BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

July 23 2017

Entry Point 25 - Moose Lake

Moose Lake entry point allows overnight paddle or motor (25 HP max). This entry point is supported by Kawishiwi Ranger Station near the city of Ely, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 21 miles. Access is an boat landing or canoe launch at Moose Lake. Many trip options for paddlers with additional portages. This area was affected by blowdown in 1999.

Number of Permits per Day: 27
Elevation: 1356 feet
Latitude: 47.9877
Longitude: -91.4997
Moose Lake - 25

A Week On Knife

by RoJoYo
Trip Report

Entry Date: July 31, 2007
Entry Point: Moose Lake
Number of Days: 6
Group Size: 2

Trip Introduction:
Wanting to return to the BWCA since my first trip back in 2004. I hook up with my son John (also an avid backpacker who is currently section hiking the SHT) who lives and works in Rochester, MN for his first time trip to the BW.

Part 1 of 8


Sunday, July 29, 2007 + I fly out of Cincinnati, connecting in Minneapolis and arrive in Rochester (Rochester is where my son lives and works), arriving there about 7:30pm. The plan is to combine our gear upon arrival and get an early start for the BW in the morning. However, it wasn’t long before I get the bad news that good ol’ Northwest Airlines has ‘lost’ both my bags, which of course contained all my gear. The gate agent told me that I would ‘probably’ have it by mid-afternoon the next day. Can you say ‘panic’? Fortunately, the last flight of the day into Rochester from Minneapolis had my bags on it and they arrived at my son’s place around midnight…by taxi. 

 



Part 2 of 8


Monday, July 30, 2007 + After a restless night’s sleep in anticipation of the trip we manage to pack and be under way at a decent hour. The drive to Ely takes about four and a half hours. We stop and enjoy the fare at the Ely Steak House and then head out the remaining twenty miles to our outfitter… Williams and Hall. As usual, we are warmly and loudly greeted by Blayne Hall…a great guy. We make our final prep, have a nice steak dinner, fish a bit and then turn in with the hope of a good night’s sleep, ready for an early departure the next day.

 



Part 3 of 8


Tuesday, July 31, 2007 + After a breakfast of pancakes and sausage we pack our gear into the tow and push off around 7am. The tow drops us off at the portage from Sucker to Birch and at 7:40 am we’re on our own for six glorious days in the BWCA.

We paddle and portage our way through the chain of small lakes that will eventually pour us out onto the western most reach of Knife Lake. The series of paddles and portages … Birch, Carp, Melon and Seed … are an easy warm up and break us in gently for the days ahead. 

Leaving the last portage from Seed into Knife we are finally onto some big, and tremendously blue, water. We paddle past Dorothy’s Isle of Pine and stand in awe of one remarkable person. We reach our first campsite on the east end of Robbins Island where we’ll spend the rest of the day setting up camp, fishing, eating and fishing some more. It’s easy to see that this is a popular campsite…as it shows the wear and tear. We caught and released quite a few smallies, none of great size…except for the two that got away of course.

Tonight we were treated to a beautiful night sky and celebrated our time together, and first night in the BW, with two fine Cuban cigars…but don’t tell anybody.  

 



Part 4 of 8


Wednesday, August 1, 2007 + After a decent first night’s sleep and Power Bar breakfast, we are off to fish the drop offs around Robbins Island. Again, a few smallies but none to keep for our later-in-the-day “brunch”. We return after fishing to a meal of steak and eggs and spend the rest of the ‘heat of the day’ time reading and napping…and when done in the BWCA, needless to say, you’re living large!

Aided by a brisk wind, we both enjoy the cool waters of Knife Lake and our refreshed enough for some more evening fishing. Returning just after dark we eat, play some cribbage and retire…this time to a great night’s sleep.

 

 



Part 5 of 8


Thursday, August 2, 2007 + Sunrise this morning was spectacular! The Robbins Island campsite lends itself to a stellar view of the sun rising over Thunder Point, some two and a half miles to the east.

After breakfast we break camp and head out east on Knife, pass to the right of Thunder Point and head down the South Arm. This was one harrowing day of paddling…high winds (which I find out upon return had gusts up to 33mph and sustained max. winds of 24 mph) and huge, rolling, breaking waves make for some interesting moments. Despite the wind being at our backs, it was still a very tense paddle for the some seven and a half miles to our next campsite just past Eddy Falls.

We overshot the campsite landing and had to turn back into the wind and while broadside to that west wind we were nearly swamped on two different occasions. But after a much adrenaline-aided effort, we turned and then dug our way back to the campsite landing…the first one just to the east of where Eddy Falls empties into the South Arm. The campsite sits up on a rocky point and offers a tremendous few down the length of beautiful blue waters of the South Arm. That is, unlike the Robbins Island campsite, an abundance of firewood.

Needless to say we were windbound for the rest of the day and night but did manage to wet a few lines from shore…spending the rest of the day reading, siesta, gathering firewood and playing some cribbage. The wind never let up throughout the rest of the day and night. I began to be concerned because I sure didn’t want to even think about having to paddle back into the teeth of that wind. Tonight the sky was absolutely stellar. A late moonrise preserved a black sky that afforded us a tremendous view of the Milky Way’s brilliance. We also saw many shooting stars and satellites. The night was concluded with more cribbage and cigars and a good night’s rest followed.   

 



Part 6 of 8


Friday, August 3, 2007 + I got up early to check on the wind conditions and thankfully they were MUCH improved. We broke camp and made our way over to Eddy Falls to fish where the Eddy ‘rapids’ empty into the South Arm. No luck fishing but I did walk upstream to see the falls and got some great pictures.

After fishing, we continued back west on the South Arm and about half way the winds started to pick up a bit and since we were heading into them, we decided to occupy the last campsite before reaching Thunder Point, on the north shore of the South Arm. Not much of a campsite, more like a rocky knob…but we managed. We set up camp, grabbed our poles and set off back to the east to fish some deep drop offs along a sheer rock wall. Good choice! Smallies and large mouth would be the fare for this Friday’s meal.

We were both tired and both turned in early tonight…around 9:30pm…dozing off to the raucous and continuous chorus from the loons.  

 



Part 7 of 8


Saturday, August 4, 2007 + The plan today was to make it back to the end of Knife, across all those naggingly small portages and camp somewhere on Birch. When we got to Birch, we saw what looked like a great, and unoccupied, campsite. Mind you it wasn’t bad…it was just that it was marred with the remains from some very inconsiderate jerks who had left their fish carcasses, skeletons and discarded fishing line both in the water next to the camp’s shoreline AND in the campsite itself! We removed what we could from the campsite and enjoyed it tremendously after that. It was going to be our last night in the BW and the fishing and night sky were both very cooperative. One very large smallie nearly jumped into the canoe, coming up to hit my son’s Heddon Torpedo on the surface. I have to admit…it nearly scared me to death.

 



Part 8 of 8


Sunday, August 5, 2007 + What a great morning to sleep in! We had but a 2.7 mile paddle back to the portage into Sucker to meet our tow…so after breakfast we broke camp and wrote the final chapter…well, almost the final chapter…of one fantastic trip, with one fantastic son, into the BWCA.

Our tow from Williams and Hall was right on time…we loaded up and sped SW into some bouncing troughs and made the trip back in just over twenty minutes. Here is where the story gets ‘interesting’…unfortunately. I say unfortunately because it is the part of the trip that I would definitely leave out if I had the choice. Once the tow boat stopped at the dock, I jumped up and out of the boat onto the dock…hitting my head on the metal bars used to secure the canoes in the tow. I knew instantly that it wasn’t just a ‘bump’; and after stopping the bleeding, and then showering (nothing was going to keep me from that shower) we headed to Ely and the Ely/Bloomenson Community Hospital ER. Thanks to the quick work of Doctor Stephen Park, who by-the-way, is also ‘one of us’, he sutured the laceration in my head with six staples.

My son and I then made our way to the Ely Steak House one more time to each polish off a king-cut of a very succulent rib-eye steak. We finally got way from Ely and made our way back to Rochester…the drive back seemed MUCH longer then the drive up.

I have to conclude my trip report with another story…which from its beginning I thought for sure was going to be anything BUT a story with a happy ending.

Here it is: The last day in the BW…as we broke camp on Birch…I took my wedding ring off (the original ring I was married with 39 years ago) to put some sun-screen on my legs. The ring never made it back onto my finger. It wasn’t until after my shower back at Williams and Hall…after the incident with my head…that I finally noticed that my ring was gone! I knew instantly what had happened. However, I wasn’t for sure if the ring was at the Birch campsite or if it possibly could have fallen out of the canoe at the last portage. Before leaving Williams and Hall for the hospital, I told Blayne about the ring and he told me that he would be going back to the portage area the next day and that he would look for it. Realistically, I didn’t hold much hope…because I didn’t even know if it was there or at the campsite…let alone the likelihood of it being found, regardless of where it was. Blayne called me a couple of days later to tell me that he had had no luck. About a week later Blayne called again with the great news that my ring had been found! Seems as if a fella by the name of Jeff Anders of Hawley, Minnesota had overheard Blayne talking to me on the phone, telling ME the bad news that he wasn’t able to find my ring. Jeff had gone back to purchase a water bottle and fortunately for me was in the right place at the right time. While Jeff’s group was at the portage into Birch he was out looking for some raspberries and said he looked down and there was the ring…under a bush. He recalled the conversation that he had inadvertently overheard, put the ring in a dry bag, enjoyed his stay in the BW and then shared his discovery with Blayne upon his return. I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled I was to get that second call from Blayne telling me that a Jeff Anders had found my ring. I called Jeff and thanked him profusely and I can’t say enough about Blayne and Williams and Hall for all their help and effort. When Blayne sent the ring back he included a little note…ending with “I can’t tell you how happy I am that it was found. You are one lucky guy!” Call it luck, call it Providence…I don’t know. But I do know that my gratitude to Blayne and Jeff just can’t be expressed enough.

So this trip to the BWCA, a spectacular trip for my son John and I, a trip booked-ended with the airlines losing my gear and a lost wedding band and a hole in my head…is for sure, ONE GREAT STORY.   

 


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