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AdamXChicago
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08/29/2022 12:00PM  
Lots of chatter on the RABC thread about Kahsh portages. Didn’t want to hijack. We will be base camping on Kahsh in a couple of weeks. First visit for me to Kahsh. Will be doing a loop via PP. Wanted to know which option, based on most recent information, would be easiest trek: portage into Kahsh from Yum Yum; from McNiece; or from no name (Side Lake?) at southwest corner of Kahsh. Thanks.

Also, any Kahsh fishing hotspots would be appreciated. Email me directly if you don’t want those secrets out ;-)

AdamX
 
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Gaidin53
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08/29/2022 12:43PM  
Kahsahpiwi portages have been maintained now as of August on the South end. When I was planning to do this I was told I just needed to pick my poison. Yum Yum to Kahsahpiwi is pretty tough but has some nice views on top. McNiece to Kahsahpiwi is supposed to be pretty tough as well with I think more mud. Either one is going to be tough. I personally had planned on doing Yum Yum to Kahsahpiwi.

Unnamed lake to Grey Lake people have issues with. People basically take the wrong fork and portage back into Unnamed again and then have to portage it twice. You have to cross the swamp section across. Do your research on this and be prepared.

We ended up doing the S chain and then crossing over to Trant lake and then into Kahsahpiwi in the North. Those were some tough portages as well but at least we knew they had been maintained! I just fished some from our campsite that night so no fishing tips available from me.

Ryan
Banksiana
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08/29/2022 02:42PM  
Best option is either from the south (via Side Lake) or YumYum. McNeice and YumYum in general similar in degree of difficulty of terrain however the fires in the McNeice area in 2011 have created heavy undergrowth making footing on the portage quite difficult. In general YumYum is more heavily traveled and the forest it passes through is much more open. I queried Jason at the ranger station at Prairie Portage about the condition of the route from Side but he did not have any current intel. On the Side Lake side (unnamed north of Side) the portage begins with a beaver pond below a tremendous cliff. If the beavers have cooperated you can paddle this pond beneath the cliff and the giant talus pile back into the corner of the western shore to pick up the portage. If the beavers are not cooperative there is a trail along the eastern shore that includes a long bog crossing with (the last time I did it three or four years ago) relatively shoddy corduroy and deep nearly bottomless muck if you step off of it. The rest of the portage is long but pretty easy. I must stress that since the regrowth from the 2011 fires (there are very few large pines remaining on the McNeice end of the portage) the McNeice portage is quite drastically different than it was previous to the fires. It used to be a long and quite beautiful walk in the park with a couple of short very technical sections and was one of my favorite treks. Now I find it quite difficult and taxing, a very slow (though still beautiful) trek in which nearly every footstep is uncertain.


Photo is from beaver pond in happy times (2015).

One thing to consider in route planning is that the portages between North Bay and Side Lake were generally clearer and easier to travel than the portages between North Bay and McNeice (especially the stretch after Shade)
I traveled from North Bay to Kashsahpiwi via McNeice last week and finished out of Sarah via Side. The portages from Side out were the clearest of my trip.
08/29/2022 02:44PM  
The southwest entry may be your "easiest" entry, relatively speaking if you can skirt the bog. Two-thirds of that trail is on solid ground and winds its way through the woods to the small put-in on the south of Kahsh.

The portage out of McNiece isn't bad. If I recall when I did it, the portage starts on a solid granite take-out and hikes you into a lot of tall Norway pines up over a hill. You'll drop down through the forest to a small, boggy area that may or may not have some blowdowns (these may have been cleared since I was last through there). You'll eventually gently climb a ledge of granite which flattens out and then dives back into the woods while descending to a slope of granite for the put-in. That last section is maybe 10 to 20rods? It's do-able if you had to go that way.

I haven't done the Yum Yum portage and I have no plans to do so :)
Banksiana
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08/29/2022 03:32PM  
Thought I should add that though the bog at the Side Lake entry to Kahshahpiwi can be difficult and mucky that beaver pond with the tremendous cliffs that run all the way to the lake is one of the most spectacular parts of the park- simply beautiful.
marsonite
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08/29/2022 04:55PM  
Banksiana: "Thought I should add that though the bog at the Side Lake entry to Kahshahpiwi can be difficult and mucky that beaver pond with the tremendous cliffs that run all the way to the lake is one of the most spectacular parts of the park- simply beautiful."

I agree. I think that is one of the most scenic areas in the whole Quetico-Superior.
billconner
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08/29/2022 05:59PM  
I've done all four, none recently. Side with and without benefit of beaver pond. Sentimentally, I like Side. It was a first trip with mostly newbies. That was first of 3 or 4.

I rather like the Trant Lake route and in it's more northern access to Agnes. I would like to do it again, and camp between Kahsh and Agnes.

Yum Yum portage has a great rest or lunch spot midway, with a great overlook. Well worth it IMHO. But early in the day. (A lot of downfall when I did it, and learned the canoes could surf across downed pine trees while I scrambled underneath.)

McNiece was touted as having some great old growth pines. I never saw them. One nearly vertical piece of portage.

They all have attributes worth experiencing. Any portage at 9:00 am is easy or not bad. Any portage at 5:00 pm is very hard.
Gaidin53
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08/30/2022 09:24AM  
Trant Lake was really a lake worth seeing. I would have liked to camp on it but we needed to get further along on route. We ate lunch in the 4* to 5* campsite on the point mid lake and I had a really hard time not stopping for the day.

The two portages with a load the canoe and paddle in the middle from Trant to Kahsahpiwi was challenging. More just due to being confusing about where to go and what you were supposed to do. Luckily I had read some things prior and remembered them.

Ryan
OldGreyGoose
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08/30/2022 10:45AM  
Don't know if it matters to you but the Kash-McNiece portage area burned (again) in 2021.

--Goose
Banksiana
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08/30/2022 10:51AM  
OldGreyGoose: "Don't know if it matters to you but the Kash-McNiece portage area burned (again) in 2021.

--Goose "

Not true. The shading on the map you posted is from the 2006 and 2011 fires.
08/30/2022 02:08PM  
Did the Kash-McNiece in 2014. Lots of fire damage still very visible....mostly on McNiece end. It was a tough one then, hate to think what thick undergrowth has done to it. We took it cuz it was suppose to be easier than Yum Yum. I recall thinking if this was the easier portage, what must the Yum Yum be like.
OldGreyGoose
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08/30/2022 02:44PM  
I apologize for the post saying it burned again. I didn't realize the map was showing old burns.--Goose
OldGreyGoose
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08/30/2022 02:44PM  
I apologize for the post saying it burned again. I didn't realize that PP was showing old burns.--Goose
OldGreyGoose
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08/30/2022 02:44PM  
I apologize for the post saying it burned again. I didn't realize that PP was showing old burns.--Goose
GraniteCliffs
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09/05/2022 03:46PM  
I have always preferred the Yum Yum route. It is a long portage but it is reliable. Seems faster than the McNeice route and eliminates the uncertainty over the Side Lake crapshoot. At least it used to be.
I do think those boulders Banks referenced are wonderful. Except once after the portage was flooded we had to portage over them. Not fun. The last time we went that way.
I also have a good memory of the Yum Yum. I was with the young guys I worked with 10-15 years ago. We paddled from PP to Rose Island on day one. Then toward Chatterton before we turned around and went to Sark. Headed down Kash on day three and did some fishing. Decided we were too tired to go much further and looked for a site on Kash. The Grand Hotel as we refer to it half way down was taken as were the two sites on the island. We went to the very bottom of Kash and nothing was open or desirable. In the last bay before Yum Yum we stumbled across a dusty, low, flea bitten site. Two of the guys were absolutely done it by this time.
However, two of us were not happy with the site. We decided to "explore" while they napped. We grabbed a Duluth Pack and paddled to the portage. I knew the campsite on Yum Yum was far superior to where we had stopped.
Across we went carrying the canoe and pack. I showed the guy I was with the campsite and he was quickly convinced.
We left the pack at the campsite and headed back to Kash.
On our return we found our two mates still snoozing. Imagine how happy they were when we said the other site was better. Then we told them we left a pack there....
They agreed to go and off we went again, wanting to beat the sunset but wanting to eat and swim also.
Long story short they liked the site, were glad we moved and have camped there several times since.
Sometimes you just need to work hard to get your reward.
campnfish
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09/05/2022 06:43PM  
Heading in on the 23rd from PP, never been to this park of the park, plan on taking yum yum unless something changes. Could someone point out some preferred campsites on kash.
Gaidin53
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09/05/2022 10:57PM  
Red flag 4* 5* campsites
Blue is 3*
Yellow is 1*2* avoid campsites

Island Campsite I stayed in on the North end was really nice. You can tell by our tracks. Had a tree cracked off and hung up in another tree though that is going to fall on one of the nicest fire pit cooking areas I’ve seen.

Ryan


campnfish
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09/05/2022 11:47PM  
Thanks Ryan this is a big help.
Springer2
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09/07/2022 01:44PM  
Here are a few shots of the Side>No Name>Kahsh portage and Kashahpiwi Lake itself from a few years ago. As others have mentioned, that portage, flooded or not, is one of the most beautiful in the park.
AdamXChicago
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09/07/2022 07:35PM  
Springer2: " Here are a few shots of the Side>No Name>Kahsh portage and Kashahpiwi Lake itself from a few years ago. As others have mentioned, that portage, flooded or not, is one of the most beautiful in the park.
"


Thanks everyone (awesome photos Springer2). Looks like we’ll be taking Yum Yum in and Side out. Really appreciate all the feedback. What a great forum!

AdamX
campnfish
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09/07/2022 08:21PM  
Adam, when you putting in?
AdamXChicago
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09/07/2022 10:42PM  
campnfish: "Adam, when you putting in?"

Going in on the 13th; exiting on the 21st.
GraniteCliffs
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09/11/2022 11:10AM  
What a view from the Grand Hotel on Kash as we call it. Nondescript from the water but great from the top of the campsite.
campnfish
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09/15/2022 09:29PM  
Any concern with the creek between North Bay and South Lake being too low to paddle?

Gaidin53
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09/16/2022 12:22AM  
Not an expert opinion by any means. I was through that area on July 9th. I don’t think I remember any beaver dams that we had to cross. Overall water level seemed more than decent at that time but the issue was high water at that time. I paddled Nina Moose lake and out on Moose River first week of August and I’d say water levels and make up of the area was similar that channel in Quetico. Water is obviously down a bit since those times though. I did the Horse River in the BWCA end of August and the beginning half wasn’t much fun with rock gardens and unmarked portages.

We had one tricky portage that wasn’t where it was marked on our maps, map chip, or other overlays. West Lake to the Unnamed lake North of it going towards Shade lake. It was obviously the portage once we found it but it was not even close to where marked on the map. I’ll include some photos. The blue line is our track from that day.

Ryan


09/16/2022 12:10PM  
campnfish: "Any concern with the creek between North Bay and South Lake being too low to paddle?


"


I’ve had to get out and walk with the canoe before. It’s a hard firm bottom so shouldn’t be an issue.
cburton103
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09/19/2022 01:35PM  
GraniteCliffs: "What a view from the Grand Hotel on Kash as we call it. Nondescript from the water but great from the top of the campsite."

I've seen pictures of that campsite, but I can't quite make out which one it is on the map. I'd love to stay there on my next trip through Kahsh - would you mind sharing which campsite it is?
09/19/2022 07:53PM  
It's on the eastern shoreline almost directly across from a 138 rod portage on the western shoreline that leads to a no-name and eventually Joyce. There use to be a numbering system on a campsite map or two but I can't find that site. I've stayed at that Grand Hotel site once, it really is a spectacular view.
Gaidin53
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09/19/2022 11:21PM  
Campsite 12S is what I’d assume you are referring to. It lines up with the portage you are talking about.

Ryan
campnfish
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09/19/2022 11:34PM  
Can you hang a hammock on this site?
cburton103
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09/20/2022 08:13AM  
Awesome, thank you both! I've paddled right by that campsite and didn't know it was there. The view looks top notch!
Banksiana
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09/20/2022 08:48AM  
campnfish: "Can you hang a hammock on this site?"

Lots of spots for hanging. Campsite is well used and fairly obvious from the lake. Some good tent pads as well. Main downside of site is that it abuts a steep very high rock slope- to get appropriate distance from the clear waters of Kahshahpiwi for pooping requires some effort and rock scrambling; unfortunately an effort that some are unwilling to make. Evidence of this laziness can sully one's time at this site.

On the other hand you can scramble all the way to the top of this slope to a fine dome of rock offering tremendous views of Kahshahpiwi and some of the small rocky lakes nearby.
AdamXChicago
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09/21/2022 10:01PM  
Just arrived home from Quetico. Thankfully, we took the Yum Yum portage when it was dry. I imagine it would be very difficult (ie slippery) in wet conditions. Physically demanding - got a good cardio workout. Piwi was as beautiful as previous posts showed. It was almost eerie being the only ones on the lake - had a canyon-like, isolated feel to it.
Took the swamp exit to Side lake on the way out. As some mentioned, it actually was gorgeous! Kind of reminded me of Germany’s Black Forest. However, we did get stuck in knee-high muck a few times. Since it rained quite a bit while we were on Piwi, the swamp became more of a pond so we were able to paddle a good portion of it. Happy to provide any additional insight.

AdamX
campnfish
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09/21/2022 10:43PM  
Heading in Friday AM, getting a tow to PP, planning yum yum, looks like rain if we can't make it in a day. Hopefully it's somewhat dry getting there. How long of a day is it from PP double portaging?
AdamXChicago
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09/22/2022 08:42AM  
campnfish: "Any concern with the creek between North Bay and South Lake being too low to paddle?


"


No, but it was chock full of Lilly pads making the paddle through a bit of a slog. However, we went through there before the recent rains, so levels might be up enough to improve conditions.
AdamXChicago
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09/22/2022 08:48AM  
campnfish: "Heading in Friday AM, getting a tow to PP, planning yum yum, looks like rain if we can't make it in a day. Hopefully it's somewhat dry getting there. How long of a day is it from PP double portaging?"

We took two days to get from PP to Piwi. Took us about 11 hours, including lunch breaks, without pushing real hard. Now that’s for two guys in their 60s. YMMV ;-)
HBB
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09/22/2022 09:42AM  
campnfish: "Heading in Friday AM, getting a tow to PP, planning yum yum, looks like rain if we can't make it in a day. Hopefully it's somewhat dry getting there. How long of a day is it from PP double portaging?"

Where are you planning to camp (& fish :)? I am headed up to that area entering Saturday and can try to generally avoid if I am know where you plan to camp.
campnfish
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09/22/2022 10:22AM  
I think we may try one of the island campsites to the north of kahs, all new area to me so things may change.
HBB
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09/22/2022 10:31AM  
campnfish: "I think we may try one of the island campsites to the north of kahs, all new area to me so things may change."

OK, thanks! We will probably be around Yum Yum or Grey on Saturday night.
campnfish
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09/22/2022 10:50AM  
I don't have a first day stop in mind, gonna see how it goes, may stop on yum yum Friday night, but will be gone by time you get into that area. Hopefully the weather holds for you, we will be in a 3 man souris river and a 2 man souris. Have a great trip maybe we see you guys.
HBB
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09/22/2022 10:58AM  
campnfish: "I don't have a first day stop in mind, gonna see how it goes, may stop on yum yum Friday night, but will be gone by time you get into that area. Hopefully the weather holds for you, we will be in a 3 man souris river and a 2 man souris. Have a great trip maybe we see you guys."

Thanks. 2 of us in a MN2. Lots of "chances" of rain...we will see how it turns out.
campnfish
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09/29/2022 03:52PM  
Did both McNeice and YumYum portages getting to and from Piwi, yum yum on the way in, and McNiece out. I wouldn't do the Yum Yum portage again, that bald rock is pretty hard to climb when wet, its a lot of up and down as well, I think a tough portage all around. McNiece isn't easy, I actually fell on a rocky portion with the canoe just prior to the end of the portage, took us an hour, double portaging. If I go back that direction, i would do the south portage or McNiece.
Banksiana
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09/30/2022 01:40PM  
McNeice portage has pretty much the same bald rock climb/descent as YumYum, just on the Kahsh side of the portage.

I found the growth hiding the trail on the McNeice portage made footing difficult and slow for much of the route- the relatively clear trail of the YumYum more than made up for the slight increase in elevation change.
campnfish
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09/30/2022 02:01PM  
Did you walk a canoe up that rock on yum yum?
I felt the McNeice rock was much easier to get up and down, I believe more growth covered it and was not as high, but we only came down it, i set the canoe down and lowered it down the rock.
Banksiana
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09/30/2022 03:58PM  
I would say height is close to the same. Little bit of lichen/green on McNeice makes it slick in damp. I can get up either of them when dead dry, but the slightest bit of moisture they become randomly frictionless.
 
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