To count as a day trip you must be able to get there and back in one day.
My favorite wilderness day trip is to Nandu River in Haikou on Hainan Island, south China. It is just on the edge of the city, but once you descend the riverbank it is surprisingly peaceful. You probably will not see anyone, except for the odd fisherman.
You can see photos on my travel blog: http://www.haikouhostel.com/hainan-travel-blog/131-kayaking-in-haikous-nandu-river
To count as a day trip you must be able to get there and back in one day.
Mine is described here
Literally a 5 minute drive from my house to my favorite launching spot.
We may occasionally see a lone fisherman across the water, but usually have the whole lake to ourselves. Last Saturday morning it was mirror all morning and not another person or boat in sight. The waterfowl were so abundant we could not paddle in a straight line in any direction without harassing them.
What Counts as Wilderness?
It’s pretty wild in parts of West Baltimore.
Davidson and Rugge’s “The Complete Wilderness Paddler” discussed how to define wilderness. They settled on a definition they found in the dictionary “a trackless waste of any kind”. But, as in many other areas of paddling, it’s about compromise, and Davidson and Rugge conclude “your dreams” (of wilderness trips) “may have to strike a bargain with reality.”
So, if a wilderness is trackless, there’s no road there, and you can’t get there and back in a day. But clearly, you can find some places close by, especially by boat, where if you were blindfolded set down there, and the blindfold was lifted, you’d think you could be in a trackless wild. The compromise with reality.
There’s a river nearby where I often go, and I almost never see anybody. In the winter, I can always hear road traffic, but in the summer, you can really feel out there. I see fox, deer, beavers, owls, herons, etc. It’s the Patuxent River, in the middle of a highly populated area. There are enough timber clogs to keep the timid out. If I were to have a disabling accident, it would be anybodies’ guess how long it would take to be found. It’s like this for most of the way between Crain Highway and Route 214, except every few miles there is a road crossing, where I will encounter a few fishing people or dog walkers. Then it is back into “wilderness” for another few miles. My compromise with reality!
St. Croix River
Rose Lake loop
Living in Duluth and getting an early start, DH and I loved to travel up to the Gunflint Trail and do a loop from West Bearskin Lake to Duncan (75 rod portage) to Rose (the “Stairway” Portage–108 wooden tie steps with a nice waterfall by it)to Daniels (460 r) and back to W. Bearskin. High rocky cliffs along one side of Rose (the US side). The portage to Daniels is flat and just a long walk. Last time we did that loop was with Tsunamichuck who shouldered his kayak which looked much harder than DuluthMoose’s portaging our canoe. On that day the Rose-Daniels portage was partially flooded by beaver so we had to slog though water (and even paddled a little way). Beautiful scenery!
We live less than a two hour paddle from Admiralty Island, which is a designated wilderness known for its Brown bears, mountains and spruce. We can leave from the ramp near our house and be on a beach for lunch. There will be no other people in sight, only an occasional motor vessel watching the humpbacks or a commercial fishing vessel with a net or lines out.
Still, my favorite piece of Southeast Alaska wilderness is a small island north of Admiralty with a perfect south facing beach that allows for surf landings in strong winds. Along with that beach there is a wonderful place to camp and great views of the Chilkat and Coast Ranges.
pictures of both islands and more here. http://www.flickr.com/photos/umnak/
uP in Maine…still a pretty remote bog
One of those headwaters type of things that are both springhole and multiple-brook fed, amongst peat & boggrass muck. About a mile in one-way length with a brook at upper end. What is kind of mind-blowing is that I first paddled/fished this bog 45 years ago(insert a "WOW"!)...and to rock the brain to the fact that the earth is still warming from the last ice age...downstream used to be a flat 30 yard hipbootpack...down from the drier highground through thigh-deep peatmuck and grassy mounds...at the level of the stream. Now the ground leading down to the stream's edge has risen, somewhat dried out(firmed up @ground level, and has filled in with thick brush & young trees(hard & soft-wood). As said it's part of the upper 3-4miles of one of the Penobscot branches' headwaters...and there is a little cutting road leading to it, but it's still pretty remote...
I drifted into IT in my twenties but I've always loved geology...
Wilderness day trip?
That’s a contradictory term IMO. It’s not wilderness paddling unless you’re over a day out from the put-in. There are however, several places in Florida that come close to your definition; Gum Slough, 17 runs on the Hillsborough R., Waccasassa R., 10,000 Islands, parts of Florida Bay, etc. But for TRUE FL wilderness paddling where I’ll do 2 wks to 2 months I’ll keep that info to myself, thank you.
Any where on the Namekagon River is a perfect area for me.
Granite River/ BWCAW
I live on Gunflint Lake so I’m only 25 minutes paddle to the Magnetic Lake EP that takes me into the Granite River. A portage across Little Rock Falls and it’s as close to Wilderness as I can get in an hour. I could paddle and portage to the Larch Creek EP easily in a day, but that involves a shuttle so I don’t do it. It’s an easy paddle, but it’s rewarding for me to do occasionally.
Ginny’s favorite into Rose is a very good one. Just did it the first time last week but it was not a day trip as I was travelling through on an overniter. I’ll be back there soon.
I am fortunate to live here, I have lots of different day trips into the Boundry Waters available to me.
Wilderness is a relative thing. Two years ago, before I moved up here, the Granite River was more wilderness to me than it is now. Familiarity breeds comfort. The experiance is best when it’s a bit uncomfortable I think.
Umnak, way back, with my brother in law, paddled Tracy Arm/ Fords Terror and then Admiralty. That northern end near Oliver Inlet is very nice, and the “portage” tram between Oliver and Seymore was interesting. We did get caught in an afternoon gale about half way across the Lynn Canal which was very scary.
Wilderness is indeed open to definition and different for everyone. I prefer true designated wilderness, but that is not always available to many of us.
Very near where I live, is an undeveloped stretch of the Sheboygan River that when the trees leaves first pop open, it is absolutely beautiful. I rarely see anyone and most of man-made noises are at a minimum. And what makes it special is that it is only available for a short time in the spring then the river dries up.
I am offering this because I think for many of us that visit wilderness often but live away from it, we will search out favorite destinations (escapes) that give us somewhat the same feeling. Not wilderness, but a favorite “secret spot” that is away from everyday life.
I wouldn’t call it wilderness, but…
there are quite a few locations to paddle around here that offer solitude and an escape from the day to day.
I went to one of my favorites this morning, Horseshoe Lake aka Suggs Mill Pond. It is one of many bay lakes here in North Carolina, and because access is down three miles of dirt road, I usually have the place to myself. Quiet, secluded, and full of wildlife, this morning I saw numerous waterfowl (fog prevented identification), turtles everywhere, and an otter.