"So where should we go? I know the BWCA is going to have some portages but are there areas we can enjoy ourselves without having to portage a ton? I would be content to find a good lake and stay there for the week."
If you want to do the BWCA, it is doable for you, since you have enough time to plan and prepare. You definitely need to spend some money to make a decent portage yoke - you need to get bolt on or clamp on portage pads for the portage yoke to make portaging that beast manageable for one person to carry. IF that's not possible, you could do a two man carry, and just take your time - the portage to Basswood is essentially an old road. with a Moose Lake entry, a single portage would get you into Basswood Lake (big lake with lots of bays), where you could spend a week exploring and fishing. Saganaga Lake, on the Eastern side is similar, starting from Gull Lake.
either choice would work - but you need to plan now, and be prepared to make a reservation for your entry, especially if you are thinking of entering on a Saturday or Sunday ( have several options and take what you can get - weekdays are a bit easier to get, but both are popular entry points and the available permits get reserved fast - starting in January.
Voyageur's national Park is similar terrain, but one big lake
you would see some motor boat activity in BWCA (motors are limited to certain areas), but not much. Voyageurs NP has more boats.
Bent Shaft Canoe Paddles
Rescue / Throw Bags
Paddler's Truck Rack
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