Chat Rooms (0 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* For the benefit of the community, commercial posting is not allowed.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Trip Planning Forum
      Missing Link to Little Saganaga     
 Forum Sponsor

Author

Text

BigCurrent
distinguished member(609)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/14/2020 12:17PM  
Entering through Missing Link EP, hoping to have 2 campsites over the course of 4 nights. The plan is to camp on Little Sag on night one and two, then camp on Crooked, Gillis or Tuscarora for the last two nights before heading back.

Is this a big day 1? It looks like it's about 5.5 hours from Missing Link to L. Sag if we are single portaging.

On the return trip, is it better to go through Tuscarora again or go through the smaller lake and exit at Brant Lake?

 
Reply    Reply with Quote    Print Top Bottom Previous Next
jdoutdoors
distinguished member (201)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/14/2020 12:42PM  
It looks like a pretty healthy day 1 for sure but nothing too bad. I'd plan for an extended snack break after the portage to Tuscarora, then a good push all the way to Lil Sag. I have heard that the path with small lakes leading back to Round is no cakewalk and quite challenging in some places due to it being relatively untraveled, with some swampy areas and rocky areas. If you're up for a challenge I'd say do it, but if you want an easier or more straightforward return, I'd probably go back through Tuscarora. I've never been through this area, but have researched it a fair bit, and would love to get out there some time.
TuscaroraBorealis
distinguished member(4802)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
01/14/2020 01:23PM  
Generally speaking, that's a pretty aggressive day one. But, you know yourself and crews abilities. I'd say exiting via Brandt vs Missing Link is about a horse apiece. As you might guess I prefer to exit via Tuscarora, as the scenery is far better (imho). But, maybe you want to use both? One in the other out, thus seeing more lakes etc.
01/14/2020 01:35PM  
I did this trip 2 years ago. We had a few differences though. We entered on Brant instead of Missing Link, spent the first night on Gillis, then 2 nights on Little Sag, and finally took 2 days to return through Tuscarora and Missing Link. We double portage so it did take longer, but Brant to Gillis was a rough day. We did have a late start though so that might affect our perception. You can read my trip report and see how it went for us. The path was a bit overgrown though due to the fire taking out all the trees and underbrush filling in.

I always find that Day 1 is the most exhausting. I'm not used to paddling or portaging so it takes a while to get warmed up and fall into a pattern. It gets easier everyday though, especially if you get a rest day every couple of days. If I were you, I wouldn't go all the way to Little Sag in one day. Sure, you could probably do it, but Tuscarora, Crooked and Gillis are beautiful lakes. Why not slow down and enjoy those lakes a bit instead of rushing through them? I would make Crooked the goal for the first night and see how it goes from there. Maybe you feel great and want to keep going, or maybe you want to stop and head up the portage to check out Gillis.

I will say that the northern route that we took from Gillis to Little Sag was worth it though. Those are some nice lakes that do not get much traffic. We stopped for lunch at the site on the south side of Powell and it had a beautiful view.
MikeinMpls
distinguished member(839)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/14/2020 01:41PM  
jdoutdoors: "It looks like a pretty healthy day 1 for sure but nothing too bad. I'd plan for an extended snack break after the portage to Tuscarora, then a good push all the way to Lil Sag. I have heard that the path with small lakes leading back to Round is no cakewalk and quite challenging in some places due to it being relatively untraveled, with some swampy areas and rocky areas. If you're up for a challenge I'd say do it, but if you want an easier or more straightforward return, I'd probably go back through Tuscarora. I've never been through this area, but have researched it a fair bit, and would love to get out there some time."

Yes, those small lakes can be a beast. If early in the year, it turns into one big bog and pushing the canoe along is the best mode of propulsion. I did this in May a couple of years ago, and it was a tough day.

Mike
BigCurrent
distinguished member(609)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/14/2020 02:53PM  
Thanks for all the info so far.

We don't want to rush through certain areas but we do want to maximize our time in the area. We like to stay at least 2 nights at each camp so we can enjoy the surroundings and spend some time fishing. We are debating doing a short loop through Tuscarora and Gillis or the bigger loop through L Sag. We've never been in the area so we want to make the most of our trip. Is L Sag worth the travel or would we be stisfied with Tuscarora, Crooked and Gillis.

We travel pretty efficiently and single Portage. We have made it from Snowbank to Ima in 4.5 hrs. Mudro to Crooked in 6 hours to give you an idea of travel speeds.

If you were to choose 2 lakes to camp on in this area, which 2 would they be? Considering we want to catch some Lake Trout.
01/14/2020 03:21PM  
Little Sag is a beautiful lake. I loved it when I was there. It was well worth the effort to get to. I can't wait to go back.

Picking just 2 lakes is hard. Tuscarora is probably the best after Little Sag, but Gillis is easy to get to from Crooked so you could easily visit both if you camped on Crooked. We also traveled through Crooked and Tuscarora quickly due to weather so I might not be the best judge.

What I would probably do in your shoes is this. Day 1 Round to Little Sag. Day 2 Explore as much of Little Sag as much as you can, I would probably recommend picking a portion of the lake to focus on and leaving the rest for a different trip. Day 3 Little Sag to Crooked. This day I think you would want to get to Crooked early so you can explore the lake. Day 4 Day trip to Gillis. Go explore Gillis there are trout in the lake so you can just troll the lake while taking in the sights, maybe stop at the cliff jumping spot to swim. Day 5 Crooked to Round. This will be your second time through Tuscarora, but you can take the time to explore the lake before taking the portage to Missing Link. Do a little fishing and take in the sights.

This would give you about 1 day on each lake minus some travel time and setting up camp. You skip the Brant route, but trust me, you aren't missing out on much. That route is more trouble than it is worth when it takes you away from the other lakes you want to see. I'm glad I did it, but will not be doing it again.

Also, if you are feeling adventurous you can take the detour that I did between Tuscarora and Missing Link. We took the wrong portage and went through Hubbub, Copper, and Snipe on the way out. That was a costly mistake since we were not planning on that additional travel time, but if you planned on it and single portaged then it could be fun.
BigCurrent
distinguished member(609)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/14/2020 04:02PM  
Great info A1t2o, thank you.
01/15/2020 09:57AM  
I've criss-crossed all through that area. We came out from Lil Sag to Missing Link (Round) once. Didnt get a real early start and still got out to enjoy a late lunch. Wasn't that bad a day.....double portaged....with some young kids.....the Tusc route. I've also done the Gotter-Flying-Bat route a couple times, both ways. As said, its about a wash time/travel wise. More time spent loading/unloading the canoe, but a very neat little chain. Gillis is a nice lake. Brant to Gotter portage is a little tough. On the Tusc route, the Mora to Lil Sag portage is one of the most scenic in the area.
I'd go in one way and come out the other.....see some new country.
landoftheskytintedwater
distinguished member(914)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/15/2020 01:30PM  
You will drop over 200 of elevation and your portages are all generally downhill aside from Round Lake to Missing Link Lake. I've done Round to Little Sag in a day and it's not terrible. Other than the Tusc portage, the rest of them are pretty easy (Round to Missing Link is rocky, landing on Tarry from Crooked is tough). I haven't done the route from Gillis to Brant to can't speak to that. While the Tusc portage is a beast, I'd rather do that than 4-5 additional portages.
BigCurrent
distinguished member(609)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/28/2020 11:11PM  
Thanks for all of the info everybody, it is much appreciated. Looking forward to exploring a new area of the BW.
molshove
member (47)member
 
01/29/2020 03:43PM  
I’m planning a nearby trip, also through Missing Link EP, though likely down through snipe, around to frost, and back out through tusc. It’s a healthy route, so my idea is to aim for a couple specific campsites that seem exciting early in the route. If one of those is free, we’ll grab it and evenly spaced the work each day. If they’re not free, we’ll make the game time decision to hump it day 1 and continue down to frost, stay there a couple days before moving on.

I’m not dead set on this route, and am definitely interested in hearing how your trip pans out. Could be an alternative for us.

When do you go out?
01/29/2020 05:05PM  
Just did the Missing Link to Little Sag trip last fall. Definitely worth it and not a bad 1st day at all if your group is reasonably experienced and single portaging. We came back out the same way and spent one night on Tuscarora so we'd have an easy trip out on the last day. I've come through the other route mentioned as well, and would say the Tuscarora route is the more scenic, but, like others said here, it's always fun to take a different route on the way back and see something new. You won't be dissapointed with Littl Sag.
BigCurrent
distinguished member(609)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/30/2020 04:26PM  
molshove: "When do you go out?"


We will be up there May 17-23.

We have never been to this area but it looks like a great destination with a lot of route options.
BigCurrent
distinguished member(609)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/30/2020 04:30PM  
djwillco: "Just did the Missing Link to Little Sag trip last fall. Definitely worth it and not a bad 1st day at all if your group is reasonably experienced and single portaging. We came back out the same way and spent one night on Tuscarora so we'd have an easy trip out on the last day. I've come through the other route mentioned as well, and would say the Tuscarora route is the more scenic, but, like others said here, it's always fun to take a different route on the way back and see something new. You won't be dissapointed with Littl Sag."

Good to hear, that is kind of our plan. 3 nights on L. Sag and then 2 nights on Gillis, Crooked or Tuscarora. We may take the northern route out of L. Sag back through Gillis, to see some more of the area. If we did that we would still exit out of Tuscarora based on what we have read about the Brant are lakes.
molshove
member (47)member
 
01/30/2020 10:03PM  
BigCurrent: "molshove: "When do you go out?"



We will be up there May 17-23.


We have never been to this area but it looks like a great destination with a lot of route options."


I'll be watching for a report, would love to hear your experience! We're not headed that direction till August, and have never been in that area, either.
Z4K
senior member (91)senior membersenior member
 
01/30/2020 11:46PM  
Your original plan sounds like a winner to me! Nothing wrong with cutting your first day short and staying on Crooked or Mora if you don't make it to Little Sag. I did a 3 night in-and-out to Gillis via Brant a couple years ago in early July. The portages were difficult but nothing crazy. Water levels were pretty high when I visited. There are some cool portages though, including a wooden staircase for a landing (Flying side of Gotter-Flying) and you get to see the edge of the Cavity Lake fire a few times as well. Seeing the before and after views right next to each other can be powerful, but every year all of the recent burn areas recover more and more. Flying Lake is majestically well-named. Even though they are within the burn area, 503 and 505 are great sites on Gillis. Some people like to jump off of the cliffs south of 503. The lake trout in Gillis were catchable in July and delicious.
BigCurrent
distinguished member(609)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/31/2020 09:00AM  
Great info Z4K, appreciate it.
BigCurrent
distinguished member(609)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/03/2020 09:15AM  
djwillco: "Just did the Missing Link to Little Sag trip last fall. Definitely worth it and not a bad 1st day at all if your group is reasonably experienced and single portaging. We came back out the same way and spent one night on Tuscarora so we'd have an easy trip out on the last day. I've come through the other route mentioned as well, and would say the Tuscarora route is the more scenic, but, like others said here, it's always fun to take a different route on the way back and see something new. You won't be dissapointed with Littl Sag."

How long is the trip to L. Sag, assuming we are single portaging? We are experienced and have put in some long days on previous trips. I've read estimates anywhere from 6-10 hours.
02/03/2020 10:11AM  
It's about 13 miles from Missing Link through Mora. I don't know your travel speed, so you'll have to convert it to hours with the usual variances for wind.
02/03/2020 05:28PM  
Correction: Single portaging it's 9 miles.
BigCurrent
distinguished member(609)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/02/2020 03:08PM  
Thanks everyone for the info. We bumped the trip back a week and got out of the woods yesterday.

I'll post a lengthier trip report but the route was awesome.

Day 1 - Round to Little Sag
Day 4 - Little Sag to Gillis though the West Fern/Powell
Day 6 - Gillis to Round via Brant EP.


Rugged trip.
Portages were adventurous.
Fishing was good.
Not as many people as we were expecting.
Bugs were bad at time, but overall not too bad.
Beautiful area.


06/02/2020 05:44PM  
Thanks, I'll forward to the report. I like the area, too, and have never found it to be overly busy.
06/04/2020 07:00AM  
BigCurrent: "Thanks everyone for the info. We bumped the trip back a week and got out of the woods yesterday.


I'll post a lengthier trip report but the route was awesome.


Day 1 - Round to Little Sag
Day 4 - Little Sag to Gillis though the West Fern/Powell
Day 6 - Gillis to Round via Brant EP.



Rugged trip.
Portages were adventurous.
Fishing was good.
Not as many people as we were expecting.
Bugs were bad at time, but overall not too bad.
Beautiful area.



"

Look forward to reading this! Glad you guys had a great trip. We're doing that route with the kids 10 days from now. Especially interested in hearing about the portage conditions through the West Fern to Brant area! L
BigCurrent
distinguished member(609)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/05/2020 03:31PM  
Trip report is up.

Trip Report
 
Reply    Reply with Quote    Print Top Bottom Previous Next