First in my mind, the portage from Grace Lake to Ella Lake. Horrible slippery boulder landing, uphill trail on more boulders. I guess the sun-drenched, west-facing campsites on Ella don’t help. Tip: A quick dip in the lake can help with any sour post-portage disposition.
A Few Toughies on the Gunflint
Tuscarora to Round (it would be reversed going into the BWCAW). It seems to go on forever. Boggy areas, up and down, but mostly looooong. You keep thinking "Are we there YET?"
Canoe to Pine. Starts straight up and it's up and down, rocky, and exhausting. But at the end, you follow the trail to Johnson's Falls and it's all worth it.
A few others that are no picnic are Clearwater to East Pike, Horseshoe to Vista (SHARP rocks), and I believe Ottertrack to Ester that is almost a mountain climb with a canoe. Some think the Stairway portage is tough coming in from Rose to Duncan, but the 4 or 5 times I've done it were not that bad. WW
I wouldn’t say they “sucked”, since I knew what I was getting into, but for the sheer amount of portages: when I paddled the Frost three years ago, I recall more than 20 portages in one day.
Burntside to Crab
That one darned near killed me...
Up hill both ways it seemed. Except when it was in the swamp.
Of course it didn't help that we paddled by it like 4 times over the course of an hour and a half either.
from fall lake to basswood…gasp! swamps, blow downs, long, skeeters and swamps.
That trip is really a string of portages and beaver dams, broken by an occasional float. After this summer’s trip down the Frost, beavers are now my 2nd least favorite rodent, right above sewer rats. That’s despite my P-net username.
I concur about Frost.
It’s simply a series of portages, mudwalks, and beaver dam liftovers broken by an occassional float.
So far, I have not met a portage I did not love. Not that it wasn’t a b^&*h to do, but it feels so good when you complete it! : )
My son would say the portage into Temperance Lake. He was able to jump into the water from a nice rock shelf at the end though. That made up for it…I think??? ha ha
More on the Frost
I Paddled it solo during the floods of early October 2007. The problem for most of these portages was that the start of the portage was impossible to find!
The Long Portage unless the beaver dams are gone – then it’d be okay. This makes a great winter ski though, especially if the U.S. Border Patrol has snowmobiled it.
The portage from South Fowl to the Pigeon River! The first section goes straight up about a 100 foot cliff. Because it’s outside the BWCA, it sees limited maintenance.
The Grand Portage, because it’s loooonnnnnnggggggg. And it goes up and down a bit. And because it crosses a road a short distance from the Pigeon River and you know you could have parked a car there.
Agree: Fell on the flat wet rock 1/4 way up the hill two years ago with a guide pack on my back and a canoe on my shoulders. Came down on my elbow and it swelled up the size of a baseball. I got careless when I saw a guy with a solo kevlar canoe run up the hill in his trail shoes. No fracture, and plenty of cold water and ibuprofen finished the week.
did the Tus to Missing Link and Round Lake portages when I was winding up a 6 day trip in 1969. Breezed through them. Of course, I was in trip shape by then and only 20. Now, I’d wonder what I’d injure.
This is my personal nemesis…
I know this is a dead thread, but I thought I’d contribute anyway.
It’s not overly long or difficult, though it is a little of both, it’s more annoying than anything.
It’s from Kawasachong --> Townline at 189 rods. What makes it suck is that Townline is a little flyspeck lake that is so small, it’s hardly worth loading the canoe up again to paddle across before you hit your next portage to Polly, which is another 95 rods.
Neither portage is particularly daunting, there is a fair bit of up and down but it’s not back-breaking. The trails are mostly clear and not difficult to navigate. It’s having two fairly long portages back to back with a lake in between that’s smaller than a large sports stadium that makes it so annoying.
We had a portage of 1700 meters. Some 300 plus rods. Then lake to paddle across…then another 900 meters…
But the lake had bogged over since the map was last field tested…not only did we have one portage of some 3000 meters…and four hundred was in waist deep muck.
Pretty much all of them. For perspective always think of the Grand Portage of 9 miles. I only paddles the BWCA once but will not forget.
In the West we rarely portage on river trips and can go heavier. Sometimes it is necessary to line the boats or carry around a rapid. It always makes me think of my fellow paddleheads in the Midwest.