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Mapmaker
member (14)member
 
04/07/2022 07:12PM  
I've been reading the forums for several years, finally decided to say hey and a giant THANK YOU to everyone who has posted their experiences... I've read through quite a bit here and poured over the gear, food, and general advice posts.

I'm set for my first solo in late May for 6 days - doing a LIS loop which should give plenty of time for exploring & fishing along the way. Renting a Northwind Solo, have the rest of the my gear pretty much good to go. Goal is to keep my pack under 40 lbs and plan to single most of the portages. Firing up the dehydrator this weekend to start prepping some meals. Been carrying my pack with plenty of weight while walking the dog. Super excited.

If anyone in the Twin Cities west metro has a Northwind Solo I might test drive with my gear in early May for an hour or two, please message me. I'd love to test out the fit, feel and trim strategy.
 
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04/07/2022 08:38PM  
Have a good trip! It sounds like you will be well prepared for your first solo.
 
straighthairedcurly
distinguished member(1439)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/07/2022 09:41PM  
I'm excited for you. The first solo was a thrilling new adventure for me and I hope it is for you, too. Glad to hear you have gleaned useful info from this forum. I know it certainly gave me the confidence to try a solo.
 
04/08/2022 07:37PM  
My first solo was a LIS loop as well. Fond memories! Biggest take away from the trip was I did not eat as much on solos as other trips-and that has held true for the 15 or so solos since then.

Safe travels!

 
Canardly
member (40)member
 
04/14/2022 11:14PM  
I solo’d LIS last May, went up the border into Gun then looped via the back country lakes to return to Loon Lake, Pauness etc then out. I saw only one other group the first five days of travel (once I left Loon Lake) so you might have some solitude on your journey. Beautiful country! Take a warm bag. I’m returning to LIS on Memorial Day this year for another week long solo so maybe we’ll cross paths. I’ll be the old guy in a Northwind like yours.
 
04/15/2022 09:46AM  
Welcome Mapmaker, and congratulations on your first solo trip. I’ve done LIS solo once and really loved that area. Like Frenchy19, I also usually find that I think I will be hungrier than I am and tend to overpack/over-portion food for solo trips. I hope someone with a Northwind Solo pops up who will let you try it out, but if not you might consider going to the paddle demo for Midwest Mountaineering Expo next Thursday on Lake Nakomis. Maybe there will be one there you could try fitting your packs in.
 
04/15/2022 11:19AM  
Enjoy the trip planning! Hope you can find a way to get on the water and give that a try before you leave. What's your favorite dehydrated recipe? I also carry my pack on walks with the dog but the neighbors really wonder about me when I walk around the block with my canoe!

As for your route... a really cool area! Are you planning to go north of Little Loon or head east to Shell and beyond? I have a solo to LISN planned for September and I've done both options but can't decide which way to go this time - a good problem to have at this point in my planning!
 
WHendrix
distinguished member(571)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/15/2022 07:27PM  
Hi Mapmaker. First, I would like to know if you are really a maker of maps, Second. although I'm not in the west metro (I'm even east of the east metro in River Falls WI.) I do have a Northwind Solo that you would be welcome to try if we could meet somewhere convenient. The only problem might be that I have modified my boat a bit by raising the seat. I found the factory seat to be very uncomfortable and raised it to the level of the seat in a Magic I sold. I also gave the seat a forward cant (also like the Magic), so it will most likely not feel much like a rental NW Solo.
 
Mapmaker
member (14)member
 
04/20/2022 08:56PM  
Jaywalker: "Welcome Mapmaker, and congratulations on your first solo trip. I’ve done LIS solo once and really loved that area. Like Frenchy19, I also usually find that I think I will be hungrier than I am and tend to overpack/over-portion food for solo trips. I hope someone with a Northwind Solo pops up who will let you try it out, but if not you might consider going to the paddle demo for Midwest Mountaineering Expo next Thursday on Lake Nakomis. Maybe there will be one there you could try fitting your packs in. "

Good call on the Expo tomorrow, I am hoping to make it over if I can juggle some work and afternoon activities!
 
Mapmaker
member (14)member
 
04/20/2022 08:57PM  
YetiJedi: "Enjoy the trip planning! Hope you can find a way to get on the water and give that a try before you leave. What's your favorite dehydrated recipe? I also carry my pack on walks with the dog but the neighbors really wonder about me when I walk around the block with my canoe!


As for your route... a really cool area! Are you planning to go north of Little Loon or head east to Shell and beyond? I have a solo to LISN planned for September and I've done both options but can't decide which way to go this time - a good problem to have at this point in my planning!"


My plan is to go up to Loon, over to Fat, Finger, Pocket and then head south down to Oyster then back through Hustler, Lynx and such. So a clockwise loop... see how far I want to push vs. fish each day while keeping mindful of the weather.

Favorite dehydrated recipe - I'm still pretty new to the home dehydrating game, my best so far is a simple stroganoff with dehydrated mushrooms (soaked in beef bullion) first, onion, ground beef and gravy mix with egg noodles. Nothing fancy but tasty (and easy).
 
Mapmaker
member (14)member
 
04/20/2022 09:07PM  
WHendrix: "Hi Mapmaker. First, I would like to know if you are really a maker of maps, Second. although I'm not in the west metro (I'm even east of the east metro in River Falls WI.) I do have a Northwind Solo that you would be welcome to try if we could meet somewhere convenient. The only problem might be that I have modified my boat a bit by raising the seat. I found the factory seat to be very uncomfortable and raised it to the level of the seat in a Magic I sold. I also gave the seat a forward cant (also like the Magic), so it will most likely not feel much like a rental NW Solo."

Hi WHendrix, yes, I do make maps... 25+ years in GIS. Thank you for the offer, I'm hoping to hit up the Midwest Mountaineering Expo tomorrow which hopefully will give me the preview I want. But if not I'll shoot you a message as it gets closer, I don't mind heading east if necessary!
 
04/21/2022 07:33AM  
Great area. The Slim>Fat portage is unmaintained, so there could be some blowdown...you might be the first (or one of the first) through there for the year.
There is a challenging little section near the west end where you have to step up between some boulders. Otherwise, not bad. It's a thin trail with some twists and turns, but you'll be there before the underbrush gets dense, so it should be easier to follow.
Also consider a side trip for a few hours up to Contentment Lake from Thumb.
 
Wayouttroy
distinguished member (139)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/21/2022 11:04AM  
Took the Slim to Fat portage last June 2021, yes you will find blow down, the path was well use when I went through. FYI when you find the portage it will be a very rocky landing, go a little further north along the shore and you'll find a sandy shore, there was a downed tree to lift over, nothing big.
 
04/21/2022 01:19PM  
Mapmaker: "My plan is to go up to Loon, over to Fat, Finger, Pocket and then head south down to Oyster then back through Hustler, Lynx and such. So a clockwise loop... see how far I want to push vs. fish each day while keeping mindful of the weather."

That’s a great route. I did it about three years ago, and plenty of others here have too. I don’t think I wrote a report for that one, but I know several others have. I think I paddled 6 days plus had 3 layover days, but I was double portaging and not pushing too hard. Also had to drive up from MPLS before paddling on day one. Others have done it in 5 and maybe even 4 if I recall correctly. Have fun!
 
jillpine
distinguished member(794)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/21/2022 05:51PM  
You’ll have a great trip. When you get done, you’ll ask the outfitter to buy the canoe.
I have a trillium which is a foot shorter but you’re welcome to try it out. Incredible canoe. Way better canoe than I am paddler, which makes it fun because I’m always learning in it. I have not liked as much any solo I’ve tried before or since, but haven’t tried a Savage River solo yet. I’ll be in the east metro between May 1 and May 8, getting the boat out of winter storage. Happy to meet at Nakomis or so if you want to try it with your gear.
How will you trim - will you split the 40lb? Carry a designated dry bag to fill with water (what I do)? The lightest kit I’ve traveled with was hot summer , 35lb. I’d really like to hear your May gear at 40lb. Jelly!
 
Mapmaker
member (14)member
 
04/22/2022 08:01AM  
jillpine: "You’ll have a great trip. When you get done, you’ll ask the outfitter to buy the canoe.
I have a trillium which is a foot shorter but you’re welcome to try it out. Incredible canoe. Way better canoe than I am paddler, which makes it fun because I’m always learning in it. I have not liked as much any solo I’ve tried before or since, but haven’t tried a Savage River solo yet. I’ll be in the east metro between May 1 and May 8, getting the boat out of winter storage. Happy to meet at Nakomis or so if you want to try it with your gear.
How will you trim - will you split the 40lb? Carry a designated dry bag to fill with water (what I do)? The lightest kit I’ve traveled with was hot summer , 35lb. I’d really like to hear your May gear at 40lb. Jelly! "


Thanks Jillpine! I actually got to test out both the Trillium and Magic at the MM Expo yesterday so I feel pretty good at this point. Both fit my gear pack fine; I preferred the Trillium over the Magic. I will definitely need to split gear or use a filled dry bag to trim, that was immediately noticeable on Nokomis in a little wind. I have an 18L dry bag that when mostly filled with water weighs ~35 lbs. If shoved forward enough that should offset the pack weight enough? I could also have a backpack in the top of my pack but that seems like more work/time to unpack & repack compared with scooping/dumping water at each portage.

My 40 pound weight is a hopeful goal... we'll see how close I can get (especially if it doesn't start warming up). May need to bring a little more clothing options... like all trips going to keep an eye on conditions as it gets close. I hope to take a few gear layout pics ahead, will share for feedback!
 
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