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      Been a very long time since the last post here     

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MossBack
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12/05/2021 09:27PM  
 
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straighthairedcurly
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12/05/2021 09:32PM  
I for one haven't had any time to even consider what my solo trip is going to be this summer. Open to suggestions of a good 7 day route...not sure if I want to go out of Ely or Grand Marais yet, though. Kind of depends on timing and whether my kid decides to go to camp or not.
 
12/06/2021 05:58PM  
It was a strange year, MossBack. Here's a short report of my trip the last 2 weeks of Sept. :

I had a 9/14 permit for Kawishiwi Lake EP #37, but it was closed until about 2 days before I left home. Although the EP was open, pretty much everything east of Kawishiwi, Polly, Malberg, and north was still closed. There was still a fire ban, which doesn't really bother me, but the potential for wildfires was still high enough to be worrisome. Additionally, I had had some surgery, which was slow to heal and kept me from preparing physically. It was just healed when I left home. People's reports of crowds and difficulty finding campsites, along with all the EP #37 permits (9 per day) having been gone for weeks, created uncertainty and anxiety.

I arrived at the EP along with some heavy rain and waited it out before unloading and driving up to the parking lot. There were only 2 vehicles there and 1 was a USFS truck! I met the rangers on their way out and they told me they were the only ones on Polly the night they were there, and that the whole area beyond they had seen very few people.

I ended up staying on Polly for almost 2 weeks and had it to myself for almost the whole time. I never saw another campsite occupied while paddling all over the lake multiple times, nor did I encounter another canoe. I did observe 2 groups paddling through on their way in/out. I saw fewer people the entire 2 weeks than I saw the first day last year on Polly.

I saw no bears or moose, only one loon, no mice, only a few chipmunks/squirrels. I saw eagles, beaver, Trumpeter swans, some ducks/geese.

Very quiet trip, Polly is a really beautiful lake when you're the only one there.
 
MossBack
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12/06/2021 08:05PM  
SHC, Boonie, thanks for the replies. I was hoping someone would feed the puppy (me). I could only manage one brief BWCA trip last summer, and the crowds were off the charts. So I am leaning forward in hopes of better trips in 2022. I think some solo time North of the border would do me some good. Safe travels to both of you. MB
 
Minnesotian
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12/07/2021 01:00PM  

Well, I went on a solo trip for about a month when I was between jobs. Went out in September and ended up doing the following:

1. 1 night on the Missouri River in South Dakota outside of Gettysburg
2. 2 nights at Custer State Park. Highlight was hiking up Black Elk Peak.
3. 1 night at Willow Lake in the Cloud Peak Wilderness, a 5 mile backpack in.
4. 1 night at Pinnacles National Forest Campground, just east of the Tetons.
5. A 3 night backpacking trip through the Grand Tetons along the Teton Crest Trail.
6. A 3 night solo canoe trip down the Missouri in Montana, going through the White Cliffs of the Missouri, right at the start of the Breaks.
7. 1 night at Ted Roosevelt National Park North Unit.

Got as far west as the Tetons. Took mostly U.S. Highways, only taking a total of 2 hours on the interstate. Drove through Yellowstone the day after the first snowfall, that was a beautiful sight. Stopped in at Wounded Knee Masscare Site on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, lots of contemplation and sadness for multitudes of reasons that day. Saw Devils Tower. Had bighorn sheep run through my campsite about 5 feet away from my tent at about 4 in the morning, scaring the piss out of me. Basically had the Missouri River all to myself, only seeing 2 other people the whole time. And just got to see the U.S. West not from the interstate. It was a glorious trip.
I am working on putting together a video/movie and when that gets done, I'll make sure to post it.
 
12/13/2021 10:53PM  
I'll jump in with a request for advice on route options on a planned solo May trip, most likely 5/17 to early 6/3 or 4. I wish to do a loop that includes Little Saganaga.
#1 go west on a northerly route from Seagull through Alpine-Jasper etc to Ogish Gab to Little Sag.
#2 EP52 from Round west through the little lakes to Gillis and up through French-West Fern etc to Little Sag.
#3 Do the #2 route except go south from Gillis to Crooked- Mora into Little Sag.
Return route would be a reverse of #2 or #3
I would consider a return route going south and east using the Frost river to Long Island and out EP 50 Cross Bay -Ham . I would need up to date water conditions for that route; low or high water on the river, muddy approaches to portages etc.

Things to consider: I have plenty of solo Bwca experience but I am a fat old man and don't move all that fast. Trip could be 8-10-12 days or longer I don't have a fixed time line.
I double portage 50# max gear and 50# canoe with spare paddle, yoke, pfd etc. I like to keep ground miles at around 3 miles per day ( I can go much farther if needed but have found that after 3 miles or so under load I get tired and that's a recipe for a fall)
I'm not all that fond of big water, big water early and calm ok.
I fish but it is not a big deal. Nite time fires yes. Good food yes. Other campers ok but if I don't see anyone else that's ok too.
Canoe and gear are dialed in, no changes, I like my set up just fine. I did add a LuminAid light this year and think it is a fantastic piece of gear.
I think whatever route I take I will bunk at Rockwood or Tuscarora and shuttle from there.

I really would like your advice especially from the women who solo. Women seem to have a more realistic grasp of their abilities then men, judging from their trip reports. I on the other hand have a 72 year old body and a brain that thinks I can potage a Buick.
Thanks, Merlyn

 
12/14/2021 12:16AM  
After reading my post I think I need to clarify a point - when I said I like to keep ground miles to three, I meant portaging miles, not miles on the water.
 
straighthairedcurly
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12/15/2021 09:02PM  
Merlyn,

You listed some good options, but I will share my two cents worth. If you haven't followed my adventures, I am a 57 year old woman who started solo trip just 2 summers ago. I travel lighter than you, but have learned to listen to my body and not try to travel the distances I did when I was 20.

This is a trip I am itching to do, but would prefer to use 10+ days to do it so this won't be the year for me. However, it might fit your longer time frame.
Enter at Kawishiwi Lake.
Night 1: Polly
Night 2: camp early on Malberg, then take a day trip to the Fishdance pictos (or camp on Kawishiwi River).
Night 3: Makwa Lake (I paddle through here last summer and really wished we had camped there...so pretty).
Nights 4-5: Little Saganaga (love this lake, too)
From here you would have a number of options for the return loop:

1) continue toward the Frost River, but cut down into Hub for a night, then spend time on Wine (will probably have it to yourself like I did on the 4th of July). From there be adventurous and drop into Kelso/Alton and back through the lady chain. The Lujenida-Zenith portage is long, but NOT hard terrain.
2) same as #1, but instead of leaving Wine to go into the Kelso area, head through the Louse River
3) start out like #1, but don't go down to Wine. From Hub/Mesaba, head west into Dent and do just the western half of the Louse (it is the more traveled half)
4) From Little Sag, head back south but cut west through Vee, Fee, etc. There are lots of portages, but also lots of little lakes to stop and camp when you feel like it. Then head down into Boulder and make your way south again.

Which of these I would take...not sure. However, I like exploring new territory each trip so going through Vee, Fee, and Boulder would probably be my pick. But it would also be fun to travel the Louse River the other way.

Personally, I don't have an urge to do the Frost River solo. Way too many beaver dams. I did it with family and it was exhausting (and way more crowded than I expected). The Louse River was challenging, but I broke it into reasonable chunks which made it very enjoyable. The solitude was fabulous.

Here is my solo trip report through the Louse River: All Loused Up
Here is the trip report for our family trip through the Frost River (loop from Cross Bay Lake and then came out at Brant): Frost River
 
12/16/2021 03:32PM  
Thank you straighthairedcurly for your response, and yes, I'm a fan of yours and have enjoyed all your trip reports. I have decided to scrap the Frost river route, too many variables, high flood waters or muddy slogs and beaver dams. The first route you suggested sounds like fun but where do you exit or do you swing back north through Sawbill to Ada and somehow into Cherokee? I have Fisher maps and they don't show a portage from Cede lake to Cherokee maybe the Cherokee river is navigable? Considering heading to Tuscarora to Snipe to Cross Bay as a return route.
Again thanks for your suggestions.
 
straighthairedcurly
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12/17/2021 07:31PM  
The route from Sawbill up to Cherokee is quite well traveled. We just did a loop as a family around that area last summer. Trip report: Turtle Tales
 
jillpine
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12/19/2021 08:24AM  
 
jillpine
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12/19/2021 08:26AM  
straighthairedcurly: "
This is a trip I am itching to do, but would prefer to use 10+ days to do it so this won't be the year for me. However, it might fit your longer time frame.
Enter at Kawishiwi Lake.
Night 1: Polly
Night 2: camp early on Malberg, then take a day trip to the Fishdance pictos (or camp on Kawishiwi River).
Night 3: Makwa Lake (I paddle through here last summer and really wished we had camped there...so pretty).
Nights 4-5: Little Saganaga (love this lake, too)
From here you would have a number of options for the return loop:

4) From Little Sag, head back south but cut west through Vee, Fee, etc. There are lots of portages, but also lots of little lakes to stop and camp when you feel like it. Then head down into Boulder and make your way south


Awesome route - when you get ten days, let’s take our solos and go!
 
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