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deancal20
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11/16/2022 11:59AM  
For some time I have been thinking about Kawnipi from Cache Bay in the spring. It looks like a great trip and I am retired so I could take ten days or more.

After looking at video posts of the Silver Falls portage, I am having second thoughts. I would go with someone else and we can do it with a double portage. I am 69 and in decent shape, but probably 30 pounds over weight. The other person is in about the same condition. I am willing to begin strength training and lose twenty pounds. I have no heart or health issues, but those of you who have done this, I wonder what you think.

I know there are more portages in addition to Silver falls, but this seems to be the hardest. Would you try it if you were me?
 
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11/16/2022 01:01PM  
Hey, Dean--
My wife and I each have a couple years on you, and we'd do it in a heartbeat! In fact, the 10-day trip I'm considering for next year is a loop from Prairie Portage with a Carp Lake entry: Carp, Man Chain, Bell, Blackstone, Saganagons, Falls Chain to Kawnipi. Haven't nailed down our exit route yet, but will probably turn south and do Cairn, Sark, Keefer, and Kahshahpiwi on our way back to PP. If only Silver Falls portage concerns you, consider the four-portage option into Saganonans that's east of Silver Falls.

We don't do spring trips because of water levels, bugs and people. This year's late-August-early September Quetico trip was in the northwest corner, and covered a bit over 110 miles in 10 days. We still single-portage, but those days may soon end. Have a great trip!

TZ
11/16/2022 01:20PM  
deancal20: "...I am willing to begin strength training and loose 20 lbs...."


A goal without a plan is just a wish.

Sounds like you wish you were 20 pounds lighter and stronger for this portage. Commit to the trip, then figure out how you will make that happen!

My main goal in exercising is to continue canoeing as I get older.

Silver Falls Portage is challenging, especially the 7' rock descent with a load. Other than that, it is in good condition with a couple ups and downs and some decent length.

Our group (ages 58, 61, 62, 66, and 73) are crossing Silver Falls on May 31.

cburton103
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11/17/2022 11:19AM  
I've done the Silver Falls portage four times now on two trips. My first ever trip across the portage was when I was 28 and my wife was along for her first trip. On my trip back to get my second load to help out my wife, I came across an 81 year old man who was still barrel chested and built like an ox. It was right at the above mentioned slick rock descent section. I offered him help, and he graciously declined saying, "I've been doing this longer than you've been alive, but thanks!". That guy gave me a lot of hope for continuing to pursue ambitious camping trips and physical goals through all decades of life.

If he can do it, so can you! Do some serious training, and practice portaging close to home to get your body ready for it. The Silver Falls portage is moderately long, but well-travelled and wide. From memory, that slick rock section is definitely the trickiest part. I would recommend putting the canoe down and probably scooting down that section on your backside without the canoe on your shoulders. Then you can pick up the canoe again and move along. The rest of the portage has some roots and boulders, but is easier than average by Quetico portage standards.

Overall, I don't think I would rate the Silver Falls portage as the hardest of the portages leading into Kawnipi. You could always gauge your desire/ability to make it to Kawnipi based on the Silver Falls portage and spend your trip camping and fishing around Saganagons if you decide not to push on to Kawnipi. Eastern Saganagons is very quiet. In the Spring, fish are frequently active in the shallower, warmer bays, especially if they have moving water coming into them.
11/17/2022 12:51PM  
So my experience in that area is from way back in the 90’s. Falls chain is on my list to do in the next few years though.

I don’t remember the Silver Falls portage that much. Was first portage ever for me and I was just kind of overwhelmed with everything. I remember being really scared in the front of the canoe being that close to the waterfall. I was a little over a week from being out of Army boot camp so I was in phenomenal shape! Obviously that helped make portages not a big deal although we were load3d heavy for a long trip and had 120 lbs food pack I carried.

On the end of the trip we decided to do the 3 or 4 portage route instead of the Silver Falls portage. By the time we were done loading and unloading for all those portages we both agreed we should have just taken the Silver Falls portage.

Ryan
11/17/2022 03:00PM  
The Silver Falls portage is not that bad; the concern for all the portages in the Chain is landing your canoe safely.
deancal20
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11/17/2022 09:12PM  
This had been really helpful and encouraging. Every post was meaningful. Thank you each for your comments. My friend and I talked it over and unless something unforeseen happens we are going to work toward the goal of doing it all the way to Kawnipi. If we don't get that far - no big deal. I signed up for the Y today and my friend is working out already. It is great to have something to work for. We are already figuring how to only have a double portage and see it as a now or never time. We have gone in from Stanton Bay a number of times but then just base camp a few hours in. If anyone has good suggestions for a topo of Kawnipi or favorites spots we are all ears :) Thanks much everyone!
cburton103
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11/17/2022 09:29PM  
The southern 1/3 or 1/2 of Kawnipi was burned about 20 years ago or so (can’t remember the year, but the old growth trees are dead and the newer growth is thick, having overgrown some campsites).

I’ve camped in bath Kawa and McKenzie bays. Both great choices, and I’ve had good fishing around both of them. Lots of old growth Kawa and north. McVicar and south are mostly burned - more so on the west side of the lake if I remember correctly.

It’s an obvious spot, but the “meathole” where Murdoch dumps into Kawnipi is a big producer. The final falls coming into Kawnipi from the Falls Chain and the adjacent shallow area can be very good as well.

BTW - it’s awesome you guys are going for it! You guys won’t regret the effort, and it will make for great memories.
11/17/2022 10:20PM  
The last few times I've done the Silver Falls Portage I simply put my canoe down and slid it down the rock, carefully negotiated the rock and picked the canoe back up at the bottom. I even slid my packs down one time when it was really wet and slippery. No reason to risk a fall. Going up with a load it is easier to find the footing.
11/17/2022 11:19PM  
Here are my McKenzie map photos for Quetico. I spent some serious quality time on these last year putting the campsites in with the ratings I could find.

Ryan






11/17/2022 11:36PM  
Fisher Quetico maps plotted and marked.

1 to 5 scale with 5 being the perfect campsite.
W is walleye
LT is lake trout
N is northern
SB is small mouth bass
J is a possible or known jump spot into the lake

Ryan








11/18/2022 08:27AM  
cburton103: "I’ve camped in bath Kawa and McKenzie bays. Both great choices, and I’ve had good fishing around both of them."


Camping is no longer allowed along the Wawiag River or the northeast end of Kawa Bay. See map from the 2018 Quetico Park Management Plan . Most current maps of the Park reflect this restriction.

TZ
11/18/2022 10:14AM  
Gaidin53: "Here are my McKenzie map photos for Quetico. I spent some serious quality time on these last year putting the campsites in with the ratings I could find..."


Where did these ratings come from? And also W and LT spots? I am planning a solo Hunter Island Loop next September. Want to route plan and mark my maps this off-season.
11/18/2022 10:52AM  
The canoe planning website I can’t name on this site. Only from reviews. Also YouTube videos which showed campsites I could assign a rating based on knowing where it was and seeing a site in a video. W is walleye spots and LT is Lake trout. The fishing guidance are spots specifically marked by someone else for me for a July trip though. Different times of year those would be less correct.

That is correct the campsites in Kawa bay are closed on Kawnipi Lake. I think it’s 3 campsites. Bummer since I stayed in the campsite on the point in Kawa Bay in 1992. Apparently where the First. nations village used to be. I’ve always wanted to go back since we had such epic fishing during the time we stayed!

I mapped putting in all of Quetico on Garmin as well. Garmin corrupted my waypoint groupings twice now. So they aren’t as easy to share. I’d be willing to share them if anyone else wanted the KMZ files.

Ryan
11/18/2022 12:44PM  
This map of the Falls Chain will be helpful as well.
11/18/2022 03:28PM  
Not sure why this is tagged "Off Topic"?
11/18/2022 04:25PM  
I was thinking the same thing! Everything in this discussion relates to Quetico!

Ryan
deancal20
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11/18/2022 05:22PM  
WOW! Awesome help with maps and markings! This really gives an understanding of the entire area. It definitely sounds like high water can be problematic. I thought it was interesting that one map said that most accidents happen going up stream. We have canoed quite a bit but not in really strong currents before.
11/18/2022 06:33PM  
deancal20: "WOW! Awesome help with maps and markings! This really gives an understanding of the entire area. It definitely sounds like high water can be problematic. I thought it was interesting that one map said that most accidents happen going up stream. We have canoed quite a bit but not in really strong currents before. "


You don't canoe strong currents on the Falls Chain. You get out in current and portage around strong. You'll do fine.
tumblehome
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11/20/2022 06:41AM  
Besides, where else can you catch blue walleye except on Kawnipi?!

Silver Falls portage is one of many, many challenges of getting to Kawnipi. Too many people never follow their heart and miss all that the world has to offer.

Go to Kawnipi. Dip you hands in the cool refreshing water and see all that the lake and land has to show. It’s a special place and worth the effort.

The sunsets are more amazing. The rocks and trees are heavenly and the water is pure and clear.

Kaw Kaw Kawnipi!

Tom
deancal20
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11/20/2022 03:47PM  
I'm sold! Monday the workout begins. My friend is equally excited. This forum is incredible! So much help and advice. This really is a brotherhood of its own. People rooting for others to share in the call of the loon. It gets in your blood and I only wish I had found this experience 40 years ago. No matter, I guess we just embrace the time we have and enjoy the serenity of creation. Blue walleye...never seen one but I will be looking. Thanks again all.
11/20/2022 10:47PM  
Gaidin53: "Here are my McKenzie map photos for Quetico. I spent some serious quality time on these last year putting the campsites in with the ratings I could find.


Ryan







"

Following and more questions to come. Possible Aug ‘23 route with entry at Carp from PP. Would fishing be better here or on the Agnes Sarah loop?
Thanks
cburton103
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11/21/2022 08:56AM  
TrailZen: "
cburton103: "I’ve camped in bath Kawa and McKenzie bays. Both great choices, and I’ve had good fishing around both of them."



Camping is no longer allowed along the Wawiag River or the northeast end of Kawa Bay. See map from the 2018 Quetico Park Management Plan . Most current maps of the Park reflect this restriction.
TZ"


Good clarification. I was in the area after the camping closure, and as such I stayed in an island site at the end of Kawa Bay nearest the main body of Kawnipi. There are several good sites in this area and further north.
cburton103
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11/21/2022 09:02AM  
bobbernumber3: "
deancal20: "WOW! Awesome help with maps and markings! This really gives an understanding of the entire area. It definitely sounds like high water can be problematic. I thought it was interesting that one map said that most accidents happen going up stream. We have canoed quite a bit but not in really strong currents before. "



You don't canoe strong currents on the Falls Chain. You get out in current and portage around strong. You'll do fine."


I've canoed the falls chain in early September and early June, once each. The current was noticeably stronger in early June, although we were there in a pretty high water year.

With some care around portage landings, it wasn't a problem. As long as you've studied the maps to know which shore the portage landing is on in advance and pay attention to the water, you should be totally fine.
11/21/2022 09:03AM  
Gaidin53,

I sent you an email about your Quetico KMZ files. Appreciate your post.
11/21/2022 09:35AM  
Actually they are gpx files. Hopefully they still work. I included dropped waypoints from my trip as well with our tracks.

Ryan
mgraber
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11/21/2022 11:54AM  
How is this off topic?
11/21/2022 01:37PM  
Thanks Ryan.

GPX Files work best for GAIA App.
11/21/2022 04:58PM  
Perfect! Let me know what you think when you get them added! It was a lot of work last winter!

Ryan
Jackfish
Moderator
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11/22/2022 02:04PM  
mgraber: "How is this off topic?"

I corrected it.
KawnipiKid
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11/23/2022 10:53AM  
Frenchy19: "The Silver Falls portage is not that bad; the concern for all the portages in the Chain is landing your canoe safely. "


+1! After a number of trips up and down the chain and now being in my mid 60s with an unreliable knee, I'm still more focused on safe landings at portages and safe departures from portages than I am carrying them. I'm especially focused departing into the current upstream and away from a falls (not a time to look for your camera or look back to see if you left anything). Later in the year can be much more comfortable with lower water, of course. Like any on-portage challenges, I find the the Silver Falls rock face requires some extra time and patience but the overall carry is not worse than many others in in the BW or Quetico.
deancal20
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11/28/2022 08:37AM  
Thanks Kawnipi kid. It is encouraging to know people my age with joint issues still tackle the Quetico wilderness. We are both working out now to get prepared. Something needed for me for a long time and now I have some motivation. I think I have watched every video out there for that area and we are already counting the weeks. Nothing like it! You keep going and we will try and do the same.
 
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