BWCA Advice South from Saganaga EP 55 4 day Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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07/25/2022 03:10PM  
This is my first time anywhere but the west side--typical trips crab/cummings or Little Indian Sioux north where we have always had great experiences. Short notice and only permit I can get is Saganaga. We are a group of 4, moderately strong pretty experienced and like to travel good half days, 5 or 6 hours. We definitely are up for difficult portages especially when that is a way to access more solitude. We are not experienced at fishing at all--open to it but not focussed on it. Preferences are definitely for beauty, wildlife, and as much solitude as is realistic (definitely not a fan of motorized lakes).Reading about routes from Saganaga, I am thinking of staying away from the western loops to Knife etc because they all sound and look very densely traveled. I am wondering about doing a loop headed via Seagull south to Paulson, Gillis, then west (gabimichigami) and back to Seagull. It looks as if there are lots of options in this area. Does anyone have any advice/experience? A lot of it is through burn territory; I've never experienced that and it sounds interesting and perhaps mesmerizing and perhaps melancholy; I know there's been a lot of new growth but don't know whether four days of that will feel depressing or whether there is still a lot of beauty and green to cheer us up. I also know there are a couple of beast portages eg the SeaGull to Paulson. If we are up for that is this a promising plan or would you advise against the whole idea? Thanks!!
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distinguished member(5676)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
07/25/2022 07:53PM  
Some info here. Trip report
distinguished member(991)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/25/2022 08:56PM  
Your proposed route would violate the terms of your permit.

You have a permit to ENTER the BWCAW from EP 55. That permit is typically used for (1) camping on Sag, (2) continuing into the Quetico or (3) portaging out of Sag, in the latter case often looping back through Seagull and out from there.

You do not have a permit to RE-ENTER the BWCAW. Once you’re out, you’re out until you have a new permit.

“ BWCAW Rules and Regulations
You must enter the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) at the entry point and on the date shown on your permit.
You may not enter/re-enter at a different point or date using this permit.
Permit and stubs become invalid when the trip leader exits the wilderness.”

BWCAW Rules and Regulations

07/25/2022 10:41PM  
Ah. I hadn’t recognized that the looping back into Seagull the most direct way would require exiting and re entering—I see that now, thanks for pointing it out. Wasn’t trying to break the rules, just haven’t planned a route near those zig zagging borders before so didn’t think of it. That may sound idiotic but it’s true. Regardless I think I’ve realized we couldn’t do the loop I had in mind in our time frame even had we had a permit allowing entry, eg from Seagull, so the point is moot and we will look for a good westward loop. But again thanks for the response.
distinguished member(991)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/26/2022 06:09AM  
It’s not at all “idiotic” - I think you’ve had a lot of company in that over the years.
distinguished member(1943)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/31/2022 12:14PM  
Your idea works fine if you take Sag to Red Rock, down through Alpine, into Seagull and then to the portage to Paulson (that one is a lot of uphill). We also had a lot of impassable trees that required passing the canoe over, but the views are unbeatable so take time to turn around and look at Seagull. Then you could complete your loop through Gabi, Ogish, back into Seagull and out the short way. Or do the loop in reverse and end with the Paulson portage into Seagull. Some challenging portages in that area, but beautiful!
08/02/2022 01:44PM  
I would not be to worried about the boarder route out of Big Sag to the west. At this time of the year the only places you will run into traffic are the Swamp Lake and Monument Portages. In fact, I would recommend it.

If you are looking to get away from other people, Take Big Sag and head west into Ottertrack Lake, then swing south into Ester and Hansen. From there, if you are looking to stay secluded, you can go into Cherry, Topaz, and Amoeber (which is one of my favorite lakes).
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