BWCA 47 or 49? Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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sueb2b
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08/10/2022 08:31PM  
I'm considering a first trip off the Gunflint. Was looking at going in on 47 or 49 (Lizz/Swamp or Skipper/Portage), and heading over towards Frost.

Any thoughts on the two entry points?
 
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08/10/2022 08:52PM  
49 will be a much tougher route. Not bad getting to Banadad, but from there down to Long Island thru Cave, Sebeka...those portages are a little more challenging.
08/10/2022 09:06PM  
We went to Lizz in May...loved it! I haven't been to Skipper. Several trip reports to read for more info, pics, etc.
sueb2b
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08/10/2022 10:23PM  
Yeah, I’ve started reading the trip reports.

But figured I’d also ask here.

What’s the challenge on the portages? Distance? Steepness? Both?
08/10/2022 11:07PM  
They have a little of everything and while not being super long individually, they feel tougher and longer because the lakes are small, short paddles, so it feels like back to back to back portaging.
08/10/2022 11:15PM  
A little about Lizz...we were there for a dozen days in May. We did the loop over to Ogema (Omega) along the smaller lakes to the north and then returned via Winchell. Lots of beautiful scenery, plenty of variety for fishing options, moose, and comparatively shorter portages throughout. There is a great video report showcasing the area.
TuscaroraBorealis
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08/11/2022 07:09AM  
Regarding the Skipper route, I agree with cowdoc.

The portages between Banadad and Long Island are the challenge. They are all moderately long and each provide other challenges but, none of them are terrible. I think it's the fact that to get to another legal campsite you have to commit to do all 4 of them. But, if you want to get away from the (relative) craziness of Lizz, this is a much less congested route.

If you haven't seen it already heres my trip report through that area.

Rainy day people
sueb2b
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08/11/2022 09:26AM  
The length is definitely an issue. But I do like missing out on busier spots.

Appreciate the link.
Northwoodsman
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08/11/2022 07:02PM  
I have never used #49 but #47 is a breeze. With only 3 permits allowed a day, it's not crowded at all. I have used that EP many times and have never been at any portage going the same direction as another group. I have met groups coming the other way however but never more than one at a time.
08/11/2022 09:23PM  
sueb2b: "The length is definitely an issue. But I do like missing out on busier spots.


Appreciate the link. "


If you are looking for solitude you'll generally find it after longer portages or more paddling. That said, taking the smaller lakes from 47 starting at Caribou and on thru to Ogema (Omega) was lonely territory. We saw one other group in the four days we lingered through there. While on Caribou, Horseshoe, Gaskin, and Ogema, we saw a couple of groups every day but mostly folks passing in the distance.

What time of year are you planning to go?
08/12/2022 11:40AM  
If you enter at Lizz and go through Allen, Pillsbury, and Hensen to get to Omega you have more solitude than going through Horseshoe and Gaskin and will be easier than entering at Skipper.

That being said. Entering at Skipper and exiting at Lizz is on my bucket list for trips I haven’t done.
08/18/2022 05:38PM  
Went in solo through Skipper this July after a good rain. For a mile long portage, it's relatively easy even doubling. For example it's nothing compared to Tusc. Camped on Banadad. Skipper and Banadad are pretty in my opinion, but Rush is not. No experience traveling between Banadad and Long Island.
jillpine
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08/18/2022 06:23PM  
sueb2b: "What’s the challenge on the portages? Distance? Steepness? Both?"

Neither. But they are bouldery. Exactly as TB said - once you start, you’re committed. And Long Island is a hub lake with a lot of traffic at times. You think it’s “remote” because you’ve just busted hump to get there from Banadad, but it’s a hub lake. I’ve been skunked on it in 2020. And then you’re in the heart of the Laurentian, with pretty rough options, but really cool place.

Skipper is good fishing. Nice lake and lovely single site. Rush may not be pretty (burned in ham lake fire) but the habitat is just terrific for June 1 - July 15 birdwatching. Good fishing. Efforts were taken in ham lake fire to save the north site. Beautiful, old growth white pine in that special site.
Ski trail passes through portages from Banadad on the through the chain of lakes to Long Island Lake.
TreeBear
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08/19/2022 03:41PM  
I also can recommend EP 49 simply for the quiet. And 47 isn't necessarily a cakewalk going west to Frost either. Definitely easier going west as the Misquah/Kiskadinna portage is downhill that way.

Unless your intent is to swing down to Winchell, I would say it's totally a wash. Just the choice between quiet or less so. That said, I have only ever taken 49 without gear when a buddy and I did a 29 mile "day trip" to Lizz/Poplar, so my recollection of those last portages before Long Island may be skewed.

Now, I have also always been intrigued by the backdoor option coming in Iron via One Island. Even quieter yet and the same permit as 49...
sueb2b
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08/20/2022 11:59AM  
Now, I have also always been intrigued by the backdoor option coming in Iron via One Island. Even quieter yet and the same permit as 49..."

I'll have to take a look at the map.

I decided to start on 49. I looked at the long portage day. It'll be an early start, to be sure.
08/20/2022 08:22PM  
TreeBear: "I also can recommend EP 49 simply for the quiet. And 47 isn't necessarily a cakewalk going west to Frost either. Definitely easier going west as the Misquah/Kiskadinna portage is downhill that way.


Unless your intent is to swing down to Winchell, I would say it's totally a wash. Just the choice between quiet or less so. That said, I have only ever taken 49 without gear when a buddy and I did a 29 mile "day trip" to Lizz/Poplar, so my recollection of those last portages before Long Island may be skewed.


Now, I have also always been intrigued by the backdoor option coming in Iron via One Island. Even quieter yet and the same permit as 49..."


A 29 mile day trip deserves its own post! Did you write a trip report? Sounds like an epic story.
sueb2b
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09/15/2022 07:42PM  
I will say it was an adventure going Banadad to Long Island. But I made it. Even saw a moose on Cave Lake, which almost makes me forget how miserable some of those portages were. Almost. But I did get over 38k steps in thanks to double and sometimes 2-1/2 portages.
TuscaroraBorealis
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09/15/2022 09:02PM  
sueb2b: "I will say it was an adventure going Banadad to Long Island. But I made it. Even saw a moose on Cave Lake, which almost makes me forget how miserable some of those portages were. Almost. But I did get over 38k steps in thanks to double and sometimes 2-1/2 portages. "

Thanks for taking the time to report back!

Define "adventure" :)
sueb2b
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09/15/2022 11:03PM  
I will when I have > 2% power and more than 1 bar of connection.
 
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