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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Group Forum: Solo Tripping
      First Solo-EP 38 Sawbill-September 2016     
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senior member (98)senior membersenior member
06/22/2016 10:34AM   (Thread Older Than 3 Years)
Hi All. I'm new to this group, new to the BW and new to soloing. Just reserved my permit for my first solo. I'm 56 and took my first BW trip last June with my sons. Used Gunflint Outfitters for all my needs and spent 4 fantastic days on Adler and Canoe Lakes, went to Johnson Falls and absolutely fell in love with the BW. Since then I have purchased a used Wenonah Vagabond, portage packs, food pack, stove, etc. I knew right away I had to come back and I had to experience a solo trip. I'm entering on September 7th from Sawbill. My trip will consist of 5 nights. I'm looking at heading up to Cherokee, Frost, maybe Long Island and then back down through Temperance, Jack, Kelly and spending my last night on Smoke.
Any thoughts? Suggestions? Places to avoid this time of year.
Thanks in advance.
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06/22/2016 12:23PM  
Congrats on catching the "fever" ;). I think you picked a great time to go. Right after Labor Day the crowds start to dwindle, nice weather, and no bugs.

I've been to Cherokee from Sawbill and back, to Smoke and back, and from Baker to Jack and back so I've been to some areas of your route and really liked them all. Read the trip reports here and stop in at Sawbill outfitters to get current info when you start your trip. A couple of portages from Sawbill to Cherokee can be tricky (one the portage landing can be hard to see and easy to miss and another one they put in a boardwalk since we've been there because of beaver problems I think) From Baker to Jack my then 9 yo daughter and I saw a lot of moose and caught a lot of walleye on Jack. I was on Smoke w/ my then 7 yo daughter (a different daughter) and we caught some walleye and it's a nice easy out for your last day back to the Entry Point.

Have fun!!!!!!!!
06/22/2016 02:41PM  
Welcome. Not a solo trip, but I did a bunch of your proposed route a couple of Septembers ago. Almost the same route but in reverse. You may find an item or two in this report
senior member (98)senior membersenior member
06/22/2016 04:52PM  
I read your trip report. I'm glad I'll be going a few weeks earlier then you did. Should be warmer. I think I will have to check out Frost Lake and try and stay at the same site with the beach. Also, I was debating on bringing my ax. It sounds like I may need it on some of those portages.
06/23/2016 08:12AM  
I've been thru all those portages, you won't need a axe for them, maybe for firewood.
06/23/2016 08:21AM  
The portage between Sawbill and Cherokee if the water is low you might have to do a little extra walking, watch the peat bogs I sunk my one leg up to my butt in muck.
06/23/2016 09:21AM  
Just my two cents, it seems like a good route and timing for a first solo. I've looped around Cherokee a few times. At that time you'll likely see more folks paddling out than in. Most likely won't be crowded, but won't be totally alone either. Like Housty9 said, you won't need an axe for portage (unless a big storm comes through just before) but it might be nice for firewood. Days will be getting noticeably shorter then. Enjoy, and welcome to the forum.
06/23/2016 11:08AM  
Couple of portages worth mentioning. The 138 into Frost is not that bad, runs along the base of a small cliff.....kind of a neat portage and not too tough. The 140 from Cherokee down to Sitka. This one will get your heart thumpin'. Seems longer than 140, hill climb on both ends with lots of up downs in middle. The 230 from Kelly to Burnt. Seems every inch of 230 but not bad. Good path, gently rolling, just kinda long.
senior member (98)senior membersenior member
06/24/2016 07:26AM  
Thanks to all for the information.
06/24/2016 08:08AM  
Have a fun trip, be safe and always where your life jacket.
distinguished member(4562)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
06/24/2016 08:16AM  
Drink more water than you think you need. On a solo it is easy to forget to drink water.
06/25/2016 12:00AM  
Sounds great. Have fun!
member (42)member
06/25/2016 09:30AM  
I was on frost a couple of weeks ago on a solo, and it's a nice quiet lake out of the main flow of traffic. Campsites 879 880 and 882 all have beaches, but I avoided 880 and 882, thy were tucked back in the bay with no breeze so the bugs were swarming. 879 seemed like the nicest site, on a point to catch the breeze, facing west to see the sunset, and has a beach. I stayed at 878 which is also on a point but a bit more protected in the woods, so not the great views, but still a nice site. Some dummy had just cut some green trees, but maybe by the time you're there you'll have some nice dry firewood. Mckenzie maps shows a 40 rod from Unload lake to Frost lake, don't believe it it, it's just a beaver dam you should be able to pull over.
distinguished member(2710)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/25/2016 06:54PM  
I think you picked an excellent route. Welcome to solo tripping!
Watch it when hard wind kicks up on those bigger lakes--hug western shoreline if it gets a bit too choppy for your Vagabond.
senior member (98)senior membersenior member
06/25/2016 07:14PM  
Good advice. Thanks
senior member (98)senior membersenior member
06/25/2016 07:15PM  
Thanks. I was looking at sites 879 or 880 on Frost. I like the idea of a western facing site for the sunsets, so I'll try for 879.
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