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#1 Posted : Sunday, September 13, 2020 12:45:12 PM(UTC)

I was in the BWCA 35 years ago and 35 years younger. I am now in my mid 60's and my wife and I (never been to BWCA) want to plan a trip next year. I plan to partial outfit ouselves up by Ely. I would like suggestions for a 3-4 day trip that would give us a taste of BWCA. Thanks in advance.


#2 Posted : Sunday, September 13, 2020 11:32:30 PM(UTC)

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Good for you! I'll assume that you'll want to minimize portaging, change campsites once, and have beautiful scenery. The Ely area might be hard to meet all those criteria. My first thought is the Numbered Lakes, but they were pretty badly burnt in 2011 and are just recovering. My second thought is to put in at Moose River North (EP16), camp on Nina-Moose Lake, then travel up to the Tiger Bay area. There's an oblong island north of Tiger Bay with a 6-star campsite (on a 5-star system) at the south end. I'd stay there two nights and then come back the same way, camping on Nina-Moose again. However, this involves a bunch of portages, though none of them is particularly difficult, the longest being about 90 rods.

You might also look at an out-and-back on the Little Indian Sioux River (EP14).

Another option is Fall Lake. Travel all the way up to Basswood Falls, should take a few days.

Or Moose Lake up to Ensign and back.

If you want to look at the east side, I strongly recommend putting in at SeaGull Lake (south side of EP54) or Saganaga Lake (north side of EP54). From SeaGull, it's four portages to Lake Ogishkemuncie and a couple of excellent campsites. Now if you are strong portagers and are willing to stretch the trip to 5-7 days I might have a few more ideas.

#3 Posted : Monday, September 14, 2020 5:43:09 AM(UTC)

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Id suggest Gabbro or Bald Eagle as a destination. Gives options for nice day trips if you want to base camp or move. I love the loop through Gull, Clearwater, and Turtle. Also paddle up and back on Isabella River - lots of wildlife.
Ben Strege  
#4 Posted : Tuesday, September 15, 2020 9:50:08 AM(UTC)

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My suggestions would really depend on how comfortable you are with portaging. Can you do several short portages? Or one long one? Minimize the portaging or none at all?

Another thing to think about is how comfortable you are with big water. Would you be OK being windbound for a day or two if needed? Or are you on a tight schedule with no wiggle room? As an example, I got back from Trout Lake last week. Trout Lake is the largest lake completely within the BWCA. I had planned to come out on a Sunday, but because of wind, I had to wait until Tuesday. It was too big of a risk going out in the waves on Sunday and Monday (25-35 MPH winds), so I waited. Luckily I had the flexibility that I could wait.

The suggestions that Gavia and Bill gave you are both good. 

#5 Posted : Saturday, September 26, 2020 8:51:07 PM(UTC)

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