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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Group Forum: Basecamp Basics
      Base Camping Basics: the who and why     



distinguished member(2142)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
08/09/2016 03:44PM
From member bwcadan:

There are as many reasons to base camp as there are folks who do so. Many focus on fishing and desire to get to a lake and maximize the fishing time from there. Others find health issues force us into doing a basecamp. Many do so because of children in the group or a spouse's needs in this regard. Many need to be close to the exit for personal or business reasons. Some are simply very attached to a particular site so want to stay there for the memory of good times and the hope of continued good times there. Some know where the mushrooms, blueberries, and raspberries are. Many want to set up a kitchen and focus on culinary camping skills. Some want to hunt from a base camp and others want to set up a winter camping experience. There are other reasons, but you get the idea.

For me and my yearly traveling companion, Bill, ages 69 and 68 have seen us gradually regressing in health to the point that we can no longer take the aggressive loop trips as in the past. While in reasonably good health, there are some things we cannot do such as demanding portages. Creature comforts have become more important too. The paddling has not been affected as of yet.

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distinguished member(766)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
08/09/2016 08:52PM
For the last couple of years health reasons have forced me into the
base camp mode. I can still do the 2 to 3 week solo trips, but I don't
move as much as I used to. I like to spend 3 to 4 days in one spot
then travel for an easy day and camp again. If I find a good spot
where the fishing is good I have been known to spend a whole
week there. Most of my trips have been in northern Ontario.
distinguished member(2131)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
08/11/2016 07:46PM

I thought I liked the idea, or rather got swept into this notion that to do a "real" trip meant travel-travel-travel.

On our last trip I nearly caused a mutiny in my family. Husband LOVES to fish, and get to know a lake for those hot spots, so we're converting.

My daughter gets rather pooped out after too many portages, or too often, so I'd like to focus on the fun aspect, rather than the adventure aspect.
member (24)member
12/14/2016 05:37PM
I have been on 7 trips or so and the first 5 were with my father and brothers over several years. My father loved the variety and would plan the trips out so every day was a new site, lake and scenery. My last 2 trips have been with my daughters and we base camped because they were new to the BW and I didn't want to pack up every day.

Both have their merits and after 7 days on one lake, I found I was ready to move on. So my trip next year will be a hybrid, base camp on a couple of different lakes. We will see how that works out, since my wife will make her first trip next year, I need to make sure she doesn't get bored and gets the BW bug.
distinguished member(2348)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/09/2019 07:32PM
I still like to take an occasional "travel" trip but those tend to be longer trips with a couple layovers built in...kind of a modified basecamp trip. Our reasons for changing over to basecamp trips include the fact that we are getting older and don't have the ambition and less physical ability to do the move everyday, 10 lakes and 9 portages type of trip. We could still do it but it more of a challenge than we want and we feel it more the next day or two.

Another reason for us is that we are passionately into photography and one of the things we really enjoy is thoroughly exploring the area around our campsite. We typically make some very interesting discoveries and get some pretty cool shots. When we basecamp we usually plan a daytrip for most but not necessarily every day. Those trips allow us to see new areas and different photo opportunities and also whet our fishing whistle.

A few years ago a buddy and I did an 8 day trip out of Kawishiwi lake up towards the Malberg area. Of the 8 days we spent 4 traveling and 4 basecamping. It was a very nice balance for us and allowed for seeing new country, fishing, photography and relaxation.

I would still like to take a trip that involves a significant amount of travel and seeing a lot of different lakes/areas. But for me, at this point, that would have to be a long trip, like 2 weeks or so, and would still be structured to allow for around 50% layover days. It's kind of in the back of my mind for the next couple years.

In my early years of tripping (teens and early twenties) we covered a lot of miles and somehow felt the success of the trip was tied into that. We enjoyed those days greatly but it was long hours on the water. Many of those were deep into the Q and in the mid 70s so we often went days without seeing anyone else. I remember days of 20 lakes and 20 portages but we reveled in that back then. I look back fondly on those trips but have no desire to recreate them.

To each his/her own for sure, I haven't given up on the travel trips but suspect that most of mine going forward will lean towards the basecamp type. It is not difficult for us to while away the hours with a pre dawn wakeup, coffee on, shooting the sunrise for 45 minutes or so, a leisurely breakfast and spending much of the day in camp exploring, shooting and chatting. Perhaps it is related to age but i certainly enjoy my BWCA trips every bit as much, if not more these days than i did back when we traveled more.
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