BWCA Adventure Part 2 - if you were me? Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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scotttimm
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11/28/2022 06:25PM  
Alright you adventurous folks. Here's my situation, where would you go?

My son and I have had many a paddle, since he was 5 until now as a freshman in college. At the end of high school, we decided to push it - see what we could do. We trained hard, completed the Kruger Waddell Challenge in July and had an absolute blast. We grew, learned a lot and a few months later we're asking...what's next?

So, I'm 46 - and now I am in decent shape. My son is a fitness-fiend - a monster in the bow and an amazing teammate. He is very experienced in a boat and in the BWCA, and we're a great team - we never fight - all fun. We don't have a huge window...probably mid-May until around June 1 when he will have to be working a summer gig. I kinda feel like I should take advantage of these years and opportunities - have some grand adventures. Where should we go, 8 day window, willing to push long distances?
 
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11/28/2022 07:12PM  
Go in off the gunflint, I’d pick brant, head round lake and head to brant, the chub river that leads to seahorse, south to French, Gillis to Peter, north to gabi, ogish, south arm knife, west thru kekakabic, south thru wisinI and other little lakes to mahlberg, east through louse river, frost river, frost, long island, cross river, missing link to round.

Yes, I know you’d be going against any current on those two rivers, but they are remote and excellent moose country.

I did all this from memory so until I look at the actual maps I claim old age for any navigational errors :)
11/28/2022 07:17PM  
If you are wanting to stay in the BWCA then an idea could be just choosing a long distance to cover in there. Something like taking EP 33 and exiting on EP 47. Seems like you are capable of doing that or something like that and then you get to experience a ton of the BWCA in one trip :)

That would be an amazing trip in my opinion. You get to choose so many different paths, research so many different campsites, and see so much in one trip.
Lawnchair107
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11/28/2022 08:20PM  
Do I dare say, its Q time?!
11/29/2022 08:57AM  
Definitely Quetico. Hunter Island loop. Most folks take 10-12 days or so for the loop. It would be a fun challenge for 8 days. I would prefer a start at Cache Bay, but Prairie Portage works, too. Beautiful lakes, some nice river sections, lots of waterfalls and great fishing.
billconner
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11/29/2022 06:32PM  
I was about to suggest Hunter Island Loop also. You can cut it short if not keeping pace for 8 days, but reportedly done in 28 hours.
straighthairedcurly
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11/29/2022 09:11PM  
I was going to vote Quetico also. But if you want to stay in the BWCA, you could consider a PMA (not for the faint of heart, but you can enter Missing Link then cut south through the Hairy Lake PMA and end up in Octopus which connects you to the Frost River) or do a route that combines the Frost River and Louse Rivers. Lots of great places to see in the "interior" area of the BWCA since you have already seen the border. Some favorite areas of mine besides what I mentioned already include Little Sag and routes south out of it (Hoe-Vee-Fee) or down through Makwa to the Kawishiwi River, Boulder/Adams lake, etc. Getting in and out of Paulson Lake is also a fun challenge. I'll stop now because I just keep thinking of more great lakes around this area that get you off the beaten track.
user0317
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12/01/2022 12:13PM  
scotttimm: "Alright you adventurous folks. Here's my situation, where would you go?

My son and I have had many a paddle, since he was 5 until now as a freshman in college. At the end of high school, we decided to push it - see what we could do. We trained hard, completed the Kruger Waddell Challenge in July and had an absolute blast. We grew, learned a lot and a few months later we're asking...what's next?

So, I'm 46 - and now I am in decent shape. My son is a fitness-fiend - a monster in the bow and an amazing teammate. He is very experienced in a boat and in the BWCA, and we're a great team - we never fight - all fun. We don't have a huge window...probably mid-May until around June 1 when he will have to be working a summer gig. I kinda feel like I should take advantage of these years and opportunities - have some grand adventures. Where should we go, 8 day window, willing to push long distances?"


The Nakina area in Ontario. There are some great routes you can do out of there covering everything from drive-in loops to fly-in/fly-out. The landscape is quite different from the BWCA and the fishing is outstanding.
redbeardcanoeworks
member (42)member
  
12/08/2022 12:29PM  
Scott,
This is Dave from this falls Challenge paddle. I met you guys on the portage and then at the hotel.
Give me a call. 920-540-6372
Michwall2
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12/08/2022 01:34PM  
Day 1. Kawishiwi Lake Entry to Malberg
Day 2. Malberg To Alice via Fishdance for the pictographs
Day 3. Malberg to Kekakabic via Thomas/Fraser/Wisini
Day 4 Kek to Ogishkemuncie via Thunder Point
Day 5 Ogish to Little Sag side trip to Mueller Falls.
Day 6 Little Sag to Mesaba
Day 7 Lay Over if you haven't used it by now.
Day 8. Mesaba to Sawbill Entry.

This route will require a shuttle to start your trip.

I was in my early 50’s when I did this route with my older teen boys.

Have a great trip!

cyclones30
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12/08/2022 06:05PM  
Are you wanting to be moving every day and not really fishing or sight-seeing much? Like the challenge trip to an extent. Or do you want to enjoy it more like waterfalls, hikes up to overlooks, etc.

I was also thinking Hunter Island loop in the Q if you want a move every day and see a lot of territory route. If you want the others, rank what you'd like to do or see.
cmanimal
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12/08/2022 08:55PM  
One that was presented at the 2020 or 21 canocopia that intrigued me and might fit the bill for you was a Kawishiwi Loop route. Basically they went from Farm lake to Kawishiwi lake, rediscovered the abandoned portage to Perent and then worked that side of the loop back to Farm lake. The route clip that they based their trip, I think was from an outfitter (had been documented using a typewriter) had a start/ end of lake one, and said it was 11 day, 83 miles of paddling and 9 miles of portaging
12/09/2022 06:04AM  
I assume you've checked other Water Tribe offerings?
billconner
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12/09/2022 06:47AM  
cmanimal: "One that was presented at the 2020 or 21 canocopia that intrigued me and might fit the bill for you was a Kawishiwi Loop route. Basically they went from Farm lake to Kawishiwi lake, rediscovered the abandoned portage to Perent and then worked that side of the loop back to Farm lake. The route clip that they based their trip, I think was from an outfitter (had been documented using a typewriter) had a start/ end of lake one, and said it was 11 day, 83 miles of paddling and 9 miles of portaging"


That's a route that I have considered - but starting at Hog Creek and ending at Kawishiwi, with a 2 1/2 mile hike between those points. Combine that with the portage through Rock Island and you could be in the 8 day range.
Grandma L
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12/27/2022 05:15PM  
Check the Mississippi River 150 - Brainerd to Coon Rapids. June 7, 2023 - Fun weekend! Bring the gang.
BWCA - I like doing Lake One to Sea Gull and the little lake on the way. Let me know - I might be available to drive - shuttle.
RedLakePaddler
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12/27/2022 06:22PM  
Scott
Years ago when our children were young we started at Fall Lake. We followed the border to the south arm of Knife. From there we went to Kekekabic, Ima, Thomas, Frazier, Insula, the numbers chain, North Kawishiwi, Farm Lake and Garden Lake. From there I walked and hitchhiked back to the Fall Lake parking lot after 9:15 PM.
We did this route in about 7 days. You could easily added to the route by going further East at Knife or Ima. The best part of this route was it bought us with in easy walking distance to our car and during the right time of day you could hitch a ride from a fellow paddler.

Carl
12/27/2022 08:20PM  
scotttimm: "I kinda feel like I should take advantage of these years and opportunities - have some grand adventures. Where should we go, 8 day window, willing to push long distances?"


What an awesome opportunity! I hope you can make it happen!

Lots of good suggestions already posted...BWCA alone seems like there are endless possibilities.

In 2020 my oldest daughter graduated from high school and my second oldest finished her junior year in high school. Now they are both off to college and I will always be grateful we found time to do a 16-day trek. We took our time and went at a pretty leisurely pace to complete the following route:

Moose Lake entry to Knife for 3 nights, a night on Eddy, two nights on Kekekabic, a night on Sagus, a night on Boulder, two nights on Insula, a night on Thomas, a night on Jordan, and three nights on Ensign. With the day trips we took, it was 125+ miles with some great fishing, beautiful vistas, plenty of wildlife, and something we will always remember.

Sure hope you can make your trip happen! Please give updates on the route you decide to take. Would love to hear about it after your return too!



12/28/2022 07:11PM  
In 2013 I did a loop in Quetico starting at Prairie Portage. I went to Agnes then camped on Louisa. From there it’s a scenic little traveled route east to McEwen Lake. You can then go up the Falls Chain south to The Man Chain and take that back to PP.

Emerald Lake is one to camp on. There’s a beautiful site tucked in the east end of the lake. There’s lots to see with this loop and Louisa Falls is a highlight as well as the Falls Chain. McEwen Creek has a very wild feeling.

Campsite morning at Bald Eagle Falls on the Falls Chain. Another highlight.

scotttimm
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12/29/2022 05:03PM  
Thanks for all your replies, everyone. Talked to Dave, and I think he convinced me to give what he thinks is called the Ely Challenge a try - basically 24 hours to paddle from Sag to Moose, hitchhike to Ely, get a Blizzard, hitchhike back to your canoe and make it back to Sag. 80 miles of paddling plus the jaunt into Ely and back in 24 hrs. Sounds like a hoot. Anyone else heard of this or have more details on this particular challenge? Oh, and it wouldn't surprise me if Dave and some other sucker come with us, lol.

Grant (aka Timber) is planning to work for an outfitter this summer. I may convince my wife how important it would be for me to go up there with him, help him "settle in" and paddle around his new neighborhood before he starts. So we may do some high mile traveling for a few days around wherever he ends up.
 
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