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4keys
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01/17/2022 10:06PM  
We are planning on taking a nephew and his wife to the BW this summer. They have backpacking experience but are complete newbies to canoeing. My husband and I have made several trips to the BW, and have big lake experience. We've been to Clearwater and through to Pine, and really liked the area. However, taking 2 people with no canoe experience on those lakes probably would not be a wise choice.

So we would like to stay in the Clearwater area and we are thinking of starting at East Bearskin and basecamping on one of those lakes going east - Canoe, Crystal, Pierz etc. - and taking a day trip to Johnson Falls. The portages are short and the lakes small. Good for beginners.

There are 4 permits per day for this entry. So my question is, do most people do the same thing here? Just basecamp back there? Stay 1 night then take the big portage to Pine? Or do people keep going to Pine in 1 day? I'm trying to predict campsite availability (yes I know it's been crazy busy everywhere) and decide if this entry is a good choice, or if I should try a different entry.

Thanks for any insight.
 
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lindylair
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01/18/2022 05:26AM  
Well, one piece of news in your favor...with the recent permit reductions East Bearskin now has only 3 per day.
Michwall2
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01/18/2022 09:12AM  
Is there a place near where you live where the newbie couple can get some canoeing experience in before arriving in the BW? Maybe watch a video on the "J" stroke technique? A sweep stroke? A draw or pry? Spend a couple of afternoons or evenings learning to paddle together (Hate for a canoe trip to be the cause of divorce!?).

While I love the Gunflint area, those east/west oriented lakes can get rocking and rolling with the wind out of just the right direction. It doesn't take much wind to get beyond the capability of someone who has never canoed before. Maybe check down to a route with smaller lakes but still on or close to the Gunfint? E.g. Cross Bay(50) or Missing LInk(51) to Lizz Lake(47): Lizz Lake(47) to Horseshoe or Gaskin (great moose viewing country) with day-trips as the weather allows: Kawishiwi (37) Lake to Malberg (some sand beach sites here) with day-trips to Fishdance to see the pictographs, Makwa to see the Cliffs, Louse River for the solitude, etc.

Have a great trip!



schweady
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01/18/2022 04:45PM  
We went in at E Bearskin last fall and based on Alder, day tripping to the falls. Yes, we were one of those groups who specifically stopped short of the long portage so that we could do that one without a full load. It was a great trip and didn't seem busy at all. It was during the fall, but, of course, the numbers were much higher than usual last fall.
4keys
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01/18/2022 07:06PM  
Michwall2: "Is there a place near where you live where the newbie couple can get some canoeing experience in before arriving in the BW? Maybe watch a video on the "J" stroke technique? A sweep stroke? A draw or pry? Spend a couple of afternoons or evenings learning to paddle together (Hate for a canoe trip to be the cause of divorce!?).

"


Unfortunately we live in WI and they live in CO, but we are encouraging them to get out on a couple of their local lakes. On our trip My husband and I plan on splitting up and both of us will take the stern while having the newbies in the bow. At least we won't go in circles that way.


Speckled
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01/19/2022 02:52PM  
They'll be fine in a canoe. We've entered East Bearskin three times. The first time we paddled from East Bearskin to the very end of Crystal and every site was taken. We laid back in the canoes, took a nap and woke to the sound of aluminum on metal. The father son duo was vacating that last site and moving up to Pine. We got lucky. This was end of August.

Second trip was 3rd weekend of Sept, we only saw two sites open. One on Alder and one on Crystal.

Third trip was second weekend of October...all the sites were open. It also snowed. We only came across one other group paddling in on Sunday when we exited.
BigOarDeal
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01/20/2022 05:09PM  
We went in on East Bearskin last July. We did a loop ending at Clearwater. As for your question, we did not check every site on Alder, but it looked pretty full. Canoe was full. We ended up going into Crystal, where both sites were open and we did not see anyone during our time there before packing up and portaging over to Pine.
4keys
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01/20/2022 08:51PM  
So as we are going in August, it sounds like timing and luck will be everything. Kind of what I thought although I was hoping everyone would just move through to Pine because Alder and Crystal really aren't very far in.
 
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