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sunnybear09
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01/20/2019 08:39AM
Thinking of a loop that would go thru Vern Lake to the Vern River to Wierd Lake, but not sure if the Vern River is big enough or clear enough to get to Weird. Anyone have any perspective on that?

I did the South Brule from Horseshoe to the road maybe 5 or 6 years ago and it was a buster, but doable (forest service does not "recommend" that route). If no worse than that, I'd chance it.

Thanks for the help,
Sunnybear
 
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01/20/2019 10:23PM
Been talked about in past. The 99 blowdown made a mess of it, but I think some people have made a 5 hour bushwack trip out of it. There are old threads in the search function. I guess it depends on your definition of navigable.
01/21/2019 09:00AM
What cowdoc said....

Last year on my short solo I spent 1 night on Vern and had a couple of hours to kill after setting up camp and before dinner time so I paddled down the Vern River for an hour and then back. That stretch was a beautiful paddle. I'm going back there this summer for my daddy/daughter trip w/ little duckling. I'd like to spend a day going down as far as I can and there are some pools that I'd like to fish along the way.
sunnybear09
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01/21/2019 09:23AM
cowdoc: "Been talked about in past. The 99 blowdown made a mess of it, but I think some people have made a 5 hour bushwack trip out of it. There are old threads in the search function. I guess it depends on your definition of navigable."

On the South Brule I had to swim the canoe under sweepers twice, cut my way thru some down cedars, and the rock garden along the way required me to climb up 6' boulders in mid-stream and lift the canoe up and over. Also the river disappeared under a giant trash dam that was also a challenge. You couldn't portage around anything because it is a regrowth area much of the way, due to fires, and the shore is impenetrable. Needless to say it was the most memorable part of the trip! It was a September trip and I had a bull moose enter the river along a quiet stretch only 50 feet away and stare me down before deciding to exit fast. Glad there was hunting activity to keep him nervous! You are so very vulnerable in a canoe in 2 feet of water when a moose decides to stomp you. On my Alaska trip with Rob Kesselring in 2015 we had a very aggressive moose make some feints with hair straight up on his neck before backing off--would never have stood a chance of escaping if he had followed thru. Again a highlight moment!
Thanks for the input, Doc!
sunnybear09
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01/21/2019 09:37AM
ducks: "What cowdoc said....


Last year on my short solo I spent 1 night on Vern and had a couple of hours to kill after setting up camp and before dinner time so I paddled down the Vern River for an hour and then back. That stretch was a beautiful paddle. I'm going back there this summer for my daddy/daughter trip w/ little duckling. I'd like to spend a day going down as far as I can and there are some pools that I'd like to fish along the way."


Thanks, Ducks for the report! You are a tough paddler so I should be cautious! I am very tempted to try the route, it may have been cleaned a bit and I can fight my way thru or hope I am smart enough to back out if it is a lost cause. Will take a good saw with me for sure if I try it! I'll try to send you a report if I try it--looking for a mid June launch if possible.
Thanks, Sunnybear!
Driftless
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01/21/2019 11:10AM
I made it through about 20 years ago and will never, ever do that again. I seemed like a great idea for the first couple of miles and then we had to drag canoes up and over endless downfalls. We were bruised, blooded, and exhausted - so much for the short cut.....

Makes for some great stories, though. Whenever I get together with my college pals, eventually someone will say, "remember the Vern River" and we relive it all again.
01/21/2019 12:41PM
I haven't looked at that area before, but looking at it now, the long skinny bodies of water make this look like a potentially really interesting area. Vern, Juno, Jack... I would probably be tempted to check out the Vern River if I was back there too.
sunnybear09
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01/21/2019 03:46PM
Driftless: "I made it through about 20 years ago and will never, ever do that again. I seemed like a great idea for the first couple of miles and then we had to drag canoes up and over endless downfalls. We were bruised, blooded, and exhausted - so much for the short cut.....


Makes for some great stories, though. Whenever I get together with my college pals, eventually someone will say, "remember the Vern River" and we relive it all again."


Cowdoc said there was a great blowdown in 1999-maybe just before your trip. I am not looking to die out there and plan to exercise some common sense. If I'm lucky perhaps someone has done some clearing or it's my turn! Can't help wanting to go someplace no one else goes! Thanks for the warning!
Sunnybear
sunnybear09
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01/21/2019 03:51PM
flynn: "I haven't looked at that area before, but looking at it now, the long skinny bodies of water make this look like a potentially really interesting area. Vern, Juno, Jack... I would probably be tempted to check out the Vern River if I was back there too."

We think alike!!
01/21/2019 06:14PM
Sunnybear-

I very quickly scanned the list of trip reports for Homer Lake entry, and perused them even more quickly. One from about 10-12 years ago, mentioned paddling the Vern River until a very large beaver dam blocked the way west. A quick look at satellite view on maps - I'm not really sure what I'm looking at there, but the first part of Vern River looks pretty easy. After that looks entirely different - can't tell for sure, but may be dried up below there . . . ?

I'm sure you could bushwhack through there in 2 weeks, which is a week less than it takes to starve to death, so you should be good to go. That could be a little unpleasant, but definitely a novel experience these days. :)


I look forward to hearing all about it. Be sure to keep your daily journal up to date, just in case ;)
sunnybear09
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01/21/2019 06:45PM
boonie: "Sunnybear-


I very quickly scanned the list of trip reports for Homer Lake entry, and perused them even more quickly. One from about 10-12 years ago, mentioned paddling the Vern River until a very large beaver dam blocked the way west. A quick look at satellite view on maps - I'm not really sure what I'm looking at there, but the first part of Vern River looks pretty easy. After that looks entirely different - can't tell for sure, but may be dried up below there . . . ?


I'm sure you could bushwhack through there in 2 weeks, which is a week less than it takes to starve to death, so you should be good to go. That could be a little unpleasant, but definitely a novel experience these days. :)



I look forward to hearing all about it. Be sure to keep your daily journal up to date, just in case ;)"


Thanks for the optimism, Boonie!! The eastern end looks fine on a map, it's that snakey little end stretch that worries me--or draws me!! I feel obligated to live up to the moniker you bestowed on me when I did the South Brule--"Sawvivor"!! As usual I will be going solo with my dog so a journal will be required to help the authorities assign a credible cause of expiration. On the other hand if I take my dog I am absolutely duty bound to survive for her sake if nothing else! I will allow a whole day to make the passage (note that that word has "ass" in it!). If the basic flaw in the route is a plethora of stream-crossing blowdowns, perhaps " time and the river" have ameliorated the problem with decay and current. At least I should not have to wait for others at portages--that always pulls the "wilderness" bar down a bit. I did a challenge route last June--in at Skipper, thru to Long Island Lake, on to Kiskadinna from Muskeg, and finally out thru Meeds just to prove I still had something left (now 71 yo) and did just fine(ish). I will be sure to have lots of rope with me if I find that beaver dam--and the good part is I go down not up! Now that you have opened the door to shame and failure :) I am obligated to accept the challenge and push on--the broken-paddle-splinter wounds are on your conscience now, not mine!! Be well, Steve, and I will see you "on the other side"!
Best wishes my friend, Sunnybear
lindylair
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01/21/2019 08:37PM
Went in on Homer last July and camped on Vern, right across from the mouth of the river. Spent a day exploring the Vern River. The paddle was incredibly scenic and we caught many very nice fish. I think we went halfway up to Weird, or maybe a little less but there were no signs of the river dwindling down to a bushwhack paddle...but I have no doubt that it does. I have no desire or ability to do such a trip but if you have done the South Brule (I have seen that river) then you may just be the guy to do it. But even the stretch we paddled was well worth it and i would love to go back and go as far as any "sane" paddler could go - no offense:) I have been to Weird Lake and thought the campsite there would be an interesting place to spend a night,but alas, the mind is willing but the flesh is weak. It was a delightful daytrip.
01/21/2019 10:31PM
Maybe you'll get 10 days of rain - it's happened before! :) When do you plan to do this? I look forward to your report.
01/22/2019 06:12AM
sunnybear09.....
Well....... you're the 1st to call me a tough paddler......

Not positive on when little duckling and I will be there but, if we are there before you and we make it further down the Vern River than I did last time I'll report back. As lindylair stated.... the stretch that I did paddle was very scenic.

One of my most memorable trips was to Jack with big duckling a few years ago. We caught a lot of walleye and had many moose sightings.
ArrowheadPaddler
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01/22/2019 06:22AM
sunnybear09: "On the South Brule I had to swim the canoe under sweepers twice, cut my way thru some down cedars, and the rock garden along the way required me to climb up 6' boulders in mid-stream and lift the canoe up and over. Also the river disappeared under a giant trash dam that was also a challenge. You couldn't portage around anything because it is a regrowth area much of the way, due to fires, and the shore is impenetrable. Needless to say it was the most memorable part of the trip!"

Sounds like my trip on the South Brule from the road to (attempted) Northern Light Lake. Was going to run out of daylight and took out at the snowmobile bridge. Was a memorable day, but don't think I'll return. The Vern River sounds interesting. Have fun and let us know how it goes!
Driftless
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01/22/2019 02:12PM
I have no doubt the river has changed in 20 years - hopefully for the better! I too look forward to your triumphant return and trip report!
voyager
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01/23/2019 09:50AM
My wife and I made it through years ago too. ( post blow-down) We would NEVER do it again. I posted on this subject a few years back. It's a shin-tangle of downed trees, and when you do get back to the river to paddle the banks are steep and there's no good way to launch. I usually encourage people to get off the beaten path, for it's rewarding. I don't encourage anyone to do the Vern R.
sunnybear09
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01/24/2019 06:20AM
Thanks for all the helpful posts--sounds like a gravestone trip "I almost did the Vern River"--I think this is going to require a great attitude!
Driftless
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01/24/2019 07:37AM
Yep, a great attitude got me half way down the river, the second half I used unbridled anger that this @#$%& river was not going to defeat us. I believe our colorful language could be seen from outer space. However the anger was occasionally broken up with maniacal laughter at our predicament, as the light faded, temperatures dropped, and mosquitoes closed in for their feast. I believe the laughter was an attempt to keep from crying for members of our ill fated group.

But hey, 20 years later and I am still laughing just typing the above: no longer maniacally though.

Did I mention the leeches? They were probably attracted to our bleeding shins from being bashed on hidden boulders as we dragged the canoes through the shallows in the dark....
sunnybear09
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01/24/2019 01:47PM
Driftless: "Yep, a great attitude got me half way down the river, the second half I used unbridled anger that this @#$%& river was not going to defeat us. I believe our colorful language could be seen from outer space. However the anger was occasionally broken up with maniacal laughter at our predicament, as the light faded, temperatures dropped, and mosquitoes closed in for their feast. I believe the laughter was an attempt to keep from crying for members of our ill fated group.


But hey, 20 years later and I am still laughing just typing the above: no longer maniacally though.


Did I mention the leeches? They were probably attracted to our bleeding shins from being bashed on hidden boulders as we dragged the canoes through the shallows in the dark.... "

If you have to, you can eat leeches, right!?! I will be solo so I won't have to share...
Driftless
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01/24/2019 03:45PM
I've never tried leeches, but they can't be too bad right? The fish seem to think they are tasty!
05/28/2019 06:18AM
Back to report on the Vern River... but sorry to say I don't have much to report.

Little duckling and I didn't get to explore down the river. Friday when we got to Vern it was full, wind was picking up, and we were under an hour until the rain was going to start. So instead of chancing it and paddling to Juno or Pipe we decided on 30 minutes of going back to Homer and the site that we knew was open. It started raining right after we set up the tent and tarp and rained all day.

Saturday we did a daytrip into the river and to Vern. We went into the Vern River but only made it to where the big tree is across the narrow spot and fished it for a while. The wind started getting nasty so we headed back to camp and it was good we did when we did because we barely were able to make it back to camp because of the wind.

I did see a young couple packed lightly that was headed down the Vern River hoping to get to Weird. No idea if they made it or not..... but someone did try Memorial Day weekend.

ClareAugust
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06/01/2019 01:57PM
My dad always says "sure, you can do the Vern river, you probably just won't enjoy it." I'd say it's impassable for all but the most determined. I just talked to a group of experienced BWCA trippers who tried it last week and they turned back about halfway through.
Jaywalker
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06/01/2019 06:02PM
Having read this thread and looked closely at satellite images of the Vern River, I'd just like to express my respect for the adventuristic spirit of those of you who have done it and those of you who have given it a good try.
TDBauer
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06/14/2019 01:27PM
There is a YouTuber who went down the Vern River last year in early June 2018 from Weird. Recorded a long section of video on the Vern River.

Here is a link... somewhere around the last half of the video I think he gets into weird, then start going down the Vern River. Matthew Posa, "7 night Wilderness Adventure part 3" two hours and 48 minutes long, so lots of content.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlgqJM7Ax9E

Driftless
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06/14/2019 01:50PM
Thanks for getting back to us Ducks! Hope you had a good trip!
06/18/2019 09:16PM
TDBauer: "There is a YouTuber who went down the Vern River last year in early June 2018 from Weird. Recorded a long section of video on the Vern River.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlgqJM7Ax9E
"


Thanks for the video. He did go down the Vern River...with a dog and camera rolling. IIRC, he concluded it was the most "adventurous" day of his trip.

His dog is great too.
voyager
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06/19/2019 08:27AM
Thanks for the Vern River youtube link. He had it easier than Marcie and I did. The water level was lower, no wading, when we did it and it was closer to the 99 blow down. The downed trees were up several feet off the ground and still had all the branches intact. We were traveling lighter and our fishing poles were stowed in the pack. Half way through she called me CRAZY! For some reason, at the time, I considered it a wonderful compliment. We shared a laugh with old Bill (?) at Sawbill afterward. He and his wife had done it pre blow down and she was feeling sick that day.
 
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