Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Quetico's Trees, Rocks and Water: A Solo Journey
by CIIcanoe

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 07/02/2007
Entry Point: Quetico
Exit Point: Moose Lake (EP 25)  
Number of Days: 11
Group Size: 1
Trip Introduction:
Part 1 of 14
Quetico’s Trees, Rocks and Water: A Solo Journey

Trip Leader: Chuck Ryan

Dates: Sunday, 07-01-07 through Thursday, 07-12-07

Trip Course: Moose Lake to Prairie Portage, the “Man Chain”, “Falls Chain”, Kawnipi Lake, “Poet Chain”, Sturgeon Lake, Maligne River, Minn Lake, McAree Lake, Iron Lake, Crooked Lake, Siobhan River, Middle Roland Lake, Roland Lake, Argo Lake, Darkwater Lake, Darkwater River, Brent Lake, McIntyre Lake, Sarah Lake, Isabella Lake, Isabella Creek, North Bay of Basswood Lake, Bagley Bay of Basswood Lake, Inlet Bay of Basswood Lake, Prairie Portage and back to Moose Lake.

Total Miles: 161

Canoe: We-no-nah Prism

Paddles: Two ZRE Carbon Bent Shaft Paddles, 51 and 50 inch


Last year, 2006, I got back into wilderness paddling after taking some time off to do some marathon canoe racing. There were a couple solo trips I had in mind to do this year. The first trip planned was to paddle the first 450 miles of the Mississippi River from the headwaters of the river to my home in Champlin, Minnesota. This trip was actually going to take place last fall, but there wasn’t enough water to paddle in the upper portion of the river. I don’t have any interest in paddling the whole length of the Mississippi River at this point in my life. The upper portion will be much more scenic.

Most of my canoe trips these days are solo canoe trips. I’ve written about this in the past, but I’ve stopped planning my schedule around everyone else. I’ve stopped waiting for other people to make up their minds on if they want to go or not. I’ll let it be known that I’m planning a canoe trip and I figure if anyone was serious about going they would show some interest. Maybe some are intimidated by my aggressive trips, but these trips are planned for my enjoyment. Until someone shows an interest these trips will be planned on what I enjoy to do and see.

Last year I did ask a friend of mine if he wanted to go for a week long trip. He said if he went he should go with his wife, since he hadn’t been up there in a while. Earlier this year I asked this same friend that I was going for two weeks and asked him if he was interested. He told me he couldn’t take that much time off work, but if I was going for a week, he would probably go. Humm…

This year I bought 1,100 conifers from the DNR nursery to plant on my property, so I wasn’t sure when exactly the trees would arrive. The Mississippi River trip was put off again, since it was so close to this trip.

The other trip planned was to do the majority of the historic Hunter’s Island loop. This trip would have a little bit of everything from big lakes to small ones, rivers big and small, and several waterfalls. I hadn’t been on about three fourths of this loop. There were a couple areas I hoped to avoid. The first area was Lac La Croix because of the really big water and the possibility of becoming wind bound. The other area I wanted to avoid was most of Iron Lake and Crooked Lake, because I paddled those areas just last year. I knew this trip would take me approximately two weeks to complete. It was my intentions from the start to do a variation of the Hunter’s Island Loop.

January of this year I began checking my work schedule and other commitments in my life to determine a time frame that would be possible for me to take off. There were things that needed to be done, renewed my passport, and make my reservations for entry at Carp Lake six months prior to my entry date of July 2nd. I also sent off for my Remote Area Border Crossing Permit (RABC).

In May I finally got out all my maps, put my pen to paper and finally documented the exact route with a couple different options on two of the days. This trip was planned as a 13 day trip and there were additional days available to finish this loop, if needed.

One of my goals on these trips is to travel everyday, unless the weather forces me to sit tight. I like to paddle and I can and will paddle all day long, if needed. This probably comes from putting in long days of training and in actual canoe races racing marathon canoes. I love to paddle; portages are a means to an end.

Most of my camping gear has been bought in the past for other trips, but I usually end up buying other stuff or updating some of the gear I already have. Why, because it’s the thing to do!

There was a copy of my itinerary for this trip that was posted on a couple different websites. The itinerary is for me to give me an idea where I want to be on a certain day. Specific instructions were given to my father when I gave him this itinerary as well as a copy of a map with the route marked on it.

A couple weeks before this trip, reservations were made at the campground at Fall Lake for the night before my entry at Moose Lake on July 2nd. This is a few miles from the Moose Lake landing and I wanted to make sure there was a spot available when I arrived. This would be a different campground for me and I had no idea if it would be full or not.