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      Trip Report - BWCA 2012 Autumn Solo     

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10/30/2012 03:18PM
New Trip Report posted by boonie

Trip Name: BWCA 2012 Autumn Solo.

Entry Point: 50

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10/30/2012 04:11PM
YES! Awesome trip and awesome report. Thank you so much for sharing. As you already know.... that is a trip that I want to do.
10/30/2012 04:34PM
Yeah, I know you've been waiting for it ducks ;) - not surprised you were the first to read and respond.

I've got lots more photos on Snapfish

You'll have to create a log-in with email and a password if you don't already have one.

Let me know what questions you have....
eagle93
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10/30/2012 09:43PM
Did that trip 4 years ago. Agree that Omega is a beautiful lake and the Wall, or Steps as Dave at HJO calls it, is tough.
10/31/2012 07:46AM
Great trip report, Boonie! I am off now to Snapfish to look at more of your beautiful photos.

It is hard for me to believe that we did all of that route ourselves in 1992. Couldn't do it NOW, that's for sure! :-( It was fun to relive those portages without actually being there.
10/31/2012 09:04AM
quote Spartan2: "Great trip report, Boonie! I am off now to Snapfish to look at more of your beautiful photos.


It is hard for me to believe that we did all of that route ourselves in 1992. Couldn't do it NOW, that's for sure! :-( It was fun to relive those portages without actually being there. "


I was truly blessed with the weather and foliage on this trip. I also got some nice pictures the other day at Dolly Sods, WV, that you might enjoy while you're on Snapfish.

Those portages are getting a lot tougher now.
Beemer01
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10/31/2012 04:14PM
Nice report - thanks for posting - I NEVER get pictures of Moose!!
10/31/2012 05:08PM
quote Beemer01: "Nice report - thanks for posting - I NEVER get pictures of Moose!!"

I only got it because I started carrying one of those waterproof P & S cameras in my shirt pocket like somebody on here suggested ;).
10/31/2012 09:37PM
On my 26 day WCPP trip I milked my camera battery to day 24. There I saw a moose feeding in the widening of the river we were on. I finally got to where I might get an ok picture if i could only zoom in a bit. As I zoomed the camera died and no moose picture... Rats! :) I got 5 batteries for my 40 day trip and put #5 in the morning of the last day.

Nice report! I have not the fondest memories of the wall going into Kissmya$$, I mean Kiskadinna Lake. :) And the portage following wasn't much better after that. I made it from Karl to Winchell August 2011, but I was pretty wiped. I like the fact you took in the different places on the way home.
10/31/2012 11:41PM
Thanks for the trip report, Boonie! Love all the photos!

This route is on my list of solo routes as well. The boys and I have paddled portions out of EP47 but not in the direction of Omega. Sounds like you had a beautiful trip!
11/01/2012 06:18AM
@nctry- Wow, I can't believe you got 24 days out of one. I take two on my trips. I only needed one on this trip, but needed the second on the trip back plus a new memory card. Not reviewing the ones I take while out on the trip saves battery power for picture taking too.

Maybe I'll start calling it Kickedmya$$ portage ;).

@luft (& ducks)- It was a nice solo trip for me despite those portages. You could go the other way and go mostly downhill, but they are steep enough that that would also be challenging. There are some beautiful lakes and scenery on that route.
Beemer01
Moderator
 
11/01/2012 07:08AM
quote boonie: "quote Beemer01: "Nice report - thanks for posting - I NEVER get pictures of Moose!!"


I only got it because I started carrying one of those waterproof P & S cameras in my shirt pocket like somebody on here suggested ;)."


Touche! I must have slower reaction times!
11/01/2012 07:14AM
I wasn't exactly real fast, Bemmer, but she just stood there and looked at me. She seemed as surprised as I was. She was still just standing there when I paddled by - never did move.
Beemer01
Moderator
 
11/01/2012 07:32AM
I seriously need to find some dumber moose!

Nice pictures!
jjk2160
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11/01/2012 09:43AM
Great trip report, i did almost the exact same trip this year. it is nice to see what someone else thought of the same area.
Twins87
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11/01/2012 09:57AM
Nice report... great pictures... thanks for sharing!

We've gone as far as Long Island on that trip out of Cross Bay (running in to nctry in Aug 2011 when we were on the way out and he was heading to Karl)

We've been curious about the lakes between Long Island and Poplar but I'm thinking we might prefer to enter from Poplar and avoid the wall.
TuscaroraBorealis
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11/03/2012 08:57PM
Great report Steve!

Glad you were able to get to, and enjoy, that area this year. (After you had to scrap your trip there last year because of the fire.) You definitely made it sound like it was worth the wait. Thanks for the pre & post trip info as well. It's nice to hear a little about some of those things too. Really a well written report with some excellent photos that enhanced the story nicely.

Thanks again for taking the time to share your story & photos.
georgelesley
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11/05/2012 09:34AM
Steve, what a great trip report! You had one trip to remember for sure. I enjoyed our visits together on each end and hope to see you again. Glad to hear you got back home safely and that Sandy did not cause you any problems.
bear bait
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11/05/2012 11:18AM
great report!
those tamaracs do look familar :) they really glow in the morning light.
11/08/2012 07:37AM
I love reading solo trip reports because that's what I love to do as well. We were in the BW pretty much the same time only I was on the west end. I could relate to your "ice in the water" frosty mornings.

I loved your pics but wish there were more detailed shots of your gear and camps. And no obligatory self portrait??

Also love that you included the drive up and back detail. Going solo is so different when making the drives. Loved the report as it brought me back there.

IBFLY
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11/08/2012 08:03AM
Excellent!
I want to try the northern route as well - Banadad and the like.
mocha
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11/08/2012 04:11PM
great photos esp the tamaracks, glad you got to see the elusive moose. sorry i missed out on the dinner with you and george...next time! have you started planning the next trip?
11/08/2012 08:28PM
quote TomT: "I love reading solo trip reports because that's what I love to do as well. We were in the BW pretty much the same time only I was on the west end. I could relate to your "ice in the water" frosty mornings.


I loved your pics but wish there were more detailed shots of your gear and camps. And no obligatory self portrait??


Also love that you included the drive up and back detail. Going solo is so different when making the drives. Loved the report as it brought me back there.


"


There are more photos of the gear and camps in the Snapfish link, Tom. If you don't have a Snapfish account, I think you'll need to create a log-in with your email and some password, but that's easy enough. Self-portrait...? I just look like me ;).

It was great weather for the end of Sept though, wasn't it?
11/08/2012 08:32PM
quote mocha: "great photos esp the tamaracks, glad you got to see the elusive moose. sorry i missed out on the dinner with you and george...next time! have you started planning the next trip?"

Yeah, we'll catch you next time. Have I started planning the next trip? Oh yeah! That's why the questions about the north portage out of Boulder. May go in there, or may go back in the same area I was in to see some places I didn't see, or maybe someplace different. May depend on whether I'm solo or not, and if not, then it'll depend on who's with me.
wetcanoedog
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11/08/2012 11:06PM
Great travelogue!..never been to that part of the park but you really made it come alive for me.
the other thing that struck me is how far from home you came.for me it's a easy drive from Minneapolis and your trip report is a reminder of what a world class destination the BWCA is..
mcsweem
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11/22/2012 10:26AM
Nice report bookie. Lots of great photos and looked like a nice solo route
12/08/2012 10:10AM
Boonie.....How many miles was the trip?

From reading different reports/guide books I think I've estimated 7ish miles to Long Island, then 6 ish to Omega, and then 5 ish to Meeds. Does that seem close? Those are the 3 lakes I'd shoot for or maybe Horseshoe instead of Meeds. I've camped on Caribou and Gaskin before so I'd like different lakes to camp on.

The opposite direction idea interests me also because as you know it will be a fairly short notice trip and Meeds Permits are easier to get. Downhill sounds good too :) I think I'd shoot for Omega, Long Island, and Cross Bay campsites that direction.
12/08/2012 07:40PM
ducks-

None of the guidebooks had that exact route, so I cobbled together sections from several guidebook routes plus some eyeball guesstimates for missing sections. I also added in double the portage miles for double portaging. I also looked at the three options for exiting Omega Lake - east to Horseshoe, north to Meeds, and south to Winchell.

The figure I came up with was 40 +/- miles depending on the option out of Omega. That number included 2X the portage distance for double portaging and a little wandering around.

I've been learning to measure it on Google Earth (an idea picked up from Ragged), so I did that for you and came up with these single portage numbers:

8.25 miles from Rockwood Outfitters across Poplar, Meeds entry to south campsite on Omega.

7.25 miles from there to the Karl Lake entry about mid-point of Long Island.

7.5 miles from there to Cross Bay and EP #50 landing.

That's about 23 miles without wandering around or double portaging. Double portaging would add 6.75 miles to your route for about 30 miles total.

I think downhill would be the way to go :) even though you'd start with a long portage when your packs are heaviest. I'm not familiar with that portage but have heard it's not difficult other than length. I can't say that about the Muskeg-Kiskadinna portage :). But you are younger and stronger than I.

Omega is a beautiful lake and you could paddle some more miles there. I did not check out the south campsite, but the one at the end of the north arm was nice. It is an elevated site. There are some pictures in mine somewhere. The west campsite was OK and it's right across from the portage to Kiskadinna.

Camping on Cross bay will give you a really short day - an hour or two - on your exit day if that's what you need. Four hours or so from the Karl Lake campsite double portaging.



12/09/2012 07:20AM
Nice report boonie. I laughed at your comment about finding the real "wall". Your pics brought back some memories.
12/09/2012 09:18AM
Thanks, cowdoc. I read your report and now I know just where your picture was taken :).

Sometimes it's hard to know just what to expect from someone's description, since it depends on one's perspective. I've heard the EP #16 portage described as a really tough uphill climb :) But the "wall" really was uphill ;). I really liked the remote feeling of that area though and would do it again...but I'd probably go the other direction :).
12/09/2012 11:04AM
I recognize a scene from your Long Island/Loon pic also...
12/09/2012 11:44AM
Thanks for all the info boonie. The more I think about it I think I'd want to camp 2 nights on Omega. Even though we only passed through it on a day trip, Omega is my favorite lake and I'd like to spend more time exploring it. We didn't go up into the north arm at all. We just came in from the Winchell portage, went down to the west end and ate lunch at that campsite, and then went east and portaged into Henson. I love all this planning and brainstorming. Heck, I might even just go back the other way and try to camp on Horseshoe or Meeds the last night and exit at Rockwood so I don't have to deal with a shuttle pick up.
12/09/2012 11:55AM
Yeah, it was taken from the water in front of the far eastern campsite - #586 I believe.
12/10/2012 08:47AM
ducks- Circumnavigating Omega was one of the highlights of my trip. I think you'd really enjoy paddling the two arms to the north, maybe even camping there. And Horseshoe is a beautiful lake too, so that's not a bad idea although it may be crowded then...? I also hate the idea of a shuttle pick-up and trying to make a time, but you could just have your car shuttled to #50 and have it waiting there for you. Or if a #50 permit is available you could do what I did. The section from Long Island to Omega was tough for me, but I'm glad I did it. It was very interesting - nice with a more remote feel to it. And the Cross Bay to Long Island section was nice too. As was Long Island. But you'll definitely see fewer people through the Long Island/Omega area.

I went back and traced my path on Google Earth, including the circumnavigation of Omega, all the paddling around on Horseshoe, and added in the extra miles for double portaging. I came up with 45 +/- miles al the way back to Rockwood. If you haven't looked at it on Google Earth, you should give it a try.

Are you planning to single or double portage?

Now, about your food...:).
12/26/2012 10:35AM
Thanks again for the info boonie.

I'll probably double portage. W/ my wife we single and w/ just kiddo we double. I'd prefer to single but I should keep safety first. There's also a good chance I'll have the dog along so doubling would be better. I feel better having the dog home w/ wife and kids but my wife feels better about me having the dog w/ me so we'll see what happens there.

Food will be simple: instant oatmeal and coffee for breakfast, clif bars, jerky, gorp for lunches, and knorrs side dish noodles or idahoan instant mashed potatoes for suppers.

I've never been in a solo canoe but will rent one for a day or two around here to get used to it before the trip. But, how much difference is there in stability between the Prism, Rockstar, and SR Q 16? Do you think the Prism w/ dog (80+ lb lab) would work for me? Which canoe I decide I should rent may also play a factor in where I go.

12/26/2012 08:02PM
You're welcome, ducks.

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!

I don't know anything about paddling with dogs. You might enjoy the company. I guess it would depend on how well behaved the dog is in the canoe. The dog won't make solo paddling easier. It may have minimal impact, or it may complicate it.

My non-expert opinion is that any of those three canoes will work for you and you wouldn't notice a whole lot of difference in stability or handling on a BW trip. They're all stable enough if you keep your weight low and centered. None of them are stable enough to stand on the gunwale and lean over the edge. Somebody said just to keep "the 3 "n's" in a vertical line between the gunwales :). I think they could all be fairly classed as tripping canoes and you won't be "free-styling", just paddling from point A to point B on a BW trip. I have used all three and they were more than big enough for me and my gear, and I'm sure they would all be big enough for you, your dog, and your gear. I prefer the smallest one that is adequate for me and my gear (about 210 lbs.). I have found a Bell Magic to be the easiest for me to handle solo and the SR Q 16 to be more difficult in the wind, but all those canoes have their proponents.

On my last trip I used a Wenonah Prism. Why? Because that's what Rockwood had to rent. It worked fine, although I'd probably still choose a Magic if it was between that and the Prism. But others might choose the Prism. Any of them will work for your first solo. And next time you can try a different one if you want.

And remember, ducks- it's your trip and you can do it any way you want :). You can even take a chair and a cot and a lantern. And "real food" with frozen water and, and...whatever you want. As long as I don't have to help you carry it :). If you carry it, I might even use it ;).

Have fun dreaming about it this winter.

PinkCanoe
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08/07/2013 05:12PM
Of course after your comment on my trip report I had to peek in and read about your experiences on the same portages / lakes. I see from the pictures we even shared a campsite on Horseshoe (which was a nice site!). Thank you for your detailed report and great photos...It was like I was just there (wait... I was..hahaha).

J~
08/07/2013 09:40PM
Thanks, PinkCanoe- I enjoyed my trip there and enjoyed reading about yours. I was obviously very lucky with the weather and timing of the foliage. I think I uploaded close to 400 pictures from my trip.

It was a nice site on Horseshoe and Horseshoe is a beautiful lake, especially that time of year. It was a little busy on the weekend, probably partly because the weather was so good.

There are still lakes I want to see in that area and I'd like to revisit both Omega and Horseshoe.
PinkCanoe
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08/08/2013 11:48AM
When you solo...do you do your trips completely alone or do you paddle alone and meet up at camp with other solo'ers? I'm curious because I am planning my first solo paddle, but I do believe there will be at least 2 of us... I'm looking forward to it.
08/08/2013 04:16PM
So far all of my solos have been alone, although it might be interesting sometime to do a little of the "group solo" thing. People sometimes camp apart some nights. You'll each need a permit. My brother has been on a couple of trips with me, but we paddle tandem when he comes (his preference; not necessarily mine :)).

There is a private forum for solo trippers that you may want to check out.
 
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