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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Group Forum: Solo Tripping
      1st Time Solo Route Suggestions?     

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FishCamper
member (14)member
 
12/31/2018 03:22PM  
Hi all. I've done 8-9 BWCA trips, but never done a solo. I'm trying to make 2019 the year! I'm thinking a 3-4 night trip in small lakes would be great (I want small lakes because I've done very little solo canoeing, and am a little concerned about battling wind on my own). I might base camp, or maybe move once - I want to keep it simple and leave plenty of time for fishing (bass and northerns probably). Also, I don't want a super grueling trip - again, since this is my first solo, and I'm not in the shape I was in 20 years ago.

I was thinking of maybe doing the Little Indian Sioux River North area. Or maybe Sawbill to Alton Lake. Any other suggestions?
 
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12/31/2018 08:13PM  
Hi, FishCamper-

None of us are in the shape we were in 20 years ago, but you'll be in better shape when you take the trip . . . right? You've got at least 4 months to get in better shape. And that's also 4 months to work on lightening the load.

Plus, you also have 8-9 BW trips of experience. Recent or a long time ago?

If you can make it 4 nights, you'll have more options and more time to deal with weather. What time of year are you going? Is solitude a high priority, or some people OK, maybe preferred? One nice thing about being solo is that most any campsite will do.

It's hard to know how fast you'll travel or what's not grueling so it's hard to make specific recommendations, but it might be a good idea to consider options where you could do an out and back route with options for a short loop.

I'd suggest you look at Cross Bay, EP #50; Missing Link, EP #51, Brant Lake, EP #52, Lizz Lake, EP #47. There are lots of different options among those. You could start at either 50 or 51 and end at the other - it's a short walk from Round Lake to Cross Bay. Another option you may want to consider would be a Kawishiwi Lake, EP #37, trip. You can be on Polly in 4-5 hours - it's 8 miles assuming the extra miles to double portage, which I assume is your plan.

You'll find lots of good information on solo tripping by searching this forum and reading some trip reports.
 
01/01/2019 10:50AM  
Great reply from Boonie..... All of my solo trips I've stayed on small water for the reasons you stated. It's a good idea ;)

EP32 South Kawishiwi River and the Kawishiwi Triangle was my 1st solo. It's a great area for a 1st solo because it gives you lots of flexibility. I just paddled up the South Kawishiwi until I felt like stopping which ended up being the split of the S and N Kawishiwi Rivers and the top of the triangle. Then I traveled the North Kawishiwi River and dropped down into Clear Lake for night 2. And the 3rd day was very short and I camped close to the entry point portage on the last night. I could have easily base camped in the middle somewhere and did daytrips. I didn't make the basecamp or move decision until I was in the middle of it. You can also access the Kawishiwi Triangle from Lake One, Little Gabbro, NKawishiwi River, and Farm Lake entry points.

EP 37 to Malberg and back was my 2nd solo. river paddling and small lakes.
EP 45 Morgan and exit at EP 47 Lizz was my 3rd solo. I've also entered at Lizz multiple times for other trips and it's a great area for a 1st solo. Small water and lots of options for different directions to go.
EP 23 Mudro up through Fourtown and around Boot etc to Moosecamp, down the Moosecamp River to Fourtown, over to Horse and back to Mudro through Tin Can Mike etc was my 3rd solo. Another area with lots of flexibility and small water. I loved Moosecamp Lake and then the journey down the Moosecamp River to Fourtown.
EP 40 Homer Lake to Pipe and Vern area is where I went last year for my solo. Very quiet area (I didn't see anyone else until I got back to the parking lot) and would be an easy and laid back trip for you. I only had 2 nights and stayed on Pipe night 1 and Vern night 2. Actually, I liked the area so much that I'm going back there this year with little duckling for her daddy/daughter trip. I caught bass and pike from camp on Pipe and the Vern River has some good spots for walleye and bass.

I think any of those would make for a good 1st solo. I've also done many daddy/daughter trips with my each of my girls starting at age 5 so I stuck to small waters with a little one in the bow. Some of those trips that I think would make for a good solo are...
EP 50 Cross Bay, EP 39 Baker (you could do an up and back or do the Cherokee Loop... the Cherokee loop could also be done starting at Sawbill). EP 47 Lizz which I already mentioned, EP 38 Sawbill into the fire lakes instead of Alton will give you smaller water.

Have fun!
 
01/01/2019 01:07PM  
The Mudro trip described above is an excellent choice. Basswood Falls and Crooked Lake are a delight. Don't let the 300r into Gun Lake be bothersome. It's flat and easy.
 
billconner
distinguished member(7691)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
01/01/2019 08:06PM  
I like your LIS north notion. Moderate portages and small water. But other suggestions here are good. You could look at entering Hog Creek and going as far as you feel like on Little Isabella.
 
FishCamper
member (14)member
 
01/07/2019 11:56PM  
Thanks everyone... these are great ideas! I'll keep thinking about these over the next few weeks, as I get ready to make a reservation.
 
BearBurrito
distinguished member(889)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/08/2019 10:40AM  
My first trip which was also my first solo I went in a EP 6 Slim lake, small water and easy portages, and easy to get out if I figured it wasn't for me. My second solo I went in at EP 26 Wood lake, paddled into hoist bay and hung out there. I don't fish so I can't tell you about that. I trip early spring or late fall, and didn't see anybody on either of my first two trips.
 
FishCamper
member (14)member
 
03/04/2019 11:17AM  
Okay, I got a reservation for Wood Lake! It looks like it's got pretty good fishing, and it could be a pretty simple trip if I so desire. Thanks for all your help everyone!
 
03/04/2019 01:06PM  
fishcamper, you got your reservation and yeah for you. The BWCA is known for its addictive potential and I suspect you will find going solo rather special. Have fun.
There is another thread about getting solo permits and any comments you might have would be welcome. Did you have to designate an alternative trip leader and if so their email and such?
 
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