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05/25/2020 02:00PM
Hello everyone!

Thank you for this great resource. My wife and I will be coming up for a 5 day trip late June through July 3rd for my birthday! I have an entry permit for Fall Lake. Our first plan was to head up to Pipestone Bay for a night and then on to basswood lake. After reading about heavy traffic and busy campsites we are considering a change in plans.

We are thinking of putting in at EP 14 and heading up to Upper Pauness or Lower Pauness. We have Monday through Friday. Do you think UP and or LP will have sites that time of year? (Week before 4th of July) Ultimately we would like to find a good site for swimming and relaxing. Other campers don't bother us but we would like to visit Loon Lake and get pictures near the Canadian border. I stopped up for a night this month to test some gear and see what I was getting myself into. I spent the night on Fall Lake and practiced portaging to Newton. Everything went great and I'm excited for our adventure. We have all our own backpacking gear and will be renting a canoe from Spirit of the Wilderness outfitters. My wife and I are usually car campers but I spent every summer of my youth canoeing and kayaking around leech lake. I will be using map and compass as well as gps for navigation.

Any advice will be appreciated.

What I'm looking to do.
1. Decent swimming and relaxing camp for 2 to 4 people. We like the idea of one camp with day trips but are open to suggestions. (We may bring another couple)
2.Smaller lakes
3.Visit Loon Lake / Canadian border.
4.Fishing but not reason for trip.

1.Is campsite availability an issue on UP or LP for Week before 4th of July?
2.Do we really need bear spray? Reading about past problem bears on Shell lake.
3.bugs that time of year? May 19th they were almost nonexistent.

Thank You!
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distinguished member(2310)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
05/25/2020 08:32PM
I've been on Loon twice (same trip, once on our first day heading in and once on last 2 days heading out) and I wasn't a fan of the boats. They're allowed on Loon and allowed to camp there, plus some border traffic passing through to the rail portage and back....if the border is open by then.

The rail portage is kinda cool to see and that's Canada. each their own.
The Pauness's can get busy and you're going in the heart of the season.

My thoughts on if you originally liked the Basswood idea is go for it! But instead of Fall Lake, see if you can get a Mudro permit. Busy entry point but not many going this route. Mudro-Sandpit-Jackfish Bay of Basswood. The lower part of Jackfish is a motor area but you might not see any since you're just passing through. Once you're past the motor line, there are quite a few nice campsites up along the border including the 2 on the island shaped like a whale. For a day trip, head west along the border to the top of Upper Basswood Falls. Pull your canoes up and out of the way of the landing. Hike the portage trail with fishing rod or camera in hand and spend half the day or more exploring. There's a mile of trail to get to the end of the rapids and tons of off-shoot trails that lead to the water.
distinguished member(2310)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
05/25/2020 08:54PM
For your date (last monday in June) there's still 1 regular Mudro permit available (#23) and both restricted (#22) are available. You can get either one for this route, the 22 restriction is you're unable to camp on Horse Lake...which you wouldn't be on this route.

Border access - check
Good fishing - check
Waterfalls - check
Get from Entry Point to camp in a day - Check
Small lakes - you'll start on a narrow stream and Mudro and Sandpit are small lakes....however Basswood as you know is not small. However you'd be in the farthest west portion of it so as long as you don't have a rare east or NE wind you're good. And it's not like you need to travel for long periods each day. Take a weather radio and you'll know what's coming for that day or the next day.
distinguished member(2310)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
05/25/2020 08:58PM
And I guess if you want to keep your original permit you could....just as you said you'll probably need 2 days to get there and that's a whole day and a half in motor territory vs. an hour or two with the Mudro route.

There are a ton of other options but that's the one I'll recommend.
Message text
Guest Paddler
05/26/2020 08:04AM
Awesome! Thanks for the advice I may take it. So it sounds like you think it would be tough to get a campsite on either pauness Lakes. Do you think if I kept going I would possibly find something on shell? I really like the route and would like to try it but I'm afraid to get so far in and not be able to find a site by nighttime.
05/26/2020 11:51AM
getgeeky- I don't know if you're able to get on the water early the first day . . . ? The other thing is it's not very far to Pauness, maybe 4 miles with 1 short, easy portage after pushing off at the entry. If you're on the water by 8, you'll be on Pauness at 10. That's why lakes like that fill up. If you're getting an early start, you'll be on Pauness before some people are leaving, if they are.

senior member (75)senior membersenior member
05/26/2020 01:52PM
I've only been through that area once, but I would not recommend base camping on the Pauness lakes if you both are fairly healthy and able to portage. I recall the Paunesses being swampy. You are just a couple of portages away from more beautiful lakes - Shell and Lynx. My partner and I made it all the way to Hustler after a long day. Lynx and Hustler were my favorite lakes so far over there.

If you stay on Shell or Lynxy, you can get to Loon through heritage. According the comments on the map, the portage is a tough one, but it will get you to the Canadian border.
06/05/2020 12:14PM
Thank you!
Actually we have decided on shell or lynx.
We are going in early on Monday morning about 7 a.m. hopefully we will find a campsite available on shell. My biggest concern is paddling a long distance and not finding a campsite available by Nightfall.
06/05/2020 12:17PM
I dropped our permit for 24 and picked one up for 14 ep.
06/05/2020 03:16PM
If you see a nice site open, take it. Then no worries. You should be on Shell by lunch time.
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