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Ho Ho
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05/16/2022 01:54PM  
I'd be interested in first-hand information anyone has about the reputed unofficial portage that I believe is by the creek between Fat and Slim Lakes (south of the west end of Lac la Croix).

We are headed out with a Little Indian Sioux North permit tomorrow morning, so I'm especially interested if someone has been there very early in the season or during high water. I see marsh symbols on the map along the waterway and am wondering whether wet conditions are bad for that route.

Or any other information you think it's worth knowing.

Thanks!
Bill "Ho Ho"
 
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05/16/2022 02:34PM  
Shouldn't be a problem. It is 50-100 yards south of the creek.
05/16/2022 04:43PM  
It’s pretty steep on the Slim side, but I recall most of the portage being on pretty high ground. I doubt high water will be too much of an issue - no more than other portages. I remember a few other portages in that area being rather muddy.
Wayouttroy
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05/16/2022 04:44PM  
Bill, used the Slim to Fat portage June 2021, the path was well used, plenty of downed trees, scope the shore line where it looks like the beginning of the portage, awful rocky, go a little further to the north , towards creek, it’s more sandy, may have to go over a downed smaller tree but if your solo makes it easier not dealing with a rocky landing. There’s a rock about the half way point , looks like a marker good place to rest. I would suggest you take packs through first then canoe. On the Slim side it appears that the portage goes slightly to the left or straight, don’t go that way, stay to the right, did that with canoe, was a challenge backing up 50’, no place to turn around with canoe.The Fat side is beautiful, lost a map and case going to Fat camp site, you may find.


cyclones30
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05/16/2022 06:36PM  
You might be the very first person to cross it this year so expect down trees in spots. You'd be best to take a pack and have your saw handy on the first trip.

But there are PLENTY of conversations about it if you use the search function on this site.
05/16/2022 07:15PM  
If you’re coming from Slim, you’ve got a steep climb with a spot you may have unload and pull your gear up a short but steep incline. Beyond that you should be fine-unless there’s any falls on the trail. It took me about 25 minutes one way. It’s not the easiest portage, but what would you expect?
flaxman
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05/16/2022 09:16PM  
Have a great trip!
Ho Ho
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05/16/2022 10:41PM  
flaxman: "Have a great trip!"

Hey flaxman!
Ho Ho
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05/16/2022 10:41PM  
Thanks for info folks. If we did this it probably would be Fat to Slim, and the plan for the whole trip is to take packs including saws across the first trip on every portage. There are plenty of downed trees from the winter here in the north woods and there hasn't been a lot of time for portage crews to go anywhere. (Normally I carry the canoe first crossing so this will be a switch.)

05/17/2022 08:25AM  
Good luck!

It's easy to find the trail on the Fat side. Without the summer's leaves following the path is not a problem.
Ho Ho
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05/25/2022 02:21PM  
We did end up using the unofficial portage from Fat to Slim on our trip. Thanks to everyone who responded to my post before the trip, it gave me reassurance that we could feel comfortable committing to that route. We had to clear small obstructions on all portages, official and unofficial, north of Devils Cascade, they had not received much if any usage this year. The Fat-Slim portage was not bad for 300 rods with the pack - lots of fallen trees to step over (few if any from this winter, generally older) but that was okay. It was a bear with the Champlain though because of getting hung up on all the heavy growth higher up.

It would definitely be a lot harder going in the other direction because of some of the uphill ledges in the steep climb out of Slim.

Bill
05/25/2022 04:57PM  
Funny how that portage has kept the unofficial status all these years. I’ll bet it’s the most used unofficial portage about anywhere. Haha! First time was late seventies... last time was 2012... it seemed very similar in difficulty every time. Sometimes more trees down then others.

Congratulations on completing it in 2022...
cyclones30
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05/25/2022 05:07PM  
nctry: "Funny how that portage has kept the unofficial status all these years. I’ll bet it’s the most used unofficial portage about anywhere. Haha! First time was late seventies... last time was 2012... it seemed very similar in difficulty every time. Sometimes more trees down then others.


Congratulations on completing it in 2022..."


Is the shortcut between Snow Bay and the rest of LLC an official or unofficial portage? Trying to think of others...
05/25/2022 08:37PM  
nctry: "Funny how that portage has kept the unofficial status all these years. I’ll bet it’s the most used unofficial portage about anywhere. Haha! First time was late seventies... last time was 2012... it seemed very similar in difficulty every time. Sometimes more trees down then others.

Congratulations on completing it in 2022..."

So very true. It’s like that secret club that everyone goes to.
flaxman
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05/26/2022 07:11PM  
Glad that you had a good trip Bill. Are you going to drop one of your awesome trip reports on us?
Ho Ho
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05/27/2022 11:20AM  
flaxman: "Glad that you had a good trip Bill. Are you going to drop one of your awesome trip reports on us?"

I'm afraid my trip report days are over. We've stopped taking a camera along, though I did take a few pictures and videos with my iPhone which I brought for that purpose but was mostly packed away.

I think the picture links in my old trip reports are all broken now. I may go through some of them at some point and try to fix that when I need a project during long winter nights.
Deeznuts
member (37)member
 
05/27/2022 08:43PM  
Following! Planning on give this portage a go from the fat side-slim since I've been reading that it's steeper coming the other way. Little apprehensive about taking the risk so definitely report back!
Mapmaker
member (14)member
 
05/28/2022 10:42AM  
I did the portage a few days after Ho-Ho I'm reckoning. (I went Slim to Fat on Sunday 5/22.) Thanks for clearing it a bit! Agree it was OK to follow, although a couple times it certainly wound around a bit and I backed up to reset once or twice. Ended up doing a double portage on this path, took me about 25 minutes with load and under 20 minutes without. Lots of moose droppings on the Fat side.

After the vegetation pops this could be a bit tougher to follow!
Ho Ho
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05/29/2022 07:30PM  
Mapmaker: "I did the portage a few days after Ho-Ho I'm reckoning. (I went Slim to Fat on Sunday 5/22.) Thanks for clearing it a bit! Agree it was OK to follow, although a couple times it certainly wound around a bit and I backed up to reset once or twice. Ended up doing a double portage on this path, took me about 25 minutes with load and under 20 minutes without. Lots of moose droppings on the Fat side.

After the vegetation pops this could be a bit tougher to follow!"


Mapmaker, were you a solo paddler with a double blade? I think we saw you paddle in when we were camped at the high site on Slim. You made good time on the portage especially going uphill. Agree it would be harder after complete green-up.

Deeznuts: "Following! Planning on give this portage a go from the fat side-slim since I've been reading that it's steeper coming the other way. Little apprehensive about taking the risk so definitely report back!"

Deeznuts, let me know if you want any more info. I made a gps track on my phone app. Most useful for finding the beginning of the portage on the Fat end is that as you head for the outlet creek, you see two rocky outcrops on the left/south side of lake before the creek. The portage begins at the second rock outcrop, the one further from the creek. It is somewhat noticeably barer from use and there is a visible (though not super conspicuous) sawcut older downed tree on it.
Mapmaker
member (14)member
 
05/30/2022 01:14PM  

Yep, that was probably me; I initially got to the portage around 1:30, scouted and started maybe 15 minutes later, then back for the canoe 2:30 or so? I was using a double paddle with orange blades. Didn't even look toward the second campsite or I would have given a wave!
 
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