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   Listening Point - General Discussion
      Just got back, couple of quick notes...     

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GopherAdventure
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05/22/2020 04:32PM
Hey Everyone,

Just came out after a five day hybrid hike/canoe trip. A few notes I thought I’d share...
We hiked the Kekekabic Trail from Ely to Tuscarora Lodge on Monday and Tuesday, then canoed back from the Brant Lake EP to exit at Snowbank Lake. We camped on Harness Lake night 1, Tuscarora Lodge bunkhouse night 2, Little Sag night 3 and Ima on night 4. Got to Snowbank around lunch time today.

-water is still plenty cold regardless of the hot temps
-it is dry, I used a twig stove to cook backpacker meals, but I was too nervous to do a campfire.
-we saw a lot of people on the canoe portion of our trip. Even in the deep areas of the park, I think there’s a surge of people rushing to the wilderness. No permits available anywhere...
-portages were in really good shape for early season, never had to get the saw out.
-saw the USFS Beaver float plane fly over us 4 times. I believe it flew right over us when we were on Gillis en route to the rescue of the drown man on Tuscarora.
- good trip, exhausting but rewarding. Trip report and video report coming soon.

Tony
 
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Jaywalker
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05/22/2020 05:17PM
Thanks for the update - look forward to the video.
 
05/22/2020 07:07PM
Have to disagree with your "no permits available anywhere" take. There were plenty of permits available as of yesterday throughout the park.
 
PaddlinMadeline
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05/22/2020 09:37PM
Sounds like a nice trip! Thanks for passing on your knowledge.
 
PaddlinMadeline
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05/22/2020 09:41PM
 
GopherAdventure
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05/22/2020 10:26PM
In regards to the permits. I had an outfitter tell me there were none in the immediate vicinity for Thursday - Saturday entries this weekend. He said it’s the first time he’s ever seen that. After glancing at the reservation website, it appears as though you can get your hands on a permit, it’s pretty thin though.
 
05/22/2020 11:42PM
Thanks for the report! Sounds like a great trip. I like the combination of hiking/paddling. What condition was the Kek in? Is it swampy and wet? I’ve always wanted to hike it west a little ways some September. I also heard its hard to follow in some places.
 
scat
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05/23/2020 06:34AM
Sweet!
 
yellowhorse
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05/23/2020 06:43AM
Sweet trip! If time allowed would you have taken any more/less time to complete the route?
 
cyclones30
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05/23/2020 07:15AM
Nice, you were moving pretty well both ways! I'm guessing the dry helped on the hike?

What was your route between little Sag and Ima?
 
OldTripper
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05/23/2020 08:42AM
That sounds like quite the adventure!!
I would love to do a similar trip.
I'll be watching for a video of your trip.
 
05/23/2020 11:12AM
GopherAdventure: "In regards to the permits. I had an outfitter tell me there were none in the immediate vicinity for Thursday - Saturday entries this weekend. He said it’s the first time he’s ever seen that. After glancing at the reservation website, it appears as though you can get your hands on a permit, it’s pretty thin though. "

You are right; I stand corrected. I have a June 16 East Bearskin permit, and I just looked at the available permits throughout the park at that time. They have certainly dwindled since I last checked. That bums me out; main reason I rarely go to the BW any more is because of the crowds. I do not basecamp, and it is stressful finding sites during the summer months-and that is the only time I can go as I am a teacher. Really missing Quetico this year.
 
Pinetree
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05/23/2020 12:09PM
I think it will be a historic year of permits taken right up until they are no longer needed in the fall.
Probably more youths with parents also.
Just worried about youth camps tho-Boy Scouts-Girl Scouts-YMC and church camps?
 
Pinetree
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05/23/2020 12:11PM
Wow gopher you traveled a lot of ground. Good for you.
 
GopherAdventure
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05/23/2020 02:44PM
cyclones30: "Nice, you were moving pretty well both ways! I'm guessing the dry helped on the hike?


What was your route between little Sag and Ima? "


We went through, Elton, Makwa, up into the three letter chain (Fee, Vee, Cap, Roe, etc...) into Frasier-Thomas and on to Ima. I’ve been through that way before so I knew what to expect on that route. We single portaged which made for quick travel.

Tony
 
GopherAdventure
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05/23/2020 02:49PM
Zulu: "Thanks for the report! Sounds like a great trip. I like the combination of hiking/paddling. What condition was the Kek in? Is it swampy and wet? I’ve always wanted to hike it west a little ways some September. I also heard its hard to follow in some places."

Z,
The Kek was in good shape, never had to use my saw. Easy to follow. I was surprised at how easy and nice the tread was until close to Kekekabic lake. Around there things get tough with lots of ups and downs and boulder strewn paths. I would say the hardest part of the whole trail was around Gabi. It was slow and brutal there. Tons and tons of moose sign though. There were tree rubs from bulls like crazy, some over 7 feet high.

Tony
 
GopherAdventure
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05/23/2020 02:52PM
yellowhorse: "Sweet trip! If time allowed would you have taken any more/less time to complete the route?"

Originally we were supposed to have an extra day. I wouldn’t do the Kek in two days if I had it to do over again. It would have been nice to have 7 days for this trip, then we probably wouldn’t be so sore right now. Lol.

Tony
 
CStoke
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05/23/2020 05:35PM
Sounds like a great trip. Look forward to video.
 
Aldy1
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05/23/2020 11:03PM
Looking forward to the video. My group took off from Round lake the same time as you on Wednesday. Glad to hear you made it back to Ely!
 
BWPaddler
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05/24/2020 05:06PM
You didn't mention the bugs!
 
tumblehome
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05/24/2020 05:28PM
People often call the bwca a 'park'.
It's not a park. Voyegeurs is a park. So is Yellowstone and the grand canyon.
It's a designated wilderness. Big difference in how it is managed.

Tumblehome
 
05/24/2020 07:03PM
tumblehome: "People often call the bwca a 'park'.
It's not a park. Voyegeurs is a park. So is Yellowstone and the grand canyon.
It's a designated wilderness. Big difference in how it is managed.


Tumblehome
"


Semantics; does it really make any difference? How does how the BW get managed make any difference in the number of people who visit the place? If I call it a park, what difference does that make in terms of the impact the 200,000 plus people who go to said park each year make? Fact is, too many cheap permits allow too many people to visit the BW every year. What you choose to call it means nothing in terms of overcrowding.
 
GopherAdventure
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05/24/2020 07:48PM
Aldy1: "Looking forward to the video. My group took off from Round lake the same time as you on Wednesday. Glad to hear you made it back to Ely!"

Wow, so were you guys the group of 3 that were heading for Little Sag? Did you end up making it there or did your rescue efforts change the plan? Kudos to you guys by the way for helping the guys on Tuscarora. That must have been one heck of a scary moment. We were on Gillis at that time and could hear the USFS float plane circling above.

Tony
 
Aldy1
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05/24/2020 11:36PM
We ended up staying on Tuscarora and made the most of it. Doing the long portage three times in one day took a toll. But really impressed with search and rescue team that night, those folks are amazing.
 
tumblehome
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05/25/2020 06:41AM
Frenchy19: "tumblehome: "People often call the bwca a 'park'.
It's not a park. Voyegeurs is a park. So is Yellowstone and the grand canyon.
It's a designated wilderness. Big difference in how it is managed.



Tumblehome
"



Semantics; does it really make any difference? How does how the BW get managed make any difference in the number of people who visit the place? If I call it a park, what difference does that make in terms of the impact the 200,000 plus people who go to said park each year make? Fact is, too many cheap permits allow too many people to visit the BW every year. What you choose to call it means nothing in terms of overcrowding."


Because it's not a state park or a national park. Do you call your canoe paddle an oar?
Calling it a park is not semantics. A car is not a truck. A coyote is not a wolf. And the BWCAW is not a park. It's not semantics.
Tom
 
Diego
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05/25/2020 01:39PM
Frenchy19: "tumblehome: "People often call the bwca a 'park'.
It's not a park. Voyegeurs is a park. So is Yellowstone and the grand canyon.
It's a designated wilderness. Big difference in how it is managed.



Tumblehome
"



Semantics; does it really make any difference? How does how the BW get managed make any difference in the number of people who visit the place? If I call it a park, what difference does that make in terms of the impact the 200,000 plus people who go to said park each year make? Fact is, too many cheap permits allow too many people to visit the BW every year. What you choose to call it means nothing in terms of overcrowding."


I'm starting to not enjoy my stays in the BWCA because of how difficult it is to paddle every day and still reliably find a campsite, even in the mid-afternoon. I'm all for making more barriers to entry, wether that be less permits, more cost, ect. But I realize that is a very selfish way to get the park/wilderness more to myself.
 
arctic
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05/25/2020 02:06PM
I seldom do BWCA trips anymore, and tend to trip in Quetico.

My tripping style is to travel most of the day and set up camp in the late afternoon. Not a fan of not having sites available or crowded conditions.
 
05/25/2020 02:18PM
Just out last night...agreed that the water was cold, but with high 70's & even 80 a couple of days, that needle is in motion.
We had fires most nights. Seemed dry but kept them small and well-tended in the grate.
Bugs definitely out but not terrible. Headnet required a few times most days.
Also agreed that the portages were fine. We were clearly the first of the year on half a dozen portages but had zero blowdown to clear. Did have one 5" & 20 foot tall standing dead spruce trunk decide that its time was nigh & fall on the canoe, which was on my partner's shoulders, as we were beginning to start a portage. Scary moment! Canoe was fine. Partner needed new underwear.
And I am not a good judge of busy or not in the BWCA as we usually trip north of the border. But yesterday our plan to lay up 2-5 hours from the EP turned into an exit at dark 1 day early due to unavailable sites. So we did 22 total miles yesterday (including 5100 meters of mostly single portages [sorry, don't speak in rods])...that's going to leave a mark.
 
GopherAdventure
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05/25/2020 04:17PM
tumblehome: "Frenchy19: "tumblehome: "People often call the bwca a 'park'.
It's not a park. Voyegeurs is a park. So is Yellowstone and the grand canyon.
It's a designated wilderness. Big difference in how it is managed.



Tumblehome
"




Semantics; does it really make any difference? How does how the BW get managed make any difference in the number of people who visit the place? If I call it a park, what difference does that make in terms of the impact the 200,000 plus people who go to said park each year make? Fact is, too many cheap permits allow too many people to visit the BW every year. What you choose to call it means nothing in terms of overcrowding."



Because it's not a state park or a national park. Do you call your canoe paddle an oar?
Calling it a park is not semantics. A car is not a truck. A coyote is not a wolf. And the BWCAW is not a park. It's not semantics.
Tom"


I’m well aware it’s not a park, but I call it that here on this site as it’s just easier and everyone knows to what I’m referring. I understand the differences in how they are managed, but I don’t really see that as relevant in this thread or line of discussion.

Tony
 
schweady
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05/25/2020 05:14PM
GopherAdventure: "I’m well aware it’s not a park, but I call it that here on this site as it’s just easier and everyone knows to what I’m referring..."
Yeah, sort of like the side eye my crew mates give me when I refer to the canoe as 'the boat.'
 
tumblehome
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05/25/2020 05:57PM
schweady: "GopherAdventure: "I’m well aware it’s not a park, but I call it that here on this site as it’s just easier and everyone knows to what I’m referring..."
Yeah, sort of like the side eye my crew mates give me when I refer to the canoe as 'the boat.'
"


Schweady, you can call your canoe a boat. THAT- is semantics. :)

A canoe is indeed a boat,or craft, or vessel.
Tom
 
schweady
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05/25/2020 07:20PM
tumblehome: "Schweady, you can call your canoe a boat. THAT- is semantics. :)"
Perhaps I only get the side eye when I exaggerate the MN accent... booooat... :-)
 
billconner
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05/26/2020 06:04AM
tumblehome: "schweady: "GopherAdventure: "I’m well aware it’s not a park, but I call it that here on this site as it’s just easier and everyone knows to what I’m referring..."
Yeah, sort of like the side eye my crew mates give me when I refer to the canoe as 'the boat.'
"



Schweady, you can call your canoe a boat. THAT- is semantics. :)

A canoe is indeed a boat,or craft, or vessel.
Tom"


If day tripping in Quetico, its also a vehicle, and the day permit us avehicle permit.
 
MikeinMpls
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05/26/2020 03:58PM
We put in at Kawishwi Lake May 18, and just came out on Sunday afternoon. We were the second group (one boat) to put in on the 18th. A father and son left just before us. However, he informed me that a pair (one boat) had actually left Sunday afternoon, prior to the opening of the BWCA. Jerks.

I will say that from Kawishiwi Lake to Lake Polly (where we base camped) was overrun by trippers. There were four cars in the lot Monday morning the 18, and 47 in the lot (and road and woods) on Sunday afternoon. Lake Polly filled up by Tuesday. I learned later that groups were having to go to Pan Lake just to find an open site. I know this is a popular route, and that Kawishiwi Lake has a quota of nine per day, but the entire route resembled Lake One on a holiday weekend.

Very windy Monday and Tuesday (18th and 19th). Wind from the east, that died a bit on Wednesday when it got hot, like 80 degrees. Wind shifted from the south the rest of the time we were there. No rain. Bugs were minimal on the 18th, but made an impressive entrance as the week went on. Black fly hatch was in full force, and the skeeters were starting to get bad also. My wife wore a head net constantly. The bugs tend to stay away from me. We also had two Thermacells which work well, though some deet-based repellent was required to remain comfortable.

We paddled down the Phoebe River a ways on Wednesday. I thought we were the first group of the season, but it appeared that someone had chopped through a deadfall blocking the long portage into the river. Who knows.

I got a couple more things to post, but I'll start under a new thread.

Mike
 
gonorth1
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05/26/2020 09:58PM
We, too, put in on the 18th and came out on Sunday, the 24th. We were the last party to put in on the 18th. Eight vehicles where in the Little Indian Sioux parking lot. Sunday early afternoon more than thirty were in the lot. To say it was crowded is difficult to say. In my mind the BWCA is always crowded unless you portage 250+ rods to a remote lake. We had no problem finding sites but saw canoeists every day.

Was interesting to note the progression of black flies. The first day they were out, but didn't seem to notice us. By day three, they found us pretty tasty. With the hot temps, the cool water was a welcome relief. More than once we took a dunk and enjoyed every minute of it.

It was my first spring trip in many, many years. Fun to see the flowers emerging. Sad to see litter at the put in spot and at each site, moss intentional ripped up in one site, and fir boughs and moss collected to make a sleeping pad at another site. Yes, these all occurred this spring. Still it was good to be on the water and enjoy the sights and sounds of the wilderness, both during the day and at night.
 
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