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schweady
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07/15/2023 11:01PM  
I've done this river in the past and it was low enough to be a challenge but perfectly do-able. I'm wondering if anyone who has been there most recently can provide some idea of how this year's level compares to a 'normal' late July. It has been so incredibly dry, I'm picturing it a really tough go, but there have been recent rains, so... maybe a bit better. Hoping to day trip from Horse Lake to see the falls and pictos end of July/first of August. (Absence of heavy travel packs provide better odds, for sure.)
 
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bretthexum
senior member (70)senior membersenior member
  
07/16/2023 05:02PM  
I was there about 3 weeks ago and it was very low. Maybe with the recent rain its a little higher but I can't imagine much better.
I'll be heading in Friday and debating Fourtown or Horse River route to Crooked. We shall see.
kpmc
member (6)member
  
07/19/2023 11:59AM  
We just went through here late last week and I'd say "low enough to be a challenge but perfectly do-able" is a good description. I'd never been on the Horse River before...headed from Horse Lake to Lower Basswood Falls the first two sections of the river were beautiful, but contained several areas where we had to get out and pull the canoe through/over rocks. The last section was fine though.
schweady
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07/19/2023 12:25PM  
Thanks, Kyle. Sounds about right for this time of year.
07/20/2023 07:02AM  
bretthexum: "I was there about 3 weeks ago and it was very low. Maybe with the recent rain its a little higher but I can't imagine much better.
I'll be heading in Friday and debating Fourtown or Horse River route to Crooked. We shall see. "


Have you thought about Jackfish Bay of Basswood and down the Basswood River to Crooked? I'm headed that way on the 24th. I've been all the other ways and that one is my favorite. Best fishing all the way once you get to Jackfish Bay.

Plan is to post up near Wednesday bay for a day or two. Travel over to Sat/Sun Bay/Curtain Falls and then head south out Friday Bay.

The Horse River is my main deciding factor. It takes a little time to get to LBF with the extra portages on Horse and this time of year I'm not banking on a site near the falls. If I stay on Jackfish Bay the first night as close to UBF as I can then I have all day to get down the Basswood River and find a site somewhere on Crooked.
bretthexum
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07/25/2023 10:24AM  
Just got out from a Mudro-Wed Bay trip.

River is just tough. I think there's a total of 6 spots to either carry over or portage in addition to the 3 official portages. It took us prob 3.5 hours single portaging. Just really slow going and scratched the crap out of my canoe. Thinking twice about going again until the water level goes up.
schweady
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07/25/2023 06:50PM  
bretthexum: "Just got out from a Mudro-Wed Bay trip.


River is just tough. I think there's a total of 6 spots to either carry over or portage in addition to the 3 official portages. It took us prob 3.5 hours single portaging. Just really slow going and scratched the crap out of my canoe. Thinking twice about going again until the water level goes up. "

I'm assuming that this was with your fully loaded packs. We plan to do it as a day trip... hopefully, next Monday or Tuesday, from a basecamp on Horse Lake. Would you say it would be an entirely different story in that case?

Here we are the last time we enjoyed it in August 2012.

bretthexum
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07/26/2023 02:56PM  
Yes fully loaded packs. For a day trip, still need to get out of canoe quite a few times and carry/pull over as many spots are just too narrow with rocks. Again, it's doable but its a long one.
bretthexum
senior member (70)senior membersenior member
  
07/26/2023 03:00PM  

07/26/2023 03:40PM  
That should answer the question well. Absolutely perfect photos for the occasion.
07/31/2023 02:27PM  
Just went down it yesterday. 3 marked portages as well as 3 walk throughs. Pretty easy and was a nice paddle.
Tomcat
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08/05/2023 09:10PM  
schweady
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08/06/2023 03:11PM  
Went down and back on July 31 as a day trip from our base camp on Horse Lake. Lower water than experienced on my 2012 trip, but still high enough to make for an enjoyable - yet challenging - experience. Probably 7 or 8 areas to line through or lift over each direction - both rocky areas and blown-out beaver dams - but well worth the effort. We were glad not to be fully loaded with gear. gps measured 2 hrs 17 min from the river source to the landing at Lower Basswood Falls.

Thanks to all who commented here and provided encouragement. :-)


kecker
  
08/06/2023 08:51PM  
We went through on August 3rd and it was pretty low. In addition to the three official portages, you'll have at least 4-5 additional areas where you'll either have to drag over the rocks or portage. Even with empty canoes, there are a number of places you'll have to drag over the rocks.

There is a beaver activity building/rebuilding/reinforcing a dam across the entrance to the Horse River on Horse Lake, and he seems to be getting pretty efficient at it.

On the Basswood end of the river you'll have about a mile of pretty dense wild rice to paddle through and half of that there isn't a path through it.

It's doable but challenging.
schweady
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08/07/2023 09:18AM  
kecker - Welcome to bwca.com!

Yeah, that long stretch of wild rice got a bit tedious. Had to stand up a few times to look for a route with some less dense growth.

Billy at VNO alerted us to the beaver activity adding to the fun on the Horse River: "They take out the dams once in a while but won't trap that darn beaver!"

As Lynn O'Kane would say, when she and John were owners there, and we rented their canoes: "It's not a 'pull-over,' it's a 'LIFT-over.'" :-)
AdventureRob
member (8)member
  
08/22/2023 01:05AM  
Good evening all

Heading out of Mudro on the 28th with the family (their first trip to BWCA my boy is 4) I love Mudro as an access point and was hoping to make it up to crooked. Reading this is post is disheartening to say the least. Last time on the Horse river was low but sounds like its much worse. Anyone have any recent reports? If its as low as it looks I might adjust course and go over to Fourtown instead of Basswood/Crooked. Is the juice worth the squeeze fully loaded with a 4 year old?
BriMan
  
09/08/2023 07:30PM  
Heading out of Mudro Thursday sept 14.
Hoping to get up to basswood falls.
Can anyone tell me about the horse river conditions. I know it’s low.
But is it realistically doable.
I can handle extra portages and carry overs.
My biggest concern is being able to push through the rice paddies.
I’d hate to get all the way up the river and have to turn around.
Thanks!
 
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