BWCA Moose lake loop-Over ambitious? Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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ditkaroo
 
07/06/2022 09:24PM  
My fiance and I are looking at doing a 6 night trip from moose--knife--amoeber-topaz--hansen--knife river--south arm of knife--spoon--dix-skoota--missionary--trader--vera--ensign--moose... It would be about 55 miles from what I figure, and wind dependent but we would try and make it 15-20miles up into the east side of Knife on day one, base camping in the cherry lake area for two nights mid trip.
We want to cover some ground but also be able to have a bit of time to explore. We've done a handful of trips but this will definitely be the longest, paddle wise.

Wondering about all of your first thoughts on this route, any site seeing/fishing lakes?

Is it overambitious to plan on an average of 10 miles of paddling per day?

What is the point of getting a tow from EP25 to the edge of motorized areas? Isnt that only ~300 yards?

 
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ditkaroo
 
07/06/2022 09:27PM  
07/06/2022 10:56PM  
I am sorry I am not familiar with the area.

Just a comment on the trip. I don’t see it as over ambitious, some will, but to each their own. If you enjoy traveling it won’t be bad. When you travel a lot you get in a groove of efficiency on portages and breaking/setting up camp. If you get windbound or stay an extra day you can usually do a mega day to make up for it. Now if that doesn’t sound fun…it may be ambitious :)

The tow will take you most of the way if not all the way to your first portage. Will save 1-2 hours depending on how fast of a paddler you are and the wind conditions. I think your x marks the BWCA boundary not the motorized boundary? I’d take the tow if you are asking…to me you aren’t really in the BWCA until you get out of the motor zone.

T

billconner
distinguished member(8200)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/07/2022 05:37AM  
I figure 10 to 12 miles a day (or per night since we don't start early first day and are back in Ely by noon of last day) and that would include a layover day usually. For mileage I count it as single portaging, even though we double. It been 3 years so that was when I was 67. I don't know if the pandemic crush will make finding sites after paddling till 1 or 2 a problem.

So seems fine and doable. If you wanted a little more variety on return, drop down into Snowbank from Vers on way out and there's an easy portage to Moose.
07/07/2022 08:04AM  
The tow from Moose to the Sucker/Birch portage saves exactly 6 miles...
Kendis
distinguished member (140)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/07/2022 12:12PM  
My hat is off to anyone who paddles 6 mph.
07/07/2022 12:43PM  
Kendis: "My hat is off to anyone who paddles 6 mph."

LOL

Paddling speed has been discussed on here before many times. Typically for the first day of a trip we are slower, towards the end of the trip we are faster.

When you factor in wind/conditions…a good general estimate on paddling speed is 3 mph…sometimes you are faster sometimes slower. Of course some people can really haul a$$ but most over estimate their travel speed. If it is 6 miles to the portage then it will take you 2 hours as a reasonable estimate. If you go faster…that will be awesome…but start your trip out with realistic lower expectation and you’d rather adjust positively than negatively is my motto.

T
HappyHuskies
distinguished member (417)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/07/2022 12:44PM  
Kendis: "My hat is off to anyone who paddles 6 mph."

I've decided to edit my previous response, as after reflection I did not like my tone. In a nut shell I agree with you. Wish I could paddle 6 mph.
07/07/2022 01:02PM  
HappyHuskies: "Kendis: "My hat is off to anyone who paddles 6 mph."


Ok, your right, I must be mistaken. "


I read your post as 1.5 hours (but I can see how it might of looked like 1 hour as well)…that’s 4 mph in the canoe. It is totally possible…just, I wouldn’t count on that as an average speed for someone else or all the time. I averaged almost 5 mph for 5 miles before…I can tell you my wife wasn’t happy with me though…we needed to meet our pickup at a certain time and I underestimated the distance. 3 mph…is a good staying married travel speed :)

I can tell you a lot of people can’t average 3 mph either…

T
ditkaroo
 
07/07/2022 02:36PM  
sns: "The tow will take you most of the way if not all the way to your first portage. Will save 1-2 hours depending on how fast of a paddler you are and the wind conditions. I think your x marks the BWCA boundary not the motorized boundary? I’d take the tow if you are asking…to me you aren’t really in the BWCA until you get out of the motor zone."

sns: "The tow from Moose to the Sucker/Birch portage saves exactly 6 miles..."

Ahh I didnt realize all of Moose was motor accessible.. Yeah seems it would be worth it.
GeneH
distinguished member (115)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/07/2022 02:55PM  
I can only offer how I plan, that might help you decide.

Currently paddling a 12 ft/ 32 lb OT Pack (kind slow design) and unloaded, solo, double paddle I'll do about 2 mph steady, or 5 mph, downwind for a mile or so before I'm gassed.

Route checking, I look at the maps, click on each portage to get detail info and see what someone else has said about that portage to get an idea of difficulty / time. For example on one long, difficult portage one of the users here said it took their team about an hour. So I figure solo it'll take me twice as long. That's going to be my standard for distance/time.

If I have the links right, just taking a quick look at a portage close to your starting point:
https://bwca.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=maps.entrydetail&locid=25&zoom=14&size=500&ft=e&locname=Moose%20Lake

https://bwca.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=maps.portage_info&entityid=439&elat=48.0344860483&elon=-91.4166438978

TaylorRN
member (37)member
 
07/07/2022 03:02PM  
I think this is doable, I have done a similar route. I would personally get a tow from bob at LaTourell's to and from Indian portage to get a jump start and avoid the motors. Well worth the money
billconner
distinguished member(8200)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/07/2022 06:24PM  
I understand why the Sucker/Birch portage with a tow, but if paddling why not just paddle the border passage into Birch?

I'm pro paddle Moose. Never been bothered by motor traffic, and kind of nice to get a couple hours of paddling in to start.
cyclones30
distinguished member(3987)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/07/2022 06:36PM  
I took some first-timers on most of that route and we did fine.

Got the first tow that morning from LaTourells to the super short Birch portage and we were paddling on Knife by about 10am. We were at Thunder Point around noon and we were at camp mid-way up the north arm of Knife in another hour or two. From there the trip to Cherry was pretty short and scenic and easy via Amoeber and Topaz. We spent another night on the South Arm of Knife and eventually went from the big island on SAK back to Birch on our 2nd to last day in about half the day.

So not the exact last portion of your route but if the weather is good your plan is fine.
tumblehome
distinguished member(2454)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/07/2022 08:54PM  
I can paddle 5mph in my solo in bursts measured by my GPS.
3mph all day long. 10 mile days are easy without a strong headwind
However, a 20 mile day is tough even for a seasoned traveler if there are portages and wind in the way.

If the OP and his fiance want to move each day except one layover day and are looking to put on some miles then it's is a very doable route. A little lazy even.
Sure beats sitting around camp all day wishing you were on the water.
Tom
TheOnion
senior member (78)senior membersenior member
 
07/08/2022 12:01PM  
Those portages between Knife to Vera and Vera to Ensign are not fun. Those may chew up your timeline.
 
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