BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

November 19 2018

Entry Point 27 - Snowbank Lake

Snowbank 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 24 miles. Access is a boat landing or canoe launch at Snowbank Lake. Many trip options for paddlers. This area was affected by blowdown in 1999.

Number of Permits per Day: 8
Elevation: 1191 feet
Latitude: 47.9716
Longitude: -91.4326
Snowbank Lake - 27

First Solo - EP 27 Amitious trip

by 30Smoke
Trip Report

Entry Date: May 16, 2017
Entry Point: Snowbank Lake
Number of Days: 3
Group Size: 1

Trip Introduction:
Two boundary water items on my bucket list – Isle of Pines and Kekekabic Lake. It’s a long trip with tough portages going from Snowbank EP27. I started with a day paddle on May 11th, then got to Piragis on May 16 at 6am to pick up my permit and any additional equipment I forgot.

Report


I started my trip five days early with a daytrip to Sawbill – beautiful weather & great paddle. I thought I was ready. I was at the Snowbank Entry EP27 by 7am on May 16th. I was expecting poor weather but believed my training and gear would get me through the trip. An ambitious trip going from Snowbank-Boot-Ensign-Vera-Knife-Eddy-Kek ponds-Kekekabic-Strup-Wisini-Amakose-Gerund-Fraser-Thomas-Ima-Jordan-Cattyman-Adventure-Jitterbug-Ashub-Dissapointment-Parent-and back to Snowbank EP27. I made it to Ensign – was rained in for a day and turned around. Positive things – I made the Boot-Ensign portage with 200 lbs of gear. I had good gear – good boots – underarmour cold gear pants and shirt – layers of clothes – and rain gear – good stove – and plenty of food. Negative things – Too much weight – that’s why people on the solo forum always talk about taking less and lighter. If you have to do a quad portage – you will not get very far – negative weather – poor attitude. Steven Seagal has a movie where he says they are going to win because of “Superior Attitude – Superior State of Mind” – I had neither! Day 1 starts at work – got off and on the road about 8pm. Drove to Independence MN rest area and slept in back of truck for a few hours. Got up and made it to Piragis in Ely by 6am. Got my permit and made it to Snowbank by 7am. Took an hour and a half to load canoe and hit the water. It seemed beautiful but overcast.  Paddled to the Boot Portage, two short ones. This is where I realized there was a problem. The first portage took 4 trips. I was hoping for an easy three. The next portage was a real short one to get into Boot. By the time I crossed Boot and made it to the portage it was about noon. It would 5 hours later and a quad portage with all my gear, alumacraft 70lb canoe, two granite gear packs, the superior and quetico (loaded to 45 & 55 lbs) and a day pack of 30 lbs plus misc fishing gear, net, tacklebox. It also started misting at about noon. By the time I made it to the first camp to the West on Ensign, it was getting cool and I was soaked. After getting the tarp up with tent next to it, I was too tired to even eat. The thought of making food, cleaning, etc. was too much, so I hid the food pack in the woods (as bears are excellent climbers) and got into warm / dry clothes and went to bed with a negative attitude and defeated. The Kitchen had a beautiful view, but was underwater, wet, windy, unusable. Day 2 started with continued overcast, mist/light rain, and the firepit was a mud pit. I did not want to be there, and all I could think of was I did not want to see my name in the paper as canoeist needed rescue in boundary waters! So I sucked it up, hoped my clothes would dry out, as I was not leaving camp until I had extra dry clothes in my pack, and at four good meals throughout the day. Nothing was really dry in the wet humid weather, so I turned in at dark and hoped for the best to start Thursday! Day 3 started horribly, as I awoke to a strong wind and knew the stove would not work in this wind, so I took a nap and woke up about 9am. The wind was still blowing strong, but I saw a few other canoeist at this point and decided I was packing up and heading home. I knew the weather would break and I would get out. I was back on the portage to Boot, and the sun broke out about noon. I got to Boot with a triple portage in 3 hours and contemplated staying on Boot for a couple nights, but I remembered the weather forecasts were miserable for the whole week. I then continued on to Snowbank and as I got on the big water the wind picked up, but never got too strong and the Alumacraft is a very stable canoe. I was on the road and in Ely by 7pm. Lots of lessons learned, but I did not want to head back up to the BWCA again this year. Postscript: I had planned a trip with my Cousin for June 6 to 11th and I really did not want to do it. I talked to him several times and made it known if he could find somebody else, I’d be fine skipping a year. But he kept me in the game and we had a great trip – I will post that later. I still questioned whether I would want to go alone again, but I really want to go to the Isle of Pines and Lake Kekekabic, so about the middle of September I decided a 7 to 14 day trip would be nice, and for work, the 2nd half of September would work out really well. So I am planning to try this again in September of 2018. This time lighter gear, less gear (watch weight) and keep a SUPERIOR ATTITUDE. If you don’t want to be there – it won’t be any fun.

 


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