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violet
Guest Paddler
 
03/21/2021 07:23PM  
Looking for suggestions of where to access/camp in the BWCA.

Four nights around Memorial Day weekend, we hope to portage/hike in the first night, find the right campsite, then stay put until we pack to leave. During the day we will just explore and hang locally.

One member of group will be fishing, hoping for walleye and/or panfish to eat through the trip.

Hoping for seclusion (we did Sawbill last year and there were too many people), decent fishing so we can eat fish a few times, and not too crazy to access.
We can do a few +/-100-150 rod portages.

Suggestions appreciated!
 
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violet
Guest Paddler
 
03/21/2021 08:13PM  
Update:
Also looking for opinions on which side of the lake is best to camp on.

I'm thinking east side so you can view the sunset, but is there anything to consider about wind or weather?
03/21/2021 10:12PM  
First, I'd check the reservation site to see what's available for your entry date. I suspect many will have no available permits for the holiday weekend. I'd grab one of the few remaining permits quick and worry about the rest later.
03/21/2021 10:44PM  
boonie: "First, I'd check the reservation site to see what's available for your entry date. I suspect many will have no available permits for the holiday weekend. I'd grab one of the few remaining permits quick and worry about the rest later."

This. And check regularly. Cancelations do pop up, but they go quick. memorial Friday is very picked over.
billconner
distinguished member(8158)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
03/22/2021 06:29AM  
Are you paddling or only on foot? I interpreted the question as on foot. I don't know the permit rules and if they are as limited as overnight paddle permits. If afoot, I think its a question of how many miles you want to travel.
Speckled
distinguished member(558)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/22/2021 08:06AM  
billconner: "Are you paddling or only on foot? I interpreted the question as on foot. I don't know the permit rules and if they are as limited as overnight paddle permits. If afoot, I think its a question of how many miles you want to travel. "

+1

If hiking in -there's a few trail options and that's it.

If paddling, check the permit availability on recreation.gov. I also always check the burn maps and see where fires like Ham Lake, Pagami creek and others have impacted, avoiding those areas.

Regarding campsite orientation - I like south facing campsites.
03/22/2021 09:38AM  
Memorial Day Weekend. Under the current situation, unless you plan on going deeper into the park or less popular routes, you may not have many options for campsites. On popular routes, the options often are what's available. Meaning the one site open on the lake.
straighthairedcurly
distinguished member(1439)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/22/2021 02:28PM  
As others have mentioned, there are not a lot of entry point locations that still have permits available for that weekend. You are limited to about a dozen. Recommend grabbing one and then come back on here for some advice as to how to best utilize that permit. With the holiday weekend crowds and your desire to basecamp after a few portages, it is unlikely you will leave the crowds behind. However, if you select a large lake like Saganaga, people are very spread out so you can often get a feeling of isolation compared to a smaller lake with a lot of campsites.

There is a Cross Bay Lake permit available for that Thursday. That allows for a variety of routes.
mschi772
distinguished member(768)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/22/2021 07:06PM  
straighthairedcurly: "Recommend grabbing one and then come back on here for some advice as to how to best utilize that permit. "

This is probably a more efficient way of getting this advice whether it is a holiday weekend or not. Without *something* narrowing the choices down, "Where should I base camp?" is just a dramatically too open-ended question for the community given the hundreds of possibilities.
03/24/2021 04:27PM  
violet: "Update:
Also looking for opinions on which side of the lake is best to camp on.


I'm thinking east side so you can view the sunset, but is there anything to consider about wind or weather?"


There is no such thing as the right side of the lake. And I would NOT pick a destination just for the campsite. That's just asking for your trip to get ruined if someone has taken that site.

To plan a trip, you choose a lake to go to. Then if campsites are important, you do the research and look at the ratings on the interactive map. Always pick multiple options because your first and second might be taken or closed.

Also, if you are looking for seclusion then you are going to have to either go to a entry point without an outfitter, or go in further than Alton or the burning chain.
Boppasteveg
distinguished member (121)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/25/2021 05:10PM  
"BWCA on a holiday weekend" is not part of my vocabulary. It never will be. I would act now in trying to get a permit.
billconner
distinguished member(8158)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
03/25/2021 06:16PM  
The OP has left the building.
03/26/2021 10:27AM  
A lot of people head to the BWCA hoping to find a nice secluded campsite, with good fishing, and isn't to hard to get to. In a normal summer weekend, you can usually find one of these thing, and if you are lucky two. You are unlikely to find all 3. And over a holiday and with Covid crowds, it gets tougher. Sorry, I'm not trying to toss cold water on your plans, but trying to help you manage your expectations.
mschi772
distinguished member(768)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/26/2021 01:07PM  
Jaywalker: "A lot of people head to the BWCA hoping to find a nice secluded campsite, with good fishing, and isn't to hard to get to. In a normal summer weekend, you can usually find one of these thing, and if you are lucky two. You are unlikely to find all 3. And over a holiday and with Covid crowds, it gets tougher. Sorry, I'm not trying to toss cold water on your plans, but trying to help you manage your expectations. "

Having accurate expectations is one of the most important ingredients for having a successful trip. Helping someone set the right expectations isn't anything you should have to apologize for.
03/26/2021 02:23PM  
mschi772: "Having accurate expectations is one of the most important ingredients for having a successful trip. Helping someone set the right expectations isn't anything you should have to apologize for."

In my days of leading technology development projects, I would sometimes be approached by business partners who would describe what they wanted in some new project. I frequently had to ask them “do you want it done cheap, do you want it done fast, or do you want it done well? You can have any two of those, but not the third”. This rule applies in lots of places.

Just trying to help a fairly new paddler keep a positive spin on things.
 
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