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iCallitMaize
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06/27/2023 12:25PM  
I was laughing about this a few days ago. Was in Big South Fork running the Cumberland River maybe 10 years ago. There’s really only a few portages along the river with the somewhat difficult one goes around Angel Falls. My buddy and I had to make probably 3-4 trips because of our gear load so we were whipped. Just went ahead and set-up camp at the end of the portage.

Next day, we hear some people coming. Super nice family. Dad came around the bend carrying a 24 pack, flat case of Diet Coke. I couldn’t help but laugh. He looked at us and basically said, “I know fellas, I know. But the wife is the captain and she wanted Diet Coke.”
 
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06/27/2023 12:39PM  
4 young men headed to Kawasachong Lake carrying all their groceries in the plastic bags from the store, except the three jugs of milk that they just carried by the handles. One of them dropped a loaf of bread, we hollered at them and the guy carrying the milk came back to get it.
 
Canoe42
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06/27/2023 12:55PM  
10# anchor.
 
06/27/2023 01:03PM  
Only thing I have seen that I find odd is large coolers.
 
AdamXChicago
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06/27/2023 01:16PM  
Not necessarily a “thing”, but the manner of portaging. Years ago I was on a route from Beaverhouse south to Wolseley via a river (can’t remember the name, but might have been a continuation of the Quetico River) that had several easy portages. As we’re portaging our packs through, we hear some very strange sounds up ahead. Couldn’t quite figure out what it was. A few minutes later we run across a couple with a fully-loaded Royalex canoe. They were dragging it the entire portage length! I can’t imagine what the underside of the canoe looked like after their trip. SMH
 
tumblehome
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06/27/2023 01:20PM  
I saw a crew using black plastic garbage bags filling their canoe instead of packs. On top off all of that was one of those 24” cast iron pans with the long handles you see at Cabelas. Probably weighed 30#

When I was a youth and worked for an outfitter on Moose Lake, I shuttled a bunch of guys up to prairie portage with an 8 gallon keg of beer.

Tom
 
06/27/2023 01:32PM  
tumblehome: "I saw a crew using black plastic garbage bags filling their canoe instead of packs. On top off all of that was one of those 24” cast iron pans with the long handles you see at Cabelas. Probably weighed 30#


When I was a youth and worked for an outfitter on Moose Lake, I shuttled a bunch of guys up to prairie portage with an 8 gallon keg of beer.


Tom"


I had a couple cousins who would routinely bring 2 kegs in. Long time ago though.
 
treehorn
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06/27/2023 01:33PM  
On the long portage from Burntside to Crab...420ish rods...we crossed directions twice with a group carrying some big ol pvc type tubing contraption. It was large and unwieldy and awkward, and completely unfamiliar to any of our group. We finally got a chance to ask them what it was and the guy said something about their canoe was a racing canoe and they used that as an outrigger or something? I still wasn't totally clear on how it worked, and didn't get a chance to see it in action, but found it pretty interesting. Hey, maybe they put in on Crab and blew buy us in a flash in their racing canoe and we never noticed!
 
Hammertime
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06/27/2023 01:53PM  
Pre-cut firewood bundles and full collapsible water jugs. Same group. It was near the mudro entry and pretty sure they were quadruple portaging.
 
bloody stump
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06/27/2023 03:14PM  
We were exiting via stuart river. As we come up to the bridge at swamp creek (spring time, high water) we see a 6 person tent (still in box) + 10lb LP tank and large 4 burner stove, among other things ---- it was a party of 2 and neither looked to happy
 
Toddx
  
06/27/2023 03:44PM  
This year portage into Ogish. Wildfire. Until now we had only seen plumes of smoke in the distance. Never been this up close and personal. Could feel the heat.
 
TreeBear
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06/27/2023 03:50PM  
I was guiding a group of kids over the alpine highway to finish the trip when we passed six men portaging four half kegs. The alcohol to person ratio was very high for that group.

Not totally unusual, but cool. I ran into one of the camps paddling a voyageur style canoe along the border with a tandem yoke (one bow, one stern.) Crazy to see that thing carried.

I always love running into the groups portaging lawn chairs across or trying to get by with a wheeling suitcase.

For me personally, the list is long of garbage items I have had the misfortune of portaging out, which I can only imagine look pretty funny while going the other way. Not once, not twice, but three times I have portaged anchors. I keep finding the darn things lost in rapids or sunk to the bottom in places and then my "leave-no-trace" heart has a conundrum. The first was a coffee can full of concrete, the second was a concrete block with a ring on top, and the third was a standard collapsible one. One trip on Basswood I filled three black garbage bags with trash so I looked like quite the circus on the portages, but it was just because I was out of pack space! I found two full-sized frying pans on that trip to portage out. Without pack space, they simply were carabinered to the lifejacket. On non-bwca trips, there have been a collection of cinderblocks and tires as well which are less portage-happy.
 
06/27/2023 04:01PM  
A few I have run into;

- Firewood Bundles on the portage from Sawbill to Alton.
- Giant Collapsable water bottles on the last portage into Agnes.

- My favorite though has to be, Opener 2021 Cross bay to Rib, not actively portaging, but three guys in a Coleman 15 ft RamX with enough gear scattered about the portage landing that had me seriously questioning how in the world they got it all there with them included. I mean, even if they could have some how tetris mastered it all into the canoe...i'd think it would just sink. Three big dudes and just a shit ton of random gear everywhere. Obviously they had, but man alive...I was singling and just tip toe, stepped and hopped around all thier gear and into the water, set the canoe took of my pack, un bdb'd my paddle and off I went. Didn't see them again...so not really sure if they were coming or going or where they ultimately ended up.

I've also come across the odd cooler or plastic bag full of gear, but hey we all start somewhere. We carried a guitar in our first trip...so I guess, what can I really say.
 
MikeinMpls
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06/27/2023 04:16PM  
AdamXChicago: "Not necessarily a “thing”, but the manner of portaging. Years ago I was on a route from Beaverhouse south to Wolseley via a river (can’t remember the name, but might have been a continuation of the Quetico River) that had several easy portages. As we’re portaging our packs through, we hear some very strange sounds up ahead. Couldn’t quite figure out what it was. A few minutes later we run across a couple with a fully-loaded Royalex canoe. They were dragging it the entire portage length! I can’t imagine what the underside of the canoe looked like after their trip. SMH"


I wonder if we saw the same group or the same canoe. I can't remember where I saw it, I think it was along the Moose River. Anyway, a group of guys came across pulling an ancient blue canoe… I'm not sure if it was Royalex or some other really thick and heavy plastic. It was likely a fancy top-of-the-line model when it first came out. They dragged, pushed, and pulled that canoe, fully loaded, across the entire portage and did not take anything out of it. Every rock on the portage had blue flakes all over it.

Mike
 
MikeinMpls
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06/27/2023 04:34PM  
Before I make my list, I want to say this: if it's legal to bring into the BWCA, and you're willing to carry it, good on you.

I've seen people carry across a portage a keg, put it into an innertube, and pull it behind the canoe.

I've seen people carry lawn chairs… The old folding kind with the nylon straps and hollow tin tubing. The kind all of us grew up with.

Paddling on Lake One moving south, we counted 30 canoes going the opposite way to exit. It had been a busy week. Two canoes had their gear in the large plastic Tupperware-brand garbage cans with the lids that snapped on. They sat rather high in the canoe.

I really don't care how much gear someone brings, however, what fascinates me is how all that loose stuff gets into the canoe, stays in the canoe, and does not get lost. I regularly see groups that look as if they have to reinvent how they packed every time they get to the other side of a portage. Re-tying fishing poles to the thwarts, where to hook this Sierra cup, who has my other boot? (hint: it's in the other canoe), then the fishing net gets caught on somebody's Rapala, and who forgot the leeches at the other end?

Mike
 
analyzer
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06/27/2023 04:52PM  
I would never do this, because I don't want to make a joke out of the bwca, but I always thought it would be funny to portage across a king size box spring, mattress, recliner, flat screen etc, and just secretly film others reactions. Again, I would never do it, it's just something the brain plays with while portaging. I picture how funny it would be to put the wife in some sort of princess costume, then put her in one of those fancy elevated boxes, with 4 muscular men carrying her box on their shoulders. The looks you would get would be priceless.
 
tumblehome
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06/27/2023 06:40PM  
Speckled: "A few I have run into;


- Firewood Bundles on the portage from Sawbill to Alton.
- Giant Collapsable water bottles on the last portage into Agnes.


- My favorite though has to be, Opener 2021 Cross bay to Rib, not actively portaging, but three guys in a Coleman 15 ft RamX with enough gear scattered about the portage landing that had me seriously questioning how in the world they got it all there with them included. I mean, even if they could have some how tetris mastered it all into the canoe...i'd think it would just sink. Three big dudes and just a shit ton of random gear everywhere. Obviously they had, but man alive...I was singling and just tip toe, stepped and hopped around all thier gear and into the water, set the canoe took of my pack, un bdb'd my paddle and off I went. Didn't see them again...so not really sure if they were coming or going or where they ultimately ended up.


I've also come across the odd cooler or plastic bag full of gear, but hey we all start somewhere. We carried a guitar in our first trip...so I guess, what can I really say. "


THAT was an enjoyable read!
Analyzer, I got to admit, portaging a flat screen TV to see what the reaction would be is a rather funny idea. Yeah, never gonna happen but makes the mind curious.

Oh, I did camp on Fern Lake in Quetico this year and there was a solo canoe at the campsite that had been there a while. There was one shoes tied to a thwart. Many scenarios crossed my mind. Most of them ended with the owner getting rescued.
 
Marley
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06/27/2023 06:45PM  
In the early 80s our annual Memorial weekend trip to Beaverhouse always included a 16 gallon keg of beer in a wash tub filled with ice. We portaged in Grumman sport boats to carry all of the gear. Surprising how fast you can travel with two sets of oars.
My wife and I still do the trip most years and I always laugh about our stupidity. Sure would be nice to be that young again though.
 
06/27/2023 07:01PM  
On the Crab lake portage I saw a woman dragging a hard sided roller suitcase.
 
salukiguy
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06/27/2023 07:34PM  
I have also seen the royalex canoe drag with all the gear in the canoe. I saw it on the portages coming out of Fourtown Lake. A bunch of young strong guys. Actually the method was amazingly fast and the guys did it with a single portage. I was trying to decide if their outfitter had told them to do the or if the outfitter would have been appalled to see their canoes treated this way.
 
airmorse
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06/27/2023 08:02PM  
analyzer: "I would never do this, because I don't want to make a joke out of the bwca, but I always thought it would be funny to portage across a king size box spring, mattress, recliner, flat screen etc, and just secretly film others reactions. Again, I would never do it, it's just something the brain plays with while portaging. I picture how funny it would be to put the wife in some sort of princess costume, then put her in one of those fancy elevated boxes, with 4 muscular men carrying her box on their shoulders. The looks you would get would be priceless."


Do it!!! That would be classic remembered for all eternity.
 
06/27/2023 08:36PM  
As tumblehome mentioned, I used to go with some guys who were friends of my friend and they always carried their monster skillet with a detachable handle. As laughable as that was they made some fantastic breakfasts and fish fries with that thing. The breakfasts the first few days were huge mixes of fresh eggs, vegetables and bacon all carried in. And several of them carried in a large Coleman cooler with 20#'s of ice which was largely used for the premixed Manhattans which they carried in washed out gallon milk jugs.
 
OtherBob
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06/27/2023 08:49PM  
Saw a bunch of Boy Scouts pass with a wanigan athwart one of their boats. "Wanigan" is defined as a lumber camp supply chest, and this one was big enough for a couple of camps - four feet long, two feet wide, and three feet high. Two eight foot 2x4s, permanently attached, were the bearers. If this one contained all their stoves, utensils, and food, it must have taken 4 scouts to carry it across a portage. Constructing it must have been a fulfilling troop project, but I am sure this wanigan made no further BW trips.
 
06/27/2023 09:58PM  
Funniest things I saw were a large cardboard box full of bags of potato chips, and a case of bottled water. :-)
 
06/27/2023 11:04PM  
iCallitMaize: "
Next day, we hear some people coming. Super nice family. Dad came around the bend carrying a 24 pack, flat case of Diet Coke. I couldn’t help but laugh. He looked at us and basically said, “I know fellas, I know. But the wife is the captain and she wanted Diet Coke.”"


Wow. How nice of you! My husband would have told me if I wanted it I could carry it. So I wean myself off my 1 can per day coke before we go to the bw. I also think I’d feel guilty if he actually carried something like that for me.

 
06/28/2023 08:24AM  
I didn't actually see it get portaged, but in 2017 we did the Granite River route, and while paddling we passed an old, scruffy looking guy, solo, who was in about a 16" aluminum rowboat, complete with large wooden oars, that must have weighed about 300 pounds. Never could figure out now he got it in and out of there.
 
allfish
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06/28/2023 08:45AM  
We saw a family of 4 on the Curtain Falls portage moving in a Honda generator and a dorm fridge.
 
06/28/2023 11:57AM  
johndku: "I didn't actually see it get portaged, but in 2017 we did the Granite River route, and while paddling we passed an old, scruffy looking guy, solo, who was in about a 16" aluminum rowboat, complete with large wooden oars, that must have weighed about 300 pounds. Never could figure out now he got it in and out of there."


Similar thing I saw a paddle boat on Pine Lake. Obviously no portage but that is a long way to go in one of those things unless they lived on the lake I suppose.
 
chessie
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06/28/2023 12:17PM  
A few years ago going into Shell, a guy was carrying a large see-through rectangular bin --holding it in front of him -- full of food (boxes of crackers was one item we saw); and, a kid dragging behind him was carrying what appeared to be a sizeable tent in a duffle type bag. Poor kid did not look happy.

I did not witness this, but some time ago a friend, experienced tripper, was taking a group in, and one of the party showed up with a 2-wheel-dolly presumably for hauling their gear across portages [the trip leader nixed that]!
 
goblu79
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06/28/2023 12:55PM  
2019 ran into a park ranger on the Horse River portaging a set of windows destined for a cabin they keep repaired in the park. He had a great deal of gear and a healthy amount of fishing gear as well. Not sure what cabin they were headed for.
 
airmorse
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06/28/2023 01:14PM  
allfish: "We saw a family of 4 on the Curtain Falls portage moving in a Honda generator and a dorm fridge. "


So much for no mechanical devices in the BW.
 
06/28/2023 01:20PM  
airmorse: "
allfish: "We saw a family of 4 on the Curtain Falls portage moving in a Honda generator and a dorm fridge. "



So much for no mechanical devices in the BW."


Mechanical devices are not prohibited. A mechanical device is anything with moving parts. The Wilderness Act bars the use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, the landing of aircraft, and any other form of mechanical transport. I think a generator would be considered motorized equipment.
 
paddlefamily
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06/28/2023 01:31PM  
Not super crazy but unusual.

Stand Up Paddleboard paddler coming in off the portage from Ashigan into Ensign.

Lots of folks carrying garbage bags of gear.

People dressed in all sorts of clothing not really appropriate or comfortable for the wilderness.

Someone serenaded the entire bay we were in with a pan flute very early one morning - we weren't very happy about that one.

 
bottomtothetap
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06/28/2023 02:54PM  
Four of the cube-shaped plastic milk crates stuffed full, stacked and ratchet-strapped together. Saddest part: the person that I saw portaging this was me! My very first trip back in the '80's (I did not plan, lead or pack for this trip). Everyone starts their learning curve at some point and I learned quickly that if I ever returned to the BWCA--which I have now dozens of times--I would never portage gear this way again!
 
MikeinMpls
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06/28/2023 03:33PM  
paddlefamily: "Not super crazy but unusual.


Stand Up Paddleboard paddler coming in off the portage from Ashigan into Ensign.


Lots of folks carrying garbage bags of gear.


People dressed in all sorts of clothing not really appropriate or comfortable for the wilderness.


Someone serenaded the entire bay we were in with a pan flute very early one morning - we weren't very happy about that one.


"


My wife and I had a stand-up paddle-boarder pass by our campsite on the far eastern end of Clearwater Lake, about a month ago. He was coming from the west, going east. He had a small pack on the back of the board. Look at the map: No matter he got there, dude had a long paddle. I was impressed.

And as long as paddlefamily brought up clothing: though not directly related to the original post, my wife and I and another member of this board once saw at the Lake One EP a guy in a police tactical vest, fully outfitted in the black SWAT look, black boonie, black jungle boots, carrying a Glock in a drop leg (thigh) holster, obviously taking all necessary measures to insure that everyone saw his sidearm. Again, if that's your thing (it wasn't the gun, it was the affectation)...but I just had to shake my head.

Mike
 
MidwestMan
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06/28/2023 03:40PM  
Michael Jordan poster rolled up. Had to look sideways to be able to tell it was MJ. A BWCA GOAT sighting.
 
Savage Voyageur
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06/28/2023 04:52PM  
I saw a group of 4 guys in two canoes pulling a 16 gallon keg of beer on Pine lake. Too bad we were going the other way…
 
ockycamper
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06/28/2023 05:47PM  
Same with us.

First year we went in on the numbered Lakes. Four college guys were paddling their canoes. The first canoe was pulling a full size aluminum keg behind the canoe, bobbing in the water. The second canoe was pulling another canoe. . . loaded up to overflowing with gear.

Then two years ago on Red Rock I saw three guys in their 60's portage in. While the first two paddled off the portage in solo canoes, the remaining guy put his candem canoe (a Grunman) into the water, then attached a double sided outrigger system to it. Then he loaded his canoe up with coolers and packs. That guy brought in gear on that trip then anyone I have seen in 15 years.
 
adam
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06/28/2023 05:50PM  

The craziest thing I saw was a pair portaging in from Larch Creek with nothing but 1 fishing pole. I believe they were both wearing jeans. They asked if they could see our map as they left theirs in the car. I gave them one to keep.

Their plan was to meet up with their group on an island in Saganaga, but they weren't too sure which one. And the group had gear for them. No personal gear with them outside of the one fishing pole. They didn't have pfds. And maybe had a bottle of water each.

It was absolutely crazy. My best guess is they were drug mules going in to pick up a few Duluth Packs and hustle their way back out.
 
06/28/2023 08:35PM  
I was carrying my canoe, paddles, and pack (single portaging) at the end of a long portage at the end of a long day of travel. A guy was in the middle of the portage, waving me off, asking me to stop. "Why?" I ask. Him "Oh, my wife is peeing just up ahead. " Me. "sorry, man" and I just kept going. I didn't see any of her bits, just her fish belly white ass, as I trudged on through and she short-hopped her way into the woods off the trail.
If you need a piss, get off the trail.
 
06/29/2023 09:24AM  
analyzer: "I would never do this, because I don't want to make a joke out of the bwca, but I always thought it would be funny to portage across a king size box spring, mattress, recliner, flat screen etc, and just secretly film others reactions. Again, I would never do it, it's just something the brain plays with while portaging. I picture how funny it would be to put the wife in some sort of princess costume, then put her in one of those fancy elevated boxes, with 4 muscular men carrying her box on their shoulders. The looks you would get would be priceless."



When or if you do this, do not forget an extension cord and a large battery for additional effects.
 
06/29/2023 11:41AM  
Couple years ago while we were coming out EP 16 (moose river) we saw two guys and girl starting a trip getting dropped off at the EP by an outfitter where they had rented thier canoe. They were all wearing flip flops and swimming suits and had luggage duffle style bags for their gear. But what topped it all off was one of the guys very carfully carrying a pineapple in one hand! I'm guessing after the first couple of portages he realized it might be better to put the pineapple in one of the bags.

We asked them where they were headed, as it was already around 3pm, and they replied Nina Moose. We informed them that it looked like most of the campsites on Nina were taken and wished them luck.
 
06/29/2023 11:56AM  
@goblu79

That's very cool. It's likely they were headed for the USFS cabin in the bay just north of Lower Basswood Falls. They store tools, extra latrines, firegrates and other things like that there.

We ran into two USFS rangers last year on Gun who had a bunch of trail work/camp site tools. Saws, shovels, hammers. Guy said it was a lot to protage but all part of the job. After they checked our permit we talekd for around 45 minutes and learned alot about what they do.
 
06/30/2023 11:14PM  
Group had a brand new expensive canoe, and a 5 gallon bucket of mountain house food. I found the contrast between the two funny. Supper high end boat and about the worst thing possible to eat. Then again the box of wine they had probably helped.
 
Canoearoo
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07/01/2023 09:43AM  
Saw a lady Portage in a dress and high heals up by fish dance

Saw a campsite had an electric sump pump in the lake and an extinction cord and hose running up to camp.
 
ForestDuff
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07/01/2023 10:01AM  
Moose hind quarters.
 
toastedmarshmallow12
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07/01/2023 07:02PM  
Bed pillows. Just 3 if them laying on top of all their bags. Just in pillowcases ???????
 
07/02/2023 10:40AM  
Paper grocery bags. A dozen of them.
 
schweady
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07/03/2023 09:33PM  
A whole watermelon. No pack, no bag; just carried like a baby and set in the bottom of their canoe.

Years later, I still say it was somebody who lost a bet.
 
gravelroad
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07/04/2023 07:54AM  
analyzer: "I would never do this, because I don't want to make a joke out of the bwca, but I always thought it would be funny to portage across a king size box spring, mattress, recliner, flat screen etc, and just secretly film others reactions. Again, I would never do it, it's just something the brain plays with while portaging. I picture how funny it would be to put the wife in some sort of princess costume, then put her in one of those fancy elevated boxes, with 4 muscular men carrying her box on their shoulders. The looks you would get would be priceless."


It was Crosby Manitou State Park, not the BWCA, but my wife and I once came across a group carrying a queen-sized mattress into a backpacking site about a mile from the road. There was barely room for it at their destination among the coolers they brought in ...
 
07/04/2023 01:11PM  
I once watched a group from Chicago carrying a massive, canvas cabin tent across Have-a-Smoke Portage in Quetico.

On another occasion I watched a group from Colorado carrying full, five gallon jugs of water across the long portage from Missing Link to Tuscarora Lakes.
 
07/05/2023 07:16PM  
Canoearoo: "Saw a lady Portage in a dress and high heals up by fish dance


Saw a campsite had an electric sump pump in the lake and an extinction cord and hose running up to camp. "


In college I took a field course where one day, to surprise the professor, we all wore 70s prom dresses and plaid suits bought from the Salvation Army the night before. We were the best dressed people ever seen grubbing in dirt. The looks we got were priceless!
 
07/05/2023 09:11PM  
gravelroad: "
analyzer: "I would never do this, because I don't want to make a joke out of the bwca, but I always thought it would be funny to portage across a king size box spring, mattress, recliner, flat screen etc, and just secretly film others reactions. Again, I would never do it, it's just something the brain plays with while portaging. I picture how funny it would be to put the wife in some sort of princess costume, then put her in one of those fancy elevated boxes, with 4 muscular men carrying her box on their shoulders. The looks you would get would be priceless."



It was Crosby Manitou State Park, not the BWCA, but my wife and I once came across a group carrying a queen-sized mattress into a backpacking site about a mile from the road. There was barely room for it at their destination among the coolers they brought in ..."


That's flat out insanity right there.
 
07/06/2023 08:03AM  
Case of bottled water…

But once years ago as I’m not one to be a pack nazi my wife then brother and his wife pulled from their pack the tent I gave them, a sleeping bag for the two of them and… a boombox!!! They would have brought clothes. But the boombox was most important. The best part… it didn’t work out there. My wife may have said something to her brother like… you idiot! Haha! Glad to say the bil and his wife are still together and after nine years my wife and I parted ways. That was about 40 years ago or better.
 
bottomtothetap
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07/06/2023 10:23AM  
nctry: "Case of bottled water…

But once years ago as I’m not one to be a pack nazi my wife then brother and his wife pulled from their pack the tent I gave them, a sleeping bag for the two of them and… a boombox!!! They would have brought clothes. But the boombox was most important. The best part… it didn’t work out there. My wife may have said something to her brother like… you idiot! Haha! Glad to say the bil and his wife are still together and after nine years my wife and I parted ways. That was about 40 years ago or better."


Did not see it portaged but I also experienced a boombox on a trip 16 years ago. My brother-in-law and I were camped on Rose Lake at the site closest to the bottom of Stairway Portage enjoying our morning coffee when someone at the top of the portage chose dawn as the perfect time to blast Jimi Hendrix' version of the Star Spangled Banner out over Rose Lake. BIL and I just stared at each other, with our jaws dropped in disbelief. Probably the strangest (and most annoying!) thing I DIDN'T see portaged!
 
The Lorax
distinguished member(935)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
07/09/2023 09:41AM  
I once found an entire large bag with various smoked meats and sausages.

We're talking full hams, rings of smoked bologna, etc.
Nobody around. Only two ants chowing down.
That fresh? Probably.
Anyone around? We didn't pass anyone or catch up with anyone and we travel at a pretty good clip.
 
07/09/2023 10:02AM  
On Lake One a good 25 years ago we hunkered close to shore during a nasty, freezing rain in October next to a couple guys rowing (yes, rowing) a Jon Boat with a cast iron stove in it to set up a moose hunting camp. Crazy.
 
Duckman
distinguished member(527)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
07/10/2023 05:46AM  
On the portage between Cherokee Creek and Ada. Just me and my dog and I could hear someone coming so I found a spot to step off the narrow trail and let them pass.

A guy comes up with one of the larger dogs I’ve ever seen in the Bdub. Open frame pack and cases of plastic bottled beer. I chuckled, then noticed another guy was coming up the trail. Ended up being four or five of them and each had a dog that I swear was larger than the one in front of them. Probably 400 to 500 pounds of dog in total. Last guy had another open frame pack with beer.

Looked to me like this was a pretty serious fishing trip. All four dogs ignored me; it was clear they agreed with their owners that finishing the portage was serious business!
 
07/10/2023 08:58AM  
I'm one of those guys that brings the old fashioned lawn chair with the aluminum tubes and nylon slats. It's light, comfortable and bdbs perfectly to my big pack. Never liked the foldable kind that the legs sink into the ground, and I never can get comfortable with that type. And bringing a chair makes camp life a lot more enjoyable than sitting on a rock or the ground. Works great for me.

Cheers, scat
 
Kermit
distinguished member (132)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
07/10/2023 09:21AM  
I once saw a guy crossing a portage with a cat on his shoulder, and I met a woman tripping with her pet ferret, who travels in her waist pack.
 
07/11/2023 05:40PM  
Not so much any particular item, but the pure volume of stuff one group was portaging out from Splash to Moose. Group of 6 and I think everyone took at least 4-5 trips on that short portage. We passed the group on Ensign and could not believe how overloaded their canoes looked.
Multiple Coolers, lawn chairs, 4 large tackle boxes, at least a dozen fishing rods+reels, a couple of Huge tents, Live bait containers, and probably enough personal gear for a group twice as large.
They were being picked up on Moose and the guys picking them up took a bit to tetris everything in so that all 6 people and their stuff could fit in the two tow boats. Pretty crazy.
 
07/11/2023 07:12PM  
Other than a group carrying a keg of beer, the craziest thing I’ve seen is two people carrying a canoe by the front and back thwarts. Both were stumbling and tripping over roots and rocks. I think they thought it was easier than carrying on the shoulders.
 
SlickNorthwoods
member (23)member
  
08/04/2023 10:37AM  
egknuti: "Other than a group carrying a keg of beer, the craziest thing I’ve seen is two people carrying a canoe by the front and back thwarts. Both were stumbling and tripping over roots and rocks. I think they thought it was easier than carrying on the shoulders. "


Done this a few times actually. Sometimes it is easier/faster on a tiny 10 rod portage to just carry it with all the gear in and hop in and go.
 
08/05/2023 12:32PM  
A full keg being carried by 2 guys. The keg had 2 poles attached to it so it was carried like a stretcher.
 
MidwestMan
distinguished member (261)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
08/05/2023 05:50PM  
SlickNorthwoods: "
egknuti: "Other than a group carrying a keg of beer, the craziest thing I’ve seen is two people carrying a canoe by the front and back thwarts. Both were stumbling and tripping over roots and rocks. I think they thought it was easier than carrying on the shoulders. "



Done this a few times actually. Sometimes it is easier/faster on a tiny 10 rod portage to just carry it with all the gear in and hop in and go."


Agree with you SlickNorthwoods
 
jhb8426
distinguished member(1445)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
08/05/2023 07:45PM  
Not on a portage, but seen leaving Sawbill one morninig. Nine guys in 4 canoes loaded over the gunnels. I'm guessing they were hoping to find a site on Sawbill...









-------------------------------------------------


In my own experience with a group of Boy Scouts on the Burntside to Crab portage... A group of car camper parents felt they needed to contribute and were feeling left out so the scoutmaster let them plan the trip. A disaster from the day we met to pack and no one spoke up to say how dumb it all was, me included. All the gear and food was packed in those 30 gallon plastic bins. And though we were only in for 5 days, we had enough food to stay for 2 weeks. We had 3 groups and each group had 3 bins. It took us 4 trips over the portage to finish. The actual destination was Cummins. After we got over we opted to stay on Crab for the duration.
 
airmorse
distinguished member(3428)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
08/05/2023 09:53PM  
jhb8426: "Not on a portage, but seen leaving Sawbill one morninig. Nine guys in 4 canoes loaded over the gunnels. I'm guessing they were hoping to find a site on Sawbill...










-------------------------------------------------



In my own experience with a group of Boy Scouts on the Burntside to Crab portage... A group of car camper parents felt they needed to contribute and were feeling left out so the scoutmaster let them plan the trip. A disaster from the day we met to pack and no one spoke up to say how dumb it all was, me included. All the gear and food was packed in those 30 gallon plastic bins. And though we were only in for 5 days, we had enough food to stay for 2 weeks. We had 3 groups and each group had 3 bins. It took us 4 trips over the portage to finish. The actual destination was Cummins. After we got over we opted to stay on Crab for the duration."


Oh my!!!
 
MikeinMpls
distinguished member(1358)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
08/06/2023 07:08PM  
Kermit: "I once saw a guy crossing a portage with a cat on his shoulder, and I met a woman tripping with her pet ferret, who travels in her waist pack. "


I would have loved to see the kitty on the portage! So cool

Mike
 
08/06/2023 07:17PM  
My son and I were invited on a youth group trip to Lake Kukukus north of Ignace, Ontario. I got to the meeting place with our 2 waterproof bwca type bags only to discover that this group of 24 did a different kind of trip than I am used to.

We took 9 boats with motors and 3 big vans with boat trailers. One boat on the trailer, one boat upside down on the other boat, and one on the roof. I don't know how many gas cans. 5 car batteries to operate electric knives for filleting! (We did fillet and eat 56 walleye a day for 5 days!), propane tanks and deep-fryer cookers, folding tables, and more chairs, totes, tarps, and assorted bags than a person could count.

We camped on a smallish island and the boat landing area looked like a marina after a hurricane. Tents were so packed together you could hardly stumble between them.

My son and I found a small spot to pitch our tent on the other side of the island, away from the crowd and the noise and we actually had a very nice trip.
 
OldGuide2
distinguished member (128)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
08/08/2023 08:37PM  
Did not actually see them portage it, but the craziest thing I ever saw at a campsite was a queen-sized mattress (not an air mattress, but the kind you put on a bed). It was on a campsite on Thomas along with a lot of other trash. Only way to get it in would have been to portage it.
 
tonecoughlin
senior member (90)senior membersenior member
  
08/09/2023 07:05PM  
A group of 9 who clogged up the entire portage on Jordan Lake for 15 minutes. The last guy didn't even set the canoe down into the water instead he just launched it off his shoulders and it bounced and rolled into the water from about 30 yards. We were amazed the kevlar rental boat still floated!
 
Fearlessleader
distinguished member (179)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
08/10/2023 10:53AM  
Beer I can understand even if I don’t think it would be worth it. But we were just exiting Quetico one year and the outfitter picking us up said a group of guys had just entered with 5 gallon buckets of drinking water.

In 2001 north of Kawishiwi Lake we met a ranger on his way to rebuild a camp comfort station. I had a picture of our 9 year old portaging a new fiberglass latrine with her head sticking out the opening.
 
08/13/2023 07:51AM  
John Galt's Spacestar setup.
 
bottomtothetap
distinguished member(1047)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
08/14/2023 11:54AM  
SlickNorthwoods: "
egknuti: "Other than a group carrying a keg of beer, the craziest thing I’ve seen is two people carrying a canoe by the front and back thwarts. Both were stumbling and tripping over roots and rocks. I think they thought it was easier than carrying on the shoulders. "



Done this a few times actually. Sometimes it is easier/faster on a tiny 10 rod portage to just carry it with all the gear in and hop in and go."


+1
 
Deeznuts
distinguished member(525)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
08/18/2023 09:47AM  
Our last portage yesterday we encountered a group of young men that quadruple portaged totes and so many bags. I didn't want to be condescending so I didn't say anything because it's really your business what all you decide to bring in, but these poor guys spent almost an hour portaging while we waited in the weeds. I can be a patient person so we didn't mind waiting. Just interesting to see how differently people do things.
 
ockycamper
distinguished member(1440)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
08/18/2023 10:27AM  
The number of posts about kegs of beer surprised me.

There is apparently a group that does not view the BWCA as a wilderness area but rather a state park for a tailgate
 
jwmiller39
distinguished member (150)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
08/18/2023 10:29AM  
ockycamper: "The number of posts about kegs of beer surprised me.


There is apparently a group that does not view the BWCA as a wilderness area but rather a state park for a tailgate"


if they aren't breaking any rules, why does it matter? the phrase "watch your own bobber" comes to mind
 
ockycamper
distinguished member(1440)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
08/18/2023 10:34AM  
Not making a judgement, only an observation.

 
08/18/2023 02:14PM  
We were going fro Malberg to Kawishiwi lake a few years ago and on every portage there were curly pieces of red and Blue plastic along every portage. I couldn't figure out what they were from. Until the last portage we saw two people dragging a kayak each, red and blue
 
08/18/2023 05:13PM  
ockycamper: "The number of posts about kegs of beer surprised me.


There is apparently a group that does not view the BWCA as a wilderness area but rather a state park for a tailgate"

I have not camped in a state park in several years, but if I remember correctly, alcohol is not allowed.
 
portagedog09
distinguished member (174)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
08/18/2023 05:13PM  
2022 heading out of the BW going from Lake Two to Lake One - two guys and two young ladies portaging in four SOT kayaks. And gear. We observed one rather pissed looking young lady at the end of the portage, arms folded, face in a scowl, obviously NOT a happy camper while the other three would carry one kayak a short distance, break, rinse, repeat. PRETTY CERTAIN they did not make it to Lake Three. At least it would have been the smartest thing to do at that point was to stay on Lake Two. Seemed to me this was something the boys planned and had convinced the girls it would be fun. Without much thought or research.
 
KawnipiKid
distinguished member (208)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
08/19/2023 12:48PM  
egknuti: "
ockycamper: "The number of posts about kegs of beer surprised me.



There is apparently a group that does not view the BWCA as a wilderness area but rather a state park for a tailgate"

I have not camped in a state park in several years, but if I remember correctly, alcohol is not allowed. "


Also, wouldn't a keg be banned as a can? Maybe not since they are refillable.
 
08/19/2023 10:40PM  
MikeinMpls: "
Kermit: "I once saw a guy crossing a portage with a cat on his shoulder, and I met a woman tripping with her pet ferret, who travels in her waist pack. "



I would have loved to see the kitty on the portage! So cool


Mike"


I just lost a ton of respect for you buddy. Cats?
 
Northwoodsman
distinguished member(2059)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
08/20/2023 07:57AM  
I wish that I would have taken a picture of my gear that I took of my gear on my first trip (1989) to compare to what I took on my last trip. I'm sure I would have been a topic of good laughs back then.
 
NEIowapaddler
distinguished member (262)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
08/20/2023 12:06PM  
okinaw55: "
MikeinMpls: "
Kermit: "I once saw a guy crossing a portage with a cat on his shoulder, and I met a woman tripping with her pet ferret, who travels in her waist pack. "




I would have loved to see the kitty on the portage! So cool



Mike"



I just lost a ton of respect for you buddy. Cats? "


In my experience, people who don't like cats are some of the biggest a-holes on the planet.
 
MikeinMpls
distinguished member(1358)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
08/20/2023 12:37PM  
okinaw55: "
MikeinMpls: "
Kermit: "I once saw a guy crossing a portage with a cat on his shoulder, and I met a woman tripping with her pet ferret, who travels in her waist pack. "




I would have loved to see the kitty on the portage! So cool



Mike"



I just lost a ton of respect for you buddy. Cats? "


Yes. Cats. Rudy and Walter say cats are pretty cool.



Though the way these two lay seige to my house, I fear what they would do to the BWCA.

Mike
 
ockycamper
distinguished member(1440)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
08/20/2023 12:56PM  
As an appraiser for 24 years I have been in thousands of homes with all kinds of animals (including snakes and pigs). The one I remember is:

I was at a home last year and as I was wondering through the lady said I don't have to worry about her dog as he loves everyone. (The dog was following me through the house wagging its tail). Then she said. . . "on the other hand, the cat is Satan". And just them the cat jumped out and sunk its claws and teeth into me.

Put me firmly in the camp of team dog. . . I am with the lady above regarding cats.
 
08/20/2023 04:17PM  
Just remember. If you were smaller and your cat was big enough, they’d eat you.
 
ockycamper
distinguished member(1440)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
08/20/2023 04:58PM  
The client's cat tried to do that already
 
NEIowapaddler
distinguished member (262)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
08/20/2023 06:05PM  
MikeinMpls: "
okinaw55: "
MikeinMpls: "
Kermit: "I once saw a guy crossing a portage with a cat on his shoulder, and I met a woman tripping with her pet ferret, who travels in her waist pack. "




I would have loved to see the kitty on the portage! So cool



Mike"




I just lost a ton of respect for you buddy. Cats? "



Yes. Cats. Rudy and Walter say cats are pretty cool.





Though the way these two lay seige to my house, I fear what they would do to the BWCA.


Mike"


Beautiful kitties! I would never take one of mine into the BWCA, but like you, I would have loved to see the one being portaged.
 
bgm1911
member (5)member
  
08/29/2023 01:05PM  
A baby in a front sling on the mother.
 
OleErickson
member (6)member
  
08/30/2023 09:19PM  
Multiple 12 packs of Gatorade. I guess maybe they didn't realize they make it in powdered form.
 
Samsquatch
member (26)member
  
08/31/2023 03:02PM  
As a teenaged Boy Scout some of our group had just finished a portage and were waiting for the rest to make it across. A motoboat approached and whistled, then motioned for our group to move aside. They landed and unpacked a cart and put their Lund with fishing gear on top and wheeled down the portage. They didn't thank our group for making room or even speak to us. This still strikes me as really arrogant today some 35 years later.
 
Northwoodsman
distinguished member(2059)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
09/01/2023 10:04AM  
OleErickson: "Multiple 12 packs of Gatorade. I guess maybe they didn't realize they make it in powdered form."

But then they would have had to carry in bottled water.
 
09/01/2023 10:43AM  
A bit of a different angle...

About seven years ago we were two families with young kids on a canoe trip in Algonquin Park. As we approached a portage a couple, in about their fifties, were just completing their portage at the landing. The man sized up our group and announced, "How many women in your group?" The subtext of that question was obvious. My friend Traci took the insult to her advantage gave the man a pack and her canoe to carry for her.

Curiously, the man's wife just sat in the canoe and did nothing the whole time and never objected to his misogynistic question to strangers.
 
GraniteCliffs
distinguished member(1982)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
09/02/2023 04:12PM  
The time I learned a lesson.
At the bottom of Agnes in the Q. Three long portages from Prairie. We were fishing the shore. At the end of the portage Sat a guy with about eight Duluth packs all around him. No canoes and no other people. He just sat there while we passed and chatted very briefly.
We paddled away and quietly wondered why he didn’t go back to help with the canoe. We were likely taking a dim view of his lack of effort.
As we paddled off he rose to say goodbye.
He had only one leg. And was on Agnes Lake. After three tough portages.
Yep. We learned a lesson that day nearly 20 years ago.
 
Portercreek
  
09/11/2023 07:35PM  
In Quetico heading toward our eventual exit at Mudro I offered to carry a pack for someone going the other way on my return for our 2nd load. He said yes so I picked up what was a comparatively small pack and was surprised how heavy it was. I asked "What's in here, a bowling ball?" His reply was "no, it"s a watermelon." Yes, I carried it.
 
09/12/2023 06:58AM  
While hiking Banff this summer Gunsmoke and I met a person carrying a bunny!
 
andym
distinguished member(5360)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
  
09/18/2023 02:35PM  
Captn Tony: "While hiking Banff this summer Gunsmoke and I met a person carrying a bunny!"


Many years ago at a research station near the Sierra, I met a woman who was hiking around with a duck. The duck was supposed to be a research subject to see which bug larva it preferred. But it turned out to be a very voracious duck and ate everything. So she modified her experiment. But it was also a very nice duck and so she kept it as a pet and hiked around with it on top of her backpack. People would always ask why she had a duck on top of her pack and she would answer, "because its legs are very short and it can't walk as fast as I can."

Portercreek: "His reply was "no, it"s a watermelon." Yes, I carried it."


If only Baby had a backpack it would have been so much easier.
 
grizzlyadams
senior member (68)senior membersenior member
  
09/18/2023 03:02PM  
egknuti: "Other than a group carrying a keg of beer, the craziest thing I’ve seen is two people carrying a canoe by the front and back thwarts. Both were stumbling and tripping over roots and rocks. I think they thought it was easier than carrying on the shoulders. "


I have done this every year that I have gone into the boundary waters. We carry our bags and paddles across on the first portage and then double team the aluminum canoe on the second portage. Work smarter not harder!
 
grizzlyadams
senior member (68)senior membersenior member
  
09/18/2023 03:05PM  
grizzlyadams: "
egknuti: "Other than a group carrying a keg of beer, the craziest thing I’ve seen is two people carrying a canoe by the front and back thwarts. Both were stumbling and tripping over roots and rocks. I think they thought it was easier than carrying on the shoulders. "



I have done this every year that I have gone into the boundary waters. We carry our bags and paddles across on the first portage and then double team the aluminum canoe on the second portage. Work smarter not harder!"


I should have read that closer...it is on our shoulders not carrying it by hand.
 
tonecoughlin
senior member (90)senior membersenior member
  
09/19/2023 10:38AM  
There's an abandoned motorboat in between Gunflint and Sag Lake on the Granite River. Must have taken a few determined young men to get that thing in there!
 
TreeBear
distinguished member(538)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
09/19/2023 01:39PM  
tonecoughlin: "There's an abandoned motorboat in between Gunflint and Sag Lake on the Granite River. Must have taken a few determined young men to get that thing in there!"


There are a few of them in fact. The story I heard was that they were part of a network used by the local lodges to help ferry people through before the motor ban. A few have been hauled out, but the majority are out there rotting still if you poke around in enough rapids sets.
 
Stumpy
distinguished member(2160)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
09/19/2023 02:40PM  
grizzlyadams: "
egknuti: "Other than a group carrying a keg of beer, the craziest thing I’ve seen is two people carrying a canoe by the front and back thwarts. Both were stumbling and tripping over roots and rocks. I think they thought it was easier than carrying on the shoulders. "



I have done this every year that I have gone into the boundary waters. We carry our bags and paddles across on the first portage and then double team the aluminum canoe on the second portage. Work smarter not harder!"


There's less chance of stumbling, when you carry a canoe alone.
 
RTurner
distinguished member (153)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
09/21/2023 12:51PM  

If only Baby had a backpack it would have been so much easier."


Nice reference!
 
09/22/2023 12:26PM  
SlickNorthwoods: "
egknuti: "Other than a group carrying a keg of beer, the craziest thing I’ve seen is two people carrying a canoe by the front and back thwarts. Both were stumbling and tripping over roots and rocks. I think they thought it was easier than carrying on the shoulders. "



Done this a few times actually. Sometimes it is easier/faster on a tiny 10 rod portage to just carry it with all the gear in and hop in and go."


I saw this done on the Ensign to Vera portage. 168 rods, and it's up, up, up, and then down, down, down.
 
mgraber
distinguished member(1501)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
09/22/2023 02:57PM  
Two people carrying one canoe is definitely a recipe for disaster. There is no way that they can be exactly locked in step for step, meaning at some point one will be pulling or pushing the other at a time when they cannot afford to be pulled or pushed. Might be OK for short and flat on occasion, but not dancing around boulders and roots, taking staggered steps or climbing/descending steep slopes.
 
Canoe
member (11)member
  
09/26/2023 08:44PM  
A few years back we crossed paths with a group from Alaska in the middle of a three week trip. They were slapping the bag; having a grand time. They pushed off and we overheard one ask, “Did someone grab the pie?” Back they came to retrieve a fresh baked blueberry pie stashed off to the side of the landing!
 
MidwestMan
distinguished member (261)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
09/27/2023 09:48AM  
Canoe: "A few years back we crossed paths with a group from Alaska in the middle of a three week trip. They were slapping the bag; having a grand time. They pushed off and we overheard one ask, “Did someone grab the pie?” Back they came to retrieve a fresh baked blueberry pie stashed off to the side of the landing!"


That just makes me hungry..
 
prizes14
distinguished member (175)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
09/27/2023 09:04PM  
A few years ago it was mid October on the portage between WInchell and Omega lake that a guy was squatting by the lake cleaning the poop out of his butt with his hand. I'm sure that late in the season he figured he was the only one out there. Turns out he was on the lake when his bowels started to get the best of him. The wind came up and he was trying to get to shore but the harder he paddled into the wind, the less he could hold it in. By the time he got to shore, he had pooped his pants. Not having many clothes along, he figured he would wash his underwear and butt out at the portage. Fortunately the threw the turds from his underwear into the trees. I sure wouldn't want to brush my teeth there.
 
09/28/2023 08:24AM  
prizes14: "A few years ago it was mid October on the portage between WInchell and Omega lake that a guy was squatting by the lake cleaning the poop out of his butt with his hand. I'm sure that late in the season he figured he was the only one out there. Turns out he was on the lake when his bowels started to get the best of him. The wind came up and he was trying to get to shore but the harder he paddled into the wind, the less he could hold it in. By the time he got to shore, he had pooped his pants. Not having many clothes along, he figured he would wash his underwear and butt out at the portage. Fortunately the threw the turds from his underwear into the trees. I sure wouldn't want to brush my teeth there."


Hopefully they didn't land in the pie that alaska group had stashed there.
 
MidwestMan
distinguished member (261)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
09/28/2023 08:25AM  
Cricket67: "
prizes14: "A few years ago it was mid October on the portage between WInchell and Omega lake that a guy was squatting by the lake cleaning the poop out of his butt with his hand. I'm sure that late in the season he figured he was the only one out there. Turns out he was on the lake when his bowels started to get the best of him. The wind came up and he was trying to get to shore but the harder he paddled into the wind, the less he could hold it in. By the time he got to shore, he had pooped his pants. Not having many clothes along, he figured he would wash his underwear and butt out at the portage. Fortunately the threw the turds from his underwear into the trees. I sure wouldn't want to brush my teeth there."



Hopefully they didn't land in the pie that alaska group had stashed there. "


Mmmmm, freshly baked blueberry butt pie. Now I'm even hungrier.
 
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