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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Winter Camping and Activities
      Basecamp out of a Clam     

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DKalis
member (33)member
 
01/23/2019 10:49PM
Hello all, this is my first post here on the site. I have been browsing the forums for about the last 10 months and have found a ton of useful information on here. With the help of a friend who has been to the BWCA before and the information I found on here, I was able to complete my first trip this past September on the Clearwater loop.

But now I am going to try something I have wanted to do for a while now. I will be in Ely on the second week of February, arriving Saturday and am planning on leaving on Monday. I would like to set up my Clam X300 fish house to basecamp out of on a nearby lake. I will fish at night and do some snowshoeing day trips. I will have my two dogs along with me.

I am in need of recommendations from people who know this area. I am familiar with the Gunflint side but have not yet been to the Ely side. Which lake would you recommend setting the house up on to basecamp on? The house is heavy and large, being a three man portable, so I do not want to have to pull it far from a landing. A lake that is not far from some scenic overlooks or neat trails for me and the dogs to explore during the day would be ideal. If there are some dog-friendly ski trails, that would be an added bonus.

Also, are there any easily overlooked winter camping items that I may need to add to my pack? I will have all of my equipment from canoe tripping, minus the tent. I will have all of my best cold weather clothing along.

Thanks in advance for your insight!
 
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Gadfly
distinguished member (358)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/25/2019 08:26AM
One idea might be Fall lake as it is an entry lake so you wouldn't need to hall your gear very far. Also the 4 mile portage is a popular dogsled trail and would make for a good day trip. The Ely side does not have the hills and overlooks that the gunflint side does but I still find it to be very scenic. Moose lake would be another option and typically has dog sled trails through it as well.
imtk
member (5)member
 
02/11/2019 11:28AM
I camp outside of Ely every President's day weekend. I usually try to create a short list of location options, and check with locals and on forums like this as it gets closer to the date to understand any constraints based on ice or trail conditions. The list of locations is determined by factors like length and difficulty of portage, number of people (and amount of gear), and planned activities. Often it comes down to a last minute decision after weighing all the factors.

Fall lake has come up in a number of posts and conversations this year as a prime location.

We did North Hegman last year, found an awesome spot off the main track to the petroglyphs, but close enough to leverage the packed snow and have easy access to the attractions as well as the trail head.

Disappointment three years ago was a little more challenging, yet more isolated. Downside of something farther afield like this became apparent when we had to break camp and hike back at -30F.

Shooting for Wood this year.
Gadfly
distinguished member (358)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/11/2019 01:01PM
imtk: "I camp outside of Ely every President's day weekend. I usually try to create a short list of location options, and check with locals and on forums like this as it gets closer to the date to understand any constraints based on ice or trail conditions. The list of locations is determined by factors like length and difficulty of portage, number of people (and amount of gear), and planned activities. Often it comes down to a last minute decision after weighing all the factors.


Fall lake has come up in a number of posts and conversations this year as a prime location.


We did North Hegman last year, found an awesome spot off the main track to the petroglyphs, but close enough to leverage the packed snow and have easy access to the attractions as well as the trail head.


Disappointment three years ago was a little more challenging, yet more isolated. Downside of something farther afield like this became apparent when we had to break camp and hike back at -30F.


Shooting for Wood this year."

Wood lake is another good choice! The portage is straight with a handful of ups and downs but nothing too severe. We camped there a few years ago and the fishing was fantastic.
DKalis
member (33)member
 
02/11/2019 10:26PM
Thanks for all of the recommendations! I just got back home and can say I had a great trip. I ended up staying on Fall Lake, about 100 yards from the entry point landing (the fish house pulled like a plow through the snow there). Despite not reaching the camping point I had hoped for, I was still satisfied with how things turned out.

First off, it was awesome staying so close to the dogsled trail, I had never seen dogsledding done in person. I counted 10 teams go by in my two days there. Right as I was leaving, I had a conversation with one of the mushers and asked for a recommendation on where to get x-backs for my two huskies, he pointed me to Kondos and I went and got two harnesses and a new skijoring line setup. The staff at Kondos was very helpful. They did not have the two dog tow line I was looking to replace but they were nice enough to make one right then and there! I wish I would have stopped in here before the weekend started so I could have tried all the new equipment up there.

Skijoring was a success. We had a rocky start with me being fairly inexperienced on XC skis so there were a few crash landings with two eager dogs on the tow line. We ended up following the dogsled trail to Ella-Hall lake and back, which was about the right length for us.

Sleeping in the fish house went without any issues, I used my kelty 20 degree bag as a liner inside an army surplus bag and I was toasty at night.

 
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