BWCA EP19 Stuart - Sterling - Iron (Sundial PMA) Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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EasyFisher
member (40)member
  
02/15/2024 02:49PM  
Looking to do my first PMA. I got EP19 for mid Aug and got a PMA permit for Sundial PMA zone 4. Planning a lollipop loop Stuart - Sterling - Iron - Stuart - Out. I'd be shooting for a goal of getting to Sterling from EP19 on the first day. Does this seem doable? My biggest concern is the next leg of the trip, getting from Sterling Lake to the Beartrap river via Sterling Creek, then heading up to Iron. Being mid Aug guessing water would be low, knowing we are going to be in for a lot of work. But wondering if anyone has done this loop? From what I can gather going west to east on this route should be the better direction. Any info on specifically sterling creek and portage, and thoughts navigating it to Beartrap river? Am I safe to assume Beartrap river should be navigable with some beaver damn pull overs, once we make it to beartrap river?

Two guys, planning to single portage to Stuart. Should we double portage these PMA unmaintained portages, to get a feel for the portage first then go back for the canoe? Or just start out single portaging and send the person without the canoe in front to try to lead the way?

I've done my research on this site but looking for any recent trips or any additional info people might want to share with me on the area.
Or anyone that might be traveling through the area before me this year that could possible give me an update.
 
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02/15/2024 03:36PM  
I don’t have personal knowledge. If you search YouTube for “Sterling Lake BWCA”, you will get a number of hits including this series of videos that covers the area that interests you:

Video link
Deeznuts
distinguished member (498)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/15/2024 05:47PM  
I am also looking at this route for next year. I was drafting a very similar post but I'll just keep an eye on yours!

The advice i have is regarding the PMA. Don't try to single through the PMA. We learned from our trip through weeny lake PMA last year, it is a whole other ballgame going through the bush like that. The ground is uneven and unpredictable, you could be in the thickest woods one second and the middle of a swamp in tall grass the next. You definitely do not want to rush it.
Packs on the first trip over to do recon. Have compass, maps, sat pics at the ready for points of reference. Stick together, accidents happen and things change quickly if there's an injury. Make sure you have a spot or some type of emergency device.

Can't wait to read your trip report! Good luck!
EasyFisher
member (40)member
  
02/15/2024 07:55PM  
TomP: "I don’t have personal knowledge. If you search YouTube for “Sterling Lake BWCA”, you will get a number of hits including this series of videos that covers the area that interests you:


Video link "


That was a great video and did help get a lay of the area. Thank you.
Tomcat
distinguished member(692)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/19/2024 08:19AM  
My trip partner and I have traveled a portion of your intended route. We traveled the Beartrap river between Beartrap and Iron lake from south to north in August 2023 and from north to south in July 2021.

The water levels were low and we single portaged on both trips. We had no significant issues with travel on the portages or on the water in the portion of your intended route of the Beartrap river. I encountered a few step-over and step-around down falls and some areas of thick brush on the portages but once on the portages I found the trails easy to follow and I never had to set the canoe down between take-out or put-in. We encountered areas of thick grass and several beaver dam pull overs but nothing of concern while on the water.
 
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