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Northern Tier Review

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Posted (edited)

Beautiful pictures.

How were the bugs?

Edited by fred8033
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11 hours ago, fred8033 said:

Beautiful pictures.

How were the bugs?

Thanks! During the day, no problem at all. First and second nights not bad. Third and Fourth nights they came out to feast for about 1.5 - 2 hours.

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I'll add thoughts as they return to my brain.

If you get to a campsite, and there's no grumper or fire grate, you're in Canada.  DAMHIK

My Railriders Eco Mesh pants worked very well. They don't zip off into shorts but have a long zipper along each leg that when unzipped has mesh that keeps bugs out but allows air in and water to drain out. They also come treated with Insect Shield.

Fozzils Bowlz are great for both Philmont and NT. We bought them as crew gear. They're light, cheap, compact and when you unsnap them, easy to lick clean. We found for bsoth Philmont and NT, treating both bowls and spoons as crew gear makes it easy to keep track of them. No waiting for scouts to pull them out of their packs. They get cleaned as crew gear anyway.

You'll be wet most of the day. There really isn't time to re-apply sunscreen, so long sleeve sun protection shirts, light long pants and a wide brim hat are important. Paddling gloves protect from sun and blisters.

If you didn't slip on rocks while getting out of your canoe at least once, did you really go to Northern Tier?

 

20200728_141637.jpg

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I agree with liquid gas stoves. Normally I use a JetBoil stove. 

The challenge is that disposable canisters can be wasteful, expensive, and difficult to manage on a large scale. In addition to the partially full canisters, no one wants to take out on their trip, that you have to dispose of. However, I would still recommend you provide feedback to Northern Tier.

There is also the program component, which it sounds like your Interpreter did not do. Many crews bake a cake and other items on the trail. This requires a stove that simmers well. (Stoves like the MSR Dragonfly simmer well, a challenge with many canister stoves.) 

For water treatment, most programs for large groups have gone to gravity bag filters. You fill the bag when you get to camp and hang it on a tree. Individuals take turns filling their water bottles. No need to deal with hand filters along with the risk of cross-contamination. Depending on the sediment in the water, you could go through two filters on a trip.  When not at camp, most chemical treatment tablets such as chlorine dioxide and sodium dichloroisocyanurate (inexpensive) are fine for the area.

I would disagree on the rain pants. You had some very nice weather. However, the weather can be unpredictable and harsh, turning to the 50’s and downpour for days. It’s a very small amount of additional weight. 

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1 hour ago, Canoeon said:

I agree with liquid gas stoves. Normally I use a JetBoil stove. 

The challenge is that disposable canisters can be wasteful, expensive, and difficult to manage on a large scale. In addition to the partially full canisters, no one wants to take out on their trip, that you have to dispose of. However, I would still recommend you provide feedback to Northern Tier.

There is also the program component, which it sounds like your Interpreter did not do. Many crews bake a cake and other items on the trail. This requires a stove that simmers well. (Stoves like the MSR Dragonfly simmer well, a challenge with many canister stoves.) 

For water treatment, most programs for large groups have gone to gravity bag filters. You fill the bag when you get to camp and hang it on a tree. Individuals take turns filling their water bottles. No need to deal with hand filters along with the risk of cross-contamination. Depending on the sediment in the water, you could go through two filters on a trip.  When not at camp, most chemical treatment tablets such as chlorine dioxide and sodium dichloroisocyanurate (inexpensive) are fine for the area.

I would disagree on the rain pants. You had some very nice weather. However, the weather can be unpredictable and harsh, turning to the 50’s and downpour for days. It’s a very small amount of additional weight. 

There are canister stoves that simmer well. Our remote canister stoves do. We did make the desserts (pudding, brownies, cake) with varying degrees of success.

We had the dromedary bags. The tablets at Philmont were better than the Polar Pure at NT. You can backflush the Sawyer Squeeze. People take them on through hikes of the Appalachian Trail, so they should be good for a week.

True, take the pants, particularly if the weather will be cold and rainy.

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16 minutes ago, 69RoadRunner said:

There are canister stoves that simmer well. Our remote canister stoves do. We did make the desserts (pudding, brownies, cake) with varying degrees of success.

We had the dromedary bags. The tablets at Philmont were better than the Polar Pure at NT. You can backflush the Sawyer Squeeze. People take them on through hikes of the Appalachian Trail, so they should be good for a week.

True, take the pants, particularly if the weather will be cold and rainy.

 

The water sediment in the Boundary Waters tends to be the perfect size to clog a filter, so any brand you're going to have issues. One of the reasons chemical treatment is more popular. 

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We did a DIY 2020 trek in the Boundary Waters this year. Being from Chicago area many of us had been before so easy to guide the scouts on building a plan, menu and route.

  • Less bugs than usual this year. 90% less on Knife lake and very enjoyable.
  • Cost ws $300 per scout including gas, food and Kevlar canoe
  • I am not sure what we missed by not having an interpreter with us
  • 4 of us hammocked but might have been able to do 1 more - no way we could have done more than 5
  • scouts baked a cake, corn bread and brownies using white gas stove - they didnt share but heard it was good
  • Northern Tier store was only open to crews - no outsiders
  • met quite a few troops on portages - all great people
  • some crews were faster than others at portages - thanks to those that let us jump ahead
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27 minutes ago, TMSM said:

We did a DIY 2020 trek in the Boundary Waters this year. Being from Chicago area many of us had been before so easy to guide the scouts on building a plan, menu and route.

  • Less bugs than usual this year. 90% less on Knife lake and very enjoyable.
  • Cost ws $300 per scout including gas, food and Kevlar canoe
  • I am not sure what we missed by not having an interpreter with us
  • 4 of us hammocked but might have been able to do 1 more - no way we could have done more than 5
  • scouts baked a cake, corn bread and brownies using white gas stove - they didnt share but heard it was good
  • Northern Tier store was only open to crews - no outsiders
  • met quite a few troops on portages - all great people
  • some crews were faster than others at portages - thanks to those that let us jump ahead

We were only given a 30 minute window to shop in the store. We wanted to take our interpreter out for dinner when we returned but we were told if we left we could not come back in.

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If you're looking for exercises to do, here's what I'd suggest. Obviously getting out in a canoe is great, but most people can't do this multiple times per week.

The rowing machine is good cardio. It doesn't exactly mimic canoe paddling, but it is good.

Shoulder press. You'll be lifting heavy stuff and carrying heavy stuff.

Weighted walking lunges. Sometimes we had 2 people carry the (mostly) empty canoes on short portages. This will get you used to holding heavy weights and strengthen the legs.

Core exercises benefit most activity. Planks, crunches, etc.

If you're at a gym, use the row machine. I'm not talking about the cardio row machine, I mean the weights. You can also do bent over rows with dumbbells or a barbell, but keep good form.

Lose weight. I failed this during the pandemic. Fortunately, I wasn't overweight much to start.

This isn't a trip if you have back issues. With 3 gray whales, equipment bag, food bag and 3 canoes, you can't put all the burden on the scouts, even with a full crew.

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How about the voyageur sash or plaid items?  Fortunate enough to grow up on the Michigan/Canada border, we all had a sash at one time or another.  Mine is not the blue or traditional red, but a tan plaid.  I couldn't get into the stocking cap mode.  I see the NT doesn't carry them anymore or is out of stock.  Personally, I think the sash goes with NT as the Black bull goes with Philmont.  And how about the red or green plaid items.  For those scouts that are first timers, they may want to look around and buy before paying a lot.

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5 hours ago, Double Eagle said:

How about the voyageur sash or plaid items?  Fortunate enough to grow up on the Michigan/Canada border, we all had a sash at one time or another.  Mine is not the blue or traditional red, but a tan plaid.  I couldn't get into the stocking cap mode.  I see the NT doesn't carry them anymore or is out of stock.  Personally, I think the sash goes with NT as the Black bull goes with Philmont.  And how about the red or green plaid items.  For those scouts that are first timers, they may want to look around and buy before paying a lot.

We only had a half hour in the store, and I got there later than the rest of the group as I had to take care of something. I wasn't looking for those types of items, just hats and shirts. I don't recall anything like that, but that doesn't mean they weren't there.

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The sash was a symbol of being a Voyager, the French Canadians who explored and traded in the area.

Noc Bay has them in stock http://www.nocbay.com/prodDetails.asp?ID=289&link=222 and http://www.nocbay.com/prodDetails.asp?ID=983&link=222

if you know what to look for, ebay can be your friend. i a complete  sash and garters set for the price of a sash once.

 

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