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member (18)member
06/30/2020 02:15PM  
First off, thanks for such a good site. I have read many, many posts on here and have had lots of questions answered over the last month. I've been wanting to do a trip for over 30 years. First a young adult with no money, then a wife and kids with all the sports and stuff, now an empty nest and not getting any younger.

Anyway, I was planning on setting up base camp on Alpine 16th-19th. I was just wondering if camping spots are hard to come by with the bear reports, is the camp fire wood accessible, and should I expect lots of people being it's a weekend and all permits are taken.

Planning on taking my daughter if she gets her field study and reports finished by the 14th, if not I'll be going solo (maybe one of the Labs if my wife has any say in the matter).

Thanks again for the site, and any answers, suggestions or tips would be appreciated.
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06/30/2020 03:55PM  
Try to get to Alpine as early as possible to ensure you get a site. You may have to continue on to Red Rock or Jasper if Alpine is full.

Firewood is more plentiful the further away from campsites you get. Park the canoe along a long stretch with no campsite and go back into the woods a bit. Chances are you'll find more than enough. Bring a saw & full tang knife to baton the wood vs using an axe or hatchet to split.

Keep your food secure and a clean camp. That's the best way to minimize an unwanted bear encounter. It's likely the same individual or group of individual bears operating in the area. The lab might help to deter, or at least warn of, a bear visit.
06/30/2020 04:12PM  
+1 on get an early start and find a campsite when others are leaving and there will be few departures the beginning of a weekend. Check the maps and locate sites so you do not have to paddle around the lake looking. Be prepared to go a little farther. Permit numbers are fixed so there should be an open site, but not likely it will be the 5 star you hope for.
Also +1 paddling to a shoreline away from camps and going inland about 10-20 yards to find firewood, a leave no trace thing. And I have almost always had very good luck doing this. With the fire ban in place this may be a mute issue.
Not so sure about the lab unless well trained. The bear will do no harm unless you are not keeping a clean camp but an overprotective dog could provoke a fight.
Sad you have had to wait 30 years. I am willing to wager you will create some great new stories and want to get back again. Maybe early October when the crowds thin out.
member (18)member
06/30/2020 04:37PM  
Thanks for the info. I’m hoping to get on the water a little before sunrise and head to Alpine. Been to Itasca area a few times and to Crane Lake, Bemidji and Leech, looking forward to really getting away from it all. I’m really not too worried about the bears and understand the importance of keeping things in their proper place, besides I think my snoring will probably keep most critters at bay. :) Old dog too lazy to fight, new pup loud as all get out will raise all kinds of cane, but too afraid to come out of the tent. :)

Thanks again for the replies.
distinguished member(800)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/30/2020 05:48PM  
We will be right behind you - entry on the 17th. I am also worried that between the number of people, being a Friday, and that a few sites are closed due to bear issues, that it may be hard to find a site. We haven't decided on base or loop yet. We will also have our dog along, an 18 month yellow lab. She is always on alert so I'm sure she'll know if any bear comes close, I just don't know what kind of reaction she might have.
member (18)member
06/30/2020 06:19PM  
Yea,14 month old BF Lab, have to keep her kennel door closed at night and keep her on the inside kennel cause she barks at every critter in the dark at wee hours in the morning. Upsets the neighbors, I’m sure she would alert me, probably scare me more than the bear:). Have a safe trip.
distinguished member (108)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/01/2020 05:43AM  
Don't worry about firewood as there is now a fire BAN in effect until further notice. Please don't be "that" person who thinks it won't happen to them.
member (18)member
07/10/2020 09:32PM  
Well, gonna have to wait till next spring for my trip. Half of my shift at the fire department, including myself have been diagnosed with COVID 19. Spent two months packing and arranging, repacking and rearranging. My daughter just got home from her field biology intern and doing some touch up final arrangements, looking forward to our departure for Minnesota on Tuesday and I got the phone call.

This really sucks, my message here is that I hope people really take this seriously. I new in my profession that it was very likely but in the back of my mind I was confident that it wouldn’t happen to me. We are ALL “VULNERABLE” so please take this seriously!

Hope to see the wonders of the BWCA next season. I’ll keep surfing this site, hope to pick up some more tips on how to lighten my load, and try to figure out how you guys go solo without all the plunder that I have packed now.

Y’all be safe!
Sincerely, ducksndirt
distinguished member(669)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/10/2020 09:59PM  
Wishing you well and a quick recovery, I can feel how disappointed you are but it will be even better next year. My son is a firefighter, as well so it is scary to me that he will get “the call,” also. But in all honesty, it can be any one of us. Stay home, stay safe, and day dream about next year.
member (18)member
07/10/2020 10:05PM  
Will do, thanks
07/10/2020 10:09PM  
Sorry your trip got torpedoed by Covid19.

Remember just because you can't go this year doesn't mean you have to stop posting, reading what others post, and learning about some of the tricks of tripping to make your first trip a total success. There are some very experienced trippers on this site.

Welcome by the way.

distinguished member(800)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/11/2020 06:35AM  
Sorry to hear you won't be going. Big disappointment after all the planning, and your daughter finished her project on time too! My brother is a fireman in Milwaukee. So far he's ok. He also had a trip planned, out of the country, which was cancelled, so he ended up staying at home for his vacation as he couldn't switch his days off.
member (18)member
07/11/2020 07:28AM  
Luckily my vacation time got transferred to sick time. I’ve always done a lot of camping from the back of a pick up truck or an ATV so packing the plunder was no big issue. As with any hobby everything you need is out there, just got to spend the money. LOL
I will keep planning to look forward to next spring.
A point of utmost importance is a big thanks to Cassidy and the staff at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters. They completely understood the situation, offered to refund my money or put it in an account for another trip. By all means, I said leave the money in the account and I will see you in the near future.
Be safe and I hope everyone enjoys their trips.
07/11/2020 07:35AM  
Sorry you had to put off your trip, but you can keep dreaming of next year. And learning. People use a lot of different strategies to greater or lesser extents to lower weight and simplify. If you haven't already, check out the solo forum for lots of information on that. Hang in there.
07/11/2020 08:16AM  
I’m very sorry your trip had to be postponed and that you got diagnosed with C19. Hope you are over it very quickly and easily, and back planning your trip soon. I know the disappointment of having to cancel a big trip you’ve been planning and looking forward to.
distinguished member(2742)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/11/2020 09:10AM  
Consider an early September trip solo or w/daughter, if possible. When the forecast is good there is no better time to be in the BWCA. Cool night temps and mornings (sometimes crisp) with 50-70 range on daytime hi's. Additionally, no bugs and sweating from the heat of summer. The smell of the air is fantastic.

Godspeed on your recovery, as well as the crew. Encourage you to read Trip Reports while in the recovery process & quarantine time. They are a great way to spend downtime. Insightful, informative, and humorous once in a while.
member (18)member
07/11/2020 10:54AM  
That’s for sure. Reading what’s going on will keep me motivated. I’m really contemplating a September trip if vacation availability and staffing requirements will allow
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