BWCA Tow to Crab Lake? Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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Fearlessleader
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01/19/2024 01:07PM  
Considering going to Crab Lake for the first time but don’t think we would try it without knowing we could get a tow to the entry point. Does anyone know what outfitters would offer that. We have all of our canoes and gear so we are looking strictly for a tow.
 
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TuscaroraBorealis
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01/19/2024 02:51PM  
Spirit of the wilderness is who I used for that exact tow some years back.
01/19/2024 06:34PM  
We have used Voyager North in the past but we also rent canoes from them. I would call and ask.
YetiJedi
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01/19/2024 08:11PM  
I've used Ely Outdoors Company and they've been great - I have all of my own gear too. Ryan is the person who helps me the most.
Fearlessleader
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01/21/2024 11:17AM  
Thanks so much for the info.

Starting off with that long of a portage seems like a chore but I’d love to see that area.
YetiJedi
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01/21/2024 12:36PM  
Fearlessleader: "Thanks so much for the info.


Starting off with that long of a portage seems like a chore but I’d love to see that area. "


Hi Fearlessleader, The first portage isn't all that bad. Yes, it's long, but very scenic and pretty simple. A few small ups and downs and quick corners the first 1/3 of the walk, then you come to a beautiful clearing (halfway point), and the final stretch is fairly straight and wide ending up on a sandy landing. The area is well worth the price of admission (that longer portage).

Crab has good fishing and lots of bays to explore. Plenty of single-site lakes in the area so you can have them to yourself in the evenings - Lunetta was a favorite of mine and the campsite on Korb has a beautiful view from on top of the cliff. Cummings has awesome smallie fishing. The river paddles through the area are scenic. Buck has good walleye fishing. We saw lots of birds, beavers, and otters too. Heard wolves at night. Didn't see a lot of people. An area I'd definitely like to visit again...

Hope you have fun planning!



Fearlessleader
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01/21/2024 12:57PM  
Yep, the planning is half the fun. This will be the second attempt for my nephew and his wife. Originally she swore never to go again.

The first time (15 years ago?) the transmission went out on the way up and shortened our trip. Then we got high winds and an early September snow. She was pretty miserable. When we got back to the Lake One landing we found that someone had siphoned our gas tank dry. So I was a little surprised when she told her husband that she was ready to go again this year.

They have 2 kids now, 9 and 14 so it should be fun.
01/21/2024 03:48PM  
We did a tow out to Crab Lake with VNO. We even took out early and were able to call them on the west side of Burntside, and they came out within the hour! (I know we lucked out on that one, but it was still great service.)

Here's our trip video with tow included.

Link to trip video
01/21/2024 04:05PM  
Fearlessleader: "Yep, the planning is half the fun. This will be the second attempt for my nephew and his wife. Originally she swore never to go again.


The first time (15 years ago?) the transmission went out on the way up and shortened our trip. Then we got high winds and an early September snow. She was pretty miserable. When we got back to the Lake One landing we found that someone had siphoned our gas tank dry. So I was a little surprised when she told her husband that she was ready to go again this year.


They have 2 kids now, 9 and 14 so it should be fun. "


That weather sounds like the 2nd week of Sept. 2007 when I took my brother on his first trip. He thanked me for "giving hime the full experience" :).

Otherwise my memory is like YetiJedi's. We camped on Cummings, Korb, and Crab. We had a tow from VNO, but I imagine many Ely outfitters would offer a tow.
jhb8426
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01/21/2024 08:00PM  
Did that trip once with a group of 18 boy scouts/leaders, paddling across Burntside (aarrggghh). That was the one where some parents insisted they help with the prep, packing everything in 30 gallon plastic bins (they were all car campers). Why none of us had the stamina to disagree heartily. Each bin required two people to carry it. Took us 3 hours to cross the portage. The original destination was Cummings but we were so beat we opted to stay on Crab. Never let that happen again.

There are some nice sites on Crab.
saltdog
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01/22/2024 09:24AM  
A while back (2007) we took Crab Creek instead of the portage in to Crab Lake. There were two short portages on the creek that were pretty easy to spot. I don't think we saved any time, but since it was our third trip into that area, we decided to see some different scenery. We took the portage on the way out. We went on to Buck Lake and then to Cummings. There is probably someone on the forum that has traveled that route more recently and could give you more recent information. Either way, I would highly recommend the tow.
treehorn
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01/23/2024 08:33AM  
It's worth it. It's a chore, but you'll be fresh. And once you are done with the tow and the long portage, you'll already feel like you've accomplished a lot and be happy to stay at whatever campsite you come across that tickles your fancy. I think Cummings is sort of an unheralded lake that is generally quite quiet, but has quite a few awesome campsites and at least average fishing. No one can promise you you won't see anyone else or have your pick of whatever site you want, but I believe that lake is about as close to that situation as you can get without 2 full days of travel to some deep interior lake in the center of the BWCA. I think the long portage and the fact there isn't a lot of great route options if you want to move and travel around keep people away from here. There are some routes, but most have some drawbacks or inconveniences to deal with.
Miksilly
member (9)member
  
01/27/2024 07:31AM  
Very happy with Voyageur North Outfitters in 2023. No rental only the tow and permit pick up.
 
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