BWCA Entry point #33 Little Gabbro Portage Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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beckmac
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02/03/2024 03:39PM  
This site says the portage at entry point #33 Little Gabbro lake is 149 rods. On the Makenzie map it says 290 rods. Can anyone give me a solid answer on which one it is? Thanks!!
 
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scramble4a5
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02/03/2024 04:17PM  
beckmac: "This site says the portage at entry point #33 Little Gabbro lake is 149 rods. On the Makenzie map it says 290 rods. Can anyone give me a solid answer on which one it is? Thanks!!"


140 is correct. Easy portage and only one you need to tackle to get to Gabbro.
RetiredDave
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02/03/2024 06:54PM  
I can't tell you the exact distance, but I timed the portage when I soloed there (age 67 then and kind of slow). It took me 19 minutes. I don't remember it being very difficult.

Dave

schweady
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02/03/2024 07:40PM  
That portage took 16 minutes and 51 seconds on my last trip in there with my wife. There are 3 hills, the last one can maybe get to you. Maybe some short 15% grades. Sometimes pretty swampy at the end. Other times, so dry that you need to veer off to the left around the muck to find enough solid ground bordering water deep enough to load the canoe. I measured it by gps track at exactly 200 rods (0.625 mi). But then it's over, and lots of sites available ahead by paddle only.

Entered at Little Gabbro eight times, two of those on the old portage. That's the most of any of my EPs, but I'll be going in for the 8th time at Mudro this summer...
tumblehome
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02/04/2024 06:52AM  
It’s quite a bit more than 140 rods.
It’s at least 200 or more.
Tom
Saberboys
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02/04/2024 01:18PM  
If I remember correctly, some older maps show the end of the portage on Little Gabbro in the wrong spot. The actual end is further north. I'm not sure if it was moved at some point, or just mismarked? My McKenzie shows it at 208 rods, which I think is pretty accurate.
tumblehome
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02/05/2024 07:06AM  
Saberboys: "If I remember correctly, some older maps show the end of the portage on Little Gabbro in the wrong spot. The actual end is further north. I'm not sure if it was moved at some point, or just mismarked? My McKenzie shows it at 208 rods, which I think is pretty accurate. "


Yes there was a time, long ago when the portage was in a different spot, or it was shown in a different spot. I know at least one person on the forum that tried in vein to find the old portage because his map showed it somewhere else. My first trip down to Gabbro was in 96’ and my maps back then had it in the correct location.

The portage landing can be hard to find when returning from the lake.
Tom
02/06/2024 12:35PM  
No matter how long it really is, it's a piece of cake, a portage couldn't get any easier. It's a straight well groomed path with a bit of elevation. A perfect walk thru the woods to enter the BW, especially for newbies. Have no fear about this one, just do it. I am going to do it again this year, can't wait.
02/06/2024 01:07PM  
scat: "No matter how long it really is, it's a piece of cake, a portage couldn't get any easier. It's a straight well groomed path with a bit of elevation. A perfect walk thru the woods to enter the BW, especially for newbies. Have no fear about this one, just do it. I am going to do it again this year, can't wait."


I'm gonna go ahead and disagree that it couldn't get easier; it has enough up and down to get your heart going, and it is indeed on the longer side. I did it while hustling to get away from horseflies in humid 80F weather at 4pm in June, and by the time I got to Little Gabbro I was dripping sweat and struggled to catch my breath. Sure, there are harder portages, and overall I'd probably rate this one a 5/10, but saying "a portage couldn't get easier" is a bit disingenuous. It could be a lot shorter and flatter. Have you done Sandpit to Tin Can Mike? You could drive a full size truck down that thing, it's so wide and flat. You could literally sprint down it with a canoe on your shoulders with no obstacles of concern.

Oh, and I just remembered I found a broken illegal portage cart on the middle of the Little Gabbro trail that some loser neglected to take with them. They just left it there! I couldn't believe it. If you're heading in, why not bring it back to your vehicle? And if you're heading out, why not bring it to your vehicle? Got me proper fired up at the start of my trip.
02/06/2024 01:38PM  
technically_rugged: "
scat: "No matter how long it really is, it's a piece of cake, a portage couldn't get any easier. It's a straight well groomed path with a bit of elevation. A perfect walk thru the woods to enter the BW, especially for newbies. Have no fear about this one, just do it. I am going to do it again this year, can't wait."



I'm gonna go ahead and disagree that it couldn't get easier; it has enough up and down to get your heart going, and it is indeed on the longer side. I did it while hustling to get away from horseflies in humid 80F weather at 4pm in June, and by the time I got to Little Gabbro I was dripping sweat and struggled to catch my breath. Sure, there are harder portages, and overall I'd probably rate this one a 5/10, but saying "a portage couldn't get easier" is a bit disingenuous. It could be a lot shorter and flatter. Have you done Sandpit to Tin Can Mike? You could drive a full size truck down that thing, it's so wide and flat. You could literally sprint down it with a canoe on your shoulders with no obstacles of concern.


Oh, and I just remembered I found a broken illegal portage cart on the middle of the Little Gabbro trail that some loser neglected to take with them. They just left it there! I couldn't believe it. If you're heading in, why not bring it back to your vehicle? And if you're heading out, why not bring it to your vehicle? Got me proper fired up at the start of my trip."


I'd have to agree there is enough portage here to make you work. I brought my folks and kiddos on this route last summer who are in pretty good shape, and they all thought it was tough enough. Granted we packed heavy to base camp with a few first-timers, this portage is easily over 200 rods and has a few ups and downs.

tumblehome is correct as well that it can be a bit tricky to spot if returning this direction. Another group was leaving as we arrived at this portage landing, and they were having difficulty locating it until we emerged from the woods.
02/06/2024 01:57PM  
I've done it four times. It's an easy enough carry. 100% it's over 140 rods though. I think those stating 200-210 are probably pretty close. For me it felt a really similar to the portage into Bog, which is 209.
MikeinMpls
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02/07/2024 12:58PM  
schweady: "That portage took 16 minutes and 51 seconds on my last trip in there with my wife. There are 3 hills, the last one can maybe get to you. Maybe some short 15% grades. Sometimes pretty swampy at the end. Other times, so dry that you need to veer off to the left around the muck to find enough solid ground bordering water deep enough to load the canoe. I measured it by gps track at exactly 200 rods (0.625 mi). But then it's over, and lots of sites available ahead by paddle only.

Entered at Little Gabbro eight times, two of those on the old portage. That's the most of any of my EPs, but I'll be going in for the 8th time at Mudro this summer...
"


I believe you took the portage about 15 minutes after I did, a couple of years ago. It always seemed long-ish to me. 200 rods, give or take, seems (anecdotally) right to me.

Mike
schweady
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02/08/2024 11:08AM  
MikeinMpls: "I believe you took the portage about 15 minutes after I did, a couple of years ago...Mike"

Oh, yeah, that was a good one. Fairly quiet for a mid-summer trip.
02/08/2024 07:10PM  
It’s the easiest entry with a portage there is to the BW. If that portage is a struggle I don’t know what to tell you. I did that at the end of a trip after double portaging it then walked/ran the 2 miles to the Snake River EP where we put in to get my car. Just to make it challenging.
02/09/2024 10:36AM  
Speckled: "I've done it four times. It's an easy enough carry. 100% it's over 140 rods though. I think those stating 200-210 are probably pretty close. For me it felt a really similar to the portage into Bog, which is 209."


If 320 rods is a mile, then Bog is closer to 300 rods. My Map My Run app shows the portage to be about 0.93 miles.
02/10/2024 10:28AM  
egknuti: "
Speckled: "I've done it four times. It's an easy enough carry. 100% it's over 140 rods though. I think those stating 200-210 are probably pretty close. For me it felt a really similar to the portage into Bog, which is 209."



If 320 rods is a mile, then Bog is closer to 300 rods. My Map My Run app shows the portage to be about 0.93 miles. "


I've never used a GPS. It would be interesting to see how close or far off the portages are. I mean they're different on many of the map's. Did they just try and trace it with google earth or how do they really know, short of walking each one with a GPS. Pine to canoe is one that on the maps isn't even close imo. It doesn't zig zag like that. Didn't need a gps to figure that out.
schweady
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02/10/2024 05:36PM  
Speckled -

Many of the portage tracks come from tracings of maps made long before gps. More recent versions and corrections come from copying trails visible on satellite images. This is actually one of the fun things about carrying a gps. "Oh, afraid you'll get lost?!" has been asked more than once. Actually, what I am after are the timestamps on waypoints and track points that make for super accurate diaries of our past travels.
02/12/2024 10:39AM  
Speckled: "
egknuti: "
Speckled: "I've done it four times. It's an easy enough carry. 100% it's over 140 rods though. I think those stating 200-210 are probably pretty close. For me it felt a really similar to the portage into Bog, which is 209."




If 320 rods is a mile, then Bog is closer to 300 rods. My Map My Run app shows the portage to be about 0.93 miles. "



I've never used a GPS. It would be interesting to see how close or far off the portages are. I mean they're different on many of the map's. Did they just try and trace it with google earth or how do they really know, short of walking each one with a GPS. Pine to canoe is one that on the maps isn't even close imo. It doesn't zig zag like that. Didn't need a gps to figure that out."


The sign at Bog Lake I think says 240 rods. That's also incorrect.
 
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