Thanks to the Trip Planning Messageboard we were well prepared by reading a lot of information. As first timers there is a lot to figure out- even though we just did day trips. Our first day trip was with Sawbill Outfitters and they were great and helpful and we really appreciated the good instructions. . Being prepared helped us have a great trip - although we did get a tip on the messageboard how important it is to know how to get into the canoe - and although we were instructed how to get in at Sawbill - I promptly fell into the lake. Luckily I had suitable clothing (not cotton but the good stuff that dries fast that was recommended) and although it was a bit embarrassing, I dried off in no time. We had treated our clothing with permethrin and had good bug stuff (a Sawyer Product 20% picardin) so no problems with bugs. And good sunscreen and a hat. We rented Kevlar canoes and knew we were going to have to get into the water to get in ('wet feet') but we had chacos/sports sandals and the water was warm enough and that was fine, too. And we were off! We did the Kelso Lake Loop and chose this as we wanted to try portaging. There were three short portages on this 4.5 hour trip. We liked the different lakes and we just really liked the whole experience! It was a perfect first time out trip for us. We saw loons and turtles and lily pads. Beautiful! We went out on another short paddle with Clearwater Outfitters (Gunflint Trail) and paddled around Clearwater Lake. There too we had a great 2.5 hour trip and just enjoyed being on the lake. It is beautiful. We also spent a lot of time hiking in the Superior National Forest and saw over 10 waterfalls and some great views. We also hiked the Magnetic Rock Trail and Honeymoon Bluff on the Gunflint Trail and enjoyed them both. I can't believe this was my first trip to the North Shore! This area rivals any national park easily and there is so much to do. I look forward to making this a yearly trip and maybe - maybe? - try a longer trip with a canoe.
~Sawbill Lake, Alton Lake, Kelso Lake