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davemcgov
member (8)member
  
05/23/2024 12:29AM  
A few weeks back I asked a few route questions, and several people gave me some great info. Thanks! I'm a scout leader getting ready to bring our troop up. I've been a serious whitewater kayaker for decades, this lake stuff is new to me. It doesn't have much current.

I've heard all sorts of ranges for typical daily milage, 5 to 15 or more. Does anyone see an issue planning in the 7-8 mile per day range for a group if fit but inexperienced teens?

We have a Fall Lake group, potentially heading to Basswood Falls, across to United States Point, and south to Washington Island before heading west towards New York Island and back to the take out.

Our other crew will enter at Moose, up to Ensign, work SE to Ima and others to get down to Hudson to the numbered lakes, taking out at Lake One.

Both are five day trips, each day in the 7-8 mile per day range. Is this reasonable? Are there any specifics to account for? Trips leave just after Father's Day.

Thanks!
 
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billconner
distinguished member(8654)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
  
05/23/2024 04:48AM  
My first trip was as a Scout leader. 5 days and 50 miles. Only first day was difficult - late start, inexperience, too much gear, etc. I now do 10-12 at 72 years. You'll be fine.
billconner
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05/23/2024 04:48AM  
My first trip was as a Scout leader. 5 days and 50 miles. Only first day was difficult - late start, inexperience, too much gear, etc. I now do 10-12 at 72 years. You'll be fine.
soundguy0918
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05/23/2024 08:10AM  
davemcgov: "We have a Fall Lake group, potentially heading to Basswood Falls, across to United States Point, and south to Washington Island before heading west towards New York Island and back to the take out. "


This is a very reasonable 5-day loop. If you leave EP24 at 6am you'll be into the no-motor zone by lunch. From there to Washington Island is a decent amount of paddling 7-8hrs or so. Not a bad day but be prepared to split that up if you encounter high winds. West through Back Bay and back to EP24 is another 7-8hr day, again not a bad day at all, especially with your food packs nearly empty. Have a great trip!
davemcgov
member (8)member
  
05/23/2024 08:22AM  
soundguy0918: "
davemcgov: "We have a Fall Lake group, potentially heading to Basswood Falls, across to United States Point, and south to Washington Island before heading west towards New York Island and back to the take out. "



This is a very reasonable 5-day loop. If you leave EP24 at 6am you'll be into the no-motor zone by lunch. From there to Washington Island is a decent amount of paddling 7-8hrs or so. Not a bad day but be prepared to split that up if you encounter high winds. West through Back Bay and back to EP24 is another 7-8hr day, again not a bad day at all, especially with your food packs nearly empty. Have a great trip!"


Great info, thank you very much! I wasn't even going to attempt to get to the no motor zone in a day, we were going to look for one of the sites just north of New York Island on the first day, shoot for the Basswood Falls area for night two. Head east around United States Point, then night three would be in the area just north of Washington Island, and our fourth and last night would be back somewhere near Ney York Island.

Using the distance tool on the maps of this site, those seem to be roughly 7 miles a day. Our kids want to fish and hike a ton as well.

As to the idea of being on the water by 6AM, I know that the lakes are calmer in the morning and that good campsites are snagged early, but I'll be thrilled to be on the water by noon on day 1. Hopefully the evening mosquitoes get the kids in tents early so that they are encouraged to get an early start on the following days.
tumblehome
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05/23/2024 10:26AM  
Things that slow a group down tremendously.

1. Wind in your face on a big lake.
2. A disorganized group that is not moving together. Especially if someone wants to sleep in.
3. The person that wants to fish after every portage
4. A heavy drinker that is hungover. Sorry but true.

Things that make for fast travel.

1. No wind.
2. A group that has prearranged plans on when to hit the water and is organized.
3. Planning a set travel distance without lilydipping along the way.

Tom
cmanimal
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05/23/2024 11:17AM  
Since you noted inexperience my response might be a bit excessive (sorry if it is) . In my experience with scouts 7-8 miles as the crow flies is a reasonable daily target. You will paddle more miles than that (sometimes many more), especially if they have no or very little time in a canoe.
Since you have a few weeks until the trip, I recommend having some troop meetings paddling if its at all possible. Practicing paddling in a straight line, draws, turns, etc. (Milk jugs tied to rocks as anchors work well for setting up a skills course). Instill in them a mindfulness of where your buddy canoe is as Scouts can scatter a long way in a short distance. Also practice swamping the canoes.

I do recommend an early start as others have noted, it typically reduces the wind factor, especially as you have some good size water crossings planned.

And finally, Thank you. Taking scouts on high adventure trips is challenging, But every one I have done has been more that worth the effort, And I hope the same for you and the other leaders.
soundguy0918
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05/23/2024 11:49AM  
davemcgov: "Great info, thank you very much! I wasn't even going to attempt to get to the no motor zone in a day, we were going to look for one of the sites just north of New York Island on the first day, shoot for the Basswood Falls area for night two. Head east around United States Point, then night three would be in the area just north of Washington Island, and our fourth and last night would be back somewhere near Ney York Island.

Using the distance tool on the maps of this site, those seem to be roughly 7 miles a day. Our kids want to fish and hike a ton as well.

As to the idea of being on the water by 6AM, I know that the lakes are calmer in the morning and that good campsites are snagged early, but I'll be thrilled to be on the water by noon on day 1. Hopefully the evening mosquitoes get the kids in tents early so that they are encouraged to get an early start on the following days. "


That changes things a bit. Were you planning to move campsites every morning? That is a lot of extra effort and time, especially for a youth group. If your goal is to sightsee in the Basswood Falls region, I would suggest you delete the loop around US Point and basecamp in upper Basswood lake (on or near the "whale island"). Then you can day trip the Horse Portage (with empty canoes, leaving your gear at camp) to go see UBF, Wheelbarrow Falls, LBF, and the Pictos just around the corner in Crooked Lake. Another daytrip to the east - there are several nice sandy beaches on both the western and eastern shores of US Point. That still gives you an extra day to get to/from EP24. To be honest, this is a really high quality trip for scouts, especially first-timers. Great sightseeing, hiking (portaging) and swimming areas. EP24 is a great entry point for a large group with plenty of space to spread out and get organized as you put in. Adding on to @tumblehome's comments...based on my experiences with a youth group...plan for high winds (younger paddlers will struggle against high winds)...make sure every canoe has an experienced paddler in the stern (this is critical for success)...make a firm rule that fishing is only allowed at certain times or only at the campsite...make sure bedtimes and reveille are strictly enforced...in general, getting an early morning start (both on put in day and day trips) gives you lots more flexibility for the rest of the day when any of these or other obstacles arise. Getting the troop to EP24 by 8am might sound daunting, but trying to find a campsite and set up tents at 5pm with tired/hungry/cranky paddlers will be worse...


05/23/2024 12:38PM  
soundguy0918: "... Getting the troop to EP24 by 8am might sound daunting, but trying to find a campsite and set up tents at 5pm with tired/hungry/cranky paddlers will be worse...

"


Excellent advice, soundguy!

What are your plans for the night before entry, davemcgov? I'd recommend camping at Fall Lake Campground. I've seen many troops use this campground and it makes an early start pretty easy.
05/23/2024 01:36PM  
With my group, we try to stay in most sites for at least two nights. That gives us one day of traveling, where we get an early start and don't fish very much, then one day where we hang out in camp, go on a day trip, fish, hike, or just explore. I like this pattern because it gives a routine that gets people moving with purpose on travel days, but gives them a chance to sleep in, go fishing, or do a group activity on the off days.

We do usually fish a little on travel days, but transporting fish slows you down. I try to only fish on or near the lake we are staying at. If you can set up camp then go back out fishing, even better.

With this pattern, and double portaging which is more time consuming, we can easily move 12-15 miles in a day. I use the measurement tool on google maps to figure out approximately how far we travel instead of as the crow flies. An example of a day we traveled last trip was only 5 miles as the crow flies, but it was about 5 miles east, a mile south, then 10 miles west.
05/23/2024 07:00PM  
Lot’s of good advice. I took 2 Scout groups last year for the first time ages 13-16.

I wonder about your second group entering at Moose and out at Lake one. In 5 days…very doable, but a lot of things can take them off course. The late start you have planned makes it more like 4.5 days. Any wind issues, injury, getting lost that group will need to push a little towards the end. Just make sure the plan is to get up early and get going each day. Otherwise they may not have a lot of layover fun. The first 2 days will be the roughest. Then they will start to roll.

We practiced a head of time, but it wasn’t enough. The more they can practice the better. A lot of times it is really hard to get this going but if ya can try to work on that.

What type of trip are you doing for the scouts? What’s the goal of the scouts on the trip? There are a lot of options. Make sure that is agreed upon ahead of time and expectations set. For example, ours was a High Adventure trip. That meant almost daily travel. We had one adult who kept trying to talk everyone into a base camp and had that expectation—no matter how many conversations we had. That’s fine too, but it isn’t high adventure. The purpose was to get good at setting up and taking down camp and become more efficient at paddling. Make sure everyone knows the trip plan so they aren’t disappointed.

The growth of the Scouts is amazing and rewarding. We got stuck on Alice Lake for 2 days—terrible wind and storms. One Scout whose family made him go, said he hated it the first 5 days, bad attitude…then was in charge to lead us out on the 6th day when we had to make up time (figured he would be most motivated LOL). He lead us over 14 portages and 23 miles and at one point said to me on a portage, “we are so good at this now, I feel like an expert” “I can't wait to do this again!”.

Thanks for doing this, it is very rewarding and those scouts will remember you the rest of their life. You might ignite the spark in one to do more trips some day.

T
davemcgov
member (8)member
  
05/23/2024 08:38PM  
Thanks all! The stories you've shared make me feel at ease. Our crew are all older, most around 15 to nearly 18 and most are high school athletes. We don't have much BW experience, but we do canoe now and then on rivers. The lack of current is the twist I'm trying to account for. The individuals had to earn their spot in this trip, only one doesn't have at least First Class and all have canoeing, swimming, and first aid merit badges. We do a big trip each summer. Last year we backpacked for four days in West Virginia followed by a day at Green Bank, then hikes and a raft trip on the New River Gorge. They're already thinking about Colorado 14ers for next summer. I need to make sure I can keep up!
05/24/2024 07:06AM  
Sounds like a sound group, by day two they will be rolling like they’ve been doing it for years from your description. Have fun!

T
soundguy0918
distinguished member (142)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
05/24/2024 07:20AM  
davemcgov: "Thanks all! The stories you've shared make me feel at ease. Our crew are all older, most around 15 to nearly 18 and most are high school athletes. We don't have much BW experience, but we do canoe now and then on rivers. The lack of current is the twist I'm trying to account for. The individuals had to earn their spot in this trip, only one doesn't have at least First Class and all have canoeing, swimming, and first aid merit badges. We do a big trip each summer. Last year we backpacked for four days in West Virginia followed by a day at Green Bank, then hikes and a raft trip on the New River Gorge. They're already thinking about Colorado 14ers for next summer. I need to make sure I can keep up!"


Good to hear, especially that they all have those three merit badges. You will be fine. If you still want to do the loop route, you should make reaching the no motor zone your goal for Day 1. Shoot to hit the water at 8am and it won't be a difficult day with older scouts. Both the portages around Newton and Pipestone are easy. Spend two nights near UBF so you can day trip to the Pictos and back on Day 2.

Have a great trip!
05/24/2024 09:11AM  
I still think it is best to plan a free day near the end of the trip. It can help motivate people to get going, as in if they make it far enough each day, they get a bonus day to rest and have fun. My parents used to do things like that all the time with projects where they say that we'd have to work extra hard to have time for a reward of some sort at the end, like going swimming or a campfire and smores. I don't know how much harder or faster we worked but the idea of a reward at the end did help us stay on task.

It also doubles as a "just in case" day. With big water like that, you might have a morning where you decide it's too risky for traveling. It sucks to burn the rest/fun day like that, but it's better than feeling like you need to risk it to meet some deadline so the parents don't get worried.
05/24/2024 10:11AM  
davemcgov: "...The lack of current is the twist I'm trying to account for. "


I think you will find this a non-issue and not worth concern. IMO.

Unless you have this situation...

LakeNomad
  
05/24/2024 02:03PM  
Dave, I am a fellow Scoutmaster as well; thank you for your volunteer service. Last year our group did another self guided trip. We went out of Snowbank through Ima, Roe, Cap, down through Boulder, Adams and out on Lake One. It was an epic 7 day trip. The boys definitely grew in their confidence everyday. Portages seemed to continually confound our group until a leader emerged from the boys to direct traffic; even then they were a time suck. I think your mileage is reasonable but weather can ruin even the best laid plans. My email is current on my membership profile, feel free to reach out if you have questions.
05/25/2024 07:09AM  
The biggest thing I encounter with trying to make miles is I always slow down because I don't want to miss anything. I'm not a non-stop paddler. Dozen or so strokes and glide for a bit then a few more and glide again.
I try not to plan on any more than 6-10 miles a day and that depends on portaging as well. Obviously make more miles without portaging but my point is I'd rather go slow and observe, fish, swim etc than push for a final destination.
My first couple years were all about exact planning and mileage and it ended up being exhausting because everything looks so much easier on paper.

Now I tell my paddle partners that all we have to do is leave the entry point in the morning and be back to it on exit day early enough to get a shower and dinner in town before crashing at the bunkhouse.

Last year we stopped after only about 5 hours on the water because the wind had picked up on Jackfish Bay and I didn't feel like working so hard to get anywhere.
Found a great site and chilled out the rest of the day.
tumblehome
distinguished member(2965)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
05/25/2024 01:37PM  
I like the point being made that it is easier on the group to force an exit time in the morning than trying to find a site late in the day when everyone is exhausted and hungry.

Early departures are the key to getting off to the right start of a day.

And planning a layover is a very good idea. Nothing better than letting everyone sleep in and goof off for a day!
Tom
05/26/2024 06:39PM  
When taking youths it is a balancing act for sure. Too hard of work, no time to play, they will never go back…but ya gotta have your guard up on down time. Too much sitting around leads to complaining, home sickness, boredom, fighting…even on the layover days having a plan helps with youths. Have a card game tourney, cook off, go fishing, swimming, check out sites like water falls or Pictos etc… by all means rest and relax, but a group of youths is way different than a group of adults…most of the time.

T
 
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