BWCA Advice for solo in at Fall Lake Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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JC007
member (5)member
 
08/13/2022 06:46PM  
Greetings all!

This will be my second solo trip, but first to Fall Lake area.

I would love some advice on where to go. That area is much more extensive than Gabbro and overwhelming to plan.

I've been scouring the maps and contemplating going all the way up to the tip of Basswood to campsite 1622, but then saw the route into the back bay leading down into Good Lake as an alternative option.

I prefer to find a great campsite and day journey from there to fish and explore. BUT - This may be the time to break that paradigm? I'm also a fan of seclusion.

My trip is this Sep - entry 5th exit 12th.

There are only a couple other permits still left on the 5th if this one isn't a good choice - Moose and Snowbank and some others too far out.

Any and all advice welcome on campsites, fishing spots, and routes to other lakes.

Thanks in advance!
 
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08/13/2022 07:40PM  
Enjoy the planning, JC, it's what I'm doing now too!

The only part of your route I'm familiar with is if you drop down into Good Lake. If you are interested in changing up your routine, perhaps arrange to leave your vehicle at the Wood Lake entry point and then shuttle over to Fall Lake. I would suggest you go from Basswood into Indiana, then back to Good, Hula, and Wood Lake. The entire route would be less than 25 miles. I would prefer to stay at two different sites if I did that route but you may be able to do it by staying at one. Indiana seems to be less traveled than Good Lake and the western site is ideal for a soloist, in my opinion. I also think Indiana has the better fishing but with me it's more about luck! :)

Anyway, plenty of options for you to explore. If you do decide to go this way, or if you would like more information, I'm happy to share. There are also some excellent trip reports on the Wood/Good/Indiana lakes.
JC007
member (5)member
 
08/13/2022 08:28PM  
YetiJedi -

Thanks for the reply and advice. I've been eyeing those lakes, particularly Good Lake. My only concern is too few sites and too many campers. Also, I'm camping at Fall Lake campground on the 4th - so my car will be there for my early as possible start.

If I went that route, I would plan to stop at the bottom of back bay and day trip to Good and/or Indiana, the portage to Good being kinder/gentler according to reports. Not many new ones on the Indiana portage.

If the sites were open during a day trek, then I would chance going in and staying. I'll likely be double portaging so that's a logistics headache and time suck as well.

Is the campsite on Indiana right on the portage? It looks very close on the map.
08/13/2022 08:47PM  
Day trips into Indiana and Good are great options and make sense. Yes, the better of the two campgrounds on Indiana is very close to the portage. I have not been on that portage in several years and I'm not remembering anything remarkable about it one way or the other. The campground on Good in the narrows is really nice with flat tent pads, beautiful elevated views, and good fishing from camp. Since you are solo, any of the campgrounds would work just fine, in my opinion.

Good luck sorting through the logistics of creating an ideal adventure. :)
08/13/2022 09:14PM  
A few pics of Good to get you excited!

The view from the firepit from the campground in the narrows.



The view of Good Lake from a tent pad in the campground in the narrows.



The view of Good Lake from the firepit on the easternmost campground.

08/13/2022 09:18PM  
A few of Indiana...lake of the beautifully clear water! Wish I had a photo of the clear water to share.

The first is of the lake from the camp near the portage. The next one is the firepit in the same camp. The third is the start of the marshy stream out of Indiana to Wind Bay.




JC007
member (5)member
 
08/14/2022 05:33PM  
Wow - those are inspiring pics! I hope I'm lucky enough to land a campsite back there!

Have you ever taken the Good Creek route into the lake? Just wondering if it's still a viable inlet given the low waters I saw last year. Otherwise, the portage on the north end looks easy enough. Those going into Indiana have some remarks of tricky and overgrown/unused/poorly maintained.

I'm thinking if I can manage to get into Good and find a campsite, day trip to Indiana will be the plan. That clear water sure is a beautiful sight and will be hard to pass up!

Off topic - the canoe in your pics (OT Penobscot?) - do you solo in that? I'm debating my choice this year. I used the Wenonah Prism last year and didn't like the way it handled. Too squirrely in the wind and hard to track straight without constantly switching sides with the paddle. I can handle a 16' alumacraft solo but I would prefer something lighter that handled similarly. Plus the keel helps it track better and not drift in the wind as easily.
08/14/2022 06:52PM  
A couple of responses...

1) Yes, Good creek is usually a viable option. Later in the year, though, it can have lots of lily pads. I've been on it twice and once we had to work through some beaver activity but it wasn't difficult. Since you'll go by the creek before the portage, give it a look and see what you think. I made it through both times. My only hesitancy was the flooding earlier this year has changed a lot of places, both the power of the initial floods and the subsequent beaver activity. It's a cool paddle through there!

2) Day trip to Indiana would work great. If you have the time, a day trip to Hula might be nice too. It's a shallow lake with beautiful wild rice growing. If you paddle over to the portage into Wood there is a gorgeous little pond my daughters sure enjoy - pic below.

3) The red canoe in the pic is a Souris River Quetico 18.5 - 3 person craft so no, I don't solo in that one. :) I have soloed in my Wenonah Boundary Waters which is a lot of boat for one person, or at least for this person. Now I use my Wenonah Basswood and it works great for me.

Incidentally, I am hoping to launch on a solo trip on 9/5 too. Headed into LISN and looking forward to the trip! Just need the stars to align with work and family. :)


JC007
member (5)member
 
08/16/2022 01:26PM  
I'm still on the fence for canoe choice. I'm going to lean away from the alumacraft due to weight - gets to be too much to portage after a while.

A couple more questions:

In your experience, how popular is the Basswood back bay, Good and Indiana lake area? I'm calculating odds of getting one of the few campsites back there against the 13 mile journey in.

Also, thinking of the wind that usually settles in for the fall, how is the open water of Pipestone Bay when the wind is blowing? Is it navigable solo or is it too rough so a shore route is needed?

I haven't done LIS North since early 90s. Lower Pauness Lake campsite on the peninsula was a choice spot. That was also back in the day when the crowds were smaller and solitude was common. Enjoy that journey....
08/16/2022 07:41PM  
Hey JC, A few thoughts on your questions:

1) I've been thru the Wood Lake entry point five times in three years and I've only seen one campsite taken for one night on Good...that's after you get past Wood Lake which gets plenty of use. I've never seen anyone camping on Indiana but groups have passed through. Three of those trips in May, one in June, and one in July...so the fall might be different. That said, you never know what you'll find which is part of the adventure, as you well know.

2) I've only been on Basswood once and just momentarily coming out of Good. Didn't see anyone else but that really doesn't mean anything. Others would have a better answer for you regarding what to expect.

3) I'm a shore hugger most of the time regardless of wind. I enjoy watching the shoreline for birds, animals, etc. It's also easier for me to measure time and distance but I really enjoy seeing everything along the way. Like any paddling conditions or circumstances, your abilities and comfort level matter most. When I'm solo I would say I'm more cautious than most especially on big water. Yes, it is certainly navigable and, at the same time, fall winds are no joke. I know there are plenty of people who paddle the big water solo and I admire their skills and courage. :)

For my LISN trip I'm hoping to make it to Little Loon on the first day, conditions permitting, and then spend some time exploring the little lakes north of the PMA. Still putting together the details. :)

JC007
member (5)member
 
08/16/2022 08:02PM  
YetiJedi -

I really appreciate your time and input. Thanks for your thoughts.

I tend to be in the same "boat" as you when it comes to being a bit cautious when solo in open water. I sidelined myself a lot last year on Gabbro due to winds and the fact the canoe was eating my lunch on the open water in stronger/steady winds! Forget fishing in that wind let alone trying to get across open water without having a heart attack.

I, too, appreciate the shoreline adventure and view - the only set back is doing that will add a significant amount of distance to my trek. I will pray for favorable conditions and plenty of strength and energy. Maybe on the way out I can shoot straight and follow the shore back in. Forecast winds are predominantly from the south. We shall see....

I hope fall keeps pace with your summer experiences on Good/Indiana. I'd relish being the only camper on either. I truly enjoy the solitude - and right now is a good time for some of that!

Your LIS trek sounds epic and that region looks like a sure winner for solitude. I never got that far north - Rocky Lake was it for me. That one campsite on there was nice - and having a whole lake to yourself is priceless. I hope you find something similar in those little lakes.

Safe travels!
oldguide
Guest Paddler
 
08/16/2022 09:24PM  
The campsite on Indiana can actually be reached from the portage. It is a nice spot, but times I have camped there tourists have wandered in either accidentally or on purpose. Good is a better bet for camping, then you can get to Indiana on a day trip. I am always leery of smaller lakes with only a few campsites that are that close in as sometimes they can be chancy and if you get a spot you may end up sharing it with some group that likes to play tunes into the wee hours of the night. Story of the day: once a friend and I on our day off went to Indiana over the Four Mile Portage carrying a whole chocolate cake to eat from the old Barbara Ann bakery. Coming back we carried the Four Mile at midnight with the Northern Lights overhead. Of course now the portage is overgrown. Back in the day Bill Rom had a boat named the Becky Boo (after daughter Becky) on Fall Lake to carry folks to and from the Four Mile. If you are still open, there are lots of options off Moose.
08/16/2022 09:53PM  
oldguide: "The campsite on Indiana can actually be reached from the portage. It is a nice spot, but times I have camped there tourists have wandered in either accidentally or on purpose. Good is a better bet for camping, then you can get to Indiana on a day trip. I am always leery of smaller lakes with only a few campsites that are that close in as sometimes they can be chancy and if you get a spot you may end up sharing it with some group that likes to play tunes into the wee hours of the night. Story of the day: once a friend and I on our day off went to Indiana over the Four Mile Portage carrying a whole chocolate cake to eat from the old Barbara Ann bakery. Coming back we carried the Four Mile at midnight with the Northern Lights overhead. Of course now the portage is overgrown. Back in the day Bill Rom had a boat named the Becky Boo (after daughter Becky) on Fall Lake to carry folks to and from the Four Mile. If you are still open, there are lots of options off Moose. "

Chocolate cake and northern lights...epic combination for a BWCA adventure!
08/16/2022 09:55PM  
JC007: "YetiJedi -


I really appreciate your time and input. Thanks for your thoughts.


I tend to be in the same "boat" as you when it comes to being a bit cautious when solo in open water. I sidelined myself a lot last year on Gabbro due to winds and the fact the canoe was eating my lunch on the open water in stronger/steady winds! Forget fishing in that wind let alone trying to get across open water without having a heart attack.


I, too, appreciate the shoreline adventure and view - the only set back is doing that will add a significant amount of distance to my trek. I will pray for favorable conditions and plenty of strength and energy. Maybe on the way out I can shoot straight and follow the shore back in. Forecast winds are predominantly from the south. We shall see....


I hope fall keeps pace with your summer experiences on Good/Indiana. I'd relish being the only camper on either. I truly enjoy the solitude - and right now is a good time for some of that!


Your LIS trek sounds epic and that region looks like a sure winner for solitude. I never got that far north - Rocky Lake was it for me. That one campsite on there was nice - and having a whole lake to yourself is priceless. I hope you find something similar in those little lakes.


Safe travels!"


You are most welcome! I've been primarily a consumer of information and wisdom from others on this site and I'm happy to share a few of my experiences when I can.

Safe and solitary travels to you too!
 
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