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   Winter Camping and Activities
      Moose to Saganaga Trip Report     



member (19)member
03/11/2019 11:42AM
This past weekend my brother and I did a 3 day 2 night 40 mile winter camping trek from Moose Lake (Entry Point 25) to Saganaga (Entry Point 55). Thus I thought I would share some information from the trip in case anyone is curious about conditions or just enjoys a few trip photos.

Weather was amazing as it was mostly sunny, mild wind (when there was wind it was at our back), no significant snowfall, and temps were 20-30 daytime & 0-10 nights. Really could not of asked for better weather overall.

Ice conditions were solid. Everywhere we drilled holes the ice was at least 2-3 feet thick. We also did not find any slush anywhere on our route. We did come across a lot of open water along the border route despite the cold temperatures this year, moving water in the streams between lakes has kept the ice out. We were careful to stay to the edge or bushwhack to stay off the bad ice.

Snow conditions were a handful to deal with. Snow on lakes ranges from crusty tops on bigger lakes to sinking into a foot of powder on smaller or skinnier lakes. Portages were brutal, snow was often hip deep. The portage from Ottertrack to Swamp (80 rods) took us nearly an hour to complete. There are very few winter trails anywhere (There is one from Snowbank to Knife, but we did not know this in advance). We had to break our own trails everywhere except for Moose Lake, Newfound Lake, and the Snowmobile Trail on Sag. Made for some very long days but an amazing trip. We were skiing every day from sunrise till after sunset and we needed every one of those hours in order to finish in 3 days.

Link to photos is below if anyone is interested, enjoy!
Trip Photos
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member (40)member
03/12/2019 01:58PM
Thanks for the wonderful trip report and photos. Looks like you had a heck of a trip with enough challenges to make it worthwhile but still fun. BTW...what were the medals you were wearing in the photo? Did you reward yourselves or is this route part of a challenge of some sort? Just curious if you don't mind sharing.

That's all for now. Take care and until next well.

distinguished member (160)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/12/2019 10:15PM
Awesome trip
Thanks for sharing
It would be fun to make it a weeklong trip with some fishing thrown in the mix.
member (19)member
03/13/2019 09:23AM
paddler1953 we got the medals at Trail Center when we were having dinner celebrating the completion of our trip. We mentioned that we had just finished going from Moose to Sag to our waiter who told the owner who then came out to give us the medals because she was so impressed by what we had done. I believe the medals were actually meant for the Skijoring / Dog-sledding events gong on Sunday on Poplar Lake which Trail Center was involved with (hence the dog paw medals). The owner also offered to sponsor us with free freeze dried food (Their Camp Chow Brand) for our next adventure if we wanted!

Mnpat yes it would of been nice to not have to do the trip so quickly and enjoy it a bit more, that said I am always torn about how much PTO I want to take (and how many nights I really want to winter camp...especially when you do not have a hot tent!).
distinguished member (315)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/13/2019 12:29PM
Great trip, thanks for the info!!
distinguished member(12281)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
03/13/2019 05:20PM
Great trip report,we usually see the dog sleds going by when we head up toward Canada or the Knife via Moose. Love to see them run. Any dog sledders while you were there?

Also winter camping from Sag to Swamp to ottertrack we often could follow a dog sled trail.
Often we broke off to Hansen than Knife and yes 4 feet of snow on portages and one heck of a workout.

Love those photo's and looks like lake travel was pretty good.
I know when lake travel is on the poor side 1 MPH is about it. Good conditions-the skies the limit.
distinguished member (160)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/14/2019 09:57PM
If your breaking trail look at getting an emsco beast sled. The front angle works much better in deep snow.
member (19)member
03/15/2019 10:01AM
Pinetree - we did not see any dog sleds on our route. We really thought we would as we have heard in the past that they use this route a lot. That said we only found their trails on Moose and Newfound Lakes. After that nothing.

We talked to a few guys from Ely on Knife Lake (they are the ones who established the trail in from Snowbank) and they told us that the dog sledders normally would of done our route and often gone as far as Ottertrak however this year the slush was so bad early in the season that no one was dog sledding far into the BWCA. Then once the slush froze during the Polar Vortex in January there was tons of deep snow so none of the dog sledders wanted to be the ones to break the trail (So we got the honor of breaking all the trail instead!).

Mnpat - Just looked up the emsco beast sled, looks solid. Ultimately we used Paris Expedition sleds as we already had them (price was right!). In general our sleds and poles worked well. My brother had a lot more issues with his falling over but often that was because the weight was not well distributed or his poles were not pulling evenly. Always love getting new stuff but at the same time need to utilize what we have to save money and storage space at home (Wife already makes fun off all my gear!).
distinguished member(12281)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
03/15/2019 01:25PM
Yes the dog sleds usually fish lake trout just past Dorothy Molter old place on Knife.
distinguished member (160)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/15/2019 07:07PM
I have a Paris sled also. It’s been collecting dust for years now. A little narrow and the front angle is to steep. The emsco is available locally and is not expensive.
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