BWCA Portage Carts - Fall Lake into Basswood Boundary Waters Gear Forum
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Ohiopikeman
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04/27/2023 12:42PM  


Would this be allowed for use on the portages from Fall Lake into Basswood? I have a motor permit for this summer and plan to use traditional Babbit style flip down portage wheels to move my 14' aluminum boat from Fall Lake across the two portages into Basswood.

The difficulty is that the boat with 10 days worth of camping gear, food, and fuel gets to be very heavy getting up/down the hills at the start and end of the portages.

My thought was to double portage, using a modified version of the attached cart to carry 300 lbs of food/gear/fuel accross the portage, then use the Babbit style portage wheels to portage the empty fishing boat and outboard across the portage.

While I know wheeled portage carts are acceptable for moving a canoe or boat on these two portages, I don't know if a "stand alone" cart is breaking any rules. I've never seen it done so figured I had best ask ahead of time.

Dave

 
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Finnboy
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04/28/2023 04:21PM  
When I do that trip I still pack most of my gear like I’m going on a canoe trip. Everything you bring should have it’s place. Portage your packs to the top of the hills but save something for balancing the boat on the wheels. Same goes for the big down hills. Try be efficient. Everyone will thank you.

Bring a couple chairs and some treats but leave the kitchen sink at home. That’s my best advice.
 
04/29/2023 06:40AM  
I had the pleasure of waiting to portage for 10 minutes watching 4 guys push and pull their absurdly heavy motorboat and gear across the Fall -> Newton portage a couple of years ago. Seemed to me they should have portaged their gear separately. Just one paddlers observation.
 
Ohiopikeman
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04/29/2023 09:14AM  
When you say the guys were loaded absurdly heavy, there's a good chance we could have given them a run for their money. We are there for the fishing and take far more gear than is necessary. Nevertheless, my 14' boat is tough to get up the portage hills when empty; even loaded lightly portaging the loaded boat up the hill is not an option. This is a shot of how we get across the flat section of the portage:



When the portage was empty, we would pull up and them lump the gear to the top of the hill as a step #1. Next we would get the boat to the top of the hill and then reload the gear and push the boat to the end of the portage. The last step was to empty the gear and the far end (top of hill), then go down the hill unloaded and finally carry the gear down the hill and reload before leaving.

Twice we were fortunate enough to have a couple of canoers arrive to the portage just after we arrived. Both times we offered to portage their gear and canoe across using the small portage wheel set if they would allow us to additionally throw a bunch of our stuff in to lighten our load. Both groups happily accepted our offer. Both groups had aluminum canoes; would never load a kevlar canoe that heavily using portage wheels.

I sent an email to Ann Schwaller, Forest Wilderness Manager, asking this same question regarding the use of a cart.

Dave

P.S. We do literally bring "The kitchen Sink" (small collapsible plastic version used for washing dishes!)
 
Finnboy
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04/29/2023 04:22PM  
Get a permit for Moose Lake and use Prairie Portage. That would make your life easier if you don't want to streamline your gear.

Einstein's definition of insanity comes to mind.
 
RTurner
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04/29/2023 06:02PM  




You've got more stuff in that boat than I have in my house :)
 
Ohiopikeman
distinguished member (159)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
04/30/2023 09:05AM  
Finnboy: "Get a permit for Moose Lake and use Prairie Portage. That would make your life easier if you don't want to streamline your gear.


Einstein's definition of insanity comes to mind."


Finnboy,

I’ve been chasing northern pike since the 1970’s and have definitely gone places and done things in the pursuit of the northern that the many would say is reckless, insane, or just downright stupid. While there is some truth in each of those assessments, for a guy that grew up in Ohio with limited access to pike, few things give me more pleasure than running a foot controlled trolling motor along a nice weed bed in Jackfish Bay at sunrise. Suffering on a couple of portages going in and out is a low cost of entry to access what is arguably one of the best northern pike lakes in the lower 48. While I have fished the same spots in Basswood going in light with my Kevlar SR17, I can fish much more effectively with an outboard and a trolling motor.

Your idea of using Moose Lake is rock solid. This would allow for a basecamp in Back-Bay which would then allow for easy unloaded day-trips into Pipestone and Jackfish. While I’ve heard many good things about Back Bay, I’ve done far better for northerns in Pipestone and Jackfish Bays.

Dave
 
thegildedgopher
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04/30/2023 08:17PM  
I for one applaud the effort! We do whatever we must to pursue our passions and you’re clearly willing to put in the work. Hope you catch a bunch of gators.

The cart should be fine. “Mechanical assistance” ie wheels are the allowed on that portage. It shouldn’t matter if the wheels are used to transport a canoe, boat, or your gear.

Side note to Kendis: 10 whole minutes?! That must have been a harrowing experience for you, I’m glad you survived!
 
05/01/2023 07:27AM  
Ohiopikeman: "
Finnboy: "Get a permit for Moose Lake and use Prairie Portage. That would make your life easier if you don't want to streamline your gear.



Einstein's definition of insanity comes to mind."


Your idea of using Moose Lake is rock solid. This would allow for a basecamp in Back-Bay which would then allow for easy unloaded day-trips into Pipestone and Jackfish. While I’ve heard many good things about Back Bay, I’ve done far better for northerns in Pipestone and Jackfish Bays.
"


There is a wheeled portage between Back Bay and Pipestone Bay if you want to camp on Pipestone or Jackfish but choose to go through Prairie Portage instead of Fall Lake.
 
05/01/2023 07:29AM  
thegildedgopher: "
Side note to Kendis: 10 whole minutes?! That must have been a harrowing experience for you, I’m glad you survived!"


No sarcasm in my original post.
 
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