BWCA Start to Finish Boundary Waters Listening Point - General Discussion
Chat Rooms (0 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* For the benefit of the community, commercial posting is not allowed.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Listening Point - General Discussion
      Start to Finish     

Author

Text

MidwestMan
senior member (88)senior membersenior member
 
07/07/2022 06:00AM  
What is the #1 most challenging portion of your BWCA/Quetico trip? This could differ trip-by-trip. It could be navigation while paddling, trip planning, portaging, cooking, the commute to and/or from, missing your family, etc.
 
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next
Minnesotian
distinguished member(2136)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/07/2022 07:32AM  

The drive back after the trip is done.
 
MidwestMan
senior member (88)senior membersenior member
 
07/07/2022 07:51AM  
Minnesotian: "
The drive back after the trip is done. "

I think this will be the most common response, and understandably so.

For me, navigation is the most challenging aspect. My map reading skills are subpar. Then, once I’m actually on the water, everything starts to look the same real fast. I’d be a horrible trip leader/guide.

I’d also have a hard go at a solo trip for this reason. I think I’d excel at the other aspects of a solo trip, but navigation is such a critical skill that I’d have to limit my trip to a very short physical distance.
 
07/07/2022 08:26AM  
Stair step portage going from Rose to Duncan. Kid and grands will do the heavy lifting.
 
07/07/2022 08:29AM  
Herding the cats.
 
07/07/2022 08:32AM  
Doing too much…knowing when to back off…I like a physical challenge and testing myself. I’d single portage a mile portage not because I need to but just to see if I can…then the next time, could I do it faster more efficiently. It’s hard to explain because it isn’t like I am competitive…if you are faster and can carry more I wouldn’t be jealous, probably impressed but not jealous…if you are slower who cares as long as you enjoy the trip. It’s more of a competitive with myself. How can I be more efficient? But it’s a balancing point of liking to push yourself but not taking unneeded risk or pushing others that don’t enjoy it and ruining their trip. I also want to go to lakes no else has been too as well…that usually means harder portages.

Bringing my two young boys and my wife…I can say they like easy. :) Sometimes you have to go with the majority.

An example I can give is on a trip with my wife. We had a PMA addition to our permit and we’re going to go to BakeKana lake off of Wisini. As we started to do the bushwhack, I could tell Sara just wasn’t feeling it. As much as it killed me, I said, “We don’t have to do this.” She immediately took the out.

If I would have kept my mouth shut, I am sure we would have made it, but would she ever go back? I have no regrets, but scaling back and meeting the needs of the entire group is the hardest part of my trips. I don’t know if I described it correctly or not. I think I do this well, but in my head there is a battle going on…

T
 
MidwestMan
senior member (88)senior membersenior member
 
07/07/2022 08:36AM  
sns: "Herding the cats."
A task equal in difficulty as controlling your dreams and nightmares.
 
HangLoose
distinguished member(864)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/07/2022 08:53AM  
It has always been challenging for me to deal with other groups' shenanigans while traveling the Boundary Waters. Sometimes the challenge is finding another group's trash left behind at a campsite. Sometimes the challenge is paddling up on a portage that is blocked with somebody else's gear and canoes and they are nowhere to be seen. Sometimes the challenge is noise pollution from a campsite on the other side of the lake as the sound carries on a calm morning. The list of these types of challenges is extensive, but you get the idea. Over the years, I've learned to overcome these challenges.
 
07/07/2022 10:14AM  
Getting time allocated to a meaningful trip. The commute is not my favorite either, especially after. I have a 9-10 hour drive. It's exciting on the way up, at least.

I've had to squeeze in far too many two night trips. I just lose a day on each side so that's still four days away and I'm not up for leaving at 3:00am anymore. Fine in my 20s, not exciting in my 40s.

With all the other things we like to do, scheduling enough time in the B-dub is my biggest challenge. Looking forward to retirement!
 
missmolly
distinguished member(7326)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/07/2022 11:21AM  
It's the weight. The weight of the canoe and especially if there's no portage trail on Crown Land, as there often isn't. And the weight of the packs. And everything gets heavier every year.

The other challenge is getting into and out of the canoe. There's real peril there and especially because I'm not landing and camping at established campsites, but simply flat places that might not have a safe or cleared landing spot.
 
MikeinMpls
distinguished member(1078)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/07/2022 12:07PM  
As with Miss Molly, as the years go by, things get heavier and I get slower. I am still mobile and strong, but definitely on a downward trajectory.

But mostly, like HangLoose, I have less and less tolerance for other people's bullshit...I have become a curmudgeon. I admit that. I think I am, at my core, saddened by the change in values in respect to the wilderness compared to when I was a boy...mostly having to do with simple consideration. Just one iota of understanding of how voices carry and the impact of noise on others experience. Unless there is an emergency, there is no reason whatsoever that one needs to yell. Police up your campsite. Move your yard sale to the side of the portage. Stop trying to circumvent the permitting process. And be quiet.

Mike
 
thegildedgopher
distinguished member(1390)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/07/2022 01:28PM  
when both my dad and kid backlash their baitcasters on back to back casts and I have to pretend to be patient :)
 
Heyfritty
distinguished member (144)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/07/2022 02:11PM  
thegildedgopher: "when both my dad and kid backlash their baitcasters on back to back casts and I have to pretend to be patient :)"

Winner, winner!
 
Heyfritty
distinguished member (144)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/07/2022 02:12PM  
I agree with a lot of you. I don’t know if you can call it challenging. For me, it’s more like pressure.

The tough part for me is finding fish because my sister loves to fish and this is about the only chance she gets.

I shouldn’t complain though. A bad day of fishing is better than any day at work.

Fritty
 
dschult2
distinguished member (226)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/07/2022 04:48PM  
For me it's the drive. It's 14 hours one way, and I always drive it solo so I need to get a motel before and after. So a five night trip is in reality 7. I love the BW but can reach places like Algonquin and Temagami in a little over half the time so I tend to go there more.
 
ockycamper
distinguished member(949)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/07/2022 05:46PM  
Minnesotian: "
The drive back after the trip is done. "


+1 17 hour drive home
 
KawnipiKid
senior member (69)senior membersenior member
 
07/07/2022 07:10PM  
Heyfritty: "thegildedgopher: "when both my dad and kid backlash their baitcasters on back to back casts and I have to pretend to be patient :)"


Winner, winner!"


Love this. This is not my toughest challenge these days because we don't bait cast. I did learn a lot about my father and a whole new salty lexicon as a boy in the 60s as he straightened out our frequent birdsnests. Why he let us use his red Garcia baitcast reels is still a mystery. I can still see him with a General McArthur corn cob pipe in his mouth biting so hard that I though he'd snap it and swearing out the other side with some truly creative expletives.

My hardest part of the trip is camping the night before entry. In the same site on any other night I'd enjoy things much more. I'm more relaxed that in the distant past but still too twitchy to relax and enjoy a night of car camping. A close second is the drive home.
 
PineKnot
distinguished member(1998)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/07/2022 07:23PM  
Most of my trips are 10-14 day solos, some longer. Two main challenges for me: One is always there; the other once in a while. Always there is trying to reduce total weight of gear and food before each trip....I usually fail and still bring more than necessary. The other challenge is bad weather, really bad weather. Specifically, it's when I experience 3+ days of continuous sustained wind over 15 mph and/or 3+ days of continuous rain....weather like that is a pain to say the least....
 
Duckman
distinguished member (496)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/07/2022 09:49PM  
I’ve gone to Frost a half dozen times, all out of Sawbill.

The Bdub gods know it and sit patiently waiting for me to head back in and then blow a big nasty south wind for me to fight against down the long length of Sawbill.

It just sucks the will and good vibes out of me. I don’t think a north wind is possible on that lake.
 
straighthairedcurly
distinguished member(1515)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/07/2022 10:01PM  
Getting my legs to come back to life after a long paddle. Getting older stinks!
 
07/07/2022 10:09PM  
The first portage and the last portage are always the hardest, it doesn't matter how long or difficult they are. The first because your never really ready physically and the last because the trip is over.
 
lundojam
distinguished member(2621)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/08/2022 06:29AM  
With age, the stiffness of sitting in the canoe gets more, um, noticeable. I shout "OLD" every time I get out of the boat.
 
07/08/2022 08:16AM  
thegildedgopher: "when both my dad and kid backlash their baitcasters on back to back casts and I have to pretend to be patient :)"

You forgot…AND the fish are biting like crazy…by the time you fix the messes the bite has died down :)
 
MidwestMan
senior member (88)senior membersenior member
 
07/08/2022 08:39AM  
timatkn: "Doing too much…knowing when to back off…I like a physical challenge and testing myself. I’d single portage a mile portage not because I need to but just to see if I can…then the next time, could I do it faster more efficiently. It’s hard to explain because it isn’t like I am competitive…if you are faster and can carry more I wouldn’t be jealous, probably impressed but not jealous…if you are slower who cares as long as you enjoy the trip. It’s more of a competitive with myself. How can I be more efficient? But it’s a balancing point of liking to push yourself but not taking unneeded risk or pushing others that don’t enjoy it and ruining their trip. I also want to go to lakes no else has been too as well…that usually means harder portages.

Bringing my two young boys and my wife…I can say they like easy. :) Sometimes you have to go with the majority.

An example I can give is on a trip with my wife. We had a PMA addition to our permit and we’re going to go to BakeKana lake off of Wisini. As we started to do the bushwhack, I could tell Sara just wasn’t feeling it. As much as it killed me, I said, “We don’t have to do this.” She immediately took the out.

If I would have kept my mouth shut, I am sure we would have made it, but would she ever go back? I have no regrets, but scaling back and meeting the needs of the entire group is the hardest part of my trips. I don’t know if I described it correctly or not. I think I do this well, but in my head there is a battle going on…

T"


T,

I relate to your response quite a bit. I’m about to turn 30 in September but I still love the grind of a physical challenge. Just to see if I can do it. I don’t take unnecessary risks and it’s by no means a way of showing off. And, as you said, it’s also not a competitive thing between me and whoever else. It’s 100% internal. Thanks for sharing.
 
mmrocker13
distinguished member (131)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/08/2022 12:00PM  
Getting older. It gets harder year by year to do all the things we used to do with ease when we were younger... and the reminder that some day, we will have to do things dramatically differently to be able to go, is always sobering.
 
Canoearoo
distinguished member(2550)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/08/2022 12:19PM  
Storms at night
 
07/08/2022 01:38PM  
Shaking off a hangover on the last morning to pack up camp, paddle, portage, and drive back to civilization. No fun.
 
07/08/2022 02:12PM  
I've read this thread thus far, sometimes nodding my head in agreement, sometimes shaking my head in disbelief. (a hangover? really? the last place I would want to be intoxicated enough for a hangover would be in the BW.) And as I read, my reply kept changing.

In my 20's, the most challenging part of a wilderness trip was lack of confidence. Having to rely upon one other person to know what to do, to be stronger than I, and to keep us safe.

In my 30's, the most challenging part was just the logistics. Planning the meals, packing the right amount of gear, being sure there were enough snacks, worrying about insulin, syringes, test strips, Glucagon, and whether Spartan1 would have a debilitating insulin reaction out where there was no one but me to help. What I would do if he were unable to help us get back out?

In my 40's the most challenging part became more about my own health. I developed osteoarthritis prematurely, actually in my early 40's. Aching joints accompanied every trip and my challenge was not to complain, not to be slow and cumbersome, and not to let it stop me from the adventure. About this time our trips became longer, and that actually made it easier for me, as my body adjusted to the change in sleep environment and activity.

In my 50's the most challenging part was beginning to realize that this wouldn't last forever. We were having a trip every year by this time, and most were 9-10 days. I was wearing knee braces and taking pain pills. Spartan1 was on the kidney diet (low sodium, low protein, low potassium) and meal planning was a nightmare. We knew that he would either end up with a transplant or he would be on dialysis for years and our opportunities would slip away. There was a feeling of desperation about getting in a trip every year, and I think we enjoyed them more during this period than at any time.

In my 60's it was a bit of a roller-coaster. '05 was a wonderful 11-day trip, and then '06 was a trip that gave us a physical scare for me. (Can't go into it, but it is all in the Elephant Trip trip report.) '07 gave us a nice little trip on Pine Lake, and then in '08 Spartan1 was on peritoneal dialysis. After his kidney transplant in '09, we had four more good trips, and in 2013 I realized that I no longer had the mobility to do this kind of travel. That trip wasn't pleasant. We were done.

The things in the thread that I nodded about: storms at night, irritation at rude people met along the way, all of the various aspects of getting older (stiffness, pain, inability to get out of the canoe smoothly, and I would add clumsiness on slippery rocks and difficult landings.) I would also add paddling in whitecaps. I did it, and for the most part I did OK, but windy days were a challenge for me.

The things I didn't associate with: anything to do with fishing.

And the things I really didn't agree with: mainly the comments about the drive to and from. We always made the drive from wherever we lived (Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan) to the canoe country and back a "vacation". When we had the kids with us to drop them off at our friends' home in Minneapolis, we would camp along the way to and from. Later we found hotels and restaurants that we loved and they became "traditional". We tried different routes (across the U. P., or across the northern shore of Superior, or through Chicago and Wisconsin), so it didn't become boring. It was all a part of the adventure.

We miss it. We miss the adventure of it, the new routes, seeing lakes we haven't seen before. We miss the portages and we miss the campsites. But we don't miss the canoe country, because we still return every summer and stay in a cabin for a week. I will be 77 on Sunday, and I just had my "fix" of canoe country lakes, rocks, trails, forests, and loon calls last month. Also, as our granddaughter kept saying, it was a "five moose trip!!!", so we felt like we hit the jackpot.
 
07/08/2022 03:01PM  
For me it's the week before we enter. We've gone on so many trips that we procrastinate on packing until the last minute. Then I end up pushing it to the last minute to leave home for the 6 hour drive. However, once we do push off from the landing I find it pretty easy to leave the troubles behind.
 
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next

Community Links


 Poll: Should we keep trip reports in the listening point forum?
(114 responses)