I'm planning a trip with a group of high school kids in early June. We are putting in at Fall Lake and traveling up into Basswood Lake. I've done this trip before and want to see something different. I was thinking about making a loop from Pipestone, to Back Bay, to Washington Island, up around U.S. Point, then over to Basswood Falls. Looking at the maps this route is very doable in 4 Days. My problem is wind, I don't have the time to get stuck in camp for a day. So I ask you guys the following questions.
What direction does the wind usually come from? (the wind hasn't been a problem for me in the past)
Can I just stay close to shore and duck in and out of small bays and behind island? I'm worried about the big part of the journey between U.S. Point and Basswood Falls.
Is it worth the chance to do this or should I just play it safe and stay in Jackfish and Pipestone, where I know I can work around the wind a little bit?
What is the portage between Back Bay into the area around Washington Island like? I can't find any comments and the last part looks like a swamp on satellite photos.
My group will have a mix of experienced paddlers and some 1st timers.
Thanks in advance for the help. In the past this forum has helped me plan a good trip for the kids.
Hard to predict the wind direction too far in advance, so I would just plan the route you are thinking of and be flexible. You do have some alternate routes available if the wind is not cooperating. The falls area is a great spot, but can be reached either thru Jackfish or around U.S Point(think that is what you mean) so keep an eye on the wind predictions and plan accordingly. You are smart to weary of all that open water around U. S Point, it can get tough. Big pike can be found around the Wind Bay area and huge bass along the east shore of U.S Point. Have never done the portage that you mentioned.
You should definitely head into the non motorized part of Basswood, a big scenic lake and the falls are cool. When confronted with big water and the possibility of strong wind the best advice I can give is to break camp as early as possible the morning of travel. The wife and I have beat the wind several times on several trips by doing this. I did your route in reverse and delt with some wind on the east side of U.S. Point where the close to the shore, ducking behind bays and islands trick worked well. I walked the portage in question once and don't recall it being particularly difficult, however just walking I was not paying attention to the details of loading and unloading a canoe. I will on Basswood myself on my way to Crooked at the end of May. Go for it. tom
Tom makes a very good point...travel across the big water early in the day. That will usually beat the wind. Our prevailing winds are westerlies, but that can mean west, southwest, or northwest.
Next time, pull a permit for one of the many routes with smaller lakes and more portages...the kids can do them...I took junior high (after 8th and after 9th) boys and girls for years. They are really proud of what they have accomplished.
Thanks for the help. The reason we picked this EP is because we had a couple of kids with some physical disabilities sign up and we needed to keep the portages as easy as possible. I did mean U.S. Point not real sure why I called it American Point. I've edited my original post, so it's right now.