Came out at night with Diva and she was a bit on the scared side. Remember the woods come alive at night. Bugs were terrible easy to stumble and fall. That was long before head lamps and I think if you use them now you would have even more bugs. Just me but I think I'd pass.
Not entry but exit. This October we paddled and portaged for hours in the dark. Got back to the EP at Midnight. Loved every second of it but clearly not that safe. Might write a trip report about it soon.
"Now days these kids take out everything: radar, sonar, electric toothbrushs" Quint
i've done this on the angleworm. backpacking. i camped in the woods along the trail before i entered the BW. i use a bivy sack and can set up camp in minutes, even in the dark. this trail has some sections that could be very hazardous if you are carrying canoes etc. i would most highly discourage anyone from attempting this portage in the dark. the bridge over spring creek has washed out, or flooded on occasion, also some steep rock scrambles that are tricky during the day won't be any easier at night.
Always have enjoyed a night time paddle c the moon up above.
Joy is a great teacher, but so is dispair. Wonder is a great teacher, but so is confusion. Hope is a great teacher, but so is disillusionment. And life is a great teacher, but so is death. To deny yourself any of those in any aspect is not experiencing life totally.
Personally I would never do that. I am afraid of tripping, and falling, and other things listed above. There is so much to see, and enjoy during the light of day, and I wouldnt want to miss it. I do enjoy a nighttime paddle from time to time.
"I am haunted by waters"~Norman Maclean "A River Runs Through It"
I have only paddled one time at night because I had to. All the campsites were full and after we had a long day we had a longer day. Setting up camp was no big deal but We had a hard time finding the campsite with headlamps. Every thing you do at night will take longer so plan on more time.
Because of an impending bad weather report, I paddled out of Williamson Island on Insula at ~ 3:00 am one night. Paddled all the way back to EP 30 area. The weather was really good at the time, no wind, no bugs to speak of. I guess I was lucky. The silhouettes helped me see the banks, but I was worried about hitting rocks all the way until daylight. I was solo on that trip, and now that I look back, I would probably not take that risk again.
now that my paranoid rant is out of my system i will fess up about night paddling. (not portaging) on really big lakes, (nipigon, winnipeg) it is common for trippers to get a very early start, 3am or so, you will be hitting the water at predawn and hopefully beating the winds. plus it is a lot of fun.
there are already missing bodies on the angleworm trail, i'm glad that wannabeoutthere made the good choice not to join them. plus this is an area with bigfoot activity. my daughter and her boyfriend (from idaho) had a really scary night on this trail last summer, be careful.
We have but in summer and we were at a camp site before it was dark. (Setting up camp in dark is a routine for us with monthly Scout camps - leave at 7 on Friday, sometimes arriving at camp at 9 or 10.) But I would agree it would be wise to avoid being almost required to paddle after dark - which might be 9 or after in summer.
I do like leaving home and trying to get on the water that the first day rather than overnight in a bunk house or motel and enter early next morning. We have a 10 hour drive so it works. Entry points seem to be busy in the morning and not so much late in day.
We met a group that planned to leave out of sawbill but arrived at 7:00 PM and were not able to get their permit issued because the store was closed. They ended up camping there for a night and were lucky enough to get a permit for an EP that was close by for the next day because sawbill was full. Just something to keep in mind if you plan on leaving in the evening.
quote mooseplums: "quote jwartman59: this is an area with bigfoot activity. my daughter and her boyfriend (from idaho) had a really scary night on this trail last summer, be careful."
Now you got me curious...."
me too, J...
All these posts made me realize how lucky I was to survive all those coon hunts with Dad and Harry when I was younger - stumbling around in the dark woods until after midnight...with guns and whiskey, too :).
All these posts made me realize how lucky I was to survive all those coon hunts with Dad and Harry when I was younger - stumbling around in the dark woods until after midnight...with guns and whiskey, too :). "
stumbling around in the woods with a bottle of whiskey should have it's own website. lots of fans out there. the true hard core stumbler is the solo stumbler. i would recommend that only the expert stumbler with a bottle of whiskey practice this art in the BWCA at night. with practice your chances of stumbling upon a nest of bigfoots is greatly increased.
quote Dbldppr1250: "Because of an impending bad weather report, I paddled out of Williamson Island on Insula at ~ 3:00 am one night. Paddled all the way back to EP 30 area. The weather was really good at the time, no wind, no bugs to speak of. I guess I was lucky. The silhouettes helped me see the banks, but I was worried about hitting rocks all the way until daylight. I was solo on that trip, and now that I look back, I would probably not take that risk again."
Now that's some serious navigation skills! Williamson Island back to the Hudson portage is tough enough to follow during the day. So many islands that look like points and points that look like islands. We made it with 2 people paddling and looking at the maps to keep our bearings but that was during the day. Pretty impressive!
i'm doing the fafsa (financial aid) and paying college tuition for my daughter right now. this is truly scary stuff, maybe i'll repeat the bigfoot stories later, when i get over this shakes these tuition bills give me.
Going back to the original question, I could imagine doing this as a challenge under good conditions (full moon, clear night, dry and bugless) but the Angleworm EP is surely not the place to give it a try the first time.
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson...and...“Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading".
I've made night canoeing a part of my trips for at lease the last 10 years and find it the most enjoyable part of the trip. They were on familiar routs though, so I knew where to expect rocks and other surprises. I particularly like the calm water, moonlight and northern lights and stars on moonless nights. Fog can be an issue though, I was searching for a portage one night in a heavy fog and couldn't find the trail - the head lamp did no good at all. It made it exciting to hear the rapids though. I would imagine if you dump and have to swim for it you would be in a bit of a tight spot.
my last trip into the BWCA, mid-february, i loaded up my sled by the lights of my car. it was pitch dark, no moon and a light snow/mist made the beam of my headlamp almost useless. on the lake i had to use a compass bearing to get to the other shore where i intended to make camp.
i have to admit that this was a most excellent way to enter the wilds.
I've started a trip way to late in the day once and I'll never do it again.
We entered Brule after dinner time and instead of being smart and just taking an open site on Brule that first night we stupidly pushed on up to Winchell.
We really had to push to make Winchell by night fall, I was running portages and paddling pretty hard. When we got to Winchell we ended up paddling atleast half the lake before we found an open site and it wasn't a great site but by that time it was pitch black and after 10pm.
We were just beat and we still had to get camp set up, cook something to eat, and get the food pack hung up. We didn't get to bed until really late that night which caused us to sleep in and get a really late start the next day. THe next day we were so late that all the sites were taken on the lakes we wanted to go to. We paddled all day and ended up having to back track all the way to Winchell. It was another late day leading to yet another late start the next day.
The one stupid decision of pushing to hard and traveling late really messed up the entire trip. That entire trip I felt like I was just 2 steps behind the rest of the world.
Not saying this will always happen if entering late in the day or evening but its amazing how things can snowball on you. One bad decision can really take over an entire trip. All it would take is one sprained ankle on a dark trail, or forgetting one pack somewhere in the dark and now you'll have to live with the consequences for the rest of the trip.
I have to tell this story. I was camped on the only campsite on Mudro Lake one evening in position for an early exit the next day. Right at dusk along comes a group whooping and holering with the exitement of just starting their trip. They were beelining for our campsite. About halfway across Mudro suddenly there was complete silence as they realized we were camped at their desired first night site. They then headed for the billy goat portages to Fourtown. It was nearly dark and I couldn't imagine tackling those portages in the dark.
quote walllee: "Home Lake area is even more scary then Angelworm.....Weird stuff up that way. "
+1 Home Lake
Home Lake...almost lost a newbie camper that was with our group on the first day of our trip, where the portage path between Home and Gull Lake crosses the Angelworm trail. Newbie got ahead of us with his canoe and took the Angelworm trail looping all the way back to Whiskey Jack Lake.... Scared the crap out of me(us). It took quite a while to find him. I get weird vibes on Angelworm and Home Lake.
I did the angleworm entry on a spur of the moment trip....it was awesome and plan on it again one day....but not in the dark! There is a "boardwalk" probably 1.5 feet wide and about 30-40 yards long with turns and its about 6 or 7 feet high off a creek bed. And quite a few other tricky spots......that is a long hard portage. But on the contrary angleworm is an awesome lake. We stayed at the campsite on the point in the middle of the lake and it was very nice. And really good walleye fishing also. But we did hear some damn wierd noises at night.
The original question was entering the BWCA at night. IF there are portages, my personal experience is that this is a bad idea for reasons mentioned in the second post, to wit - bugs, beavers, root and rocks, perhaps not in that order.
Add to this the fun of setting up camp in the dark, if you can find an unoccupied campsite, or for that matter any campsite in the dark..
The other topic that emerged was night time paddling, and I find that to be wonderful! I encourage this, BUT I always hang a tiny candle lantern from a branch at my campsite landing - an LED might be better, but I love the light color from a candle, this way I can find my way back. The gentle light from this beacon can be seen for miles across a lake.
"You're not serious about wearing sandals on this portage.... are you?"
I have done night trips into the BW several times. I don't think it's that big of a deal, but it all depends on your experience, your canoeing partners experience, the time of year (water temps) and of course, bugs.
I did Brule (en route to Cherokee) in 1995 late June. We were sleeping in the cars at the landing. We had a full moon and we were too excited to wait until morning so we put in at midnight (when our permit was legal), paddled as far as North Temperance. It was nice to beat the wind on Brule, but the portages were awful with the bugs at night. This was in the days before using headlamps for me, and I clearly remember getting to the portages, putting my headnet on, and then putting my mini-mag flashlight in my mouth, then throwing a Duluth Pack and canoe on my shoulders. It made for rough portaging huffing over those portages and sucking on a flashlight through a headnet. We were in complete exhaustion by the time we got to North Temperance so we pulled into a campsite, and all piled into the same tent and slept on our life-jackets until dawn, and then pushed on. I was 17 at the time.
I have also done Sawbill to Cherokee in May of 1999 and again in May 2007. One trip we pushed off at 9:30 at night, the other at 1am.
The people I usually do BW trips with have been scouters or have the nack for what they are doing. (I trust them with my life as they do mine). You want a good compass, good flashlights, and common sense. You need to hug the shorelines in cold water temperatures. You need to know how to empty a swamped canoe in the middle of the lake and reload it if needed. I have never run into any wildlife in the dark except for beavers and all they do is slap their tails and keep you on your toes. I would advise only single portaging on a night entry: 1. So you don't accidently leave something behind. 2. It won't give any hungry bears the chance to grab your pack while you're on the other end.
Don't plan on making any kind of good time on a night entry. It takes time to navigate the points and find the portages. My typical 5 hour trips into Cherokee in the day turn into 7 to 8 hour ordeals at night.
The last night entry I did was when our crew was in our 30's, and it was our last. All though it is fun and different, we've realized were not 20 years old any more and the next day we're too exhausted which cuts into our fishing time with long naps instead to recooperate.
We still put in at about 4:00 AM every year for our lake trout trips in May to get a head start and beat the wind.
A few years back, my wife and I did the Skipper/Portage entry #49 from Poplar Lake at night. We got up there about 9:30pm as the sun was setting. By the time we had the canoe loaded and pushed off it was dark. It had rained the entire drive up there so the woods were dripping wet. We planned to hit the first portage and then camp on that first lake. The 320-rod portage is not highly traveled so wet bushes were grabbing at our sides as we portaged. The bugs were bad and it was hard to keep my headlamp pointed down while carrying the canoe and slapping at the hoards of mosquitoes biting my neck. I'm sure that we both stumbled a few times through the mud and rocks.
The lone campsite on Skipper Lake was in use so we pushed on to Rush Lake via Little Rush. We missed the 21 rod portage into Little Rush because we couldn't see it and ended up navigating the rocky in-between. The portage to Rush Lake was more like we were walking up a small stream. The water was gushing down the portage paths and about 3-4 inches deep. I kept questioning my wife about whether we were actually on the portage or just walking a stream. We argued but eventually got to Rush Lake and found an open campsite.
The moral? It was fun. It satisfied our mutual desire for a night entry. We probably could have picked better entry conditions but the final paddle through Rush Lake to our campsite was awesome. Every star was out and the half-moon guided us quite well.
That said, we haven't done another night entry but I wouldn't be afraid of it. I'd say that the biggest challenge is identifying portages. They are often hard to find during the day and you need to paddle the shores to find them at night...which is rock country!
p.s. I did the Angleworm portage at the start of my the trip where I proposed. I would not do that one at dark for the reasons stated. I definitely would not go past Angleworm at dark because of that weird intersection where you have to guess at which path to take.
quote 612er: "p.s. I did the Angleworm portage at the start of my the trip where I proposed. I would not do that one at dark for the reasons stated. I definitely would not go past Angleworm at dark because of that weird intersection where you have to guess at which path to take." Yeah, that's another spot I wish I had taken photos of in days gone by... Is that intersection still marked with signs, even though they were nearly all removed years ago? (Of course, when we were there in 1997, the 'Angleworm Lake' sign was stolen...)
"You can observe a lot by watching." -- Yogi Berra
quote wannabeoutthere: "I am thinking about the Angleworm 2.5 mile portage and then camping on Angleworm right near where you enter the water. Any opinions? "
Funny you mention that because when I first read your question that was the only entry that I remember I have had customers (a hubby/wife team) go in there, twice at least, about 10 pm! They bring headlamps and told me they enjoy the challenge each time.
Done one night entry = pushed off well after midnight just for the adventure of it. In addition to your own problems...as we searched for open sites we were lighting up camps with our headlamps. Pretty sure no one appreciated that. It was neat to do once but per the other advice I think our future night treks will be from a base camp on known waters.
You are never lost, late, or lagging behind if you are on an adventure.
Remember one night on knife lake it was about midnight we seen a light out on the lake. We had a fire going so were visible. The light kept heading are way and eventually two desperate guys asked what lake we were on. After an awkward silence we informed them to where they were.
They apparently came in late to meet a friend,so we gave them directions to a sight where we new there was a solo camper. They took off from are campsite and nailed a rock in the bay next to us.
I really wouldn't travel at night unless you have knowledge of the area and are prepared for it.
Entry point 68 is into Pine from the Arrowhead Trail. It's about a 10 yard paddle from McFarland into Pine and Pine is a large lake that's almost always very quiet and beautiful at night and often windy at mid-day. The campsites are usually easy to find.