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BigOarDeal
member (25)member
 
12/02/2019 02:43PM
I'm looking to do my first PMA trip next spring, likely a week or two before Memorial Day. Any thoughts/suggestions on the route?

The participants: 4 able-bodied guys, all been to the BWCA, looking for a good adventure.

Day 1: Drop off all the people and gear at #20 Angleworm entry point and drive to the exit point, #19 Stuart River. Park car, ride bike back to Angleworm. Enter through Angleworm (check the 700+ rodder off the bucket list), paddle up to Beartrap Lake and hopefully get the campsite for the evening.

Day 2: Portage into Sundial PMA to the Beartrap River. Paddle down the river to Sunday Lake. Stay on Sunday Lake. Try to find a remnant of the portage between Sunday Lake and Sunday Bay just for fun.

Day 3: Continue down the Beartrap, then cut over to the Sterling Creek. Bushwhack/paddle to Sterling and stay on Sterling for the night.

Day 4: Portage to Bibon/Nibin. Take the (I believe marked with a cairn) portage to Stuart Lake and camp on Stuart Lake.

I also think it would be fun to see if we can find any remnant of the portage between southwest corner of Nibin and Stuart River, though it would be out of the way.

Day 5: Travel to exit point, pack up, pick up bike on the way back.

Any thoughts on this itinerary? Good for a first PMA excursion?
 
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12/02/2019 04:03PM
I have made it to Beartrap in a day, but it was about a 12 hour day. We were double portaging. It was a long day. Single portaging would definitely help.
jwartman59
distinguished member(3000)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/02/2019 04:37PM
walllee: "I have made it to Beartrap in a day, but it was about a 12 hour day. We were double portaging. It was a long day. Single portaging would definitely help." Same thoughts. Definitely want to single portage to angleworm, the portage isn’t difficult, but it really long, it becomes a psychological battle. My last trip on the beartrap, five years ago, it was mostly open, all portages were easily followed. Forty years ago I did nibon-bibbon. I still remember it well, they had logged some of the trail. We spent a whole day beating around in the bush. An in law was there several years ago and had no troubles
GopherAdventure
distinguished member (475)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/02/2019 10:53PM
Your trip is on my list of to-do’s. Good luck, I’d love to hear how things go in a future trip report. I’m super curious about that Sunday Lake to Sunday Bay portage, I’ve heard it is still there if you can just find it.

Tony
PaddleAway
distinguished member(954)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/02/2019 11:21PM
We've done this trip through the PMA starting from Beartrap Lake.

The only real pain was finding the last portage into Stuart Lake. It was a long time ago (ten years or so?) but there was no cairn marking the portage then. It was more a long slog through meadow & bog, finding false trails, until we eventually found the old portage, which was in rough shape back then. Perhaps someone with more recent experience can give you a more up-to-date report on it.
Z4K
member (37)member
 
12/03/2019 01:47AM
Looks like a great plan! Your travelling might end up being a lot less per day than you were expecting, but it pays to have extra time for exploring/weather/navigational setbacks/fishing. Nobody has fun when they're behind schedule AND lost. If you're planning on double portaging ignore the previous statement and pick a different route.
Make sure you get permits for staying in the PMA, as an additional permit is required for spending the night. Only one party is permitted per night, per zone. These are normally booked when I inquire. Here is a recent thread about these in the PMA Paradise group here, which is free/easy to join if you're already a BWCA.com member. This route is discussed in several threads in that forum as well.

Two summers ago I traveled from Angleworm to Peterson Bay on Iron Lake. My buddy and I opted for a late entry on our 'travel' day, picking up the permit at Piragis late in the afternoon, hiking the thing and setting up camp at Angleworm Lake. Isolating that portage to it's own day took most of the sting out of it and put us a half day ahead. We fished and single portaged to the campsite on Beartrap by 11am the next day. I would figure half of walllee's time from parking lot->beartrap for single portagers. I've heard of groups going parking lot->peterson bay in less than 12 hours. That first portage is only two miles after all. It is considered a walk in the park compared to it's shorter neighbor, the infamous Trease portage. On our 'day 2' we traveled from Beartrap L. to Sunday Bay via Sunday Lake, Peterson Bay and Curtain Falls. That was a significantly more strenuous day.

There are two decent options to camp on Sunday. The eastern shore has a sloped but otherwise ordinary site, while there is a more open site nearer the exit in the NW that I considered less hospitable but is apparently better for fishing.

Zac
tumblehome
distinguished member(1511)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/03/2019 09:00AM
I think any trip into bushwhack lakes is a great idea. I've done it before and while it is challenging, the experience is amazing.

So with that..... The PMA's created by the forest service are only ares with smallish lakes and swamps that really prohibit extended travel. Sort of like the scraps left over after they drew the lines for the BWCA.

A real bushwhack trip can be had by going to Quetico where half the lakes in the park are not accessible by portage but unlike the BWCA, these are often large lakes with ample shoreline, fishing, and the opportunity to actually travel for a few days without getting back on the highway.

For me, if I bothered to venture into a PMA, it would be a day trip only for something to do.

Just a thought.

Tom
BigOarDeal
member (25)member
 
12/03/2019 12:13PM
Thanks everyone all for the suggestions!

walllee: "I have made it to Beartrap in a day, but it was about a 12 hour day. We were double portaging. It was a long day. Single portaging would definitely help."

Yes, I forgot to mention that we will be single portaging. My initial plan was to leave in the morning, so I think this would be doable for us.

jwartman59: "My last trip on the beartrap, five years ago, it was mostly open, all portages were easily followed. Forty years ago I did nibon-bibbon. I still remember it well, they had logged some of the trail. We spent a whole day beating around in the bush. An in law was there several years ago and had no troubles "

That is great info--that will help with it being a first go at a PMA.

GopherAdventure: "Your trip is on my list of to-do’s. Good luck, I’d love to hear how things go in a future trip report. I’m super curious about that Sunday Lake to Sunday Bay portage, I’ve heard it is still there if you can just find it. "

I will definitely post a trip report, and will let you know about the portage. I've seen people on this board say it's gone now, but I definitely want to give it a shot.

PaddleAway: "We've done this trip through the PMA starting from Beartrap Lake."

Actually, I read your trip report of it which is what helped me consider this route! Thank you!

Z4K: "Two summers ago I traveled from Angleworm to Peterson Bay on Iron Lake. My buddy and I opted for a late entry on our 'travel' day, picking up the permit at Piragis late in the afternoon, hiking the thing and setting up camp at Angleworm Lake. Isolating that portage to it's own day took most of the sting out of it and put us a half day ahead. We fished and single portaged to the campsite on Beartrap by 11am the next day. I would figure half of walllee's time from parking lot->beartrap for single portagers. I've heard of groups going parking lot->peterson bay in less than 12 hours. That first portage is only two miles after all. It is considered a walk in the park compared to it's shorter neighbor, the infamous Trease portage. On our 'day 2' we traveled from Beartrap L. to Sunday Bay via Sunday Lake, Peterson Bay and Curtain Falls. That was a significantly more strenuous day."

Yeah, that's a good idea--we could probably plan to drive up during the day and tackle Angleworm on its own day. Maybe it will be more difficult than I am thinking.

tumblehome: "So with that..... The PMA's created by the forest service are only ares with smallish lakes and swamps that really prohibit extended travel. Sort of like the scraps left over after they drew the lines for the BWCA.


A real bushwhack trip can be had by going to Quetico where half the lakes in the park are not accessible by portage but unlike the BWCA, these are often large lakes with ample shoreline, fishing, and the opportunity to actually travel for a few days without getting back on the highway.


For me, if I bothered to venture into a PMA, it would be a day trip only for something to do."


Thanks for the thought. That is good perspective. I was thinking this would be a good first step because there is some semblance of a trail on most portages. But I am all in to bushwhack to a Q lake in the future!
jwartman59
distinguished member(3000)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/03/2019 12:39PM
I agree that most of the pma areas exist because it wasn’t worth the effort to maintain portages to these little lakes. I first paddled the beartrap in 1973, at that time it was a standard route. My 1981 beymers bwca guide lists it as route 8. I’ve paddled it countless times over the years. I was not even aware of its special designation until I saw it on this website. I assume the forest service dropped this route due to a rather hazardous portage landing just south of Peterson bay.
straighthairedcurly
distinguished member (335)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/03/2019 08:28PM
I have not done the route you listed, but we did our first PMA this summer. The one thing we wish is that we had planned for more time in the PMA. It was physically tiring to get in there, so we wished we had planned a layover day to just hang out and enjoy it. And we are not normally layover day people. So if you can add a day, I recommend it.
Z4K
member (37)member
 
12/03/2019 11:03PM
BigOarDeal: "Z4K: "My buddy and I opted for a late entry on our 'travel' day"
Yeah, that's a good idea--we could probably plan to drive up during the day and tackle Angleworm on its own day. Maybe it will be more difficult than I am thinking."


The trail is not difficult, it's just two miles long. How heavy are your boats?

I really enjoyed heading in late like we did. No getting in the truck at 2am, no bunkhouse/NF campground, no paddling with headlamps. 3 sites right away on Angleworm guarantees you a place to crash without having to paddle. I still monitored both the paddle and hike permits for a week beforehand: only a couple of other permits were reserved and/or issued.

If water levels were super-high, I would take a long look at Spring Creek.
MidwestFirecraft did not make it in 2019
Porkeater made it in 2017
It has been done before
jwartman59
distinguished member(3000)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/04/2019 01:28AM
Z4K: "BigOarDeal: "Z4K: "My buddy and I opted for a late entry on our 'travel' day"
Yeah, that's a good idea--we could probably plan to drive up during the day and tackle Angleworm on its own day. Maybe it will be more difficult than I am thinking."



The trail is not difficult, it's just two miles long. How heavy are your boats?


I really enjoyed heading in late like we did. No getting in the truck at 2am, no bunkhouse/NF campground, no paddling with headlamps. 3 sites right away on Angleworm guarantees you a place to crash without having to paddle. I still monitored both the paddle and hike permits for a week beforehand: only a couple of other permits were reserved and/or issued.


If water levels were super-high, I would take a long look at Spring Creek.
MidwestFirecraft did not make it in 2019
Porkeater made it in 2017
It has been done before "


I’ve done spring creek. I spent a night camped in a Marsh. It really wasn’t that much fun. I would not recommend it. I’ll note that the water levels were flood stage that fall. Also, many times I have found all the legal sites on angleworm and home occupied. Plus Bigfoot lives here so plan on that
OTH
Guest Paddler
 
12/04/2019 09:26PM
I would add a day just in case. single portaging.
MidwestFirecraft
distinguished member (286)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/05/2019 08:22AM
"The trail is not difficult, it's just two miles long. How heavy are your boats?"

I said it's a hiking trail, how bad can it be? It has plenty of ups and downs and was much more difficult than I anticipated with a 44 pound canoe. I could not single portage it with my 60 pound pack.





"If water levels were super-high, I would take a long look at Spring Creek."

No................. take a long deep look into one of the poor souls that attempted this impossible task with me.
 
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