BWCA Seeking advice as late August soloist Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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LaVirginienne
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08/13/2023 01:02PM  
Hello all!

I’ve had a rough year. After a devastating death in the family, I was able to get up to BWCA last year for my annual 10 day paddle. But dealing with that, plus going on deployment for hurricane Ian, plus moving house and the stress of trying to get my latest movie into distribution while working 14 hour days, left me so exhausted that I had to give up my permit earlier this month.

I’ve rested and recovered, and realized that I simply cannot give up the “me time” that I find every year in the Boundary Waters. As soon as I finish my final “item” on the list for this month, I plan to take off for Ely.

There’s almost no availability. I had planned an easy trip out of Kawishiwi lake. It seemed unambitious for early August, but perhaps as the winds pick up, this is still a good idea?

Alternatively, I’m seeking your advice. I really need to continue to build up my reserves mentally and emotionally. Last year, I spent a glorious week on Lake Insula at one of the north island sites. It was heaven. I’m v sensitive to good sites: big trees, flat tent pads with trees for my CCS tarp, hammock setup with a view, the whole shebang. Beauty and solitude are what I seek. I’ll give myself 10 days. I can see myself staying 4 nights at one site if it’s great and limiting my travel accordingly. I don’t need to make big miles on this trip (somewhere around 50 is fine) and I like to limit my portages to 5, 6 max, on travel days. Wind is always the issue with soloists as August presses on. I’m willing to put in anywhere, and given my nomadic schedule it probably makes sense for me to do a loop.

Could you please suggest some ideas so that I can be ready to snag something—anything—that might come up at the last minute—and will almost ensure me access to lovely campsites on the trip?

Thanks so much!

Tailwinds!

 
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08/13/2023 01:43PM  
Because we're Quetico paddlers I can't offer suggestions on various BWCA routes that might have last-minute permit availability, but I wish you a peaceful, restful 10 days of unwinding. Safe travels!

TZ
airmorse
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08/13/2023 02:10PM  
You can sign up for available permit alerts on this site. There are always permits being canceled.

LaVirginienne
distinguished member (129)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
08/13/2023 02:15PM  
Thank you! I’m open to Quetico but have no experience there.
08/13/2023 02:55PM  
Lifelong Minnesotan. I’ve never heard of winds picking up in late august. Maybe a bit by average but nothing I would consider an issue. I’ve done many October solo trips, weather is much more of an issue. August is good, winter is still a long time coming
08/13/2023 04:12PM  
That is a very broad question and difficult to answer. As stated earlier, if your willing to put in anywhere and your dates are somewhat flexible sign up for August permit alerts on this site. Something will come up. Then when you get your permit come back looking for routes and site suggestions.
08/13/2023 04:40PM  
jwartman59: "Lifelong Minnesotan. I’ve never heard of winds picking up in late august. Maybe a bit by average but nothing I would consider an issue. I’ve done many October solo trips, weather is much more of an issue. August is good, winter is still a long time coming "


Crazy winds on Quetico Lake, August 30, 2022. Essentially windbound.

TZ

08/13/2023 04:45PM  
LaVirginienne: "Thank you! I’m open to Quetico but have no experience there. "


Check out the Quetico forum--lots of threads about permits, etc. Perhaps a bit late to apply for the RABC border crossing permit, but there are other options.

TZ
LaVirginienne
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08/13/2023 05:01PM  
airmorse: "You can sign up for available permit alerts on this site. There are always permits being canceled."

Just got organized to do this today. Thank you!
LaVirginienne
distinguished member (129)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
08/13/2023 05:02PM  
jwartman59: "Lifelong Minnesotan. I’ve never heard of winds picking up in late august. Maybe a bit by average but nothing I would consider an issue. I’ve done many October solo trips, weather is much more of an issue. August is good, winter is still a long time coming "


Good to know! I’ve had winds with bug gusts in Sep and Oct so glad to hear that I should worry too much about late Aug
08/13/2023 09:12PM  
Sign up for permit alerts. There are some scattered available permits available the next 20 days and others will come available. I actually like the Kawishiwi Lake EP as there are lots of options available. You might look at Missing Link, Cross Bay, Brant, Meeds, Lizz/Swamp, Baker, Sawbill, Little Indian Sioux North, Moose River North, Snowbank, Mudro. I have been in/out of all those except Snowbank.
LaVirginienne
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08/13/2023 09:43PM  
boonie: "Sign up for permit alerts. There are some scattered available permits available the next 20 days and others will come available. I actually like the Kawishiwi Lake EP as there are lots of options available. You might look at Missing Link, Cross Bay, Brant, Meeds, Lizz/Swamp, Baker, Sawbill, Little Indian Sioux North, Moose River North, Snowbank, Mudro. I have been in/out of all those except Snowbank. "


I was thinking about Missing Link and Brant! Know quite a few of those EPs thanks for jogging my memory. Really good info. Thank you
08/14/2023 06:25AM  
If you get one of those, go to Little Sag. If you want some extra adventure go from Snipe to Tuscarora through Copper, Hubbub, and across Howl. And remember it's only a short walk from Cross Bay to Round Lake, so you can enter one, exit the other.
08/14/2023 07:01AM  
LaVirginienne: "
jwartman59: "Lifelong Minnesotan. I’ve never heard of winds picking up in late august. Maybe a bit by average but nothing I would consider an issue. I’ve done many October solo trips, weather is much more of an issue. August is good, winter is still a long time coming "



Good to know! I’ve had winds with bug gusts in Sep and Oct so glad to hear that I should worry too much about late Aug"


I think the advice is that August weather is better than October weather. Wind can be windy any month or day.
AlexanderSupertramp
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08/14/2023 09:54AM  
I wouldn't be concerned about wind in August any more than I would be with wind in all the other months. Temperatures in August are probably more favorable depending on what you like. I personally prefer lower nighttime temps and day temps in the 50-60 range, so September and October appeal to me much more than June-Aug. I cannot sleep when it's warm and humid, it's downright miserable for me.

I did a solo in May from Kawishiwi up into Malberg but I only had 5 days. With 10 days at your disposal, I think you can do a lot from that entry if you decide to go with it. I'd recommend getting up into Malberg, then making your way down over to Alice to check out the beach campsites, and you can stop by the pictographs on the way, then at whatever pace you choose, do the loop up through Thomas, Fraser, Boulder, Adams, and then back out through Malberg. That would yield you roughly 50 miles and not an egregious amount of portaging.

08/14/2023 10:40AM  




August is better by one mph.
LaVirginienne
distinguished member (129)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
08/14/2023 11:04AM  
boonie: "If you get one of those, go to Little Sag. If you want some extra adventure go from Snipe to Tuscarora through Copper, Hubbub, and across Howl. And remember it's only a short walk from Cross Bay to Round Lake, so you can enter one, exit the other. "


Yep, I had that on my mind. It’s nice to read your thoughts, thank you!
LaVirginienne
distinguished member (129)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
08/14/2023 11:05AM  
AlexanderSupertramp: "I wouldn't be concerned about wind in August any more than I would be with wind in all the other months. Temperatures in August are probably more favorable depending on what you like. I personally prefer lower nighttime temps and day temps in the 50-60 range, so September and October appeal to me much more than June-Aug. I cannot sleep when it's warm and humid, it's downright miserable for me.


I did a solo in May from Kawishiwi up into Malberg but I only had 5 days. With 10 days at your disposal, I think you can do a lot from that entry if you decide to go with it. I'd recommend getting up into Malberg, then making your way down over to Alice to check out the beach campsites, and you can stop by the pictographs on the way, then at whatever pace you choose, do the loop up through Thomas, Fraser, Boulder, Adams, and then back out through Malberg. That would yield you roughly 50 miles and not an egregious amount of portaging.


"


You know, I paddled on Alice and Thomas last year. The depth of Thomas impressed me as a girl for he Great Lakes, but neither one felt particularly magical to me except that one amazing island campsite towards the south end of Thomas, where I saw a tent pitched high on the rock. I’ll attach a photo here. What I didn’t get to was the pictographs… and you’ve given me a good plan if that EP comes up. Thanks again.
LaVirginienne
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08/14/2023 11:16AM  
I want to thank everyone here who is being so warm and generous and kind. It’s the North Country connections I make, here on this forum and up in Ely a few times a year, that get me through the rest of my year. And this one really was an annis horribilis (spelling?), as another great woman of the lakes described one of her own years shortly before she died…

My group-of-badass-gals trip, planned for the end of August, was also cancelled this year… we all went to summer camp together, in Three Lakes WI, shortly after the Earth cooled….
LaVirginienne
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08/19/2023 09:19AM  
Found a permit for Kawishiwi lake entering 2 September. I’ll just stick with an easygoing itinerary this trip and save the Q and Tuscarora adventures for another time! Many thanks and please do swing by and say hello if you find yourself in that area in early September.
08/19/2023 02:13PM  
Have a good trip! You can do a lot of different things in 10 days if you want to travel.
pswith5
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08/19/2023 06:34PM  
I'm supposed to start my vacation that weekend. If I magically found a permit nearby how would I know your canoe? Got a flying moose on it?
LaVirginienne
distinguished member (129)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
08/19/2023 06:50PM  
Woohoo!

Ok! Couple ways to spot me. I paddle a Wenonah Prism with yellow throw lines (usually) affixed. I carry a blue Granite Gear dry bag portage pack. Plus a green Exped kitchen bag as well as a green exped dry day pack. At camp, I always have a small orange NRS throw bag/beacon visible. Always happy for company.

See you out there! Safe journey
08/19/2023 06:59PM  
Have a great trip. I really like Kawishiwi. Lots of options for relaxing or putting the pedal to the metal to cover ground or anything in between.
 
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