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      Advice for route exploration near Ely?     
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writer5
 
03/04/2021 10:46AM  
I'm a beginner canoer and will be exploring Basswood Lake this summer. Really looking forward to it! I am also a writer interested in setting a story in the Boundary Waters or Quetico. What are some BWCA routes that are quite difficult, least trafficked, and still somewhat close to Ely?
 
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inspector13
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03/04/2021 11:44AM  

You will not find much solitude on Basswood Lake. Your best bet close to Ely would be a loop starting at Crab Lake and going through Lunetta, Glenmore, Western, and Cummings, and back to Crab.

03/04/2021 12:23PM  
You will find Q much more remote, wild, and primitive. The reduced number of people makes a big difference. After a Q trip, the BW will feel like a Wisconsin Dells water park.
billconner
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03/04/2021 12:34PM  
For solitude, the BWCA in latter half of September or all of October is not unlike Quetico in July and August. I have to wonder if for fiction if that time period doesn't offer some unique opportunities - snow and such - and more familiarity. Woke up one early October morning on Isabella River, finished breakfast, and pulled about two stakes on tarp before snow started. Decided to sit it out. 6 or 7 inches by lunch. Laid over.

Same area approximately - about 10 or 12 times the people in BWCA.

And there are always PMAs in BWCA for solitude.
03/04/2021 01:08PM  
Basswood may not be the best lake for a beginner. I'd try smaller lakes.
schweady
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03/04/2021 02:31PM  
An Angleworm entry seems to fit your bill. It's often bypassed because one would 'never' choose such a long initial portage, but it's a beautiful lake.

And, bragging rights. Plus, every subsequent entry and route would be a piece of cake...
03/04/2021 03:34PM  
+1 on Angleworm. Also Moose River south and
Little Indian Sioux south would offer more solitude. If you head in through Slim and go through Hook, Big Rice, LaPond and Big Moose and if you keep going, go to Cummings to Crab. Then portage out to Burntside and up the north arm and back to Slim.
03/04/2021 03:36PM  
AmarilloJim: "Basswood may not be the best lake for a beginner. I'd try smaller lakes."

Agree. Although Pipestone Bay and Jackfish Bay both have easy access from Fall Lake.

Not sure what OP is asking about... going to Basswood, but wants advice on difficult routes with low traffic close to Ely???
writer5
 
03/04/2021 04:50PM  
Thanks everyone for these ideas.

I'm looking for routes that my fictional characters could believably embark on and have a challenging time/survival situations without people near by to help them. Originally I intended to set my story in June but it seems unrealistic given how trafficked much of the BW is during this time. I may set the story in October instead and possibly move it up to Quetico.

Sorry if the Basswood info obscured my question. All of these ideas are really helpful! I hadn't heard about PMAs in BWCA before.
03/04/2021 05:43PM  
here is some info that may be of interest to you...

BWCA has about 200,000 visitors per year
Q has about 20,000 visitors per year
Wabakimi has <1000 per year

This is all pre-Covid.
Sandman2009
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03/04/2021 06:23PM  
writer5: "Thanks everyone for these ideas.


I'm looking for routes that my fictional characters could believably embark on and have a challenging time/survival situations without people near by to help them."


I would suggest setting your story in a PMA

You could definitely set it at most anytime. Only one overnight permit is allowed per week in a given PMA and they would be remote enough, and challenging. If your characters got into trouble they may not be able to reach anybody for help without a satellite communication device. I personally think the names of the PMA lakes are cool.
outsidethebox
senior member (88)senior membersenior member
 
03/04/2021 06:59PM  
Negligee Lake-Spider Lake PMA. Dazzling little lake. One camp site. World class brook trout fishing. You may not see anyone else.
03/04/2021 07:59PM  
Yeah, that area of the BWCA to the SW that's separate from the main chunk. LIS south and the long portages in and around there. But a PMA (many to choose from) would be a great option and just as remote or more-so
 
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