BWCA 2023 Border Route Trip Invite Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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03/16/2023 02:30PM  
The 9th annual Border Route Challenges are a go! The dates are as follows: meet up in Ely on Friday afternoon September 1st, get shuttle ride to entry point(s) on Saturday September 2nd, and paddle/portage like heck to get to Lake Superior at Grand Portage Monument no later than Sunday September 10th to catch shuttle ride back to Ely. So where is the start you may ask? This can vary depending on your goals (these are the same as last year).

1) Kruger Waddell Challenge- 260 mile route International Falls through Voyageurs Nat'l Park and all the BWCA
2) Voyageurs Challenge- 205 mile route Crane Lake(or Little Indian Sioux North as an alternative start) though all the BWCA west to east
3) Moose Lake Challenge- 125 mile route Ely @ Moose Lake

A group called WaterTribe is setting up the details and making shuttle arrangements. More details are given at the WaterTribe website at the link below. The above start dates are going to be flexible due to Entry Point permit availability. All the challenge routes finish on Lake Superior at the historic Grand Portage Fort. The route to be followed should generally be the international boundary with Canada. Of course, longer routes are fine and maybe needed if the wind is blowing hard when you want to paddle one of many big lakes.

All participants who need shuttling help will equally split shuttling costs.

WaterTribe has a customized satellite tracking map that will show all groups as they progress along the route. This is why each group needs to bring and use a Spot or an InReach.

This is an unsupported challenge. Unsupported means no preplanned assistance such as a support crew, phone calls to home for navigation assistance, and food resupply. Take what you need from the start. What really makes this a challenge is the time constraint component. The harder you push the greater the challenge. The first recorded record was set by Sir George Simpson of the Hudson’s Bay Company and his hand-picked team of Voyageurs in the 1800's during the fur trade era.

Feel free to express your interest in doing this and post any questions you may have here or you can email me direct. Grandma L from this site is also available to help with questions and with keeping us organized.

Post here if you’re looking to form a team, join a team, or have room for someone to join your team.

The WaterTribe site is where you register and see the current roster list.


WaterTribe Website
 
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03/16/2023 03:06PM  
As of this morning, the Entry Permit situation is as follows:

Little Vermillion Entry- 5 permits available for Friday 9/1, 0 permits for Saturday 9/2, and 5 permits available for Sunday 9/3.

Little Indian Souix North Entry- 0 permits available for 9/1-9/3

From Canada Entry- 3 permits available for Friday 9/1, 2 permits for Saturday 9/2, and 2 permits available for Sunday 9/3.

Moose Lake Entry- 0 permits available for Friday 9/1, 19 permits for Saturday 9/2, and 18 permits available for Sunday 9/3.



scotttimm
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03/16/2023 04:18PM  
Awesome people, awesome event. Beautiful, fun, physically demanding. I watched record attempts for a few years before I gave it a go with my son in the middle of summer, and it was a totally different experience later in the Fall with a group. My brother and I did the Voyager Challenge last year, it was a hoot. The folks who attend are amazing. Like instantly joining a new family. Lots of planning and physical prep work a must for this event, and it is so very worth it. I'm bringing both brothers in a MN3 this time, we'll see if we're still speaking to each other at the end.

If you've got the time, and you can get yourself physically ready (start now!), I highly recommend it.
straighthairedcurly
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03/16/2023 10:18PM  
I also highly recommend this event. It is an amazing group of people. I did the Moose Lake Challenge last year and had so much fun that I am training for the Kruger this year. I would love to see more women give this a try! All the people who have done one of these challenges are always happy to answer questions.
realandrea
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03/19/2023 04:37PM  
I’m trying to plan for this (again) in 2024 but with a July date! Have fun you guys!
03/19/2023 09:40PM  
Question… Does the required satellite communicator have to a Spot? Or are other brands ok (I.e. ACR bivy stick)?
03/20/2023 07:30AM  
plander: "Question… Does the required satellite communicator have to a Spot? Or are other brands ok (I.e. ACR bivy stick)?"


Good morning! The required satellite communicator has to be either a Spot or an Inreach. This is because those are the only two that are tied in to the WaterTribe Tracking Map.
03/20/2023 07:58AM  
BeaV: "
plander: "Question… Does the required satellite communicator have to a Spot? Or are other brands ok (I.e. ACR bivy stick)?"



Good morning! The required satellite communicator has to be either a Spot or an Inreach. This is because those are the only two that are tied in to the WaterTribe Tracking Map."


Thanks!
SammyN
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03/21/2023 09:39AM  
Hi all,
Wondering if you could weigh in on this.

Currently, we have a northwind 17, but have been kicking around the idea of getting a MN2.

How much faster do you think a MN2 is? It's been a few years since we used one (rented from an outfitter). We remembered it tracked well, and was also skinnier for the paddlers.

We are intermediate skilled paddlers, and wondering if it would be worth it to just buy (and then resell) a MN2.

Thanks!
scotttimm
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03/21/2023 09:45AM  
SammyN: "Hi all,
Wondering if you could weigh in on this.


Currently, we have a northwind 17, but have been kicking around the idea of getting a MN2.


How much faster do you think a MN2 is? It's been a few years since we used one (rented from an outfitter). We remembered it tracked well, and was also skinnier for the paddlers.


We are intermediate skilled paddlers, and wondering if it would be worth it to just buy (and then resell) a MN2.


Thanks!"

We used a Sundowner, similar to a MN2, and loved it. We also beat the snot out of it on the Pigeon, which is what I would be thinking about if you are going to buy and then re-sell. I opted to purchase the cheap 84 Sundowner knowing I could potentially wreck it. A guy could be super careful and hop out over and over...but that guy wasn't me. Another option would be to rent for the trip (I think some others do this from Piragis) and not have to worry about it.
Conchistador
member (38)member
  
03/22/2023 11:16AM  
I’m very much looking forward to my 3rd border trip. Trying it in a canoe this year. See y’all in Ely!
03/22/2023 11:58AM  
SammyN: "Hi all,
Wondering if you could weigh in on this.

How much faster do you think a MN2 is? It's been a few years since we used one (rented from an outfitter). We remembered it tracked well, and was also skinnier for the paddlers.

Thanks!"

I own 2 MN2's and 0 Northwind 17's, for the record. I asked this same question a few years ago and test paddled the two boats back to back on flat water for a short while. Used a GPS to record speed. Speeds were comparable. I think theoretically, the MN2 has a potentially higher hull speed but I couldn't see a difference on my test paddle.

My opinion is the Northwind 17 is a good boat for the Challenges.
Grandma L
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03/22/2023 02:32PM  
Great question! I own both a Wenonah Sundowner and Northwind 17. The Wenonah tracks better but I find the Northwind more maneuverable in tight corners. It is about a draw. The paddler is the key. The boat is only one, but yes important component.
SammyN
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03/22/2023 02:41PM  
Thanks a bunch for all the replies.

Since this is our 1st time doing something like this, we will probably go with the Northwind.
Grandma L
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03/22/2023 02:49PM  
Sammy,
Go to watertribe.com and register even if your plans might change. That way you will get information as the shuttle arrangements and Challenge details evolve. Feel free to send me a direct e-mail with comments and questions. Do a member search.
03/23/2023 08:21AM  
Putting a pin in this one on the calendar for now....
JimmyJustice
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03/23/2023 10:50AM  
Locked and loaded. Another great adventure awaits! Looking forward to the "Challenge"
03/23/2023 04:12PM  
Grandma L: "Sammy,
Go to watertribe.com and register even if your plans might change. That way you will get information as the shuttle arrangements and Challenge details evolve. Feel free to send me a direct e-mail with comments and questions. Do a member search. "


Grandma L, Jumping into the discussion with a question midstream. I'd register now if I could (>80% sure I can go) but I don't yet have the Spot or InReach and won't have it until August. So should I wait until then to register? Please advise.
Grandma L
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03/23/2023 09:01PM  
Plander,
Go ahead and register with Water Tribe. You can add your SPOT closer to the Challenge. If your plans change, you can always drop out. If you are registered, I will be able to include you in information as things evolve.
03/30/2023 07:47AM  
Plander- welcome aboard, I see you signed up on WaterTribe!

straighthairedcurly, JimmyJustice, Conchcistador, scottimm- welcome back for another Challenge year!!!

Currently, there are 19 paddlers signed up on WaterTribe. And I know of more who haven't registered yet. For those thinking about joining us, I'd recommend taking the leap and signing up. As Grandm L says, this way you will receive communications. And I say registering is the second step to participating. You can always unregister if plans change.

I hope to see some more new faces this year.
03/30/2023 07:36PM  
HighnDry: "Putting a pin in this one on the calendar for now...."


I registered....so.....couldn't get a permit for the 2nd so I chose the 3rd...probably the most reasonable since I'd be starting at sha sha and probably won't make little vermilion until the next day......we'll see
03/31/2023 08:14AM  
HighnDry: "
HighnDry: "Putting a pin in this one on the calendar for now...."



I registered....so.....couldn't get a permit for the 2nd so I chose the 3rd...probably the most reasonable since I'd be starting at sha sha and probably won't make little vermilion until the next day......we'll see"

Welcome HighnDry...another new face for 2023. Looking forward to seeing you in September!
03/31/2023 08:37PM  
It's the same route, but every year a different challenge presents itself. I can't wait to see what this year's challenge within the Challenge is!!! (Could it be headwinds again?)

Signed up! Check.

04/01/2023 12:44PM  
BeaV: "Plander- welcome aboard, I see you signed up on WaterTribe!


straighthairedcurly, JimmyJustice, Conchcistador, scottimm- welcome back for another Challenge year!!!


Currently, there are 19 paddlers signed up on WaterTribe. And I know of more who haven't registered yet. For those thinking about joining us, I'd recommend taking the leap and signing up. As Grandm L says, this way you will receive communications. And I say registering is the second step to participating. You can always unregister if plans change.


I hope to see some more new faces this year."


Thanks. Looking forward to it!
Grandma L
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04/21/2023 06:17PM  
Just took a count - 21 paddlers sighed up with a few more past adventurers expected to be part of the crew. This could be a great group - new and returning. I have been checking the water levels on the Pigeon River - will be interesting to see how they change over the summer.
Grandma L
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06/19/2023 02:03PM  
Time to get working on your "Challenge" plan and training schedule. I will shortly be sending out preliminary information to paddlers who have indicated interest. Still thinking about joining the group? Want more information? Send me an e-mail. The more the merrier!
EZPete
  
07/24/2023 09:58PM  
Hello everyone!

I'm registered for the 2023 Voyageur's Challenge and really looking forward to the event and meeting you all. I'm a 55 year old semi-retired Air Force pilot from Duluth where I grew up. I moved back to Duluth in 2018 for all the outdoor adventure opportunities in Northern Minnesota. I've completed about 10 BWCA trips since then, about half of them solo.

My logistical plan is evolving. I'm curious if anyone else arriving in Ely from or through Duluth? I'm currently planning to take the shuttle from Grand Portage back to Ely but I may have a way to pre-position a vehicle in Grand Portage. I'm wondering what other people have done in the past to get to and from the start/finish.

I'm very happy to have this chance and look forward to meeting and talking to you
TreeBear
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07/25/2023 02:58PM  
Due to scheduling, we couldn't participate in the actual event itself. We were initially slating ourselves to do the Voyageur over the 4th of July but have now officially pushed it back to coincide with labor day. As such, it looks like our crew will be heading into Crane Lake on August 31, two days ahead of the official event. I'm excited. We are running a rotation with a crew of 3. Hopefully, 2 days head start is enough that we don't see any of you (haha!), but we'll keep our eyes on the rearview! The way some of you paddle, we might only see a bolt of light go past us. "Was that Beav?" Haha. Good luck everyone.
Grandma L
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07/25/2023 08:50PM  
Pete,
Good to hear from you. In the past, paddlers have worked together with other paddlers, families or friends to meet at Grand Portage early on the "starting Friday", leave vehicles at the Marina and get driven back to Ely by a friend in time for the Friday 3:00 PM paddlers meeting. That way when they are finished, they can be independent. The trick is to have a vehicle that picks you up in Grand Portage before the Challenge that has the capability of transporting a couple of canoes and paddlers so folks can work together to take advantage of this arrangement. Oh, the boat landing Grand Portage Casino Marina is where that kind of parking is permitted. I think there is a small daily charge for parking.
Give me call if I can help or if you need more information.
Grandma L
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07/25/2023 09:02PM  
ThreeBear, Good to have you with us. I would be happy to share information and include you in our group. Oh, FYI it is my task to organize the paddlers the best I can. The paddlers are aiming to finish in 8 days or less. The final dinner and awards ceremony is on Saturday evening, September 9 at Grand Portage Casino. They are being tracked by either SPOT or InReach so their time and route can be verified. There are virtual checkpoints along the route from which they sent SPOT "OK" messages. We have a group arrangement at the Grand Portage Casino. You may be eligible to join that group arrangement and possibly and we still have room, share the shuttle from G.P. back to Ely. Look me up in the Member Directory, send me an email and we can arrange a chat.

07/26/2023 09:56AM  
EZPete: "Hello everyone!

My logistical plan is evolving. I'm curious if anyone else arriving in Ely from or through Duluth? I'm currently planning to take the shuttle from Grand Portage back to Ely but I may have a way to pre-position a vehicle in Grand Portage. I'm wondering what other people have done in the past to get to and from the start/finish."

Hi Pete!

There's a good chance someone would be able to pick you up in Duluth and get you to Ely. A lot of peoples' plans are evolving so you may need to be patient with your potential plan.

I see your registered for both the Kruger/Waddell and the Voyageurs Challenge? Did you change from the Kruger to the Voyageurs Challenge?

As far as what people have done in the past for getting to the start and from the finish...
1) Join a shuttle organized by us
2) Have friends or family shuttle, this works really well at the finish as they can welcome you at the finish, hang out with us, and take you home.
3) hire Harriet to drive you from Grand Portage to Duluth

Looking forward to meeting you and ,way more excited, to meet you at the finish!
07/26/2023 10:34AM  
TreeBear- you're close enough to our event to be considered part of our event if you want.

A 2-day headstart huh? Hmmm, I've never hunted TreeBears before...:)
EZPete
  
07/26/2023 10:47AM  
I see your registered for both the Kruger/Waddell and the Voyageurs Challenge? Did you change from the Kruger to the Voyageurs Challenge?

Hi Lori.

Thanks for the information.

I attempted to update my registration from the Kruger/Wadell to the Voyageur's Challenge but it appears I'm signed up for both now. One is enough, I'm doing the Voyageur!
07/26/2023 12:05PM  
One of these years.....
Really appreciate all the people putting in their time and effort into making this possible. Thank you!
Conchistador
member (38)member
  
08/01/2023 02:04PM  
Conchistador: "I’m very much looking forward to my 3rd border trip. Trying it in a canoe this year. See y’all in Ely! "

Not in a canoe after all. Sticking with SUP. 1 month to go !!!
Grandma L
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08/05/2023 02:20PM  
Challenge Paddlers, Check your e-mail for updated information. Less than a month to the start.
JimmyJustice
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08/22/2023 08:07AM  
FYI...since I will not make the Challenge this year I will cancel my permit today. For any last minute interested parties the permit is for the Little Vermilion EP on 9/2 and should be available soon.
08/26/2023 08:52AM  
just bumping this up so that I can refer back to it quicker as the day approaches....
08/28/2023 08:18AM  
HighnDry: "just bumping this up so that I can refer back to it quicker as the day approaches...."

The "day" is approaching fast now...see you in Ely this Friday and then it's a go on Saturday!! I can't wait!!
Conchistador
member (38)member
  
08/28/2023 09:11AM  
We’re leaving tomorrow morning. See you in Ely
08/28/2023 09:16AM  
Going in Thursday if I can get a shuttle arranged from Ely to the resort.
scotttimm
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08/28/2023 09:24AM  
I'm bummed out that I can't make it this year. Many factors, including one brother broke his tibia and fibula, and the other has giardia. Still hoping to be there at the finish, though my daughter may need me for an event that Saturday. Life is busy with teenagers and the start of school. Good luck everyone! I'll be watching y'all online!
Grandma L
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08/28/2023 09:28AM  
Wow, Busy!! Leaving home on Thursday, heading north. Most bags packed, food for the Lodge hospitality room organized, just checking all the tracking information so we are ready to watch you all!
08/29/2023 12:58AM  
I can't make it this year, but ; after doing it 5 times - I wish I was there right now!!!!
But this year my son is a senior in HS and runs CC and I don't want to miss ANY of his meets as those I can't ever get to watch again. The Challenge will always be there whether in SEPT or whenever---

- BUT GO TEAM BeaV!!!!
Grandma L
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08/29/2023 09:20PM  
WW, thanks for the positive vibes!

The paddlers are on the move - several are already on their way to Ely. I head out on Thursday morning to Grand Portage, pick up a few paddlers and then on to Ely for our Paddler's Meeting at 3:00 PM. The car is getting packed, the Bear Claw awards are in the making and the final arrangements are actually coming together! Remember, you can watch some of the paddlers on Watertribe.com on the tracking page.
08/30/2023 07:17AM  
Scottimm- Too bad you and your brothers couldn't make it to the start.

Lots of paddlers not able to make the start....sometimes that is the hardest part. But we still have a great number that will start, there are 21 paddlers. It's going to be fun!

Whitewolf- thanks for the well wishes. Team BeaV this is year is 4 of us paddling two Wenonah MN 2's. Kendra (aka MAKK), Troy (aka McPipes), BeaV (aka BeaV), and new comer Sandra (aka Dragon Lady). I will be running our Spot device so our team will show up on the WaterTribe Mapper as "BeaV".
JimmyJustice
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08/30/2023 08:24AM  
Good luck Challengers...go team BeaV!
DanCooke
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08/31/2023 04:52PM  
Good Luck! and safety first!
09/01/2023 10:04PM  
Enjoy! Can’t wait to hear all about it.
 
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