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      1st solo trip questions     

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02/22/2018 04:40PM  
I am planning my first solo trip for mid september. I am planning the 30 day trip that I always wanted to do but never had both time and money at the point in life. I turn 50 in october so it's getting to be "now or never". I have quite a bit of experience in the BW, have been going on 7-12 day trips 2x yearly and have done a 21 day in my younger years. I was thinking about going in Kawishiwi Lake and tooling around for 2 weeks, coming out at either Sag, seagull or Round to stay a night, shower and have resupply stuff there waiting for me. Then out the next day for 2 more weeks of tooling around. The other option is is a resupply at Prairie portage and skip coming out for a shower and having to re-permit.
I am planning a gear pack of 55-60lbs for 1st portage, and a 30L blue barrel for my food. Hoping to keep food barrel weight to under 30lbs, including barrel and harness and carry with my Prism for 2nd portage. I have yet to use a barrel in BW but I don't want to hang and sick of the mice chewing holes in my liner bags for my duluth food pack. I know they are not bear proof but I keep a clean camp and haven't seen a bear in the BW since 1985 and they didn't bother me then.
Some of my gear for tandem obviously work for a solo but, I need a new tent, going to get a 1 man or maybe a light 2 man(so I can bring dog on following solos and extra room for this one). I find going a size up on for the number of people is a good rule of thumb, especially for those crappy days.
So the gear I am looking at getting..
1. PLB, Inreach or Spot. Leaning twards PLB. I don't like the idea of a life line in the wilderness, thats the point of the BW, but my wife is would appreciate it and if it weren't for her I wouldn't be doing this. I do like the tracking option on some of them so my wife can see where I am and I have a record of trip for trip report.
2. Weather radio..I stopped taking a good friend on trips for bringing one, years ago, and always listening to it. Yeah, I may owe him an apology, now I'm seeing some merit to one on a solo where I have to do everything. But I think its a modern day crutch and will hate myself if I take one. Also this trip is during Viking football, so there is that.
3. Barrel harness, would like to know opinions on model you use. Also need to know if this can be carried with a solo canoe on portages or does it ride too high and get in the way?
4. Pack, I will not be using my #4 Duluth for gear as it is too bug and heavy. Looking for opinions on a good Long tripping pack that lays down good behind me in a Prism.
I could go on and on, but will stop there for now. I'm sure I will be asking many more questions before Sept. Thanks for any help, Mike



 
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02/22/2018 05:35PM  
Plan sounds great. Regarding radio - I would definitely bring it. The CBC will keep you company when you need it and it's real nice knowing the wind conditions and if you're gonna get hit with something big you don't want to be out on a day trip.

CCS Pioneer pack lays down real nice and extremely well made. I also like the idea of having two permits to come out and shower and resupply. Seagull Outfitter would be a good choice.

I would love to do a trip like this sometime but it would be nice to coordinate linking up with other solos in the area for a night or two of camping. Solos can get lonely for me after 10 days or so. If you like this idea you might post a general itinerary in this forum and the time frame.

Will you be at canoecopia? You can usually get 10% off of everything there.
 
02/22/2018 07:02PM  
Tom, thanks for the info. I have not been to Canoecopia yet. Looks interesting, but don't really enjoy being packed into a place with thousands of people without copious amounts of alcohol. lol
Will maybe look into meeting people during subsequent solos but gonna plan this one alone. Mike
 
02/22/2018 07:35PM  
Hi, Mike-

Some random thoughts here - a lot of which you may already know.

Search through old threads in the solo forum for lots of information on all aspects of solo trips.

I like solos; I'm planning an 18-day one this Sept., which will be my longest. Thirty days is a long first one, but you may have a lot of solo camping experience. You may also have a lot of solo paddling experience, or not. At any rate, you have a lot of BW experience and some moderately long ones.

If you do, you'll know that in addition to carrying everything, you'll have to do everything too, including keeping up both ends of the conversation. I try to keep camp chores like cooking very simple.

A 30-day trip starting mid-Sept. will run into mid-Oct. Days will get shorter, nights longer, weather will become cooler, windier, more variable. Water will get colder. Temps may be down in the teens. You'll have Indian Summer days too.

Without knowing you, I'd say loads sound reasonable and food weight is doable. I expect mine to be around 23-25 lbs., food alone. Food - and appetite - is a funny thing on a solo. There's no social aspect, so a lot of us have reported not eating as much on solos, but appetite can begin to increase after the first week. You can adjust when you resupply.

Solo loads can be a little heavier since community gear weight is not shared. I compensate by leaving some things behind.

I take a weather radio, but it's only a weather radio, not AM/FM. It's small and light and doesn't use a lot of battery power. It's nice to know what's coming up, especially when you're out there a long time solo.

I have a PLB; there are plenty of threads you can search for advantages and disadvantages of PLB, InReach, Spot, Sat Phone.

I can't help you with the barrel/harness thing since I don't use one.

The CCS Pioneer pack should work well for you.

BTW, I've done several trips in EP #37. I like the area, lots of options. I hope you have a great solo! Maybe I'll run into you out there.




 
02/22/2018 09:04PM  
A nice time of year to trip and your plans sound pretty good. The food issue mentioned is a good point and their is lots of talk on the solo forums about food and other issues when on solo that do vary from partner trips. I do not recall a post about having too little or running out before the trip was over.
 
GraniteCliffs
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02/22/2018 09:26PM  
Sounds like a great time and a great time of year if the weather cooperates.
Your planned trip is a very long solo at a time of year there are not as many folks out and about. I was surprised when I took my first solo at how much I missed people to travel with. Much as I like to solo I could not go alone for more than a week.
I am assuming you have camped solo before without people around. If not it might be worthwhile to steal away for a long weekend solo trip just to be sure you like being very alone for a long time. It would be the pits to do all the planning and packing only to discover after a couple of days that being alone is not your thing.
I also paddle a Prism, love that boat! It takes a little while to get the balance down portaging and paddling but it is always fun to jump in and take off on a trip alone in it.
Hope it all goes well for you!
 
GraniteCliffs
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02/22/2018 09:40PM  
I also use a weather radio on solos. I turn it on once in the morning and once at night just to check the wind. It has no AM or FM at all, only the weather. I like it just so I know what to expect or how to adjust my time on the water or where I go.
I have always used a PLB, in part because I am old and in part because I have a few medical issues. This year I may rent a Spot so they will know where to search for the body when I don't return! The only problem I have with a tracking device is, well, it tracks me and people know where I am. I guess that is the point but I don't like that aspect of it. A few years ago on a Quetico solo the guys I trip with were able to see what time of the morning I wandered back in the woods to do my business. Started leaving the &T$#% thing in the camp after that trip whenever the woods called.
On solos I pack extremely light and yet never feel like I am missing anything. I hang my tarp over the mouth of the tent when I can so I can live under the tarp and in the tent when it rains, including cooking dehydrated food.
As Boonie pointed out there is not much light at the time of year you are going. I always take a group trip at the beginning of October and we often find ourselves staying up late talking just to make sure we can stay asleep until the sun comes up.
Have a good time!
 
02/23/2018 03:50AM  
Thanks Boonie, Bhouse, and Granite,
I have read many of the solo tripping forum since I found it a week or so ago and it has been indispensable for many subjects thanks to you guys and a lot of others.
As far as food goes I am doing all dehydrated and making most of my own stuff and may buy a few dinners just for variety. I am not that picky so for solo I probably will limit variety. I have a firebox and Trangia alcohol stove if no fire ban. Stove otherwise. I have a Toaks mug and pan combo so all cooking in it and it goes in a homemade Cozy to save fuel and effort. I dont eat out of bags as I find the garbage a stinky mess and I reuse most bags. Very easy to clean a cup with no soap. I usually have oatmeal and coffee when tandem, but I may just do homemade granola bar and coffee and skip cleaning breakfast cup. Cold lunchs but usually pack a warm one or two for bad weather treat. I will use gravity water filter to save the work of pumping(glad those days are over).
I will bring hatchet and saw as I like to have a fire and long nights this time of year. I do wear a good pair of leather gloves to minimize injury. I have been in as late as late october so know what to expect...everything and anything.
I also have 2 CCS tarps, a 10x8 and a 12x12. I use the 10x8 for tent area if weather looks bad and the big one for sitting area. I will definitely bring the little one and maybe both. Helinox chair.
Thanks for opinions on radios and PLB's. leaning towards both.
As far as being alone, I have been before, but no where near that long. I leave myself an out in any situation. If I paddle for 2 weeks and say thats enough, I would not feel in anyway disappointed and cuz hey, I did a 2 week solo. How many people can say that, not that I care what they are doing really. But, I know myself. Sure I'm have my flaws(don't tell anybody) but I love the woods more than anything. My wife and friends and kids see it when they are with me up there. They, like me can see I'm a reincarnated voyageur. The way I look at it is..
1. I like portaging, sometimes the harder the better I feel(after) and paddling.
2. I'm always right, so no argueing
3. If by some strange twist of fate I am wrong, I forgive myself and learn from it
4. I am alone, I get to do whatever I want
5. I agree with Sigurd when he basically says..there is no better use of time than to waste it staring at rocks, water, trees and sky.
6. I love to read
7. I love to explore, water, woods, fauna, and birds, I like to learn a new plant and bird on every trip at minimum. Problem is I have to keep learning the same thing over every year cuz I forget.
8. fishing, I love it, but and I can't believe I'm saying this, seriously thinking of leaving the fishing gear behind for this one due to weight of fishing and cooking oil and gear. Also kind of a pain in a solo under the best conditions.
9. Clouds, I can watch at them, them and camp fires.
I could go on and on...Mike
P.S. Granite, I would have sent them a corresponding picture if my buddy's tracked me to the toilet. hehe
 
02/23/2018 04:51AM  
Boonie I forgot to mention, I have never been out of Kawishiwi Lake. Roughly east of Alice, south of Little Sag and west to Vista and Little Trout would all be new paddling for me. So between that and I was thinking the Tuscarora, Gillis, I really like the Ogish,Eddy, South Arm, Kek area as well. I have done several PMA's(tandem) most recently was Sundial. It was a challenge with a rough weather overnight on Sunday Lake. Nothing like the wrath of Zeus coming down on you with a thin CCS tarp between you and major discomfort and inconvenience.
Have you paddled the Louse River? In September?
Mike
 
02/23/2018 06:01AM  
First, to answer your question, I have not paddled the Louse River, but that's the plan for this Sept, dependent on water levels and how I'm doing. Here's a thread about it that may be of interest to you.

I've done 3 trips through Kawishiwi Lake and some others through Cross Bay, the Round Lake EP's, and even Lizz Lake that may touch on areas you'll travel. There are trip reports on most of them if you're interested and here's a link to my Shutterfly account for some pictures of the areas if you're interested.

A brief summary of the trips through EP #37 - a solo up to Adams and back, a tandem with inspector13 up to Little Sag and out through Sawbill, a solo to Fishdance, Fraser, Cap, Boulder, Malberg, and out. I have also gone from EP #50, Cross Bay, across Copper and the Howl Swamp from Snipe to Tuscarora, down through Mora to Little Sag and back, as well as from #50 across Muskeg, Kiskadinna to Horseshoe and out Poplar. I have gone from Brant entry out through Gillis.

It sounds like you'll be well-prepared and will enjoy a long solo.
 
02/23/2018 06:25AM  
I meant east to Vista and Little Trout on last post
 
02/23/2018 06:50AM  
Thanks for sharing the thread and pics, Boonie. Lots of time to dream up different routes:)
 
02/23/2018 07:14AM  
I see a Boonie, Minnmike reandevoux happening accidently.
 
02/23/2018 07:38AM  
Am I correct? You can leave and re enter the BW on the same day without re permitting. If I'm correct that's something to consider if you want to cache food.
 
02/23/2018 10:31AM  
minnmike: "I meant east to Vista and Little Trout on last post"

Last Sept. inspector13 and I went from Lizz to Vista and stayed a couple of nights. One afternoon we day tripped through Misquah and walked the long portage to Little Trout. It's long with some ups and downs and a couple of rough spots; it would be a tough portage with a couple of loads. Eat the heavy food first, Mike. Vista is a nice lake and Little Trout was beautiful looking down from the top on the portage trail - I think there's a picture in last year's album.
 
02/23/2018 10:36AM  
minnmike: "Thanks for sharing the thread and pics, Boonie. Lots of time to dream up different routes:)"

Yes, a really long trip makes so many different options possible :). Have fun dreaming!
 
GraniteCliffs
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02/23/2018 10:39AM  
How would you resupply at Prairie?
 
02/23/2018 01:35PM  
John at Voyageur North said he can get packages to Prairie Portage for re supply, I assume via tow boats they run
 
02/23/2018 08:02PM  
Have fun. I would love to do a long trip sometime, but the longest I've been able to get away for is 4 days so I can't help with any of the logistics of a long trip. I can just say that I'm envious and I hope it goes well and you have a great time.
 
FOG51
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02/24/2018 03:56AM  
You just turned 50 and "it's now or never time" I've got 17 years on you and I do 2-3 solos a year usually 10-14 days in the BWCA but at least one 15-20 day one in Northern Ontario where there might be a portage but usually just a moose trail, so don't sell yourself short you've got plenty of time. I take a little solar radio to the BWCA to check one weather but not to Canada [get no stations up there]. I have 2 60 liter barrels with different harness. One is a Granite Gear harness, extremely comfy but I really have a hard time getting it on by myself, the other is a Cooke harness, extremely well built, pretty comfy, but it has the side pouches and they seem to catch every time I try to get it out of the canoe. My 30 liter barrel has a ???North 49 harness {came from Canada and I think that's the brand name},pretty comfy, the harness seems to tall so the top strap gets in the way every time you take the ring off and put it on, one strap tore loose where it was stitched to the top strap last fall on my 21 day solo up in Ontario so I had to re sew it on with SS suture material. The 60 liter barrels are too tall to carry with my solo but the 30 liter barrel works great. Last year I took the 30 liter barrel and a BV500 for 21 days and it worked out well. I was under the impression that once you leave the entry point you couldn't step back on shore unless you get another entry permit but I'm not sure, feel free to correct me anyone. 30 days is a good trip. I usually go to Canada the 2nd week of Sept, Saw nary a soul last year, just heard a couple of float planes. FRED
 
02/24/2018 04:54PM  
Fog, I didn't mean "now or never" literally, just that I've wanted to do a month trip for the last 31 years and can't wait that another to do it, and I'm 49(50 in october). Hoping for 30+ more years of tripping in one form or another. I have seen many people in there 60's and 70's in the BW and make it look easy.
Thanks for the info on barrels and harnesses. Leaning towards CCS harness for my 30L. Dan makes great gear.
As far as re-permitting I believe you are right. If step foot out you should be getting a new permit. Now I'm sure there is wiggle room, like if you forget something in vehicle, like medicine and come out the next day to get it, thats one thing, but if you come out to vehicle or outfitter for re-supply I think you are supposed to re-permit. I am thinking of re-supply in october so would be free self permit anyway. Mike
 
pswith5
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02/26/2018 06:23AM  
I can't imagine anyone would care if you were reentering on the date printed on your permit. You could always just say 'I forgot something' . Besides, if you were taking a tow out to drop supplies, that wouldn't really constitute "entering". Just my common sense opinion.
 
jcavenagh
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02/27/2018 03:57PM  
Hey, Fred, and anyone else thinking about Wabakimi/Brightsands, I discovered by accident in 2016 that in western and southwestern Wab, an FM radio can get the 98.7 Kenora public radio station. Just FYI...
 
GraniteCliffs
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02/27/2018 05:37PM  
Re resupply: If the outfitter met you at Prairie you would not be leaving the BW as the portage where they would drop your supplies is an allowable place for you to be on your BW permit. At least it seems clear to me in that regard. Or it could be dropped at Indian Portage which is totally in the BW.
 
pswith5
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03/04/2018 01:06PM  
Did not read all of the responses, but a 30 day solo for your first solo trip sounds awful aggressive. I might opt for a week with a plan to come out, clear your head then re-enter. You would need another permit of course. This way if things aren't what you thought they would be you would not feel stuck. Just my 2 cents.
 
03/04/2018 05:15PM  
Granite, yeah the resupply at Prairie would not require re-permitting and also easier to continue on trip without the pros and cons of coming out having a nice shower, meal, and nice bed for a night. Too be honest it sounds like cheating while I plan the trip, but after the first two weeks it most definately will sound heavenly, and may even be necessary for equipment repair or some other reason. I might add that it would be cheaper to re-permit, which would be free in october, than to get my resupply shipped to Prairie Portage.

pswith, I have only went to the BW for 7 days or less once and I felt like I cheated myself and the people with me. Many people, reading through this thread have agreed that it takes 3-4 just to start to get in the flow of the BW and I agree. If you are already heading back to your car by day 4 you are already thinking about whats you will be returning to. I forgot to mention in my original post that I have done numerous 2 weekers in the past and find them to really be ideal. There is nothing like being on day 7 and knowing you have 7 more to go. I always give myself plenty of options when I plan a trip, weather, longer routes if good weather and bad fishing and the urge to keep going. Short cuts to route if bad weather, aches and pains, good fishing. Always plan for an out option. That is good advice PS, thanks

My new plan(and it will change I'm sure) is Crane Lake put in to Prairie Portage for resupply, then up to Ottertrack, lake of the clouds, Cherry, SAK, Ogish, Jenny, Little Sag, then lots of route options, and end at Kawishiwi Lake. Crane to Prairie gives me great options, border lakes or interior lakes, also with a great PMA option in the middle. If I've had enough and want to quit I can come out for some strange reason, there are numerous outfitters towards the end of this route. I am thinking 10-14 days to reach Prairie will give me plenty of rain and leisure days. That gives me 15-20 more days to weave my way down to Kawishiwi Lake. Or I can b-line it out Snowbank or moose if I've had enough. I can make it to Kawishiwi pretty quick if I hurry in a straight line, all are options.

Gear update, I purchased the Hilleberg Akto for my tent. It's a big one man and perfect for future trips cuz my dog fits in it too.



 
07/03/2018 04:18PM  
Well I got my first fix of the year on a 8 day with the wife and loved going in EP#37, saw moose on Elton, otter on Hoe, tons of beaver and turtles and eagles.
Now back to planning my September solo. I am very interested in what others have done or would like to do with 30 days. My only limit to you is I do want to keep it all in the BWCA( I spent all my budget on new gear so want to keep permit costs down, so Q is out), and I do plan a no travel day for every 2-3 days for exploring, relaxing, laundry, and bad weather.
My current thinking is to start at EP#14,16 or 23 and end up at Voyageur Outfitters on Sag after 2 weeks, exploring some of the Tick Lake PMA and the smaller lakes s/se of Knife and Ottertrack lakes along the way. After a shower, resupply, and a night sleep in a bed, head out for 2 more weeks heading south through Red Rock Lake, Little Sag area and out EP#37. My inner struggle in planning the route is multi fold not having soloed before. Will I want to move or relax more, being the only decision maker. Should I fish, I always do but am seeing the weight benefit of not bringing all that extra stuff, and I have a feeling the conditions need to be ideal for it to be fun and/or safe in a solo canoe. I am also afraid that adding fishing gear I will end up triple portaging.
Also the more I think about the length of this solo trip, I would be open to meeting other soloists for a night or two along the way if we can make it work. Please let me know if you are willing and we can try to plan a meeting. I need to get to a Wingnight but they never seem to work out for me.
More gear updates, I got an ACR PLB for the trip. I looked at all options and the selling point for me was I could ping my location to 5 different phone numbers when I hit the test button. Tested this function on my last trip so my wife could see how it works. They were offering a 1 year free service at the time I bought it. I also got the CCS Pioneer and barrel harness.
My last 2 items I need to get is a weather radio, I'm leaning towards a CCrane and a good rain Jacket for fall weather as my Browning Gore tex finally sprung leaks last fall. I am interested in what Rain Jacket models others use for sept/oct trip. Thanks for any help. Mike
 
07/03/2018 05:07PM  
FYI, my travel time is Sept 17-oct 17
 
07/03/2018 05:29PM  
Wow - getting 30 days of freedom seems like a dream, not reality.

So enjoy it and let us live vicariously...you only have a few million trip options, so it should be easy.
 
Minnesotian
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07/03/2018 06:23PM  
minnmike: "
I am very interested in what others have done or would like to do with 30 days. My only limit to you is I do want to keep it all in the BWCA( I spent all my budget on new gear so want to keep permit costs down, so Q is out), and I do plan a no travel day for every 2-3 days for exploring, relaxing, laundry, and bad weather.
My current thinking is to start at EP#14,16 or 23 and end up at Voyageur Outfitters on Sag after 2 weeks, exploring some of the Tick Lake PMA and the smaller lakes s/se of Knife and Ottertrack lakes along the way. After a shower, resupply, and a night sleep in a bed, head out for 2 more weeks heading south through Red Rock Lake, Little Sag area and out EP#37. My inner struggle in planning the route is multi fold not having soloed before. “


That sounds like a great plan, and pretty much what I would do if I had 30 days purely in the BWCA after Labor Day. I expecially like the idea of stopping every few days just to stay at a site for a couple days and soak it all in.

Since you are heading up the western side of the BWCA, make sure Fat Lake is on your travel plans. And take the unmarked trail into Fat. That will give you a tiny taste of what a bushwack into a PMA will have in store for you. Also, the fishing is fun on Fat Lake.

The exit from Sag looks fun, really seeing the heart of the BWCA. However, I would look at exiting at #38. Sawbill outfitters showers will be great at the end of a good trip. No bunkbeds, but good, easy sites for having one last campfire and a beer.


minnmike: “Will I want to move or relax more, being the only decision maker. Should I fish, I always do but am seeing the weight benefit of not bringing all that extra stuff, and I have a feeling the conditions need to be ideal for it to be fun and/or safe in a solo canoe. I am also afraid that adding fishing gear I will end up triple portaging.”

Yes, bring the fishing gear. A book or something to read as well. Is there a skill you want to work on? Something easily packable? I like tying decorative knots. Whatever you need, bring something to do. My last two week solo trip I brought two audio books, a paperback and my fishing gear. I went through 1 audio book and 3/4 of the paperback, and I caught enough fish for two fish dinners. What I am saying, is that when you solo, you need a purpose after camp is all set up. I always bring a journal.

In the span of 30 days, you will have ideal fishing conditions a couple of times and you’ll kick yourself if you didn’t bring a rod, a couple of Rapulas, and at least 2 silver spoons, because you’ll loose one on the rocks. Your tackle need not be huge, just enough to get that hungry, dumb Northern to shore. Landing a fish when solo....that’s magic.

minnmike: “Also the more I think about the length of this solo trip, I would be open to meeting other soloists for a night or two along the way if we can make it work. Please let me know if you are willing and we can try to plan a meeting. I need to get to a Wingnight but they never seem to work out for me.”

Sounds good to me. Anyone who decides to make their first solo trip a 30 day extender is someone I would like to meet. Probably after your Sag overnight but whenever. Around the Mesaba Lake area? Preferably on a weekend...(work issues).

minnmike: “More gear updates, I got an ACR PLB for the trip. I looked at all options and the selling point for me was I could ping my location to 5 different phone numbers when I hit the test button. Tested this function on my last trip so my wife could see how it works. They were offering a 1 year free service at the time I bought it. I also got the CCS Pioneer and barrel harness.
My last 2 items I need to get is a weather radio, I'm leaning towards a CCrane and a good rain Jacket for fall weather as my Browning Gore tex finally sprung leaks last fall. I am interested in what Rain Jacket models others use for sept/oct trip. Thanks for any help. Mike
"


Good on the PLB. Never know what may happen and its always good to have calvary.

Weather radio is good. Does that get AM/FM? If I was out that long I would probably get a talk and wather radio just to break the monotony of hearing my own voice.

I got a rain jacket from GoLite a couple years ago that is supurb. Used it in a lot of wet weather, including October sleet/rain. GoLite is no longer around, but the owner started MyTrail and they sell a rain jacket I would get. I already have their rain pants and they are great. Used them through some bushwacking in Quetico last year as well as a round trip motorcycle ride to International Falls from the Cities and back. The pants preformed flawlessly.

Also, I would look into getting a puffy jacket, as they call them out in Montana and the Rockies. At that time a year, the weather may decide to dip pretty quickly and you’ll want a good, warm but still not heavy, outer layer. Some years I bring a wool shirt, but lately a puffy jacket has been perfect. If I were to get a new one, it would be the Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisper Jacket. Out in Glacier National Park in 2014, all the locals from Whitefish were sporting them. And mountain people know lightweight, warm stuff.

Hope that helps. If you have further questions, please feel free to email me.
 
07/03/2018 08:14PM  
Thanks Minnesotian for your reply, I am indeed looking at hitting Fat as it's one of the last lakes in that area I haven't been to. Of course this only really works if I go out of Little Indian Sioux and so I'm looking hard at that EP. I have been in the Sundial PMA from Beartrap to Iron with a camp over on Sunday Lake with my wife and really enjoyed it.
The fishing and fishing gear issue is a question I thought I would never have as I've been fishing my whole life. Even if I bring minimum tackle, which is really hard for me to do, only bringing 2 spoons and 2 raps for a month? I can lose those in a day!
I also like Lindy rigs and gulp bait. Then need an assortment of sinkers sizes and more than one of each. I also need a good pair of pliers, stringer, fillet knife. Not to mention extra rod and reel. Every time I try to pair it down. I still end up with 10+ lbs of gear to fish, not including oil, bigger pan and stuff to eat them. This decision is ripping me in two! I understand I will kick myself sometimes for not bringing it, but I will thank myself on every portage as well. I fear fishing gear will put me into triple instead of double portaging.
As we get closer to September we may be able to arrange a weekend meet up. It may work, Mesaba area sounds perfect for the weekend before October 17th.
The C Crane radio does have am/fm and also a long wire antenna you can throw up in a tree. Hoping I will be able to hear Vikings games which would be nice to listen to on a solo, even though I would normally be against it on a normal 7-10 day trip.
Thanks for the jacket tip, I have been looking at puffy jackets on Steepandcheap for a while now, and will check out Mytrail. Mike


 
pswith5
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07/03/2018 08:16PM  
Did you decide on a blue barrel for sure? If not, two bearvaults fit nicely in a ccs rucksack. And they are a little more bear proof. It seems there have been more bear encounters this year than most. I will be watching for a trip report. I am envious also. Pete
 
07/03/2018 09:27PM  
Sounds like a plan, Mike. Some general thoughts just off the top of my head - it seems like the first half of the trip might be long if you start at #14, especially if you loop north up the west side, or even in #16, but I don't know how long you'll want to travel in a day in miles/hours. One thing I do know from experience is that it's easier too add miles if things are going well than it is to make up lost time on an overly ambitious route.

"My inner struggle in planning the route is multi fold not having soloed before. Will I want to move or relax more, being the only decision maker. Should I fish, I always do but am seeing the weight benefit of not bringing all that extra stuff, and I have a feeling the conditions need to be ideal for it to be fun and/or safe in a solo canoe. I am also afraid that adding fishing gear I will end up triple portaging."

Nobody really knows, not even you, so just try to find a middle ground. The first solo - the first few, really - are a learning experience, and that's a lot about what YOU want to do. Mine really changed as I did more of them. I've watched it happen to others new to soloing. I took fishing gear the first few times because we always did, even though it was never the main priority of the trip. I quit taking it after a couple of years - even the little bit of stuff weighed about 5 lbs. - and it was hard to fish solo, especially if it was windy. It's not really why I was doing my trip - I wanted to relax, explore, travel, see new places. I know a couple of people who have done the same, but there are also guys who go there to fish, and they're not going without even if they triple portage.

I don't know if you'll want to move or relax more, but it seems your route is geared to traveling. I like to keep moving, but not for as long as I used to when I was younger.


I'm not real clear on the 2nd half of your trip, but it sounds like you plan to exit at Voyageur on the 30th of Sept. and re-enter on Oct. 1 when you don't need a quota permit, just a self-issued one. I'm not familiar with that area, but it seems like you'd have to loop north through Saganaga to get to Red Rock, when you could go straight south to Seagull and head on from there to Little Sag. But it's not very far from there to Little Sag and not very far from Little Sag to Kawishiwi - that would be a much shorter trip than the first half, I believe - unless you do a lot more wandering around in the area. I don't know what you and your wife saw and didn't see in the area that interests you, but you have a few options depending on what you want to see.

One thought is you could enter somewhere else with a shuttle - Brant, Missing Link, Cross Bay, Skipper, Meeds, Lizz, even Morgan or Ram. A lot depends on whether you want to spend time east of Little Sag or west of it. You could make some real interesting routes with those options. Even if you go out of Voyageur and go south through Paulsen, then east, you could do some interesting loops back to Kawishiwi. It should be fun to think about the options while looking at the maps. I'll be entering Cross Bay the 13th, exiting the 30th, and will be in Grand Marais, the 30th and 1st, so it seems unlikely our paths will cross, but I hope you have a really great 30-day solo.





 
07/03/2018 10:24PM  
I did get the blue barrel and harness already so committed. Mike
 
07/03/2018 11:04PM  
Boonie, thanks for your input. I have learned a lot from reading your posts and other experienced soloists.
As to the first leg being longer, this is true and I am planning to hit a PMA or two and hit smaller lakes south of knife and Ottertrack. My thinking is if I get behind schedule I will stay on border route which is a lot less portaging and quicker if I get behind schedule. But that route also will be more susceptible to windy issues too. Some crazy bastards could probably do this route in 2 days, so I'm thinking 2 weeks should be plenty. I have calculated it to be about 136 miles which should be conservatively about 66 hours of travel, with a few side trips off the border route from Little Indian Sioux to Saganaga. If I travel 10 of the 14 days thats 6.6hrs of moving on travel days. I will hopefully be carrying 16-17 days of food and fuel so I could take a few extra days to accomplish this route. Any way, yes it will be October by the time I get to Sag so will self issue permit.
As to the second leg, I have been on Seagull several times so thought a paddle around Sag and down thru Red Rocks would be new to me. Also if it's windy they could tow me into Red Rocks, not so across Seagull. I also had a great moose experience on Alpine so was planning on camping there the first night back in. From there, there are many options. I could really go on and on about route options. I really like the Malberg, Adams, Boulder lake area. I've really never been to any of the are east of a line from Sawbill to Tuscarora so that is a definite possibility too. I left this route shorter as the crow flies to give myself plenty of time to do whatever I want really. If I wanted to spend a week on a lake I could do that or if I want to paddle and portage my patooty off, I have plenty of options. I could also exit Morgan or Ram lake if I want.
Fyi, my wife is dropping me off at start and picking me up at the end. The PLB will help, as it give me a flexible exit EP. The night before she will pick me up she can see what exit I am closest to when I send a test/location message and go there. Gosh that really gives me route flexibility. Just doesn't help coord pick up time.
I also have to acknowledge that I may not make it the whole 30 days. My plan wasn't originally to solo, but due to the fact that no one I trip with can go for that long. I don't fore see this happening, but the solo part may be too much to handle. My love for this place is bone deep, just ask my wife how different I am when I'm up there. It won't end early because I miss the real world thats for sure. If I don't run out of Jim Beam or cigars my bet is on making it the full 30.
I know how lucky I am to be able to do this, not only time wise and financially, but to have a wife that is cool with it. If you could only see the crazy, stupid things I used to do, you would wonder how I'm still alive and/or not locked up some where. I owe most of who I am today to her. Though I am curious what she has planned while I'm gone. LOL, Well I hope she has as much fun as I will whatever she decides. Mike

 
07/04/2018 11:00AM  
I was guessing something like that was your plan. You have a lot of options for the 2nd half of your trip and not having to exit at Kawishiwi opens up possibilities I hadn't even considered. I have to admit I really like the Adams area. I've never really spent as much time on Adams as I'd like and plan to spend an extra night there, as well as Little Sag. I really enjoyed my 2016 trip, especially the Alice-Fraser-Cap-Boulder-Adams-Beaver section. A loop out through Ogish-Kek-Fraser-Boulder-Adams might be nice. I'm sure you'll come up with several good options to choose from depending on how you feel then. Have a good trip!
 
GraniteCliffs
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07/04/2018 08:51PM  
Your posting made me wonder about where folks keep their PLB or other device when traveling solo. I keep mine in a short thick sock in a small plastic bag——in my pants pocket. I double Portage and figure if I fell and could not walk it would be prudent to have it handy. On group trips in goes in the small day pack.
 
07/05/2018 09:18AM  
GraniteCliffs: "Your posting made me wonder about where folks keep their PLB or other device when traveling solo. I keep mine in a short thick sock in a small plastic bag——in my pants pocket. I double Portage and figure if I fell and could not walk it would be prudent to have it handy. On group trips in goes in the small day pack. "

I keep mine in one of those small camera pouches that attaches to my belt. That way it's on me at all times.
 
07/05/2018 10:30AM  
MHO this is a perfect time of year for small game hunting a small .22 Cal pistol or revolver with 100 rds. of ammo or a single shot .410 shotgun . lots of grouse heading to the crapper .
 
07/06/2018 01:29PM  
good thinking, nothing like fresh grouse or hare!
 
Nineteenpack
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08/27/2018 11:51AM  
Im just want to chime in on your available pack options. Ive got a hybrid CCS large pack and I love it on every one of the 10+ trips I've taken it on. Its got a soft internal frame that acts as a cushion for your back and wide soft straps for your shoulders. Ive put this thing through the ringer and looking to purchase another smaller version for shorter solo trips. Your back and shoulders will thank me.
 
08/27/2018 01:42PM  
Thanks Nineteenpack, I did get the hybrid Pioneer pack from CCS and all my stuff fits in it great. Gear pack weight is about 50 lbs when taking everything I want to bring. I may omit a few things last minute.
I can wait for trip I am all packed and ready to go even though going in 3 weeks from today.
 
10/14/2018 07:58PM  
Well I made it through my first solo trip. Was supposed to be a 30 day, but ice building up in bays and smaller, shallower lakes was enough to get me scare me out of there on day 26. A Prism is not a very good ice breaker let me tell you.
The weather was less than ideal as everyone knows and the second half was more of a learning experience in cold weather survival and less enjoyable than I would have liked.
My gear was pretty adequate for the cold except I would not have chosen Chota boots and Hippies while on the move once below freezing. I was kicking myself for not bringing my insulated neoprene Irish Setters. So traveling long distances without portages got scary for my feet.
I have a new respect for the weather possibilities for this region that is for sure for this time of year.
The one concession was that I saw no one on a portage for 16 days, and very few people at all this whole trip, with the exception of the first few lakes going in and on Ensign lake. In October I saw virtually no one until I got close to my exit point, and even then only a couple groups in camps.
I will try to do a trip report soon. To anyone still out there my thoughts are with you, stay warm and safe!
 
GraniteCliffs
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10/14/2018 09:37PM  
Welcome back! Congrats!
You are a tougher guy than me. Nearly a month in that weather, alone, would have pushed me out before day 26.
I hope you had a good time despite the weather. I look forward to your trip report.
Nice to be dry and warm, isn't it?
 
10/15/2018 06:44AM  
Glad to hear you made it through and got out safe. I know what it was like for the last two weeks of Sept. when I was in - colder and wetter than usual, plus windy - and I'm sure it was worse after that. I've been going that time of year for a long time and have had really good weather. It's too bad you had such crappy weather for your long anticipated 30-day solo. Better luck next time. I'll look forward to your trip report.
 
sedges
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10/15/2018 10:12AM  
Sure looking forward to your trip report!
 
10/16/2018 09:02AM  
Welcome back, and congratulations! That was some tough weather you ran into. Cant wait for the trip report, and I'd be really interested to hear what worked well and what you would do differently. It will be enticing for all of us who would love to be able to work in a 30 day trip.
 
Driftless
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10/16/2018 11:30AM  
Welcome back! I too am looking forward to a trip report (as soon as your fingers thaw!)!
 
10/16/2018 12:19PM  
Thanks all, I am working on trip report now and am on day 8, but it being my first trip report and a long trip it will take me a few more days to finish.
Jaywalker, I can tell you that what really worked well was all of my gear, except my poor decisions on foot wear for the trip, and maybe I should have brought some more winter gloves. I'm lucky my trip was going into mid October and so planned gear for that or I really would have been unprepared gear wise.
I learned later in trip to not get up so early as it is the coldest part of the day and night. Stay in sleeping bag until at least after sunrise, and to stick all the cloths I will be putting on in bag with me for 20-30 minutes to warm them up before putting them on.
I also learned to not dress too warm when set out moving for the dayor you get too sweaty on portages. Also, don't wear down mid layer as it wets with sweat on portages and you get cold, wool is the key.
I'm glad I bought my Hilleberg Akto, 1 man, 4 season tent and used a 8x10 CCS tarp to extend my vestibule. This gave me plenty of room to unpack and pack up, also get out of wet gear before going into tent. Also allowed be to keep my vestibule open at night and that really kept the condensation down in the tent.
I was also lucky enough to have time to be flexible on days I wanted to move to start later if raining in the morning or if it was cold. I found that if I was patient and waited an hour or two that the rain would stop(mostly) and I could pack up a lot easier. I also could stop moving early if I wanted if it quit raining and set up then. The best rain, durable rain gear you can afford may save your life if not your trip comfort and is the most best money I spent on gear. I got great deals on top of the line rain gear at SteepandCheap web site. I may not have got the colors I wanted but I got a $500+ Fjallraven jacket for $220 and Arc'teryx pants at %50 off, don't remember exact price I bought a few years ago, and both were worth every penny
I learned a lot on this trip, the biggest is don't expect the weather to be like it was in past years, or for it to change for the better. To find a silver lining in your day and remember that I am in the place I wanted to be and adapt and make it enjoyable. If you have specific questions feel free to ask. Although haven't I read you do winter camping up there?
I also learned a lot from guys like you, Boonie, Butthead, TomT, Bhouse, PS, Alan and all the others since the beginning of the forum that I scoured while planning this trip for the last year. I agree with Boonie that 4 hour move days are ideal, I took his advise and didn't bring fishing gear for the first time ever and didn't regret it. You guys willingness to share your knowledge while I prepared for this trip is what kept me out as long as I did and made actually made the trip a success, even though I didn't quite make it the full 30 days. I thank you all!
 
10/17/2018 08:01PM  
My trip report is done. Man thats a lot of work. It's my first one and i'm no writer so go easy on me. I did my best. I wish I could add video but couldn't figure out how to, kept getting an error message. I hope you enjoy it. It was an epic journey for me. I hope it's not my last.
 
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