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      Trip Report - First solo: Bower Trout to Ram     

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straighthairedcurly
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07/14/2020 06:29PM
New Trip Report posted by straighthairedcurly

Trip Name: First solo: Bower Trout to Ram.

Entry Point: 43

Click Here to View Trip Report
 
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jillpine
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07/14/2020 07:12PM
SHC - first and foremost, my heartfelt condolences for the passing of your beloved father. I am sorry.

I've been so excited to read this report and am so happy you were able to go. Thanks for sharing and thanks for the wonderful photos. Great route - not easy, and so many incredible lakes. Davis - Kis has to be one of the hardest portages in the whole place. Boulder walk, up/down over the divide. It's a beast. I loved reading about your cooking, admired all your choices and prep. I just take oatmeal and ramen anymore when I solo. Just don't get an appetite alone. I also chuckled at the "so used to being busier" than when solo. I felt the same way. Kind of like it now. ;) So cool about your son and friend. That will pay off forever. Thanks again for sharing all this. Let me know if you ever want to paddle in the cities sometime.
oh, and ps: I was on Pipe on July 4, and had a reading of 95 on my thermometer. It was hot.
~ Beth
missmolly
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07/14/2020 07:24PM
What a lovely read.
07/14/2020 10:19PM
Thanks for sharing your story.

I banged a knee on a rock last year. Not as bad as yours sounded though. And I didn't have as far to go to get out.

Sounds like you had a great variety for food choices. I am always watchful when reading trip reports to see if there is anything I might want to try as far as food.

It is also cool that you have a ritual when you get to camp. Taking care of yourself so that you feel better. I really appreciate letting my feet dry out and putting on a fresh pair of wool camp socks.

Sorry to hear about the issues with the Spot. Seems like it was malfunctioning? Seems like instead of providing peace of mind it caused some stress.
straighthairedcurly
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07/15/2020 07:07AM
I love variety for meals when camping. I tried a lot of new recipes this trip and I would say they were all pretty good. I used a lot of recipes from ultralight backpacker sites., this site in particular. The Yummy Life

She has those 6 dinner recipes and then another blog entry for the soups I took and another for instant oatmeal packets.

The smoothie recipes were my own. There weren't substantial enough for my teenage son, but for me they are perfect since that is how I start my day a lot anyway.
scat
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07/15/2020 07:22AM
Wow, you’re a rock star tripper. That’s pretty impressive. That was my second portaging trip and first totally self supplied. It was a hump. I forgot all the little lakes. You didn’t even hardly mention the Misquah - Little Trout portage. No sweat for you. I remember being a bit beat up by then and that was a rough there and back and there stepping from slippery rock to slippery rock. I caught little trout on Little Trout with a rainbow on the horizon. That was cool. We camped on the island site. I remember humping back to my car at the end, like 2 miles or so. Half running, using a warm beer in the back of my truck as motivation.

Nicely played. I too find I need to eat less on a solo. It’s like, why do we eat so much. We don’t need 3 meals a day. But the way you do it, oh man, I can see looking forward to fine dining in the bush. Beautiful.
Northwoodsman
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07/15/2020 08:52AM
Very nice trip report. That last full day sounds like the perfect storm. I probably would have done the same thing, that's always a tough call. Not knowing if the Spot had sent out a distress signal would have been the deal-breaker. I'm glad everyone had a good time and made it back safely. I'm sorry for your loss but am glad that you were able to make it back to spend time with your father.
07/15/2020 09:58AM
I enjoy reading reports by "real" people--those who didn't have time to check out all their gear prior to a trip but worked things out; those whose life is full of obligations and complications, but who manage to work through them; those who appreciate the beauty of the flowers and animals around them.

We share your 'rinse & drink' cleaning technique, using our second cup of coffee to clean the oatmeal residue from our cups. I haven't used an alcohol stove since an Outward Bound session about 25 years ago, but their simplicity is attractive. Thanks for the 'yummy life' link--we prep/dehydrate/pack much of our paddling trip food, and these recipes look good. Thanks for the idea of using the canoe as an occasional prop on steep portage descents--I've needed support like that several times, but never realized I was carrying it!

It was good to read that the Spot had not sent an SOS--technology is great, but brings its own complications sometimes. And I'm glad you were able to have more time with your father after your trip--our condolences on your loss. Great to read that like your parents, you're passing the love of adventure and travel along to the next generation. We wish you many great trips to come!

TZ
07/15/2020 05:55PM
Condolences on your father's passing. I recently went through a similar experience with mine. I'm glad he held on until you were back.

You had quite the adventure for your first solo. Not exactly the easiest route, physical injuries, and gear problems. But you managed well and I'm sure you learned a lot for next time.

How do you feel about the SPOT? Did you rent it? And would you do it again?

Thanks for the report. I've been looking forward to it and nicely done.
DanCooke
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07/15/2020 08:40PM
Condolences on the passing of your father. Great report of a wonderful route!
straighthairedcurly
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07/15/2020 10:48PM
Boonie-
Sorry to hear you lost a parent recently, too.
I am still pretty PO'd at the SPOT. Once I calm down I want to get to the bottom of why it acted up. I own it, since I figured I will be doing at least 1 solo a summer and my husband might start doing some solos also. I will recheck it this weekend and then talk to SPOT next week if it is still acting up. It acted like it got water in it which shouldn't have happened based on how I used it and what they advertise it as being able to handle. I just got the most basic model since it was inexpensive and I don't need anything fancy, just something reliable.
inspector13
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07/16/2020 08:38AM

I went up to the cabin that week thinking I was going to escape the heat and humidity. As I just lounged around sweating, I thought of BWCAW visitors portaging their loads and was glad I didn’t have to do that in the heat. I’m glad you kept yourself hydrated.

I think the picture you have of the red berries are native red current plants; perhaps Ribes triste. Highbush Cranberries are larger shrubs and the berries don’t ripen until fall. I got plenty of them (which I call stinky feet berries) at my place north of Two Harbors. I can’t say what they taste like because they are much too astringent raw, and I couldn’t get past the smell when I tried to make jelly out of them. I could pick you some this fall if you dare.

On our trip to the Misquah Hills region we never made it to Omega/Ogema Lake, but could it be that both spellings are typos? (Ogema is the Anglicized word for Ogimaa which means chief/king in Ojibwe) In Warren Upham’s book “Minnesota Geographic Names: Their Origin and Historic Significance” which was published in 1920, the name is spelled Onega Lake, also known as Nebogigig Lake.

RLJ
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07/16/2020 11:19AM
Interesting and enjoyable read on your solo. I admire your courage in taking on the longer portages for this solo. I usually shy away from the longer ones on my solo trips. Would you care to share your recipe for the “smoothies”, that sounds like a good way to take care of the “sugar crave” that I need to relieve on a trip ??.
Dbldppr
Guest Paddler
 
07/16/2020 03:22PM
You probably know this, but you can pick those blueberries when they are not ripe and put them in a small container, and they will ripen in a day or two. If you come upon a nice blueberry patch and you are in the BWCA for a few more days, you could eat them later in your trip. They need to have lots of red and maybe a tiny bit of white, but no green color.
straighthairedcurly
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07/16/2020 05:49PM
RLJ: " Would you care to share your recipe for the “smoothies”, that sounds like a good way to take care of the “sugar crave” that I need to relieve on a trip ??."

Base mixture:
1 full scoop (46g) of protein powder (I use a plant based vanilla flavor)
1 Tablespoon chia seeds
1/8 Cup powdered coconut milk
1 teaspoon Yacon powder (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Maca powder (optional)

To the base mixture I add any combo of flavorings. Below are a couple of favorite combos.

For Choco-Banana-Peanut Butter add: 10-20 grams of PB powder, 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder, and 10 g of freeze dried banana. This is my favorite.

For Mango add: 1/8 cup mango powder, 1/4 teaspoon lime crystal, and some freeze dried mango if you want some texture. Strawberry-mango is good too.

For Tangerine-Raspberry add: 1/8 cup tangerine powder, 25 grams of freeze dried raspberries

I've also done flavors like berry-cherry, strawberry-banana, and more. I carry these to work with me sometimes.

When ready to mix them up, just add 8-10 oz. of cold water and shake vigorously. Stirring doesn't work well, you get clumps of the protein powder. That's why I use the plastic jar.

I order all my powders (fruit powders, coconut milk, yacon, and maca) from
Nuts.com
07/16/2020 06:06PM
Was the SPOT a new purchase that this was the first time you used it? Or have owned and used it for some time?

Dad had a long (95), healthy, productive, and happy life. He was in assisted living like yours and we hadn't visited. They had sent him to ER and he had become unresponsive there. He remained that way until he passed. Thanks.
straighthairedcurly
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07/16/2020 07:20PM
So sorry you couldn't be with your dad at the end.

The SPOT was a newer purchase. I had used it around town this winter and spring just to become familiar with it while on hikes or rides. This was its first wilderness trip.
07/19/2020 10:00AM
I really enjoyed your report and pics. It's funny how the weather will dictate the type of experience we have. Rainy/windy/cold/hot and humid etc. I think what you experienced is a tad nicer than rainy and windy but I know sleeping can be difficult in a sweatbox if the nights don't cool down.

Also, isn't it nice to be able to observe all the little things we miss while on a group trip? Stuff like flowers, insects, and frogs. I always like to observe the wildlife as still and quiet as I can on a solo. You talking to the fish made me smile also.

Sorry about your Dad but very fortunate to be able to spend time with him at the end.
straighthairedcurly
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07/20/2020 10:04AM
TomT, I agree with you about all the little observations. I took more pictures this trip than normal, spent more time just listening and observing. I really enjoyed that part of the trip. It took me back to when I was younger and had fewer pressures to be working all the time.

Thank you all for your condolences regarding my father. He was an incredibly kind and thoughtful man. He is missed.
GoWhenYouCan
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07/21/2020 10:47AM
I don't read many trip reports but saw Bower Trout so I thought I would take a look. Glad I did. Our first trip to the BWCA in 1989 we entered there. I have a picture of my late father relaxing on a large cedar tree overhanging the water at the campsite with a big smile on his face. It could very well be the one in your first picture with it's unique lounger like shape. Many fond memories of trips with my father. Thank you for the trip report and allowing me to relive some of those special times.

Sorry to hear about the passing of your father. A blessing though to be with him at the end.
straighthairedcurly
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07/21/2020 04:08PM
GoWhenYouCan: "I don't read many trip reports but saw Bower Trout so I thought I would take a look. Glad I did. Our first trip to the BWCA in 1989 we entered there. I have a picture of my late father relaxing on a large cedar tree overhanging the water at the campsite with a big smile on his face. It could very well be the one in your first picture with it's unique lounger like shape. Many fond memories of trips with my father. Thank you for the trip report and allowing me to relive some of those special times.


Sorry to hear about the passing of your father. A blessing though to be with him at the end. "


That cedar was definitely a highlight of that site. I ate my dinner sitting against it and then hung out watching the dragonflies. Very comfy spot. Glad I could bring back some good memories.
TuscaroraBorealis
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07/21/2020 05:40PM
Very impressive!

That has to be one of the most rugged maintained routes in the BWCA, and to complete it at less than 100% is all the more of an accomplishment. I was captivated by your narrative and inclusion of some of the little things (like the toad) you encountered along the way. I can also picture the boys pulling up on Bower Trout and the pendulum of emotions they must have felt when seeing you. Well done.

Thanks for taking the time to share your story and photos.
07/23/2020 04:41PM
Thank you so much for taking the time to document all you did and share it with all of us. I just got back from my first B-Dub trip in 5 years and am making a commitment to start going at least once/year from now on. Your report was beautifully written and it has cemented my desire to do my own solo trip soon! Condolences on your Father's passing, you honor him with every adventure you take!
 
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