BWCA 2011 Wilderness Challenge #4 (Perfect Storm) - Updated Boundary Waters Group Forum: Wilderness Challenges
Chat Rooms (0 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* BWCA is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Group Forum: Wilderness Challenges
      2011 Wilderness Challenge #4 (Perfect Storm) - Updated     

Author

Text

bojibob
distinguished member(3141)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/15/2011 01:44PM  
This is 4 of 10 Wilderness Challenges I will be posting. The purpose of these is to get feedback on what you would do under these circumstances. I'm not looking for a "Right Answer" I'm looking to see how the many very knowledgeable people here on BWCA.com would react in a time of decision in Canoe Country

Wilderness Challenge #4 “Perfect Storm”

Situation: You are traveling in a party of 4 (Combined crew weight of 800 lbs) in two rental Old Town Penobscot 17 foot Royalex Canoes (max load weight of 1100-1150 Lbs). You are carrying 4 large packs, 4 smaller personal packs and misc. fishing gear with a total gear weight of approximately 350 lbs split evenly between the two canoes. You do not have a cell/SAT phone or PLB/SPOT

Additional Situation Information:

• This is Day 2 of a planned 8 Day Trip to the Quetico Provincial Park.
• The Crew:
~ Curly: Average Outdoorsman/Canoeist. Trips: 3.
~ Mo: Average Outdoorsman/Canoeist. Trips 3.
~ Larry: Expert Outdoorsman/Canoeist. Trips 40+ many of which were solo.
~ Harry: Rookie Outdoorsman/Canoeist. Trips: First Timer

Available Equipment:

Tents - 2- REI TAJ 3
Packs – 4 CCS Pioneer Packs.
Paddles – 5 Livery Bent Shaft Wood Paddles
Extensive Repair Kit: Aluminum Ferules, Heavy Needle/Thread, Sewing Kit, Roll of trip wire, Duct Tape, Nylon Patches, Super Glue, extra pack buckles and strapping.
CCS 10 X 10 tarp
Guide Gear 12 X 12 tarp

THIS CHALLENGE IS A TWO PART PROBLEM. The update to the Challenge will be posted in 5 Days (20 FEB) and you will have the opportunity to address the second part at that time.

The Challenge:

You started yesterday at the Black Robe Entry Point on Lac La Croix and camped last night on Wicksteed Lake.

Today you are planning on staying put on Wicksteed in the morning and if fishing is good spend one more night at your current location. If fishing is bad you will take down camp and pack up and move towards Lake Argo around lunchtime.

The weather is extremely overcast and there is occasional drizzle. Winds are moderate 5-10 MPH from the NW.

While out fishing you notice the clouds continuing to build and darken to your Northwest. Winds are starting to increase.

(SEE MAP 1)







As you continue to fish the reefs between your campsite and the little islands to the southeast you notice a Black Bear Sow with two yearling cubs swimming towards the small island with a campsite. You try to snap a few photos as they come ashore on this small island and move out of site into the woods.

Suddenly almost out of nowhere the wind and a driving rain start to pour down on you. The Winds are now gusting to 20+ MPH and low to medium rollers are now pounding your canoe. As you turn you boats towards your campsite, a flash of lightning strikes down from the sky right above your campsite.

The winds continue to blow harder approaching 30-35 MPH and the rain in now a torrential downpour. Your canoes are taking on water from the rain and the rollers splashing over the sides and control of the canoe is becoming very difficult.

(SEE MAP 2)









What now? (Please pick one and discuss your reason)

a. You choose to paddle into the now 30-35 MPH gusts and the 3-4 foot rollers towards your camp. (1/2 mile into the wind)
b. You decide to head toward the small island where the 3 Bears went ashore. (1/4 mile into the wind)
c. You see a very small rocky island and decide to head there.
(100 meters cross wind)

















(Photos used by permission – Thanks to HoHo & David)

********************** CHALLENGE UPDATE****************************

Regardless of which option you selected the following circumstances occured once you landed at you island of choice.

A massive lightening storm continued for the next 20 minutes that is rarely seen.








After the lightening started to subside the area experienced a "Micro Burst" which downed and snapped hundreds of tree in the area.







You can see your campsite in the distance and it appears to have been smashed by the storm, you also see some some smoke rising up from your site.







No one has been injured other than small abrasions and bruises

As you make your way back to the campsite. You find the following has happened:

1. There is a small brush fire that was caused by the lightening but is containable. This fire has burned a 1 1/2 foot radius hole in one of your CCS Pioneer Packs.

2. Both your TAJ 3 Tents have been smashed by falling pines and have many broken poles and rips in both the rain fly and tent.

3. One paddle (the spare) is missing.

4. Your Guide Gear tarp has a 18 inch rip right down the center seam. The CCS tarp is down but undamaged

4. The remainder of your gear is strewn around the area. It is unknown what else is missing or damaged.



The remainder of the challenge is:

a. Review your initial decision and determine how you would have truly faired in this massive lightning and wind storm.

b. Complete repairs with the listed equipment and assess what you currently bring for a repair kit and determine if you could have made repairs and continued the trip.

c. Pray that this "Perfect Storm" never hits you on a trip. My guess is there may have been casualties.
 
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next
oneportage
distinguished member (159)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/15/2011 02:25PM  
paddle to bear island, pull the canoe up, and sit tight. dont worry about the bears, they are very unlikely to bother you. when it calms down , paddle back to our campsite.
 
02/15/2011 02:38PM  
Hmm. The rocky island is so low to the water that I would think in those winds it would be fairly whipped with waves and not a good choice, though it's the closest.

My instinct would be to get to the shelter of the camp. However, it seems kind of far. The good thing about this choice, though, is that you can quarter your way across the waves to it and get to the island on the lee side. If, in the process of trying to get to camp, it turns out that I came near the lee side of bear island, I think I'd go ahead and stop there. Then I'd go to camp after it calms down.

(could waves really get wipped up that high in that short of a time frame?)
 
bojibob
distinguished member(3141)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/15/2011 02:45PM  
quote nojobro: (could waves really get wipped up that high in that short of a time frame?)"


Wicksteed is a pretty large lake (about the same size as North and Bayley Bays in Quetico) and if you look at the NW shore and its terrain ...the land elevation approaching Wicksteed is fairly low.
 
schweady
distinguished member(8119)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
  
02/15/2011 03:05PM  
Continuing to fish with those darkening skies was the first mistake. Oh, well. Next time you'll remember that one walleye apiece is plenty.

If I had to pick a, b, or c, it's Bear Island, but... My first thought was to head west into the protection of the peninsula, but it's too far, and I'm not so sure that there's all that much land mass height shown on the topo to make it worth fighting that NW wind. These types of sudden squalls can spin you about and swamp you pretty quickly on a quartering route like that one. Actually, I'm headed east to the lee side of largest of the islands in that grouping. Easier to achieve in a shorter time... more protection from the weather than some of the other smaller islands... no farther away from camp, really. A lot of these storms that blow up real fast will blow over just as quickly. So, when it blows past, head for camp and fry up those walleye fillets.

The last thing I'd want in this situation is to be on that tiny dot of an island with that huge single tree pointing up toward the electrified skies. The bear island is not a major concern, just harder to achieve in a short time and still a pretty small spot of land. Plus, I suppose Mama Bear would like to stay put for a while, too, and maybe not be too happy to share the tiny refuge she's found for her family (see Wilderness Challenge #3...)
 
02/15/2011 03:16PM  
c, then b, then a.

Little Island is 4x closer than bear island if I did the right math. If I can stand on my feet on that island, I'm already soaked so waves won't bother me. Did we say what month this is? Might opt for B with more shelter if it's cold... but then again if I'm almost capsizing that's what I'd want to avoid at all costs in the cold. I wouldn't stay away from B because of bears, only distance. If it seemed I could make it there by canoe, I'd not hesitate. But if paddling is dicey and capsize imminent, then small island it is. Tie up to the tree and wait it out.
 
solotrek
distinguished member(992)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/15/2011 03:23PM  

I would head for the bear island. I wouldn't worry about bears right now. The sow is probably seeking shelter for herself and her cubs. Since the bear island is larger than the small island, I'm probably going to get a break in the wave action the closer I get to the bear island's lee side. Not so with the small island. Also, there's one large tree on the small island. If we go to that island and if lightening strikes that tree, we're all dead. Go to the bear island and wait it out.
 
02/15/2011 03:45PM  
I wouldn't do any of the options. First I would have everyone sit of the bottom of the canoe which makes it almost untippable then head for the island south of the Little Island to wait it out. With just fishing gear and downwind it should be a quick ride, maybe 5 minutes. The water in the canoe should also help the center of gravity.

Into a 25mph wind in the past we only managed a half MPH. Not too sure if we could move forward into a 35 mph wind. The crappy bent shaft paddles aren't going to help me at all in quick transitions needed from paddling on the left or right side of canoe in big waves.
 
NDCanoe
distinguished member (343)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/15/2011 03:46PM  
Lash the canoes together and head for nearest land - in this case little island. I'll chance the lightning versus 35mph wind. If those rollers are hitting us abeam, and it looks like both canoes will swamp, then we quarter to bear island.

I'm glad we have TAJ3's because they will be dry inside when we finally get back.
 
02/15/2011 04:03PM  
quote BWPaddler: "c, then b, then a.


Little Island is 4x closer than bear island if I did the right math. If I can stand on my feet on that island, I'm already soaked so waves won't bother me. Did we say what month this is? Might opt for B with more shelter if it's cold... but then again if I'm almost capsizing that's what I'd want to avoid at all costs in the cold. I wouldn't stay away from B because of bears, only distance. If it seemed I could make it there by canoe, I'd not hesitate. But if paddling is dicey and capsize imminent, then small island it is. Tie up to the tree and wait it out."


I couldn't agree more with BWPaddler's reasoning. Just saved me some extra typing. I don't believe the bears would be an issue. Perhaps hypothermia.
 
02/15/2011 04:16PM  
Before reading anyone else's post.

I'd paddle to the little island first (it seems closer). If there is a bit of a break in the wind or the group seems to be strong enough paddlers, after maybe a 10 minute break, we'd then head to the 'bear' island. Otherwise, we'd stay put until the weather subsided.

If we are able to get to the 'bear' island, I'd probably just sit tight until the weather cleared up enough for us to head back to our camp. (a lot less wind). If we are stuck here for a while, I'd have a few guys find some firewood, and probably try to get a small fire going for warmth. Nothing warms the soul like a bit of fire :) I wouldn't try this on the small island, there's just not enough room there.
 
Swampbuster
senior member (64)senior membersenior member
  
02/15/2011 04:18PM  
Given the circumstances here, my first instinct would be to head to the small rock Island and empty the water out of canoe as fast as possible. Then, rather than fight 3-4 rollers head on or crosswind, I think I would go along with what Chilly said; put the wind and waves to my back and ride them to the nearest Island and wait the storm out.
 
02/15/2011 04:27PM  
B for me. I rather take my chances with the bears than sit on on a lightening rod. And that's what that isolated, small island with the single tall tree is....a lightening rod.
 
kbalser
member (30)member
  
02/15/2011 05:48PM  
If I thought I could make it, I would try for bear island. I wouldn't worry too much about the bears at this point. If I thought we were taking on too much water for that, I would try for the rocky island. I don't like the idea of trying to move crosswind in this situation. I've never been on the water in that kind of weather. Hopefully, angling the bow of the canoe just a little in the direction you want to go will allow you move sideways and get there. I'm guessing if you turn broadside to the waves, you are going to swamp. Hope everyone has their life preserver secured.

After reading the replies.

I have to admit that I didn't think about the possibility of a lightning strike on the little island. However, if you are out on the lake in a canoe, aren't you a good candidate for a strike as well?
 
02/15/2011 06:04PM  
Without reading other posts:

B. I am heading for bear island and I am moving fast. There is no chance of me trying to take cover on the rocky island because there is no cover to be had. The small rocky island looks like a lightning rod, with the tall tree being the highest point in the area. One would surely get electrocuted if they were on that island when lightning struck that tree.

I am not concerned about the bears because they will be seeking cover as well. And bear attacks are very rare. My bigest concern is being able to paddle safely to bear island. But at this point, you have no choice but to seek the nearest shelter.
 
02/15/2011 06:44PM  
Head to the bear island and get the canoes tied down and tarp setup, hope for a break in the wind. Small island is lighting rod and if stronger winds and gusts come there will be no shelter on small island. Always remember you could be in the situation for a couple days. Been there and done that. If conditions are better from the bear island location and wave direction then consider how hard and fast you can paddle the 1/4 mile.

Sitting in the bottom of canoe will help but if wind is too strong you could have a long long long drift down a cold lake.
 
02/15/2011 07:17PM  
b. thats my choice. even a mother bear wouldnt challenge four adults. most likely mom and kids would just swim off. find those "cones of protection" that trees can provide from lightning. get small and crouch on the balls of your feet and ride it out.

a. is too far to paddle in lightning...let alone in 4 footers.

c. is a lightning rod. no thanks.

(i posted this before i read any others also)
 
02/15/2011 07:33PM  
I'm with Amok.

I would head towards the little island so that I have a last resort if I capsize but my intent would be to push past it and head downwind to that tear drop shaped island.

Little island is a lightening rod. That shell of an old tree and the fact that the top of the big tree is dead lead me to believe it has been hit before.
 
PineKnot
distinguished member(2020)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/15/2011 07:49PM  
None of the above. I just can't find any reason to head to bear island with the potential threat of a mother bear with cubs, let alone swamping prior to getting there. And I don't see any information provided that would limit me from riding the waves past the little island to another that offers more protection.
 
02/15/2011 10:34PM  
Hey some details have been added since I posted...
 
02/15/2011 11:57PM  
Dear math people,

I want to know how much does 1 inch of rain weight if it was in this 17 foot canoe. I recall water is about 7 pounds a gallon but this challenge makes me wonder how many inches of water (+people) = 1100 pounds?

Also what is the water temp?

 
andym
distinguished member(5378)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
  
02/16/2011 12:57AM  
Water in the bottom of the canoe may lower the center of gravity but that doesn't necessarily make it more stable. As the canoe rocks back and forth the water sloshes out of sync with the canoe and destabilizes it. Learned this the semi-hard way this summer. We decided to make a break for it across a small crossing without bailing because the wind had died a bit. We made it but the sloshing water made it much harder. My wife was wondering what the heck was going on back there but figured we were a good crew by then (three person boat with our nephew at the end of a 10 day trip) and whatever we were doing must be a good idea. We were trying to counterbalance the sloshing water. We would have been much better off with a dry boat. A bailer is definitely becoming part of our gear.
 
andym
distinguished member(5378)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
  
02/16/2011 04:04AM  
1 gallon = 231 cubic inches
1 gallon of water weighs 8 lbs (A pint is a pound the world around)

Let's assume an 18' canoe that is about 36" across the middle is on average about 24" across. I'm just assuming that the narrow parts are pretty limited to the front and back. 18' by 24" by 1" = 5184 cubic inches = 22.4 gallons which would weigh 180 lbs. So an inch of water is about an extra person.

So you can take on a good bit of water without sinking the canoe but as described in my previous message that water is a problem.
 
02/16/2011 07:17AM  
I'd head for the down wind side of Bear Island with the intent of continuing on to our campsite. If things got hairy we would stop and ride out the storm with the bears.
 
02/16/2011 08:18AM  
Nice pictures! :-)

I'm with Chilly and the others who are heading downwind to the teardrop island. I'd be fine with the bears but I'm concerned about getting there. Little rock island is no good as shelter for the reasons mentioned, plus it's crosswind to get there. Doesn't sound hopeful for getting back to the campsite until the storm abates. Also, assuming the campsite is at the real-life site on that island, it's on a little spit on the north side and really being battered by the storm right now. (The rest of the campsite island provides plenty of shelter, but then you're not in camp, and you can't get there anyway.)

With any of the options, I'm not comfortable with the water in the canoe, but even with a bailer (which I always have), I don't think you can do anything about it. No one can stop paddling long enough to bail until the wind lets up.

 
02/16/2011 09:45AM  
C, then B maybe, then A.

Keep the canoes together, first and foremost. Lash a couple spare paddles or something between them. PFD's are all on.....right????

Survival kits are available in the canoes or in the PFD's to start a warming fire, if needed, on the small island. You can start a fire in the wind and rain with all these people.....right???? A simple thing to keep in mind is to always have water, fire and shelter with you at all times. Food is not needed for 3 days.

And we are all wearing synthetic clothing.

Now, in reality, who prepares for something like this? It's just a little fishing trip, just a little ways from the camp. What could go wrong? Everything we need is in camp. Why go to the trouble of taking any stuff along?

 
bojibob
distinguished member(3141)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/16/2011 10:41AM  

From Wikipedia,

A perfect storm is an expression that describes an event where a rare combination of circumstances will aggravate a situation drastically

From the original Challenge Post.

"Stay tuned for the Update - I assure you it gets much worse :-)"

Update coming on Saturday, be sure to check back to see how your selection would have been impacted.
 
02/16/2011 11:47AM  
If it hit that fast I doubt that I would want to put the paddle down to check the map. Unfortunately, knowing myself, I'd likely be stubborn enough to try and head for camp. Would likely end up on bear island, trying to skirt the leeward side and see if I couldn't island hop to the camp. Would likely be best to get to bear island and wait.
 
02/16/2011 01:17PM  
Regarding the little island...

How far out of the water does it come? How big is it? Seems to me like it would be swamped with waves.
 
520eek
distinguished member(1382)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/16/2011 01:33PM  
I am for bear island providing I can make it and wait out storm. (Since that is one of three options given to choose from.) I will now wonder how well camp is holding out...I'm sure camp was set up okay but not for this kind of storm. Hope everything is there or can be recovered when I get there.....And, to make matters worse. Lightening has struck right over camp, apparently everyone is on water fishing (by what I read) and we can only guess as to what camp may look like. Its gonna be a hard paddle to get to that bear island...can we do it? We will give it a try and give it our all!! I am wondering just what kind of stuff we brought along other than our fishing gear....it was just a little fishing to see if this was going to be a lay over spot.... what could possibly go wrong??? And how do you start a fire in howling winds and torrential downpour any way?? looks as if we just stay wet until storm lets up enough to make it to camp....to whatever is left of it!!! By the way... a beer at the end of this trip would sure be tasty and we would all have an awesome story to share!! : )
 
02/16/2011 03:07PM  
quote rlhedlund: "
Now, in reality, who prepares for something like this? It's just a little fishing trip, just a little ways from the camp. What could go wrong? Everything we need is in camp. Why go to the trouble of taking any stuff along?


"


Daypack with raingear, extra clothes and tarp go in the canoe no matter what. Regardless of how sunny and ohh its a great day.
 
PineKnot
distinguished member(2020)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/16/2011 03:41PM  
quote GSP: "Daypack with raingear, extra clothes and tarp go in the canoe no matter what. Regardless of how sunny and ohh its a great day."


That's exactly what I was thinking earlier...I always have a ditch kit and rain gear in the canoe when I'm out fishing...
 
02/16/2011 07:15PM  
quote kbalser: " If I thought I could make it, I would try for bear island. I wouldn't worry too much about the bears at this point. If I thought we were taking on too much water for that, I would try for the rocky island. I don't like the idea of trying to move crosswind in this situation. I've never been on the water in that kind of weather. Hopefully, angling the bow of the canoe just a little in the direction you want to go will allow you move sideways and get there. I'm guessing if you turn broadside to the waves, you are going to swamp. Hope everyone has their life preserver secured.

After reading the replies.

I have to admit that I didn't think about the possibility of a lightning strike on the little island. However, if you are out on the lake in a canoe, aren't you a good candidate for a strike as well? "


ditto on the thinking that if you are out in a canoe during a t-storm, you may get hit by lightning. I'd rather take the 'glancing blow' (if there is such a thing) from the lightning hitting the tree than a direct hit while paddling in the middle of the lake ...
 
02/16/2011 07:51PM  
I know we've had lightning threads before, but I guess I haven't learned my lesson. I see that I wouldn't want to be on little island for very long with that many people, and if there were a break I'd keep heading toward camp or any island with more shelter (bears or no bears). Dunno what the lightning chances are or whether I'd be standing on something that conducts it or not (probably enough water that that doesn't matter :). Something to think about, but I'm a slow learner.

I would have ditch kit, rain gear, water treatment/bottles, and probably the food pack in the canoe with me IRL. Food pack comes along during the day and is stashed at night. Ballast plus bear protection.
 
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(14450)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
  
02/16/2011 09:04PM  
I would go to Bear island. The small rocky island is nothing but a lighting rod with that tree. Your campsite is too far away. Go to bear island and wait it out. The bears will be hunkered down just like you. Only the bears know better that to get out of the rain, looks like our group did not.
 
02/17/2011 05:25AM  

I am with BWP...It is the small island for me. Not that I would want to stay there that long, but if the winds are 25-35 mph and you are taking on water from rain and the waves.....better to make it some place than NOT at all. If you end up in swamped and in the water good luck getting that craft up and back in it in those waves and wind. You will never be able to swim in that.

I have been 20 yards from an 80 ft tall pine that was hit by lightning. Big boom, bright flash, but most of all was the large chunks of pine lumber flying. (it was a sight) You have some shelter...get under the canoes. had to do that in a hail storm once.

If Chilly is right on the 1/2 mph in 25 mph winds you risk not even making it any other place than the little island. I have paddled some pretty hard winds but never in a driving rain. And I don't care who has the Rookie as a paddle mate......not any place for him to start learning the art of paddling the waves.....not to mention in that country you have a better chance of trees falling on you in 35 mph winds that hit by lightning.
 
02/17/2011 08:11AM  
**Before Revision**
I am a stuborn ass. I would push for my camp site. Last year my group and I pushed from Hanson all the way to American point in waves that were 1-2 at first but became 2-3+ (with a few 4's thrown in for good measure) once we hit Big Sag.

**After Revision**
I guess going for my site was a mistake; or was it? I would like to think that because I made it back to my site I was able to take stock in the situation and get the tarps and tents either secured better or, more likely, taken down. Thus saving my gear for sleeping.

I don't bring a sewing kit with to mend the rain fly on my tent but I have lots of duct tape. I should be able to shore up the poles and run some tape over the rips.

Time to go home I guess.
 
inthewoods
distinguished member (247)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/17/2011 09:33AM  
going to head towards small island just to get to the bear island, wait out the storm and return to camp. I always keep a fairly extensive day pack with me in the canoe whenever I am on the lake, so hiding out on the island would not be a big deal
 
02/17/2011 11:32AM  
I would head to c, the small rocky island. My first thought would be to get off the lake and the small island is the closest and easiest land to get to. I would rather have solid ground under me than to be floundering in a lake with a swamped canoe. You can always turn the canoes over for some shelter against the elements. If the storm subsided then I would try to get to the bear island and eventually get back to camp.

Another option might be to leave one canoe on the small island and put all four guys in the other canoe. With four paddlers you might be able to paddle against the wind better but that would be a judgment call based on the conditions.

tony
 
02/17/2011 01:28PM  
quote tony: "Another option might be to leave one canoe on the small island and put all four guys in the other canoe. With four paddlers you might be able to paddle against the wind better but that would be a judgment call based on the conditions."

Interesting and creative... probably depends on the canoe, but something I hadn't considered.
 
02/17/2011 09:05PM  
Before I read any other replies, and without thinking too much to try to simulate being in the situation:
I am in a big blowing, fast moving storm and shipping water. I am headed for the nearest shore, the little island. There we can dump the water from the canoes and regroup. The storm is going to subside soon, I would think 2 hours tops. You just don't get sustained winds like that in these summer thunderstorms for very long. It may rain for a long time, but the wind is going to die down, at least somewhat, after that front moves through. I would most likely want to wait it out on the little island.

The island does not look too low and so I do not anticipate that it will be swamped. If that happens, at least you have emptied the boats and you can make a decision to tie up there and float it out or try for another shore. I am not liking any option that puts me back on the water in the big wind conditions for any length of time, even with a Roylex canoe. Lighting worries me, but is not my main concern. We could get struck whether on the little island or on the water, either way is about the same risk of a strike.

If I have to leave the little island, I am heading southeast to the island which is located under the “tt” in the label “Little.” That way we are traveling with the wind at our back and can make very good time to reach shelter. With that tail wind we might reach that island in 10-15 minutes, maybe even faster.

Trying to get to the campsite into the teeth of a 30-35 wind over 1/2 mile means we are on the water and in danger for at least 45 minutes, and that's IF we can get to our campsite. No guaranty that we will actually get there before we swamp completely. I really do not want to try for anyplace that is upwind and any significant distance away. If we did that and got out in the lake and swamped or flipped, we could get blown all the way to the portage. Then you are in the water and hypothermia is a greater possibility. My gut says, any port in a storm and the closer the better. I’m going with my gut instinct.
 
02/18/2011 08:49AM  
So, when we do get back to the campsite, our gear will be long gone and a bear will have eaten our food? And I suppose one of us will be clobbered by a falling tree at whatever island we do reach? And then a ranger will come and evict us from the park because our fishing licenses were blown away in the storm and we will be marked for life as persona non grata in the BW. And our identities will be stolen and our wives will deny ever having known us and the government will be watching us from satellites and, worst of all, gasoline will cost $5.00 a gallon!
I need more coffee.
 
02/18/2011 09:27AM  
quote jcavenagh: "So, when we do get back to the campsite, our gear will be long gone and a bear will have eaten our food? And I suppose one of us will be clobbered by a falling tree at whatever island we do reach? And then a ranger will come and evict us from the park because our fishing licenses were blown away in the storm and we will be marked for life as persona non grata in the BW. And our identities will be stolen and our wives will deny ever having known us and the government will be watching us from satellites and, worst of all, gasoline will cost $5.00 a gallon!
I need more coffee."

Sounds like you should write the next challenge, lol :)
 
Beemer01
Moderator
distinguished member(3470)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/19/2011 10:38AM  
I agree with the others - the time of year, water and air temps are all unknown factors ad would influence my decision. Big difference between 39F (May) and 70F (August) degree water!

The bears don't concern me, four guys with canoes will appear scary big to a bear and she will not bother us as long as we keep together.

I'd try and get back to camp and - contrary to conventional logic - pursuade the crew to get to the windward side of the island so we don't have to worry about windowmakers!

 
02/19/2011 01:43PM  
PART 2:

My initial decision to head for the "bear" island seems to be OK. What I would do once the lightning and blow down started is head to windward side of the island with the canoes. Once there, get under the royalex (non-conductive) canoes for protection from lightning, and being windward, blowdowns would fall away from our position.

Returning to camp and accessing the damages, the group should first make a Unanimous decision to continue, or pack up and leave. If the decision is to continue, start repairing as much gear as needed to survive the remainder of the trip. Aluminum ferrules lashed with wire to fix tent poles. Sewing ripped tents, flys and tarps and coating the stitched areas with duct tape. Use the nylon patch and super glue to fix the pack. Carve one or two crude paddles for backup.

I don't currently bring aluminum ferrules, wire, super glue or nylon patches. So I'd be unable to repair the tents or flys. I believe I could still use the pack by inserting double thick birch bark on the inside over the hole and then pack it tight to keep the patch in place. Given my current repair kit, we'd somehow make it through the night and have to depart the next AM.

Please Lord, no perfect storms when tripping.
 
Widespreadpanic
distinguished member (349)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/19/2011 01:56PM  
First stop is the little island, from the little island you can dump out the excess water and quickly regroup form a plan or just stay put. Storms that build up quickly with winds in the 30-35 mph range rarely last vary long.

The most immediate concerns are the lightning and the rough water. Get oof the water first. The bears are a concern, in most cases the bears are no problem but IF they turn out to be a problem you are now forced back into the abiss again. Little island for me every time.

As far as camp goes, who cares. you are not far from an entry point and camp is where you make it. If the gear goes up in flames it's a money issue not a survival issue.

Little island
 
02/19/2011 02:39PM  

A) I'm very glad our group paddled down wind to the tear drop island. Not positive we would have made progress into the 35mph wind and the bent shaft paddles have very limited strokes and would have stunk in that situation.

B) a)Fill the pioneer pack with gear then duck tape around the mid-section of the bag until hole is covered, then dump all the gear out, flip bag inside out and duck tape the tape part so things don't stick inside the pack. b) For the tent I would whittle wood sticks then use them to duck tape the broken poles back together. Or just use the SCC tarp for a shelter tent and use the remaining stuff for ground cloth. Once dry the 18" tarp cut can be duct taped on both sides back together and maybe sew through the tape as backup. c) Possibley look for the missing paddle on the SE shore of the lake d)Not worried about the fire but would watch it for amusement. Everything is so wet and your on a island so it aint going do much if anything at all. e)If it's non-May or October keep going on the trip but not as far, you should have at least a couple of dead calm, beautiful days after a storm like that goes through. The birds will be singing!
 
02/19/2011 03:24PM  
First things first: PUT OUT THE FIRE! once that is accomplished ...

... then FIND the FOOD! have two people search the area for all of our odds and ends that have been strewn about to see what is salvageable and what is not --preferably Harry and Moe or Curly.

Have the other two (Larry and whoever isn't finding things) repair the tents if possible. I say if possible, because duct tape and wire should be a possible temporary repair for the tent poles. With the minimal amount of super glue (I'm assuming one itty bitty tube) there's not enough to even bother trying to use that on the poles --and I'm not certain that would work anyway. Once the poles have been repaired, start to work on the least damaged tent. If pole repair is not possible, find a way to support the tent using sticks/rope/duct tape --after tent repair. Use the sewing kit/needle on the main part of the tent, use duct tape on the fly. Once one tent is in order (assuming the repairs hold) get to work on the other one in the same manner.

Once the other two people have gathered the gear that has been strewn about, they can take inventory to see what's left. Then they can lay out/hang up the sleeping bags and any other items which need to dry.

Once that is done, they can also use what remains of the duct tape/super glue to repair the guide gear tarp (if necessary) after they repair the holey pack :) If necessary, use part of the guide gear tarp in this pack repair. It's already got a rip in it ... BUT, if one of the rainflys (or both) are unrepairable, just finish the job on the guide gear tarp and cut it into 2 equal sections (if possible) to use each section as a rainfly over each respective tent instead of repairing the pack. Use part of one of the destroyed rainflies for this instead. Which leads to the possibility of both rainflies being destroyed beyond repair.

If the pack is also beyond repair, use part of the rainfly from one of the tents as a "sack" to carry the rest of your items in. I'd put non-essentials in it (spare clothes, "luxury" items, etc.)

"reset" up camp, re-pack things after they have dried, and eat a good meal. Whatever doesn't get eaten tonight is going to be packed out anyway. Unwind. Plan on exiting the way we came in the morning. Assume that it may take 2 or 3 days to exit because of the blowdown and possible fire hazard (future lightning strikes?).
 
Beemer01
Moderator
distinguished member(3470)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/19/2011 03:36PM  
Hmmmmm. You're not far in - so getting out will be easy. The damaged tents can be repaired pretty well with the kit you bought along, the tarps can be set up over the repaired tents to create a really weatherproof rig.

I'm skeptical however of going further - there is a lot of great fishing and day trips in that area - I'd do a vote, but certainly one option is to now patch and tape the stuff together and base camp with lots of day trips.
 
PineKnot
distinguished member(2020)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/19/2011 05:41PM  
I planned to head with the tailwind to a protected island. Given the ensuing storm, right thing to do, provided I survived. Upon return to the island campsite, I'd collect what I could, repair whatever I could, and then hunker down for the night. Take lots of pictures and then head back to LLC in the morning with the goal of getting to the ranger station. If the storm was that severe with potential casualties, I would think that LLC would be busier than normal. What a story to tell when I returned home.
 
02/19/2011 05:55PM  
Well, CCS pack is a write off, a 1 1/2' radius is 3' hole. Tape, glue, pitch the ripped tarp togther. See what combination could put the tents together.

Agree with Beemer that staying put and finish trip there, maybe you will find the extra paddle but thats why you had a spare.
 
Swampbuster
senior member (64)senior membersenior member
  
02/19/2011 07:23PM  
(I have not read anybody's updated responses) Ok here goes: My survival pack is always with me whenever I am day tripping. I also have a tarp with me to make shelter. Therefore, I am comfortable with my initial response to this challenge about putting the wind and waves to my back and riding them to the nearest Island to wait out this storm.

Even though there are no serious injuries in our group, any thought of continuing this trip to its conclusion is out. With this much wind damage, who knows what conditions the portages are in, and/or if there are any serious injuries with any other groups that were caught in this storm. For me, this is a survival situation, we need to get out and if necessary, render help to anyone else we come across on the way. Because I live up here in Northern MN, the memories the the "Mega Storm" that we had several years ago that blew down a large section fo the BWCA is fresh in my mind. I know what the conditions were in the blow down area, and that is how I am responding to this updated challenge.

I am going to assume that since the update states that the small brush fire is containable (meaning our group contained it and put it out) that we can get back to our campsite and salvage gear

I would focus our repair resources,initially, on repairing the tarps and tent poles, but not the tents themselves. We can use the tarps for shelter. If we have any materials leftover, then I would try to make the tents as useful as possible. While I would want to salvage as much gear as we can, the saws/axes would be priority as I have a feeling we will have to cut our way out of there. OK, after we have salvaged our gear, since we are only 2 days into this trip, logic would say to backtrack. But, depending on the direction of the wind storm that might not be the best way out due to wind damage on portages. Therefore I guess you would just look at the map and plot the best course out depending on the direction the storm traveled.

 
02/20/2011 10:47AM  
quote Rob Johnson: "I'm with Amok.


I would head towards the little island so that I have a last resort if I capsize but my intent would be to push past it and head downwind to that tear drop shaped island.


Little island is a lightening rod. That shell of an old tree and the fact that the top of the big tree is dead lead me to believe it has been hit before."


***PER THE REVISION***

Still glad I din't head to the tiny island with the tree sized lightening rod. Also glad we didn't head back to camp.

Time to cut your losses and head for home. Visit the campstie and scrape up as much of the gear as you can and load it into the canoe. Push hard for your exit point. If you can't make it in one day, stop once and with a combination of duct tape and tent/tarp scraps make a shelter. Thank the heavens that you survived this one...
 
02/21/2011 12:15AM  
quote BearBrown: "Without reading other posts:


B. I am heading for bear island and I am moving fast. There is no chance of me trying to take cover on the rocky island because there is no cover to be had. The small rocky island looks like a lightning rod, with the tall tree being the highest point in the area. One would surely get electrocuted if they were on that island when lightning struck that tree.


I am not concerned about the bears because they will be seeking cover as well. And bear attacks are very rare. My bigest concern is being able to paddle safely to bear island. But at this point, you have no choice but to seek the nearest shelter."


Response to the revision:

I would look up and thank the heavens for allowing us to survive.

I imagine Bear Island would have made a suitable shelter for this terrible storm. Microbursts are a scary thing to experience and lightning is a force to be respected at all times. I think my group was best off paddling to Bear Island. Camp was simply too far, and trees fell on our tents--if my group would've made it to camp, we surely would've been inside them. Considering how nasty the storm was, we may have died on the small island from a lightning strike or getting blown off into the lake. So I am glad we went where we did, even if the paddling was dangerous. Once on shore, I would have led my group away from the tallest trees and tried to find natural shelter or taken shelter underneath our canoes and waited out the storm.

Once back at camp my group and I would quickly put the fire out. (probably by partially filling up our canoe with water and carrying it to the fire). Then we would collect our gear and try to get everything back in order. I would repair the tarp with the needle, thread and duct tape. The burned ccs pack sounds beyond repair with a 3 foot diameter hole in it (there is practically nothing left). If all of our gear couldn't fit into the three other packs and the straps are still intact on the fourth pack... I may stuff the ccs tarp into the pack and fasten it in such a way that it could hold gear. Otherwise, the ccs tarp would be used to carry remaining gear much the same way Santa carries his bag of toys. I am considering the tents a total loss except for the rainflys and footprint. If the rainfly can be repaired with the nylon repair kit, I would do so. Then, we would have a group meeting. I'm assuming we would decide to notify authorities of our good health the next day and continue our trip or basecamp using the footprints, guide gear tarp, sleeping bags, and the remainder of our tents as improvised bug netting for shelter.

With this in mind, it may be a lot of work to travel if the micro burst has blocked portage trails. Alternate routes and portage clearing will likely become part of our plans.
 
02/22/2011 02:54PM  
RESPONSE TO UPDATE:

- well, given that we all had only small cuts and abrasions, I guess the initial choice (small island) was acceptable. Surely would have been scary though with that lightning coming down and some fires started nearby. Would have been a harrowing time hunkering down.

- What month is this again? I'm thinking near term I'm OK sleeping under the canoe. I'd be more worried about WET than ripped at this point. To be honest, unless the weather changed spectacularly, I'd probably be thinking hard about heading out - at least initially. Wait - is the food intact? Then all is not lost and a decent granola bar or HOT meal will change how I look at things. :)

- If I were to try to repair, I don't know much about Taj 3s, but I'd dry off the material, try to use duct tape on the poles (if it was my T4 I could use sticks for poles as they are straight). When material was dry, I'd use stick-on repair patches made for that purpose. If it was a seam, I'd sew it up with sewing kit.

- Missing paddle wouldn't have me worried since it's a spare (whew!)

- I can press on with the CCS tarp, and use it above ripped tents IF I am not comfy with repairs and it looks like more rain. Can try sewing Guide Gear tarp, but that would be low priority since it's a duplicate. I could use portions of it to fix burned pack perhaps, using duct tape and fabric patches to secure well enough to at least hold gear semi-decently depending on what portion burned. Assume harness is intact?

- I think my repair kit would be OK, but not sure how Taj poles look. I'm handy with needle and thread, carry plenty of patches and decent amount of duct tape. Obviously the pack is in the worst shape - if I could condense gear into un-harmed packs, I would... but if not, I'd use the ripped GG tarp to try to fix it, then put large light stuff sacks in there so small things not falling out all over.
 
bojibob
distinguished member(3141)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/22/2011 06:33PM  
Challenge Tip:

Ferruls aka "Pole Tubes"
 
NDCanoe
distinguished member (343)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/22/2011 09:36PM  
AFTER UPDATE:

Glad we rode out the storm on the little island and weren't caught in open water during that lighting storm.

After getting back, we patch up our stuff and stay in the BW.

I do like the idea of searching for other distressed parties.
 
kbalser
member (30)member
  
02/24/2011 05:49AM  
part two
I still think bear island was as good a choice as any.

Back at camp, the first thing to do is inventory what you have. Repairing the tarp with some tape and sewing sounds possible. I don't know about the tents. Maybe make some ground cloths out of the floors and some mosquito nets out of the rest. Sleep under the tarps. The pack is beyond repair I think, but you should be able to tie some of the bulkier items to what's left of it and hopefully get the rest in the other three.
I would say that you would be very fortunate to experience a storm like this without someone getting hurt or killed.
 
02/26/2011 11:18PM  
Aftet the Storm:
Even with the lightning storm, I still think getting to the small island as fast as possible is the best move. Being out on the water exposes you to the lightening risk AND the risk of swamping, hypothermia, and maybe even drowning. Being at the small island has the lightening risk, but you are not exposed the risks of being out on the big water. The overall risk is minimized by getting off the open water as fast as possible.


1. Have 2 guys start to work to put out the fire. Don’t put it all out, use some wild fire to get your fire pit going. We are all wet and will be getting chilled soon so we want a campfire going when we stop working.
2. The other 2 guys gather up all the gear you can see into one safe area.
3. If the 2 firemen can’t put out the fire with just 2, then the other guys jump in and help finish the job.
4. Re-hang toe CCS tarp and move your gear under it. We are most likely sleeping under this tarp tonight.
5. Let’s fix the GG tarp. We have a sewing kit and 18” isn’t too bad. First stitch the seam back together. See how good it seems. If needed use some duct tape to reinforce the re-sewn seam. With the big tarps, I think we can save the trip. You can even sew through the duct tape if necessary, to reinforce the repair.
6. See if you can get one whole set of Taj poles together from all the pieces. You might not be able to get a full unbroken set, but get as close as you can to minimize the repairs. At least one tent will have to go into a pack. Choose the Taj that has the least tears to fix and fix those as best you can. If you can’t, then pack up the tents.
7. It really only takes one guy to repair the GG and to assess the Taj3s. One guy can take inventory of the rest of the gear while the other 2 guys search the close in area for gear. Nothing was said about the food being missing, so I assume it is available for us.
8. Use the sacrificed tent material to create a make shift side for the burned pack. A ccf pad can also be inserted in it to help while traveling.
9. Spend the night at the campsite and then decide in the morning whether to finish the trip or call it quits.

 
Mad_Angler
distinguished member(1729)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
03/08/2012 10:54AM  
Ok. I've cheated and read all the responses. I'm not sure that they changed my answers...

First part: I'd try to paddle into the wind. I would quickly find that was fruitless. So I would turn and paddle with the wind. I'd slightly angle towards whatever shore or island was closest. Once on land, I'd hunker down under the canoes and natural cover until the storm was over.

Second part:
I'd have part of the group put out the fire.
The rest would head to camp. We definitely wouldn't make any rash decisions. We'd start to regather gear and really assess the situation.

Once the gear was regathered, we'd take a break. Since we haven't ate in a while, we'd eat something and maybe make a hot drink. The pause will let us think rationally and resotre our blood sugar.

Then, we'd use the tarps to create a camp for the night.

In the morning, we'd reevaluate everything...
 
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next