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04/23/2019 10:15AM
Hello all,
I'm currently 11+ weeks pregnant (with my first pregnancy and child), and have my heart set on continuing our BWCA trip this year. I'll be 17 weeks when we want to go on our trip. I did read some previous posts on the messageboard, which eased some concerns about water and food. My nausea is starting to get better, and I'm getting a little more energy. I'm confident my crew (3 others) will be patient and pick up any of my slack. I'm not really concerned with that part. And my OB said, "go for it", especially since we've been and know the drill.
What I am looking for are lake options, as I'm still a little cautious. I'm thinking we skip portages this year for less carrying responsibilities (yet, maybe still have access if I'm up for day trips). We'd still like something secluded, and on a non-motorized lake so we can paddle and fish. But I'd like to get back to the car and or a close community/ ranger station if, god forbid. we needed to. Fall Lake, Birch Lake, Sawbill Lake all sound nice and like a good back up, but seem like they will be so busy, and allow motorized boats! Our first trip we stayed on Kawishiwi, which we are considering going back to, it's the style of lake that we were able to park and just paddle to a campsite, but it'd be nice to find something different, and maybe a little closer to a ranger station.
TIA for advice and suggestions!
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distinguished member(4723)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
04/23/2019 11:27AM
Lake One seems like a reasonable choice for your requirements. You won't get secluded and no portaging anywhere but Lake One spreads out and away from the main artery isn't so busy. There are good day trip options to the rapids that come down from Lake Two, to various other lakes and/or down the Kawishiwi River. And it is only 30 minutes from the EP back to Ely. We used it for a trip with small children last July and it went well.
distinguished member (113)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/23/2019 11:46AM
My wife and I did a BWCA trip when she was 5 months prego with our first in 2013. We put in at EP 25 (Moose Lake) and paddled/portaged to Wind Lake. I think the portage was only about 180 rods, I took the canoe and all the packs while she carried the fishing poles and a bunch of bananas and relaxed on the far side of the portage while I was on my second trip. We packed extra comforts, snacks and purified a ton of water so she'd be as comfortable and hydrated as possible. Its a very easy trip with decent fishing and you can be back to your car within a few hours if need be.
distinguished member(3976)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/23/2019 11:56AM

FYI. Sawbill Lake is not a motor lake and has campsites that allow for a sense of seclusion. Although it may be some distance from the ranger station/Hwy 61, Sawbill Outfitters and the USFS campgrounds are right there on the far south end of the lake.

distinguished member(587)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/23/2019 12:15PM
Slim Lake is a good option. Not as busy as the larger lakes and has decent fishing.
distinguished member(712)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/23/2019 01:28PM
The South Kawishiwi River entry point (west of Gabbro) has a portage on the way in, but then no portages for a long time. There are several nice campsites before any more portaging is necessary. The other members of your group could take small portages if they wanted to see more of the river. I really like that stretch.
04/23/2019 02:23PM
Thursday May 30th
distinguished member (311)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/23/2019 03:19PM
As others have mentioned, I would think either Slim Lake or Lake One would be good options. Both have either a short or no portage. Easy access to Ely from either lake, and potentially you would have cell phone coverage at either lake if required.
distinguished member(890)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/23/2019 04:06PM
Congrats on the little one on the way!

I like the LIS idea. Beautiful waterfalls, and it has nice day trip possibilities. There may be one or two beaver dams to pull over on the LIS River. It is still quite a drive from town.

Couple of other to consider:

I would reconsider Sawbill Lake (Entry 38). As previously mentioned, Sawbill Lake is not motorized. The Sawbill trail has been upgraded to asphalt for considerable distance making the drive much easier. The portages off Sawbill to either Kelso or Alton Lake are super easy and short. You would also have very good day trip options from here (Fire Lakes to the east and Beth Lake to the west.). I would grab a site on the north end of Sawbill or Kelso for solitude.

Another choice in that area is Baker Lake (Entry 39). Very short portages to Kelly Lake with several campsites to choose from. Another very flat portage from Kelly to Jack (visit the abandoned mine here). Nice peninsula site on Jack. Some people have had good luck with moose sightings here. The only drawback here is a lack of day trip possibilities.

You might also consider an entry off the Gunflint to the east. Some nice lakes there that would not be much more of a paddle out and drive to town than from either LIS or Sawbill.

Congrats again and have a great trip!

distinguished member(1426)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/23/2019 07:04PM
I don't often canoe pregnant but when I do, I prefer the BWCA!

Sorry. I just can't control myself sometimes. Welcome to the board (couple months).
distinguished member(4522)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
04/23/2019 09:19PM
Avoid Pine Lake EP #68!

Here's why. :)
distinguished member(2176)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/23/2019 10:06PM
Sawbill is my vote. No motors, outfitter on the lake but north end is quieter
distinguished member(2294)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/24/2019 06:31AM
The options for no portage trips have already been listed for the most part. If you will consider a trip with minimal/easy portages and let your 3 helpers carry the load there are more options:

E Bearskin entry, paddle across this lake to the southern and easy 52 rod portage into Alder Lake. This is a pretty lake with 7 campsites and short portages to a few more quiet lakes. Not far from a long walk across a portage trail to Johnson Falls which is a beautiful area.

E Bearskin entry (but get permit for 66 Crocodile River), paddle about 35 minutes to the 100 rod portage on the south shore to Crocodile Lake. Croc is a dead end lake with 4 campsites and thus tends to be pretty quiet. Pretty lake with excellent fishing for walleyes and large perch. While the portage is what I would call "moderate" due to some elevation gain, if your helpers would be willing to carry the load it would be a nice walk for you. On the scale of seclusion vs. distance from the vehicle this one is high on the list, never more than a few hours or less from the entry.

EP 40 Homer Lake - there are 3 sites on Homer Lake, two of which are actually outside of the BWCA, one very nice island site. Or take two very short and easy portages (21 and 13 rods) into Vern Lake. Set up camp in the mid lake site on the north shore if available and you will be across the lake from the mouth of the Vern River. This is a really nice daytrip, very scenic and with great fishing. The whole area is very nice and tends to be pretty quiet.

John Lake is a remote and pretty area with a very short paddle to camp. Enter at Little John an canoe across the lake and through the small riffle (might have to get out and walk the canoe through depending on water levels) and you are on John lake with 3 campsites to choose from. In camp within 30 minutes from put in but this one is a long drive from civilization, about 65 miles from Grand Marais. Great daytrip options on the Royal River.

Whatever you decide, have a great trip, and congrats!
member (19)member
04/24/2019 07:21AM
We went through Sawbill to Alton and into Kelso. Stayed at the first site in Kelso off the portage to Alton. Very short, easy portages. 2 couples with both wives pregnant (12 weeks and 6 months). 4 day trip but we pulled the plug after 3 days due to incoming severe weather and stayed in Duluth the final night. Good luck, enjoy yourself, and be safe.
04/24/2019 09:47AM
Thank you everyone! I can't wait to dig deeper into your recommendations! (That's for setting me straight on Sawbill, think I just misspoke... pregnancy brain is real y'all!)
distinguished member(1061)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/24/2019 10:06AM
Another vote for Sawbill. The north end is usually really quiet for an entry lake with no portages. I've heard the fishing can be good on the north end too though I've never tried it. Plus you can get to Alton or Kelso very easily, for daytrips or for your basecamp. It's one of our favorite areas, especially for a quick and easy trip.

And even though it is far from a town, there is an outfitter with store and staff on site in case you need assistance with anything.

Congrats and welcome to the board!
distinguished member(538)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/24/2019 10:06AM
At almost 8 months pregnant we camped on Wood Lake (EP 26) with our 3 year old. Wood is only 20 minutes by paved road from Ely. There is a 180 rod portage in that's all uphill on the way out. But it's a wide, well traveled path. I managed it while carrying a light pack and a crying 3 year old. Wood Lake isn't on an easy route to anywhere so we didn't see very many people and it felt much more secluded than you would think for an entry lake.

Once the nausea wears off and some of the exhaustion too, being pregnant gets a lot easier. Have fun and stay hydrated! Also, be prepared to become super familiar with the trail to the throne :)
member (35)member
04/24/2019 10:15AM
Congrats and thanks for this post! My wife is due at the end of July and we were thinking of a similar trip middle of June. We also have an almost 4 year old coming on her first trip too. We were thinking either Brule or Seagull. Mainly because I have been through those areas previously and have experience fishing them. They are also big enough EP lakes with lots of sites where you can get a wee little bit of seclusion (that is going to be tough find with the close to the car and no portage requirement). Now I have some other options to now investigate it looks like, thanks folks.
distinguished member(1714)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/26/2019 08:40PM
If planning a C-section, maybe Knife? Having twins, then try Lake Two? It's not technically in the BWCA, but Round Lake might be appropriate (but definitely not Slim).

Maybe Romance (or Neglige?) to acknowledge what got you in this trouble in the first place? If morning sickness is bad, maybe Green?

Parent Lake seems like an obvious choice.

My wife and I just had our first child. It's been (mostly) amazing, wonderful, etc., so definitely don't choose Disappointment.

Oh, and congratulations!
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