BWCA Trip Report - Single mother, 6-year old, 5-year old Lake One Trip - HUGE success! Boundary Waters Trip Reports
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member (5)member
07/22/2013 09:47AM   (Thread Older Than 3 Years)
New Trip Report posted by tanyabindernagel168

Trip Name: Single mother, 6-year old, 5-year old Lake One Trip - HUGE success!.

Entry Point: 30

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distinguished member(1396)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/22/2013 11:19AM  
I've heard that rubbing with Bounce fabric softener sheets can help combat the
mosquitoes/bugs. Might be worth a try.
07/22/2013 11:49AM  
Sounds like you had a great time! I'm glad the weather didn't deter or ruin your trip.
07/22/2013 01:32PM  
"Kids had a blast and already asking to go again just like we did this time."

That seems to be the bottom line, here. Big congratulations for taking this on and giving your kids a memory of a lifetime!
distinguished member (174)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/22/2013 02:35PM  
Very nice! I think you had a very good understanding of expectations. The older the kids get the farther you can go. Just think in 8-9 years your boy can carry that dang canoe for you!
distinguished member(1008)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/22/2013 03:06PM  
Nice. I enjoyed your report. Your kids are very lucky to have experienced the BW at such a young age.

As far as the mosquitos/bugs, I have heard others on this site say they have taken screened in tents or patios of some sort to get away from the bugs. Just an idea.
distinguished member (350)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/23/2013 12:43PM  
Thanks for taking the time to write a trip report. People have been reporting that the mosquitoes are far worse than usual this year so hopefully they not be so bad next time. Also, if you can manage to go in August there are usually fewer mosquitoes the later you go.
07/23/2013 01:53PM  
What a great trip and report! I remember your posts from before your trip. I take off Friday with my 7 year old for his second trip. He may end up paddling in the bow due to a cancellation. We will see.
distinguished member (316)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/23/2013 10:04PM  
A thermacell works well when there is little or no wind. It can create a 15 by 15 foot area that is mostly mosquito free.
Guest Paddler
07/24/2013 01:59AM  
Great report!

For mosquitos, give up on any and all holistic solutions. Remember, the same stuff that keeps away skeeters repels ticks as well. However, I no longer use deet either.

Start by treating clothes with permethrin. Nasty stuff wet. Harmless to humans when dry. Dog flea collars use it, but it is poisonous to cats. It kills ticks and mosquitos. If you've bought a "mosquito repellent" shirt, that is what is used. I treat my wilderness clothes every 2 or 3 trips.

Instead of deet, look for picaridin. Cutter Advance and Cutter Skinsations are brand names it is sold under. Check the label to be sure.

Picaridin ( hope i'm spelling it right) is not oily. It does not sting like deet. It will not melt away plastic and nylon like deet. In my experience, I believe it is more effective in the BWCA than deet.

I've used it on the Border Route in the BWCA and on the Superior Hiking Trail. Either the mosquitos were very light or it really works great.

For bites (i don't know about children, but for adults...) forget the cremes and lotions. Take a benedryl. The cremes have the same active ingredient as the pill, and in fact you should not use both at the same time. Mosquitos and sand flies affect me so much I asked my doctor and he told me about the pill vs the creme. Several trips later I can tell you it has been a lifesaver.

Bravo to you for comtinuing the tradition. It seems odd to think about with 5 and 6 year olds, But someday, camping and the BWCA may be your way to reconnect with your kids. You obviously found some magic.

Ho Ho
distinguished member(2359)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/24/2013 09:16AM  

I think it's great that you took your kids on a trip. Sounds like a fun trip too!

In terms of mosquitos, keep in mind that they have been especially bad this year, and the week you were up here was particularly warm and humid - just the kind of weather that the skeeters thrive in. So you encountered some of the worst conditions. (It was actually a little worse a couple weeks earlier.) The weather since that huge storm your last night has been much cooler and drier, and while there are still bugs, they are already much better than last week.

For future trips, you might try going a little later in the summer if your schedule allows. Mosquitos often thin out in August. It's no guarantee, but it makes the likelihood of fewer mosquitos much higher. Even if you come in July again, most years you won't have mosquitos as bad as this year. They are much more tolerable when they are only out at certain times or a few places.

Guest Paddler
07/25/2013 07:27AM  
Somewhere on this messageboard someone suggested Hawaiian dark tanning spray. We used it on our last bwca trip and it worked great!
distinguished member(1409)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/25/2013 08:18PM  
Kudos. You are an awesome mom.
07/25/2013 08:30PM  
It sounds like you and your kids had a wonderful trip! I hope you have many more.

I've always taken a tarp so I don't have to be cooped up in the tent all day when it rains.
07/25/2013 10:33PM  
Congrats on a great trip with the kids. I am new at taking kids myself - just took my 11 year old a week and a half ago. I think it was wonderful sharing the experience with him. I think next time I will bring that pocket battleship for the rain days. We played a lot of Go Fish in the hammocks under the tarp one day.
Thanks for the report!
distinguished member(2152)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/26/2013 01:54AM  
Great trip report and cudo's to you! Permethrin spray for the gear and clothing. Spray the tent also. Did you bring a tarp? Way to go mom!
distinguished member(1577)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/26/2013 10:13PM  
Great report! Sounds like you all had fun. We bring small aquarium nets for our kids. They can spend hours catching the tiny fish by our campsites
07/27/2013 06:14AM  
I'm so glad you wrote a report. I wondered how you would do, and it sounds like you did just fine. You are courageous--there is no way I ever would have attempted something like this when I was a young mother--but I respect your grit and determination.

Sounds like the kids had a great time. That is terrific!

Permethrin is an excellent idea for bug problems. Use it on clothing before the trip, of course. But it works best wearing long sleeves, long pants, and keeping clothes ON--something little kids who are swimming won't be doing! :-( Great for protection when hiking through the woods, not too helpful when swimming and playing on the beach in shorts or a bathing suit. From what I have heard, the mosquitoes were unusually bad this year, so perhaps another time you wouldn't have so many bites.

You got lots of rain. Both you and the kids seem to have handled that situation really well, too. Good for you!
Sara ara
Guest Paddler
07/27/2013 12:12PM  
Wow, you got guts lady! I'm impressed by your organization and your kids enthusiasm. I've been traveling to the BWCA since 1984, headed up in August to celebrate my 70th birthday with my two adult children and one 8 year old grandchild. I didn't journey through the BWCA with them until they were teenagers--a single parent, I just couldn't imagine it when they were littler. We all love canoe travel, they are really capable wilderness travelers now and we hope to pass the love of wilderness on to the next generation.

Also on this trip is an 80 year old friend who traveled in the Amazon of Ecuador last November. We're calling it the 8 to 80 trip. We've planned a pretty easy trip with base camp and day trips.

Thanks for the great suggestions for amusing the littlest one on our trip. And for all the bug management posts in the comments.

07/28/2013 11:23AM  
Another good game that is easy to carry is Racko. Works really with with a kid and is fun for adults as well. All you need to carry is the little racks (they nest inside each other, and the deck of cards, and then just put a rubber band around them. We have played many games of Racko in the tent on a stormy day or when windbound; also on a log outside in the evening sometimes. Two can play, or more.
distinguished member(860)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/28/2013 06:32PM  
Congrats. on your successful trip. I had dreamed for years of taking a trip with my two sons and we finally did--same days that you were out with your kids. We were up on Horse and had some of the rain too but managed to miss the big storms on the evening of July 18th. We had exited that afternoon.

Again, congrats. on your fun trip. I hope you enjoyed being out their with your kids as much as I did with mine.
distinguished member(4446)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
07/28/2013 07:00PM eyes got sort of damp reading that one,in a nice way of course.
distinguished member (120)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/28/2013 08:54PM  
I enjoyed your story. With a 6 year old and 5 year old, any trip is ambitious. You showed you don't have to cover much distance to have a good time. I am glad you found that nice island camp site. Congratulations on your trip and giving your kids such a great experience.
07/28/2013 09:04PM  
Sounds like you 3 had a blast and kudos to you for getting out there as a single mom! Island sites are the best when you are the only adult... no chance of the kids wandering off and getting totally lost in the woods if you take you eyes off them for a second!

A tip for next time... take 2-3 of larger Sea to Summit dry bags and fill them with water to put in the canoe with you and the kids when you are paddling without gear. It will help the canoe sit lower in the water and cut down on some of the weathercocking in the wind. You can empty them at portages and then fill them up again at the end of the portage at the next lake. They are very light weight don't take up much room when they are empty.

Also, I have mosquito repellant wipes that I use around town because they are easy to have in my purse and glove compartment when I need them. I find that my kids don't seem to mind the wipes as much as the spray because they don't get any over spray in their mouth/eyes, etc. I usually bring the spray bug repellant to the BWCA because there is less garbage but the wipes may be a solution for your kids.

You and your kids are making memories that will last a lifetime. I bet you are already planning for next year's trip!
07/28/2013 09:23PM  
I think you deserve the MOM of the Year award. Way to go.
07/29/2013 10:26AM  
Way to Go! Congratulations on a successful trip.
distinguished member(917)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/30/2013 08:01PM  
Lady: My hat is off to you...sounds like you guys are determined to make it work. Some teenage boy scouts could learn from your kids' attitudes.
I second the suggestion about the Thermocell...I won't go on a trip without it. where it would work really nice is to put it by the tent door to keep the skeeters away when you are coming and going through the door.
don't know how you became a single mom and it is none of my business....but if your ex thought the grass was greener on the other side...he made a big mistake.
distinguished member(7432)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
07/30/2013 08:45PM  
super report Tanya! you kept your kids busy doing the things they enjoyed. maybe you could ask them to each write a trip report that you could post here, i'd love to hear about the trip in their words.
distinguished member(2456)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/31/2013 06:57AM  
Excellent trip report. It was a wonderful read. Congrats!

Some advice for next time.

Buy a tarp (cheap on if you have to or a Kondos or CCS if you have the money, 10'x12' works fine) to hang up for when it rains. You get to be outside and enjoy the rain.

For bugs I recommend buying the OFF brand FamilyCare spray. I believe it has talcum powder in it so it isn't sticky on the skin. Also, OFF sells Clip On mosquito repellants you wear on your belt so everyone can have a repellant on them.

distinguished member(2837)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/31/2013 09:19AM  
Great Job! Sounds like you handled everything PERFECTLY! I have a lot of respect for your willingness to tackle a trip like that with 2 kids and how you let the kids determine the days activities even if it meant you had to portage the canoe again. I am sure that will be a trip the kids will remember forever and probably apprecaite even more as they get older and have kids of their own. They will also now be more likely to take their own kids on adventures because they will remember how their awesome mom took them on adventures.

Couple other thoughts:

Bugs: Look into thermacells. They are small devices that heat up a chemical pad that mosquitoes don't like. You can set it out on a log at camp and it will keep mosquitoes a good distance away. You could also look for a sun screen/mosquito repellant in one type product. The kids might be more accepting of sun screen.

Rain: A trap is a nice thing to have as it gives you more dry space to hang out in but they aren't neccessary if you are content hanging out in the tent. The real advantage in a tarp is you have a dry spot to cook in.

Food: Sometimes quick and easy is the best route. Kids are usually content with the simple stuff so it makes sense to make it easy on yourself when possible. You also have the advantage of everything tasting better when eating it in the BWCA.

07/31/2013 03:59PM  
I, too, recall your earlier posts seeking input. Glad you had a good time and posted. Hope to hear more from you over the year, staying connected here kinda keeps the spirit alive between trips.
It is really cool you bond with your kids, we all know too many parents who are to busy to share the best life has to offer.
distinguished member(2581)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
08/05/2013 09:44AM  
Pretty amazing. You should get some kind of award. Since folks are doling out advice, I'll give you some, too. Try fishing from shore. That way you can supervise without having to run a canoe at the same time. Slip bobber fishing is the answer to that problem.
senior member (98)senior membersenior member
08/08/2013 10:10AM  
quote PINETREE: "I think you deserve the MOM of the Year award. Way to go."


We are preparing for our first trip with the kids next summer (they will be 10 and 6 by then). They have had this summer to practice walking with their packs, packing their own stuff, and helping with the small tasks around camp. They are such awesome little campers, and I cant wait for them to have this experience. Thank you for posting your story. It has given me some great insight and things to consider.
member (6)member
08/14/2013 10:23PM  
GREAT JOB MOM, you just gave your kids memories for a lifetime you did an awesome job and that's not always easy in the wilderness. I hope your able to do it again some time. :)
03/03/2015 09:18AM  
I'm writing to let you know how much I enjoyed your trip report and admire you're resolve to introduce your kids to the BWCA. Coincidentally, my first trip, as a single father, with two of my 3 boys, started at Lake One, in 1999. My kids were a little older than yours but we had 3 days of rain, spent in the tent reading Harry Potter. We also had a lot of adventure and my kids have developed a life long love of wilderness, camping and adventure.
As for the mosquitoes, they tend to peak in early July and by August tend only be a problem around sunset. We use mosquito head nets during that time. There are also some DEET creams that are more pleasant than the sprays.
Warm regards... Alan
distinguished member(3469)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/08/2015 06:43PM  
Nice report. Recommendation; deep woods dry and a good tarp
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