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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Group Forum: Solo Tripping
      Where do you sleep on night #1     

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OCDave
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12/22/2018 09:54PM  
The length of my trips are limited by a fixed work schedule with no vacation. Last summer, I found leaving Minneapolis late in the day and spending the night prior to entry at an outfitter's bunk house worked well. This scheme also allowed plenty of time for last minute putzing to make sure everything was in order before departure from home.

I can get an extra night in the wilderness and avoid less than optimum sleeping quarters if I leave home early on day one and reach my entry point by mid-afternoon. I'd reach my first campsite late on a Thursday rather than earlier on Friday. With luck, I'd not have to go too far past my desired range to find an open site.

Clearly, the ability to drive to then, paddle into the BWCA would be dependent on the distance of your drive. Do you stay outside the wilderness the night before entry or plan your drive so you can paddle in right away?

 
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12/22/2018 11:43PM  
It is about a 10 hour drive for me. When I was younger I would drive through the night, get a couple hours sleep, pick up my permit and head to the entry point. Now I drive up, pick up my permit, grab some dinner and head to the entry point where I spend the night on a comfy mattress in the back of my truck. I lose a day, but found pushing myself I was miserable for at least a day and starting a trip well rested makes for a much better trip.
 
billconner
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12/23/2018 07:28AM  
It varies but I like leaving early for 10 hour drive and heading in that afternoon. I have left late in day, lodged along the way, and entered midday. And I use to leave early, Lodge in Ely or at a campground near ep, and enter early.

Next year and after I anticipate my travel time will be around 20 hours so not sure how I will adjust. I imagine it will involve car camping along the way.

 
12/23/2018 08:00AM  
I have always stayed in a motel/bunkhouse, but I have a lot longer drive than you. At first, I was constrained by a 1-week vacation, but eventually got more time, which made it much nicer. I now take an extra day for the travel and enjoy it much more. I have a nice relaxed day, get organized, have a nice dinner, a good night's sleep, and get an early start in the morning.
 
12/23/2018 09:45AM  
Depends on the circumstances with schedules at home. Daughters are in sports and I help coach both of their teams and my wife works 12 hour shifts so she doesn't get home until 9:00 pm. My trips get planned around their schedules more than my own schedule. I'm about 4 hours from Ely and 5 hours from Grand Marais.

My preferred thing to do is drive up the day/evening before and stay at a bunkhouse. It's more relaxing, I'm well rested for the 1st day, and I can be on the water at 1st light which is my favorite part of the day to paddle. But I can't do that if my wife works the day before my trip or if one of my daughters have soccer the night before. .

Most often though I have to drive up during the night (leave home around 1:00-3:00am ) so I can be at an outfitter or ranger station right when they open to get my permit and get to the EP as soon as possible. The older I get the less I like driving in the middle of the night, but the no traffic is nice.

Because of having to squeeze my trip in between schedules, my trips are only 3 nights in the bwca. Last year I was only able to squeeze in 2 nights.

 
bwcasolo
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12/23/2018 11:01AM  
i seldom stay in the bwca first night. usually campground or car. then i decide where to go.
 
12/24/2018 09:31AM  
bwcasolo: "i seldom stay in the bwca first night. usually campground or car. then i decide where to go."

+1
I like to go in during the early AM. I've spent a couple nights sleeping in the car in the trailhead lot but usually get a campsite or bunkhouse.

 
12/24/2018 09:55AM  
Always spend the night before putting in at a bunkhouse or motel. Like others, I just find I am more relaxed the following day. I enjoy putzing around Ely or Grand Marais (or somewhere on the Gunflint) the night before put in.
 
12/24/2018 10:55AM  
I have stayed at a bunkhouse or campsite the night before. I have never been able to sleep in the car so gave up a long time ago. Timing of arrival has an impact on my level of relaxation the next day. I used to be able to drive up leaving early in the morning and arriving right before I was leaving. Now I like to be there the night before. It immediately slows the pace and makes everything a little less hurried.
 
12/24/2018 11:02AM  
Something missing now vs past decades, permanent jobs. I worked in the same facility for 44 years, earned vacation as I went and the seniority to have first choice. Trips on vacations began as soon as I left the house with travel and stops included the concept of "my vacation". Often I took several days to reach my EP and launch, even though I live 10 hours away. For me it has never been the destination, but the whole journey.

This concept now entertains me and my wife, now in our retirement. We'll decide to visit relatives in Phoenix, the only decision or planning made before leaving. One trip took 31 days, 22 states, 8500 miles of driving, and great memories for us both!

butthead
 
OCDave
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12/24/2018 07:20PM  
butthead: "Something missing now vs past decades, permanent jobs. I worked in the same facility for 44 years, earned vacation as I went and the seniority to have first choice. Trips on vacations began as soon as I left the house with travel and stops included the concept of "my vacation". Often I took several days to reach my EP and launch, even though I live 10 hours away. For me it has never been the destination, but the whole journey.


This concept now entertains me and my wife, now in our retirement. We'll decide to visit relatives in Phoenix, the only decision or planning made before leaving. One trip took 31 days, 22 states, 8500 miles of driving, and great memories for us both!


butthead"



Outstanding! I love driving cross country but, we usually drive 20 hours a day to get to the general destination before we slow down. I hope I get to redo some of our trips when time is less constrained.

 
Northwoodsman
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12/25/2018 06:00PM  
We usually arrive near the EP by 1:00 p.m. We still stay in a bunkhouse to repack and start out the day dry and with a nice warm shower. A nice dinner the night before is also a tradition.
 
12/26/2018 12:38AM  
At our Cabin outside of Biwabik or the Ely Motel after the cabin is winterized
 
12/28/2018 12:05PM  
My drive is long, so I prefer to stay at a hotel or bunkhouse. This affords me some time shake off the road, a hearty meal, and a good night sleep for a pre-dawn wake up call.
 
Alan Gage
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12/30/2018 08:14PM  
I don't like paying to sleep places. Especially when all I'm going to do is sleep for a few hours. So I just sleep in the car along the way.

Before the trip I'll have lists of what I need to bring and many things will be pulled out and laying around the house. When I get off work I start packing it in the car. I usually don't get done until sometime close to midnight and I'm usually not tired yet so I just hop in the car and drive until I get tired. Pull over someplace and sleep until I wake up (anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours) and keep driving again until I get tired.

It seems that inevitably I reach my destination mid-afternoon or later. At that point I prefer to spend a relaxing afternoon/evening doing a final prep and pack for the canoe and then shove off early in the morning for a full day on the water. If my vacation schedule was shorter or didn't have some wiggle room I'd probably be more antsy to get on the water ASAP.

Alan
 
OCDave
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12/31/2018 12:48PM  
I have gained an appreciation for how close I am to the BWCA. Four to six hours to an entry point is a short drive compared to many of you. An early start and an immeadiate entry will likely be my plan for future solo trips. As a solo paddler, If I need to paddle later to find a site, I won't be burdening a paddling partner. The hours I spend distracting myself can be spent tripping rather than waiting. Besides, I sleep better outdoors than I can in a bunk house.

Thanks everyone for your input.

 
jcavenagh
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01/01/2019 06:22PM  
For BWCA I stay at the bunkhouse the night before entering.
That was always a good way to start for our trips.
Further north I have stayed at a motel or slept at the parking spot the night before entering.
My first trip to Wabakimi we slept at the outfitters place then were shuttled in.
Now when I go to Wabakimi it is about 18-19 hrs of driving and I just can't hop into a boat after dark.
 
sedges
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01/08/2019 12:41PM  
My most recent trips have all jumped off from outfitter bunkhouses on the Gunflint Trail. I usually get there in the afternoon before entry day. I leisurely unpack and repack my outfit, checking one last time that I have everything. I'll go have an early dinner at the outfitter if I am at Way of the Wilderness or Gunflint Lodge or Trail Center if I am at Tuscarora. I go for a long evening paddle if the weather is nice. All of this is a nice transition from hard traveling for three days, 1500 miles, to canoe country travel mode. I pay to park my car at the outfitter so entry day morning is a walk to the lake to start. This works especially well if heading out on Saganaga as I am on the water as soon as it is light enough to see with usually no wind.

I am fortunate to be half retired with big block of the calendar open in the summer. My approach and return trips can be enjoyed as part of the experience.
 
01/10/2019 10:36PM  
I have made the 10 hour drive, picked up my permit, and dumped in. If I launch from Sawbill area it's easier cuz I shaved some hours off the drive. It gets me another night in the woods, but it can seem a little rushed. Not sure I'd do it mid summer when campsites near entry points can come at a premium, but it's never been a problem in September/October. I always get a bunk, dinner, site seeing for my night coming out.
 
Banksiana
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01/10/2019 11:57PM  
Night one: As far away from my entry as time and weather permits.

The night before- Home sweet home.
 
01/11/2019 03:28PM  
We have a 5-7 hour drive depending on EP. We usually stay in a bunk or outfitter room, but have stayed at campgrounds close to some EP's like East Bearskin or Sawbill and Kawashiwi Lake.
We usually start driving in the morning and get close to EP by early to mid afternoon. We like to take it easy and have a good meal the night before going in. If I'm in Ely or Grand Marais I go thru all my gear checking to make sure I have everything against my gear list. If I forgot something I go shopping for it. Sometimes I want something new and so I shop for it up there. I like to support the businesses up there, better them than a mine. I also bring different gear options and based on the weather when I get up there make my decisions on what to pack in, like footwear and some clothing options.
I find having the day to get up norte and relax the rest of the day works great for us. If however we had a limited amount of time I'm sure we would be paddling asap.
 
lindylair
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02/10/2019 09:07AM  
We have never stayed at a motel, bunkhouse or anything like that. We drive from the Twin Cities and either structure the first day to be entering by 10am or so, or camp at a state or national forest campground relatively close to the entry. That is our preferred way to start a trip if time allows. Often we do the same after coming out of the BWCA too, one night in a rustic campground before heading home.

We like the transition into and out of the BWCA where we are still in a wild and scenic area and camping, but have the car and a picnic table to help us do the last minute sorting/packing at a very relaxed pace. I also usually bring an extra tent and sleeping bag and sleep in them the first night so I don't even need to repack for the BWCA entry.

Many people say that it takes a day or two to get in the "rhythm" when on a trip. I feel like the night spent camping before the trip accelerates that process too. Usually allows for a pretty early entry too.

One year we stayed at the rustic Bake lake campground(no permits or fees) and had a very relaxing evening getting organized and speculating about the trip. The next morning we had literally a 30 second drive to the entry for unloading. Great way to go.
 
MidwestFirecraft
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02/10/2019 12:25PM  
Stayed overnight at a bunkhouse the first time I went to the BWCA. I feel like it wasted either a day with my family, or time in the wilderness. At 4.5 hours away, I leave at 7 am and arrive by 12:00. Being that I don't rent anything I can go right to to the entry point. This is my preferred method now.
 
02/10/2019 02:36PM  
lindylair: "I also usually bring an extra tent and sleeping bag and sleep in them the first night so I don't even need to repack for the BWCA entry.
"


I do this too. I'll bring large trash bags to then stuff them in. I'll even bring a spare pad so I don't have to touch the canoe packs. When I get home I dry everything out and pack away.

 
paddlinjoe
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02/19/2019 01:42PM  
I am also 5-6 hours from most BWCA entry points and have used both methods. Thinking back, there isn't a set pattern. Work schedules and entry point availability are probably the largest factors. If given a choice, I'd rather be at the entry point early in the morning. Camping near an EP I also like to bring the extra tent and stuff so the trip packs can remain closed.

That said, when taking younger first timers, I have found it very helpful to camp the night before entering as a kind of shake down of gear to prevent carrying items that won't be used. Conversely it can expose gaps in clothes or gear that can still be rented, purchased, or borrowed if found lacking. I'll often bring extra items in this regard just in case.
 
straighthairedcurly
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02/20/2019 08:00AM  
We usually can't leave until after work so we drive to a campground near our permit pickup. We pick up the permit as soon as possible in the morning, grab some breakfast in a restaurant and head out on trail. This summer we will have a chance to leave a little earlier, pick up our permit just before closing, but will still wait until the next morning to get out on trail. I never want to start my precious trail time harried or tired.
 
02/24/2019 04:37AM  
Banksiana: "Night one: As far away from my entry as time and weather permits.


The night before- Home sweet home."




Show off... hahahaha!

I have a slightly longer drive... two hours. I’ve enjoyed spending the night before put in in a bunk house... gunflint side is four hours. Like frenchy19, hanging out around Ely or Grand Maria kinda gets you more pumped than hanging out at home. Haha. But lots of times head out to where I can eat at brittons early, grab a permit at usually vno and on the water or portage to the water by 8:30 or 9 if going all the way to like Moose River north or little Indian Sioux. Staying in a bunkhouse you can pick up permit the night before and be on the water by first light. I’ve gotten up, got to my put in, and after a good start stopped for some breakfast and continued in probably when most people are getting to the parking lot. Coffee always tastes better in the back country.
 
missmolly
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03/08/2019 09:17AM  
Sometimes the car, but usually my tent.
 
gkimball
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03/11/2019 07:49AM  
Since most of my trips start somewhere between Kawishiwi Lake and Brule Lake I often stay the first night at the Cliff Dweller motel just up the shore from Tofte. Allows final packing of gear in a dry and storm free place and early starts.

Decent rates with a view from every room of Lake Superior that can't be beat, with a great breakfast. Easy to make reservations online. Plus the owners are very good folks. Nice!
 
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