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dringge
member (15)member
 
02/25/2021 03:07PM  
I've wanted to do a solo in the BWCA, but life always got in the way. I have the time now. By the time I get there, I'll be 70. I'm healthy. I've considered a Fall trip. I'm thinking a trip I can paddle a couple days then take a day to fish, hike and explore. I need to be challenged a little. I do not want to lounge around and nap. I'm guessing a 4 or 5 day trip with a couple extra days thrown in. I'm pretty flexible. I'll continue to go through trip reports on here. Suggestions?
 
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02/25/2021 04:53PM  
I am also doing my first solo after wanting to do one for a long time. Like you I wanted to plan a route where I will be staying fairly active and at least a bit challenged. I don't think this is exactly what you are looking for, but just as an FYI here is my plan.

EP 14 LIS North

May 25, Day one: LIS, Upper Pauness, Lower Pauness, Shell, Little Shell, Lynx
Day two: Lynx, Ruby, Hustler, Oyster
Day three: Oyster, Rocky, Green, Gebe, Pocket
Day four: Pocket, Finger, Thumb, Beartrack, Little Beartrack, Eugene, Fat
Day five: Fat, Slim, Little Loon, Loon
Day six: Loon, Lower Pauness, Upper Pauness, LIS.

I will allow an extra day at the end in case I end up windbound one day. Also depending on how I feel the first day I may push a little harder and shot for a layover day. The route is intentionally avoiding big water as much as possible for safety reasons.

For what you are planning, I'm thinking of good lakes that are two days in. Here are a few ideas. I think these all have at least decent fishing, but others will know more than I)

1. Ogishimuncie (from Seagull)
2. Knife (from Sag or Moose)
3. Malberg (from Sawbill or Kawishiwi Lake)
4. Thomas or Fraser (From Snowback or Moose)
5. Little Saganaga (From Brant or Missing Link)

Or better yet, any of the many small lakes near these destination lakes if you want a little more solitude.
martian
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02/25/2021 06:02PM  
Absolutely go for it!! I did my first 6 day solo last October out of Sawbill. It was fantastic!! Saw a wolf and heard them in the evening. The fishing was terrible so I read a book cover to cover instead. I had some cooler weather, minor evening rain and a day or two of windy conditions. Not bad at all. You just become more careful with what and how you do things. I do have a SpotX if something crappy happened.
I agree with the keep moving/active idea. Once the wood and water is prepped for the day you can get a little stir crazy. It's your schedule to do with what you want which is beautiful. For me no pressure from wife or kids to do this or that. I will admit to talking to a red squirrel (entire family maybe) that would follow me around camp. Looking for a handout I'm sure.
I'll be back this October for another solo adventure into EP 14 also. I can't wait.
Enjoy making your plans!
02/25/2021 06:20PM  
You call it a bucket list trip, but I'm not sure which makes it a bucket list trip - the solo aspect or the BW. I've done a lot of BW trips, and some were 4-5 days, a lot were solo, and all have been in Sept. If you can allot more days to the trip, you'll have more flexibility and less chance that 3 days of bad weather will be most of your trip. You'll have more options for routes.

I don't fish, so can't help you there, and like to move about 2 out of 3 days. I double portage and would figure on about 8 miles a day +/- a couple, and including the extra portage distance. Routes can be done 3 ways - out and back, loop, or point-to-point. I'm not sure how much you want to travel in a day or if a point-to-point is a possibility. An out and back is simplest.

You can do a nice trip out of many different entries. Anything you specifically want to avoid - burn areas? big water? long and or difficult portages?
Anything particular you want to see - pictos?

Depending on the answers, you can do a nice solo out of Little Indian Sioux North, Moose River North, Mudro, Cross Bay, Lizz, Brant, Baker, Sawbill, Kawishiwi, and several others.

The Lady Chain comes to mind as an option that might suit you, but does require a short shuttle.
cyclones30
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02/25/2021 07:29PM  
EP 16 (Moose R North) to EP 22/23 (Mudro) or Fall Lake. You'd need an outfitter or friend to help you with vehicle move at the beginning or end for a half hour but it's worth it. Curtain Falls is a bucket list spot, pictos on LLC if you dare, Pictos on basswood river you can legally see, Basswood Falls (x2), Wheelbarrow Falls, and fishing galore.
dringge
member (15)member
 
02/25/2021 09:00PM  
boonie: "You call it a bucket list trip, but I'm not sure which makes it a bucket list trip - the solo aspect or the BW. I've done a lot of BW trips, and some were 4-5 days, a lot were solo, and all have been in Sept. If you can allot more days to the trip, you'll have more flexibility and less chance that 3 days of bad weather will be most of your trip. You'll have more options for routes.


I don't fish, so can't help you there, and like to move about 2 out of 3 days. I double portage and would figure on about 8 miles a day +/- a couple, and including the extra portage distance. Routes can be done 3 ways - out and back, loop, or point-to-point. I'm not sure how much you want to travel in a day or if a point-to-point is a possibility. An out and back is simplest.


You can do a nice trip out of many different entries. Anything you specifically want to avoid - burn areas? big water? long and or difficult portages?
Anything particular you want to see - pictos?


Depending on the answers, you can do a nice solo out of Little Indian Sioux North, Moose River North, Mudro, Cross Bay, Lizz, Brant, Baker, Sawbill, Kawishiwi, and several others.


The Lady Chain comes to mind as an option that might suit you, but does require a short shuttle. "


Ive been to the BWCA a few times but never solo. Im retired so I have no time constraints but dont want to commit to long trip only to find that solo just isnt for me. Im flexible on start and end dates. What do I want to see? The entire area is pretty nice to me. Burn areas arent beautiful but are part of nature and interesting. Id be most uncomfortable on big water but wouldnt go clear out of my way to avoid it. A long portage or 2 is ok. Shorter portages wont bother me. Long ones will test me and Im good with that.
02/26/2021 07:48AM  
Add yourself to the "Solo Tripping Forum" for information more specific to that.

Would you prefer to go where you've been before or somewhere new? Ely, Sawbill Trail, or Gunflint Trail?

Other thoughts - my second trip to BW was a solo from EP #14 to EP #16, which is much of Cricket's route, which is a really nice route with a lot of options depending on time, if it isn't too long. I wasn't worried about being alone for a week since I had done many things solo since a young age.

Since you have no time constraints, why not commit to a longer time frame . . . ? It will give you more options and you can always cut it short if desired.

Besides the EP's/routes above and the Lady Chain (a shorter option), you might like a loop from Sawbill/Baker through Cherokee, which is a very pretty lake if you haven't been there. It's a busier area if you'd find that more comfortable for a first solo. We went in one time with the option of doing the Lady Chain from Kawishiwi to Sawbill or a longer loop through Little Sag to Sawbill, which is what we ended up doing. Little Sag is also a very nice lake. I've done a couple of other trips out of Kawishiwi Lake as there are various options from Malberg. I have enjoyed Cross Bay entries a couple of times and both Brant and Missing Link entries out of Round Lake. I've done a couple of Lizz entries too.

I have trip reports on some of those and happy to answer questions on others.

fishonfishoff
distinguished member(665)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/26/2021 11:01AM  
I did my first "bucket list" solo trip last year. Sawbill- Cherokee- South Temperance- Burnt- Sawbill loop. Beautiful area, good fishing lakes. Only issue may be the crowds between Sawbill and Kelly lakes.
Good luck and let us know how things go.

FISHONFISHOFF
gymcoachdon
distinguished member(590)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/26/2021 11:52AM  
My first trip in the BWCA was a solo, 6 days 5 nights. I went in on the Stuart River, spent 2 nights on Stuart Lake, then on to Iron for a night, then spent 2 nights on Lake Agnes before leaving via the Moose River. This loop required me to drive to the Moose River entry and leave my car, then the outfitter drove me to the Stuart entry. It would be possible to walk back to your car, but it was several miles.
I am telling you this, not because I think you should do this route, but I thought it was a pretty good pace for my first trip. A hard first day, then recover and explore, followed by moving 2 days in a row, then 2 nights at my last site before about 4 hours to exit. I had a hotel/motel room for the night before entering, and after exiting, and that was really nice. I don't trip that way now, but I am glad I did it the first time.
02/26/2021 01:01PM  
I'm waiting for Quetico to open for a solo Hunter Island loop. I'll be 65 this summer which means making this happen at age 66 or 67.
02/26/2021 07:06PM  
I had Rockwood drop me off at Ham Lake (Cross Bay EP) then padded back to Rockwood on Poplar. Very Nice trip within your time period. You have a couple of options for part of your route. I'm 61 btw
02/27/2021 08:07AM  
Blatz: "I had Rockwood drop me off at Ham Lake (Cross Bay EP) then padded back to Rockwood on Poplar. Very Nice trip within your time period. You have a couple of options for part of your route. I'm 61 btw"

This is one of the trips I did from Cross Bay. I went through Muskeg-Kiskadinna-Omega in 2012. The Muskeg-Kiskadinna portage will challenge you - it's sometimes called "The Wall".
dringge
member (15)member
 
02/27/2021 08:42AM  
Blatz: "I had Rockwood drop me off at Ham Lake (Cross Bay EP) then padded back to Rockwood on Poplar. Very Nice trip within your time period. You have a couple of options for part of your route. I'm 61 btw"
Thanks. My time period is not absolute. Id be fine with more time. Im retired. Im going to look over this route. Any additions you might have are welcome.
dringge
member (15)member
 
02/27/2021 08:46AM  
boonie: "Blatz: "I had Rockwood drop me off at Ham Lake (Cross Bay EP) then padded back to Rockwood on Poplar. Very Nice trip within your time period. You have a couple of options for part of your route. I'm 61 btw"


This is one of the trips I did from Cross Bay. I went through Muskeg-Kiskadinna-Omega in 2012. The Muskeg-Kiskadinna portage will challenge you - it's sometimes called "The Wall". "

I am wanting a challenge. I know I'm not up to the same challenges as a young man but I want to physically tired at the end. I want to look back and feel I've accomplished something. Ill be looking this over.
danbogey
senior member (72)senior membersenior member
 
02/27/2021 09:36AM  
dringge: "I've wanted to do a solo in the BWCA, but life always got in the way. I have the time now. By the time I get there, I'll be 70. I'm healthy. I've considered a Fall trip. I'm thinking a trip I can paddle a couple days then take a day to fish, hike and explore. I need to be challenged a little. I do not want to lounge around and nap. I'm guessing a 4 or 5 day trip with a couple extra days thrown in. I'm pretty flexible. I'll continue to go through trip reports on here. Suggestions?"

I did my 1st solo last year and loved it. Took some planning and was nervous up to the beginning but once out on the water, I was in my happy place. What you'll find out while soloing is you're doing everything yourself e.g. all camp chores :) so time goes by pretty quickly. If you have a 2nd hobby (photography, rock collecting...) then this is "your" time so don't rush through it. I went in on Kawishiwi and stayed at Marlberg, River Lake, and Polly (5 nights). If you're into history then I highly suggest visiting pictographs while on your trip. Bring a fishing rod and a few jigs/topwater baits and try your luck. I know there are some hiking trails within the BWCA. Base camp near one of the trails and you can spend an entire day just hiking and taking in nature away from the lakes. So many opportunities and so little time. I got the BWCA bug in me and I'm heading back for 9 days this spring. Pittsburgh is warming up today, so out comes the pack boat and time for gear inventory - Can't wait to get back up there.
03/01/2021 11:16AM  
dringge: "boonie: "Blatz: "I had Rockwood drop me off at Ham Lake (Cross Bay EP) then padded back to Rockwood on Poplar. Very Nice trip within your time period. You have a couple of options for part of your route. I'm 61 btw"



This is one of the trips I did from Cross Bay. I went through Muskeg-Kiskadinna-Omega in 2012. The Muskeg-Kiskadinna portage will challenge you - it's sometimes called "The Wall". "

I am wanting a challenge. I know I'm not up to the same challenges as a young man but I want to physically tired at the end. I want to look back and feel I've accomplished something. Ill be looking this over."


Somewhat similar idea...I did a solo starting at Ram Lake EP and ending at Rockwoods on Poplar. Because of weather issues and time constraints, I ended up doing the most direct route through Little Trout/Vista/Horseshoe/Caribou. But, once you get to Horseshoe, you have many options swinging west through Gaskin, Winchell, up through Omega, Hanson, Meeds, etc. A very aggressive fella might go all the way to Long Island then back through Banadad/Rush/Skipper. If you go in at Ram, you are faced with a notorious portage from Little Trout to Misquah. While it deserves its reputation, it's not that bad if, like you say, you want a challenge. To skip that one you could enter at Morgan and have the same options once on Vista.

Good luck & have fun!
goetzc
senior member (52)senior membersenior member
 
03/01/2021 06:59PM  
Lots of good replies so far but I didn’t see anyone else suggesting a loop using Round Lake as your beginning and ending.

I did a 6 night solo trip starting on EP51 going into Missing Link. Then I took the long hard portage to Tuscaora. From there I took a long loop south through Little Sag but you could head directly to Gillis and work your way back through EP 51 Brant Lake.

I loved the Mora to Little Sag area but wasn’t as big a fan of the burn area north of Little Sag being a hammock sleeper.

You could do this loop either direction but that Tuscarora portage is no joke when portaging solo and I’m glad I did it on my way in instead of out.

Oh and don’t forget to start your trip by staying in a bunkhouse at Tuscarora Outfitters and enjoying their awesome breakfast so you can get an early start on a full stomach.
03/02/2021 11:24AM  
A few years ago my buddy and I went on one of those bucket list trips. We went in on Brant, our destination was Little Sag, and we exited through Missing Link. The plan was night 1 on Gillis, night 2 and 3 on Little Sag, and then night 4 on Tuscarora. We had to seek shelter on Crooked during a storm though so I never got to explore Tuscarora as much as I would have liked.

Day one to Gillis was rough. We had a late start and it was hot, but it was doable. I'm glad I did it though and I liked seeing the area. It was the first time seeing a burn area. The rest of the trip was not bad though. Only real problem we had was taking the wrong way back from Tuscarora and going almost twice the distance. I did feel like I could have used a full day on each of the lakes we had planned to stop on though, like we did for Little Sag. It is a great area.
dringge
member (15)member
 
03/03/2021 04:25PM  
Every one of the suggestions here sound great. The hardest part is making up my mind. I know I cant see and do everything but Im trying to decide just which highlight I want to see the most. Ive been thinking Id like to go in the fall. Not too late. I know water levels can be a factor in some trips and of course cold.
Im excited.
03/03/2021 10:28PM  
I've usually gone somewhere around the middle of Sept. to the end. The average temps are really nice, but the weather can be highly variable so you have to be pre[pared for the extremes. I've had every kind of weather you could imagine in Sept., sometimes all in the same trip. The temperature variations can sometimes result in windy days. Another consideration is the later you go, the shorter the daylight hours. You often start to get some good color by the last week of Sept.
trailcherry
distinguished member (125)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/05/2021 08:27AM  
I have to admit that I was a bit uncomfortable sleeping at the beginning of my first solo, it felt a little strange to be in the BW alone. Did many group trips, family trips, brother trips, and trips with my sons, but started doing some solo's about 10 years ago. These days I enjoy my annual solo trips and feel very comfortable doing so, my next permit has already been booked.

My 2 cents worth is, to ease into something new and maybe do a smaller first solo. You can get the experience of going solo, make any changes if needed, and plan the next solo to be a bit more of a challenge...Oh, and always wear your PFD when on the water and paddle close to shore;)
03/05/2021 04:00PM  
trailcherry: "I have to admit that I was a bit uncomfortable sleeping at the beginning of my first solo, it felt a little strange to be in the BW alone. Did many group trips, family trips, brother trips, and trips with my sons, but started doing some solo's about 10 years ago. These days I enjoy my annual solo trips and feel very comfortable doing so, my next permit has already been booked.


My 2 cents worth is, to ease into something new and maybe do a smaller first solo. You can get the experience of going solo, make any changes if needed, and plan the next solo to be a bit more of a challenge...Oh, and always wear your PFD when on the water and paddle close to shore;)"


It is an evolutionary trait that people do not sleep as well their first night anywhere. On some level, you just don't feel safe in a new environment. That feeling can be amplified if you are alone too.

The point is that you can't let that stop you. It will always be a factor.
 
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