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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Group Forum: Solo Tripping
      Moose Lake too big for first solo?     

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CoachBigD
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07/09/2020 05:50AM  
I would like to do my first solo this fall. I first thought Moose as a good EP since I am most familiar with it. Now I wonder if it is too big of water. Also has motors. Thoughts?
 
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billconner
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07/09/2020 06:50AM  
I don't think so. My first was Beaverhouse and Quetico - big lakes. Just stay well within your limits. Stay close to shore, rest on leeward side of islands and points if windy, and paddle early.
 
MidwestFirecraft
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07/09/2020 07:02AM  
How many days are you going? A whole different world being wind bound part way on your first solo trip in the fall with cold water temps, wind, and rain pounding you for 48 hours straight. If you are confident paddling at home in big water, and allow yourself enough time to wait out the weather I think it would be fine, just not my first choice. Who knows what the wind will be, but in September, winds are predominately SSW. Would be tough to have to sit out 2 days waiting for the wind so you could safely exit, that is if your going out the same way you came in.
 
07/09/2020 09:17AM  
I haven’t been in Moose, but think like Midwest. There’s always the tow option.
 
CoachBigD
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07/09/2020 09:34AM  
MidwestFirecraft: "How many days are you going? "

Only planning on one night, as a trial, with my wife staying in Ely.
 
MikeinMpls
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07/09/2020 10:04AM  
I don't think it's a matter of the lake being too big as much an issue of being a smart paddler. As others have said: stay leeward, don't get caught in troughs, and learn to read the water. Also, unless you're using a kayak paddle, learn to effectively J-stroke. It will be safer if the wind is blowing.

Mike
 
HappyHuskies
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07/09/2020 10:25AM  
CoachBigD: "MidwestFirecraft: "How many days are you going? "


Only planning on one night, as a trial, with my wife staying in Ely."


Sounds like a great plan. I solo out of the Moose Lake entry several times a year, mostly for day trips and don't see an issue with it. Should be a fun overnight.
 
CoachBigD
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07/09/2020 11:44AM  
Thanks everyone. You have given me some confidence.

Several options this way. Never fished Splash and there is a single campsite there. Always blown through Birch on the way to SAK also. I would like to hit the west end for some 'eyes and potentially pike or bass. Couple different trout lakes just off Newfound that might be worth trying as the lakes cool down in September.

Now, if I get a SW wind when I am trying come out, I could be wind bound but could always call in a tow from the Ensign or Indian portage.

Thank you again everyone.
 
07/09/2020 09:34PM  
If you are just going overnight, you are going to have a very good idea of what the winds are likely to be for your paddle out and can adjust your plans as needed. Even if winds are blowing, you can often paddle close to shore on one side or the other, or dart from island to island. I would not worry about Moose/Sucker nearly as much as something like Snowbank or Seagull. Have fun and enjoy.
 
07/16/2020 09:35PM  
It's only too big if the weather starts to suck. I was on LLC last May and the weather was perfect, so the lake wasn't too big that day.
 
ewbeyer
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07/17/2020 12:05PM  
Agree - no bad lakes, just bad weather. I was on Sea Gull last year, and I sat for the better part of a day after dashing behind islands and points for cover on my way out. I was on Sag a few weeks ago- I got lucky with the wind, and I have been there (in a tandem) with waves crashing over the bow. The other thing that I have learned - the wind is usually a problem for solo paddling before the waves are. Bearing down into the teeth of a wind can usually make you decide you are not going far before you get into trouble with waves - especially for a newer solo paddler. That is the risk with a short trip - if the weather does not cooperate, you may head back to Ely. It sucks, but don't force it. Nature does not care about our plans, or us.
Don't worry about the boats. They will keep their distance and cause you about 5 seconds of bobbing even if the do come close.
 
Nigal
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07/17/2020 07:34PM  
It also depends on the canoe you’re in. I can handle a whole lot more weather and waves in my Wenonah Prism than I can in my tandem Mad River.
 
07/18/2020 06:36AM  
Think about getting some dry bags to fill with water for ballast, but leave some air in them so they float should you capsize. Use these when going in the canoe without packs such as a day trip or fishing. It's very difficult to deal with the wind in an empty boat. 20L dry bags work great and weigh very little when packed.

 
ashlandjack
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07/18/2020 08:20AM  
TomT: "Think about getting some dry bags to fill with water for ballast, but leave some air in them so they float should you capsize. Use these when going in the canoe without packs such as a day trip or fishing. It's very difficult to deal with the wind in an empty boat. 20L dry bags work great and weigh very little when packed.


"
I do this it works great.
 
CoachBigD
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07/18/2020 08:27AM  
TomT: "Think about getting some dry bags to fill with water for ballast, but leave some air in them so they float should you capsize. Use these when going in the canoe without packs such as a day trip or fishing. It's very difficult to deal with the wind in an empty boat. 20L dry bags work great and weigh very little when packed.


"


I like it. This is a great tip.
 
07/18/2020 10:51AM  
TomT: "Think about getting some dry bags to fill with water for ballast, but leave some air in them so they float should you capsize. Use these when going in the canoe without packs such as a day trip or fishing. It's very difficult to deal with the wind in an empty boat. 20L dry bags work great and weigh very little when packed.


"
If you have a sliding seat like most Wenonahs you can eliminate this practice. Move forward in a headwind, move your seat back if you have a tailwind.
 
lindylair
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07/18/2020 09:07PM  

There is absolutely nothing wrong with your plan of entering at Moose Lake . But from what I have garnered from your original post - this is your first solo, it is one night only, it is limited to the Ely area and you have at least some concern for big water. I guess I have to ask the question why you would want to enter at Moose which is one of the busier entry points, a larger lake with potential wind issues, mediocre scenery and the potential for some to lots of motor boat traffic?

How about Gabbro which has an easy 200 rod portage from the parking lot but then clear sailing to a beautiful lake with lots of nice campsites and good fishing and the option to go on further to Bald Eagle?

Slim Lake has a very easy 100 rod portage from the car to a beautiful lake with four good campsites, options to move on or explore and good fishing.

Even Lake One which is a very busy entry but not huge water and no motor boats and campsites galore that would allow you to go as far as you want and stop almost anytime?

I entered at Moose many times in the early days of my paddling and have not been back. Unless it meets your need as an easy access to specific lakes that are your goal (like Ensign or Knife) it is, IMO, a tedious and boring entry point. Better than not going, don't get me wrong but there are better options.

 
07/19/2020 10:14AM  
lindylair: "
I entered at Moose many times in the early days of my paddling and have not been back. Unless it meets your need as an easy access to specific lakes that are your goal (like Ensign or Knife) it is, IMO, a tedious and boring entry point. Better than not going, don't get me wrong but there are better options.
"


I agree plus many many towboats flying up and down that chain of lakes. I don't want to hear motors and fight wakes on a solo. You might reconsider your entry. And besides - somewhere you are not familiar with adds to the adventure. Lake One to Insula would be nice. Insula is loaded with campsites and some beautiful sand beaches. Solid fishing too. You can get there in 5-7 hours from Lake One.
 
billconner
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07/19/2020 06:32PM  
I have paddled Moose in the fall - op's plan - many times and have found very little motor traffic. I've always enjoyed those paddles up and down Moose. Maybe in summer less appealing.
 
gravelroad
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07/24/2020 07:39AM  
billconner: "I have paddled Moose in the fall - op's plan - many times and have found very little motor traffic. I've always enjoyed those paddles up and down Moose. Maybe in summer less appealing."

There once was a lapstrake on Moose
Its driver headed home with a screw loose
“Twilight’s no issue
I’ll split this gap in the middle.”
And hit a rock while he poured on the juice.

We heard it from nearly a mile away. He had plenty of time to rethink the matter as he fought his way through the now dark woods to the landing, went to town, bought a piece of plywood, hitched a ride back to the wreck, patched the gash and limped to the landing.
 
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