetico Lake from Beaverhouse, there is an alternate portage between the two if the outflow into Beaverhouse is more than you can handle. It begins on the south shore just before the river pinches down to a narrower channel. It will add some length, but after you climb the bank, it is essentially a flat portage. (It also intersects with the shorter portage adjacent to the Quetico River outflow. Even if you don't use it, it might keep you from making a wrong turn on your return trip.)

If you want to see more water than Quetico Lake, there are several short portages between Quetico and Cirrus Lake (to the north). It might be an opportunity to hop over and see another lake. If you can manage a couple of shorter portages, you also might take a look at heading down through Conk Lake to Jean Lake.

Quetico Lake, like Pickerel Lake, is a "route" lake. So unless you are tucked back into a bay somewhere, you'd likely see some amount of traffic. Going down to Jean would at least have the effect of dispersing some of the traffic before you encounter it.

If Pickerel Lake is your cup of tea, then you might also consider heading down to Rawn Lake (south of "mid" Pickerel). Since this route (when you get beyond Art and Buckingham) is a dead end, you eliminate a lot of traffic ... even more so if you decide to push on into Buckingham.

Both of these options put you on "big water" where you have a significant fetch to the west. If the wind gets up, you could find yourself waiting it out.

dd
TominMpls
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02/18/2018 10:13PM
Awesome, thanks guys. I'll see if this trip comes together. It's the lowest priority, but it would be fun if it works out.
QueticoMike
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02/19/2018 10:40AM
If you like to fish, Jean lake is a good place to go with very few, short, easy portages. Can make it there in one day.
QueticoMike
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02/20/2018 11:25AM
Jackfish: " You don’t call to make reservations in Quetico anymore. You do it all online. "
I called to make my reservation to Quetico this year.
carmike
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02/21/2018 08:26PM
I've had multi-day stretches without seeing anyone while I've been camped on Quetico -- but it's always happened quite a ways east, away from the easy-to-access west end where so many people paddle in and set up camp. If you want to stay on Quetico Lake, and if you don't want to see many people, the farther you paddle, the better your chances.

Of course, what counts as "busy" in Quetico is *nothing* like it is in the BWCA.
rdricker
senior member (97)senior membersenior member
 
02/21/2018 11:59PM
I was on Quetico for two days in July....a day in the southern leg and a day in the northern....We didn't see a single soul on the lake. Quetico Lake is plenty secluded compared to most of BWCA. Be aware that it is a large East-West lake, so storms can kick it up pretty good. It was getting a might hairy our second day on it! Campsite 3P on the southeast tip of Eden Island is pretty decent....A nice long beach and the campsite is secluded up in the trees at the end of the beach. 3Y across on the other side is a nice site on a point with a westward view of the lake and sunset. You can pretty much close your eyes and throw a stone at nice campsites on it.
mastertangler
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02/24/2018 02:37PM
My sense of Quetico Lake was it was a nice pass through lake during good weather. Cirrus made me feel much more comfortable. Day tripping to Quetico lake under favorable conditions would be my preference. Plus I believe the fishing easier on the dark waters of Cirrus.

Cirrus, nice campsites, friendlier confines, plenty of options and still easily accessed.
 
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