BWCA Round to Brant - Day trip with a toddler? Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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Ryan Stewart
Guest Paddler
 
06/29/2021 12:53PM  
I will be staying in a cabin at the Tuscarora outfitter camp in September with my wife, and two young girls. I would like to get my three year old out on a day trip to experience some portaging for the first time. I have a solo canoe that is very stable; I have used this boat with the toddler in the past on little fishing trips close to home - she enjoys time in the canoe very much.

Do you think she could handle the portages from Round to Brant (via West Round and Edith)? Plan would be to head out in the AM, have lunch on Brant, and then turn back.

Cheers,
Ryan
 
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06/29/2021 01:18PM  
Hi Ryan -
I entered at Brant and came out at Missing Link in mid-May. At that time, many of the portages from Round to Brant were pretty wet; I was thankful to be wearing my muck boots. The "portage" from Edith to Brant was more of a knee-deep stream. But... this was over a month ago, so the water levels on the portages are likely different at this point. A second point to consider with these portages is that many have single-board boardwalk sections. And lastly, none of these lakes are particularly big, so you won't have as much time in the canoe compared to time on the portages.

On the other hand... I'd recommend the Round to Missing Link portage. I thought it was pretty. Lots of different things to look at along the way. Footing was really pretty good throughout. A couple wet/muddy spots, but nothing too bad. And when you get to Missing Link, it's a decent-sized lake to paddle around.

And to offer one more idea, you could put in at the Cross Bay EP and go over to Ham Lake. I like the narrow nature of the waters in this area and think it's absolutely beautiful.

Best wishes!
Abbey
Guest Paddler
 
06/29/2021 03:05PM  
Thanks, Abbey - We will check this out. I have never made an trips through/ around this area so your expertise is appreciated!
THEGrandRapids
distinguished member (348)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/29/2021 04:04PM  
If solo- my only word of caution is the childs commitment to walk the entire time.

In our recent 5-day trip our 9 month old of course is being carried by my spouse, and we planned for our 3 year old to walk, but half way he refused and wanted a shoulder ride. I had to ditch a pack and come back for it, which is fine (I 3.5x portaged a 240 rodder... figured it was 4.3 miles I covered!) But not possible if I were by myself as I wouldn't be able to leave the child anywhere.

Bring a front carrier and you should be able to avoid this potential problem. Every kid is different. If he will run for hours at the park doesn't mean he will walk a 1/4 mile trail.
06/29/2021 06:12PM  
Round to Missing Link portage....one of the nicer sections
06/29/2021 06:23PM  
Round to West Round is the sloppy, hard one. West Round to Edith pretty good. Edith to Brant tolerable.
06/29/2021 09:26PM  
A note about the portage out of Cross Bay is that the takeout is very rocky and awkward. I'm not sure how it would work out with a 3 year old.
outsidethebox
distinguished member (158)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/30/2021 06:52AM  
Pushing the limits of a toddler is a bad idea. You are asking for a miserable time for all involved. Here, I am reminded of the saying, "Hell is full of people with good intentions".
THEGrandRapids
distinguished member (348)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/30/2021 07:24AM  
Ignore naysayers. There are no miserable times with a toddler, only having a miserable attitude about your plans not being picture perfect.

Just make sure to have a plan A B and C. The front carrier will help.

I’ve brought my almost 3 year old on 4 trips into the BW, with three of those being multiple nights. It’s not hard.

I’d just make sure one of your plans is a way to carry the kid and the canoe and the other backup plan is to know when to just turn around and head back.
TuscaroraBorealis
distinguished member(5057)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
06/30/2021 09:51AM  
outsidethebox: "Pushing the limits of a toddler is a bad idea. You are asking for a miserable time for all involved. Here, I am reminded of the saying, "Hell is full of people with good intentions". "

You just have to think outside the box.
afromaniac
senior member (60)senior membersenior member
 
07/02/2021 01:30PM  
With a 3 year old, if all else fails you can carry the tyke on your shoulders. I've resorted to that many times. No worse than a pack and the kid will love it.

That stretch is typically pretty muddy but it can be done, it's an adventure.
outsidethebox
distinguished member (158)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/02/2021 07:23PM  
TuscaroraBorealis: "outsidethebox: "Pushing the limits of a toddler is a bad idea. You are asking for a miserable time for all involved. Here, I am reminded of the saying, "Hell is full of people with good intentions". "


You just have to think outside the box. "


I was a pediatric nurse for over 20 years. My wife is a pediatric nurse practitioner and my brother is a pediatrician. I am neither guessing, talking off the top of my head or thinking outsidethebox on this one. My advice here is an informed one from a broad base of experience.
tumblehome
distinguished member(2416)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/03/2021 06:46AM  
I was just one this route a few weeks ago. I've traveled all over the border country. North, south, east, west.

A brief editorial is that we have thoroughly turned our kids into snowflakes. Blame the parents for coddling their children until they are adults. Editorial off.

Take your child on the trip. It's three measly portages. They are rocky, might be wet, maybe not. If things go south then just turn around. If the weather is nice you can get to Brant in less than two hours. Bring some bug spray.

When I was a child, I played in the woods all the time. My parents sent my to a BWCA kids camp when I was 12. That horrible decision caused me to eventually move to northern MN, take more than 60 trips into the wilderness, live in the woods, build wood canoes, become an advocate for the wilderness, and wear a flannel short most of the year.

Good things can happen when you show a child something other than a TV.
Tuscoroa Lodge has some absolutely beautiful big white pines! You are going to love this.

Tom
Bearskin Lodge
senior member (67)senior membersenior member
 
07/03/2021 10:40AM  
I did the same trip with my at the time 1 1/2 yr old. She could walk some of the portages, but it was muddy at the time and she had grandpa with to carry her as needed. But she also had only been walking for 6-7 months, and as a 3yr old wouldn't have much problem with it now (although she still enjoys a good carry now and then).

Ask Andy at Tusc. about the portage conditions, and just turn around if your kid isn't having fun. You know your kid better than anyone on this forum, and you're not doing anything reckless or dangerous. As long as your prepared to ditch the whole plan when your kid decides on the portage out of Round that they'd rather do something else, give it a try. That being said, it probably would be a lot easier with two adults. I volunteer Andy to go with you, I hear he's not very busy this time of year.


Molly, Grandpa, and "Andy the Adventure Frog"
THEGrandRapids
distinguished member (348)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/03/2021 03:29PM  
outsidethebox:”I was a pediatric nurse for over 20 years. My wife is a pediatric nurse practitioner and my brother is a pediatrician. I am neither guessing, talking off the top of my head or thinking outsidethebox on this one. My advice here is an informed one from a broad base of experience. "

Seriously. Ignore people like this. I’ve never had a miserable experience with my children. Never. Nor will I ever have a miserable experience. I can see an uncle or aunt having a miserable experience with someone else’s kid, but your own? Never! Life is too short- you only have 18 summers!
Mocha
distinguished member(7670)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/04/2021 09:43AM  
After u check In at tusc, take a quick paddle over to the portage and just hike it yourself. You'll then know the conditions . You'll know what you'll do when you're carrying the canoe and your toddler gets stuck in The mud or slips off the boardwalk ... Take one of your older kids along and get their perspective. They can also then talk it up to the toddler about how much fun it will be
 
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