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      Solo Mudro trip end of August. How hard to find campsite?     
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chrisb
 
08/06/2020 10:16AM
Hello,

This will be my first canoe trip in the BWCA and really first ever canoe overnight trip. I do have lots of experience backpacking and have done some backpacking trips on BWCA trails (Sioux Hustler) and have some paddling experience.

As I have come to find out, this entry point is very popular and it has me somewhat scared I will not be able to find an open campsite. I'm hoping to take the Mudro > Fourtown > Boot > Fairy > Gun > Wagosh > Niki > Chippewa > Papoose > Crooked and back route over the course of a 5 day, 4 night trip, going in on a Sunday and coming out on a Thursday.

I will be traveling light (by canoe camping standards) with a basic weight of around 25-30 lbs. I will be using my Swift Prospector 14 with a double blade and plan on leaving Sunday morning around 6 - 6:30 AM.

With this being a popular route, how far do you think I will have to go on the first day before sites start to open up? Also, I know water levels are low and from what I can tell, it might be an issue on the trip from Gun up to Crooked.

Has anyone been up that way and had issues? Also, on the way back on my last night, where do you suggest I start looking for open sites?

Thanks for any info you can share. This site has been a lot of help so far. Don't worry, I won't abandon my canoe on the Moosecamp river and dial 911 for pizza. ;)
 
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08/06/2020 11:15AM
Just came back from that area. We went out Mudro to Sandpit and over to jackfish bay and then all the way down the Basswood River. No problem finding a site in that stretch. We headed for friday bay on day 3 and there were a few sites open there as well. We went down through the little lakes and one of the three campsites was occupied. Once into Gun we got the only spot left and camped out for two days. Started to see people coming into Gun looking for a camp but having to proceed on through. We left on day 6 and as we headed through Fairy, Boot and Fourtown there were a few spots still open albeit we encountered a lot of traffic on the portages out of Fourtown so I am assuming many of the open campsites had just opened up. It was better than I imagined it was going to be.
We made it from Northern Gun Lake to the parking lot under 6 hours. We had a tandem with two guys and a solo with one guy that had a double blade. We also double portaged.

If you can find a spot on Boot you should be good. That lake looks really fishy too. We didn't fare so well on Gun Lake. Friday Bay and in between Thursday Bay was good fishing but the biting flies were atrocious.

Good Luck and try not to worry. It takes some of the fun out of it but alas it is a price to pay for using the most popular spots.
cyclones30
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08/06/2020 12:22PM
You'll be good I think. Yes it's a busy area but there's also quite a few sites to match. On your way back, I'd be looking for a site on Gun or Fairy or Boot. Fourtown I would not look for a site after lunch if you can help it. (though later in Aug might be slightly less busy)

The three portages from Mudro to Fourtown....the two shorter ones on the ends have a bunch of ankle breaking rocks. Go slow. The long one is scenic.
08/06/2020 03:27PM
My advice is to not plan on staying on any particular lake. I also wouldn’t wait until 5:00 to start looking for a site. When I go solo, I get an early start. By 1:00pm I’m already looking for a campsite. This way if I have to keep going,I still have plenty of daylight.
Blatz
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08/06/2020 03:31PM
Go counter clockwise on that loop. It's easier on the Horse River that way, especially if water levels are low. The long portages on that route are not bad. Leaving that early and single portaging you could make it to Crooked lake (going counter clockwise) if you want. Or look for a site on Horse for a mellow first day. It's your first trip so use your judgement
MikeinMpls
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08/06/2020 04:23PM
I just got back from a solo in that area two weeks ago. I agree with egknuti: don't plan on one particular lake. Depending on the day of the week you put in, Fourtown can be busy (if you go clockwise on the route.) I also agree with Blatz: the Horse River will be easier.

The portages from Fourtown to Mudro, or vice versa, can be very treacherous if it is raining or otherwise wet. I fell twice portaging in the ponds between Mudro and Fourtown. The second fall led to a bad leg injury that limited me the rest of the week. But, it could have been a lot worse. Please beware.

An early start is always good, as is looking for a campsite early. Much of the busy-ness of this route depends on the day of the week you put in, and how early you do. There likely will be low water, especially on the creek into Mudro, that will require lining your boat.

You will find some wonderful campsites. I advise getting to at least Boot by day one. Nice campsites there.

Mike
cyclones30
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08/06/2020 05:46PM
To the last 2 posters....it didn't sound like they were doing a loop. Sounded like get to Crooked and go back the same way.
Blatz
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08/06/2020 09:31PM
cyclones30: "To the last 2 posters....it didn't sound like they were doing a loop. Sounded like get to Crooked and go back the same way. " Might as well do the loop if you make it that far.
chrisb
 
08/06/2020 09:38PM
Guess I had ruled out the loop cause of low water conditions. Originally thought if things were going well to just go for the loop but then heard of low water conditions and the horse river scared me off of that being a potential plan.
jfinn
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08/07/2020 09:09AM
Chris,

A good way to gauge timing/distance is get out for a day of 3 hours, paddle and portage, loading and unloading and see what distance you cover and go from there. Looking back to my first two solo BWCA trips (and my first other BWCA trips) I know I screwed around with my kit too much. Adjusting pads, getting the yoke on right, moving thwart bags ect ect. Practice at home and if you are efficient, you can cover 2.5-3 miles/hr portage and paddling and then it comes down to how long do you want to paddle, how much do you want to take your time. You have a lite kit and boat so you should be able to move efficiently.

On this route, you could be at Gun by 10 AM and play it by ear. Head over to Moose Camp to see if any sites are open or roll up to Crooked. Don't stress, enjoy the time. There will be sites if you are flexible.

Enjoy and let us know how it goes.


John
chrisb
 
08/07/2020 09:54AM
Thanks everyone for your help! Appreciate the advice!
fishonfishoff
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08/07/2020 11:13AM
Sounds like you gave this trip a lot of thought, I think you will do well!
If you have time, look into some of the campsite ratings. There are some beautiful sites and people will comment about them.
FISHONFISHOFF
 
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