BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

June 27 2017

Entry Point 29 - North Kawishiwi River

Ojibway Lake/North Kawishiwi River entry point allows overnight paddle only. This entry point is supported by Kawishiwi Ranger Station near the city of Ely, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 15 miles. Access the North Kawishiwi River through Ojibway Lake and Triangle Lake using two portages.

Number of Permits per Day: 1
Elevation: 1249 feet
Latitude: 47.9543
Longitude: -91.5641
North Kawishiwi River - 29

Kawishiwi Triangle

by Ho Ho
Trip Report

Entry Date: June 30, 2009
Entry Point: Ojibway Lake/North Kawishiwi River
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 2

Trip Introduction:
David and I were up in the Ely area for a week at the end of June and beginning of July and decided to include a four-day trip in our plans. A few weeks beforehand I got a permit for the North Kawishiwi entry, with plans to explore the Kawishiwi Triangle. Beymer says you can do this route in two days, so we had plenty of time to explore. (Text by Ho Ho. Photos by David and Ho Ho.)

Day 1 of 4


Day 1 (June 30, 2009): [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/MapDay1MarkedCompressed.jpg[/img]

No doubt much of the summer of 2009 will long be remembered as cool and wet. June 30 was no exception. In fact, the high for the day was predicted to be only 53 degrees, which is about 25 degrees below average for the end of June in Ely. We got ready to start paddling in light misty rain at the boat launch on Ojibway Lake: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1434.jpg[/img]

Light rain continued as we paddled across Ojibway. This is one of my favorite non-Wilderness lakes. There are many cabins on it, but most have an old-school rustic feel. On this particular cold wet day, no one else was to be seen. In short order we came to the 10-rod "rolling pin" portage that lets you move your canoe (or small motor boat) fully loaded from Ojibway to Triangle Lake (sorry about the rain- drop smudge on this picture): [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1441.jpg[/img]

We continued across Triangle Lake to the 190-rod portage that leads into the BWCAW. There is only one entry permit a day for this EP, and most people seem to avoid it because Lake One provides easier access to the same area. Which is fine with me. Less than an hour after we left the boat ramp on Ojibway, we arrived at the 190-rod portage and looked back at Triangle Lake: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1467.jpg[/img]

With the wet weather, the bugs were out in force. One good thing about it being so cool and wet was that we were fully suited up in rain gear with minimum flesh exposed to the voracious beasts. A little DEET on the face and hands and we were good to go. The portage was more rugged than your average BW entry portage, but not really too rough at all. (Later in the trip a portage crew told us this portage had recently been improved as a Boy Scout Order of the Arrow project.) After carrying our first load across, we checked out the sights on our way back to Triangle for the second load. The wet weather had spawned a lot of fungi, a sample of which follows: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1447.jpg[/img]

[img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1449.jpg[/img]

[img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1453.jpg[/img]

[img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1458.jpg[/img]

There were also many wildflowers, a few of which follow. The first one is Cow Parsnip. It was at least six feet tall: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1461.jpg[/img]

[img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1465.jpg[/img]

[img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1457.jpg[/img]

After carrying the rest of our gear across, we loaded up on the Kawishiwi River. This had to be one of the buggiest places on the planet. Once we out on the river, it took a while for all the mosquitoes to dissipate from our canoe.

A stiff wind blew a steady cold mist horizontal as we paddled down the river. That explains why there are no pictures from this part of our adventure. After a mile, we came to the place where the Kawishiwi divides into its north and south branches. It's common for rivers to have branches that join together as they flow downstream. But this spot is different - the river DIVIDES into two branches as it flows downstream. The North and South Kawishiwi then go their separate ways until they meet again west of the Wilderness in Farm and Garden Lakes. The area in between is the "Kawishiwi Triangle."

We decided to follow the North Kawishiwi first, and then cut over to the South Kawishiwi later in the trip to return to our starting point. The North Kawishiwi begins at a narrow notch. Shortly after that we passed a couple of occupied campsites with their occupants hunkered down under rain tarps - the only other people we saw after leaving the Ojibway boat launch this day. We wanted to go just a bit further and were hoping to snag the campsite by the portage to Conchu Lake. I had heard it is a good campsite, and I also wanted to cross over to explore Conchu, which would be easy from that site.

As we continued on, I realized my feet were pretty cold. In the summer we let our feet get wet, and normally it's no problem. But it was cold and windy enough today that wet feet were not very comfortable. I had also just bought new boots to use for this purpose. I got Merrill Mohave boots, which are really desert boots but have the advantage for wet booting that they drain. I fitted them with Super Soles and they were very comfortable. Water drained out well. But they did not dry out quickly, and with the cool and wet air, my feet were not all that happy.

Fortunately, the campsite we were aiming for was open. I think we got there a little bit before 2:00. We were hungry, and there was a break in the rain, so we ate some lunch as soon as we changed into dry shoes. Then we set up camp. Our site had nice views. To the left (west) was a picturesque little island: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1472.jpg[/img]

Across the way was a big bog: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1471.jpg[/img]

We usually don't bother with bringing steaks or other fresh food for our first night. But because we were going such a short way over a few days on this trip, we decided we would have steaks, baked potatoes, and grilled asparagus to celebrate our entry into the Wilderness today. Of course, that was before we knew that it would be so wet and cold. Now the likelihood that we would get a good cooking fire going for steaks and potatoes seemed dubious. But when we got to the campsite, we found a nice little pile of welcome wood, which by some miracle had stayed dry in the lee of a big White Pine.

While David set up the bear rope, I set out to find more flammable wood. I wandered down the 20-rod portage to Conchu Lake and then followed a trail that I figured led to the lone Conchu campsite. Up on little Conchu it was really blowing and misting, exposed to the north wind. But I found a nice downed birch under some cover that seemed like it might be dry, so I sawed it up into portable pieces and carried it back to camp.

When I got back, it was much warmer and drier (comparatively speaking) than on Conchu. I asked David if it had been raining while I was gone, and he said no. It seemed like the mist was so fine, that it was really wet where you were exposed to the north wind (like on Conchu), but not as much where you were sheltered from the north (like at our campsite).

The stack of birch I brought back was wet on the outside, but since birch bark is waterproof, I figured if I peeled the bark off, the wood would be fairly dry, and I could then rip up the bark to use as a fire starter. This took some time, but it really paid off. With the birch plus the welcome wood, I got a blazing fire going and had lots of wood to get a good bed of hot embers. Here I'm poking at the potatoes in the embers just before putting the steaks on the grill: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1475.jpg[/img]

Dinner was a success. And we still had our rain suits on to keep the bugs from feasting on us. We did the dishes, tied down the canoe, and sat back with a generous helping of Maker's Mark while we gazed out at the island to our left: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1477.jpg[/img]

And at the bog across the river: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1478.jpg[/img]

We hit the sack as the mosquitoes called in their reinforcements at dusk. It rained through the night, but at some point I could no longer avoid the need to get up to commune with nature. My camp shoes were outside the tent under the vestibule, and I pulled them on to venture out. After taking my shoes back off when I got back in the tent, I noticed a slick slimy chartreuse smudge on one of my socks. It seems a slug had made itself at home in one of my shoes. Yuck! Well, that will teach the bastards. At least it wasn't an 8-inch long Banana Slug like they have in Oregon. And with that thought, I went back to a fitful sleep as the wind and rain and cold continued through the night.

 



Day 2 of 4


Day 2 (July 1, 2009): [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/MapDay2MarkedCompressed.jpg[/img]

When I got up in the morning, I checked for slugs before putting my shoes on. Yep, there was another one! I saw more slugs at this campsite, especially right around the tent, than I've seen in all my other Quetico-Superior trips put together. I kind of have a slug phobia, so I asked David to get rid of the one in my shoe, which he graciously did. Then I climbed out of the tent. There was a light mist, which came and went, and plenty of wind-blown drops from the precipitation yesterday and overnight. We settled in with our first cups of java overlooking the North Kawishiwi: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1483.jpg[/img]

As we sat there, a pair of Loons flew in. Then two more. Then another one. They all hung out together off the shore of our campsite, circling and occasionally peering under water or diving to find some food: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1482.jpg[/img]

David wandered around the campsite a little with the camera: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1484.jpg[/img]

[img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1489.jpg[/img]

[img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1491.jpg[/img]

There were some good birds at this campsite. A warbler was singing incessantly, and when I located it with the binoculars, I found a male Chestnut-sided Warbler in full-breeding plumage. It hung around singing from various perches the rest of the time we were there. As David said, it looked like someone had taken a paint brush and randomly applied a bunch of different colors. These warblers are not too uncommon in the Quetico-Superior area, but we had never seen one before. Then, later on, I heard a song similar to but not quite like a Robin's, which I thought was probably a Rose-Breasted Grosbeak. Yep, there he was at the top of pine, singing in all his colorful glory. And the campsite had many of the usual suspects, including Song Sparrows, Chipping Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, Brown Creepers, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Robins, Grackles, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and others I'm forgetting, while Ravens, Gulls, and Mallards could be seen over by the bog across the water and an occasional Bald Eagle made an appearance.

Our tentative plan had been to move to Clear Lake today, but as we thought it over, we decided to keep our campsite and explore the vicinity. Our route could easily afford a layover day. So after breakfast we took the canoe across the portage to little Conchu Lake and circled along the edge of its shoreline. A piece of the Conchu shore: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1493.jpg[/img]

Continuing around Conchu, we rounded a little point into a marshy area on the north side of the lake where we came upon a Loon. It went wild with yodels and howling, and we immediately realized we must be near a nest. Yes, there it was, with eggs in full view, on the edge of the reeds ten or twenty feet away. As soon as we saw the nest, we paddled away, forgoing the opportunity to get a great picture so as not to disturb the nesting loons more than we had. At our campsite we had been hearing a lot of loon cries from over on Conchu, and now we knew why.

After we finished our tour of Conchu, we crossed back to the North Kawishiwi. Our first stop on the river was the big bog on the shore across from our campsite. Here we were met by a legion of Pitcher Plants: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1503.jpg[/img]

[img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1516.jpg[/img]

And Blue-flag Irises: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1512.jpg[/img]

[img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1506.jpg[/img]

We explored every nook and cranny of the bog shoreline, and then decided to just keep going, right next to the shore, back over the portion of the river we had sped through yesterday in the wind and rain. We literally followed the edge of the river within a few feet of the undulating shoreline into every bay large and small. The low grey-white cloud cover did not make for great photography conditions, but here's a few shots from our route zigzagging along the south shore of the river. Rock and Jack Pines: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1517.jpg[/img]

Beaver marsh: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1521.jpg[/img]

Old Aspens: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1524.jpg[/img]

Pine Silhouette: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1525.jpg[/img]

We decided to have lunch on the little island near the beginning of the North Kawishiwi that has a campsite. This site and another one nearby had been occupied yesterday, but no one was to be seen now. As we ate, the sun managed to send some light and heat through the clouds and I kicked back to soak it up. [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1529.jpg[/img]

We lingered and relaxed. Two guys in a tandem canoe paddled past in the same direction we had come yesterday. They called out from the water that a squirrel was about to climb into our food pack. Good save! Thanks guys. They were the only people we saw this day, and they must have gone well beyond our campsite because we did not see them again.

After a while we packed up and continued our paddle. We finished following the south shore of the river through the narrows to where the North Kawishiwi begins, then turned to follow the north shore back to our campsite. It's amazing how long it takes when you follow the shore around every bay instead of just zipping by, like here: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1530.jpg[/img]

Random reflection: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1532.jpg[/img]

There were many Wild Roses blooming. Roses and rock: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1535.jpg[/img]

Rock abstract: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1537.jpg[/img]

Abstract expressionism, with plants: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1539.jpg[/img]

As we neared our campsite, I saw some good downed wood on shore, so we stopped to collect it. I wanted to replace the welcome wood we used last night and also maybe have a fire tonight. Then we returned to our campsite: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1546.jpg[/img]

We went for a much-needed dip to wash the grime off us, then relaxed the rest of the day. My attempt at a small fire was not very successful. I guess I didn't put enough wood on when I started it, because I wanted to leave plenty for the next person. Oh well, we were cooking on the stove tonight, and we left a nice stack of wood behind, so it was good.

After dinner we enjoyed our Maker's Mark on the rocks overlooking our little stretch of the North Kawishiwi. When the bugs got too thick, we retreated to the tent to read a bit, then slept soundly till dawn.

 



Day 3 of 4


Day 3 (July 2, 2009): [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/MapDay3MarkedCompressed.jpg[/img]

There were no slugs in my shoes when I got out of the tent this morning. And the day was looking a little brighter: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1550.jpg[/img]

I got that first pot of java going: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1549.jpg[/img]

There were still bugs at this campsite, so we used the "portage burka" (bandana hanging from cap) to keep them off the backs of our heads and neck. David modeling the portage burka while eating pancakes: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1555.jpg[/img]

After breakfast we broke camp and set off down the North Kawish toward Clear Lake. A short paddle from our campsite brought us to the 210-rod portage that goes around several rapids and falls on the river. We carried our first load of gear across, then took pictures on our way back. Here are some pictures along the portage going from west to east (the way we walked back between loads).

Looking upstream at the last rapids by the end of the portage: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1561.jpg[/img]

A pool near the trail where another set of rapids empties: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1576.jpg[/img]

Cool tree fungus (with some slugs lurking in its folds): [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1584.jpg[/img]

Boardwalk through low wet area: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1577.jpg[/img]

We paused back at the beginning of the portage to eat some bars, and while we were there, an older couple who were on portage patrol paddled up. They said there were reports of downed trees on the portage, but the only downed trees we'd seen were pretty small and close to the ground and no problem to step over. So they decided not to investigate further, but told us we might see another portage duo at the far end.

Sure enough, after we carried our second load across, the other portage patrol - this time a younger man and woman - was at the far end of the portage. We talked to them for a while and asked about campsites on Clear. They said they were camped there, and the lake seemed full, but they had a big site and if we wanted we could set up there too. That was mighty nice of them! But we figured if it was that busy on Clear we would paddle through the South Kawishiwi.

We got ready to shove off. Looking out from the end of the portage: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1557.jpg[/img]

Cliffs along the stretch of the river downstream: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1595.jpg[/img]

We portaged around another set of rapids: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1602.jpg[/img]

Then a little further we portaged around the last set of rapids before the cut-off to Clear Lake. [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1609.jpg[/img]

This is where we started to see a fair number of other people. There is a campsite below these rapids - the first site downstream from the 210-rod portage, and accessible coming in the other direction from the Farm Lake entry. Judging from the people we saw and talked to, it became clear that most people want to avoid the 210-rod portage that breaks up the North Kawishiwi, which is why we had not seen many people the last couple days. People coming in from Farm Lake don't venture much past where we now were. If they want to go to the Numbered Lakes, the South Kawish is an easier route. Although from our perspective, the 210-rod portage was not really hard at all. Oh well, whatever keeps the crowds away is fine with me.

We wanted to have lunch here, but (of course) the campsite was occupied. In fact, a canoe was waiting off shore to claim the site while the current occupants broke camp (we would meet them at the portage to Clear Lake). So we tied off our canoe by the rocks at the downstream end of the rapids and had lunch there. It was a really nice spot. As we were packing up, I noticed something: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1611.jpg[/img]

This guy: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1607.jpg[/img]

It was interesting to watch him slither through the rocks. He would be on top and just disappear into some crevice, but then you might see a little strip of him from above. Reemerging: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1608.jpg[/img]

Finishing lunch and leaving our sinuous friend, we continued downstream. These rocks are in a wide area shortly before the portage to Clear Lake: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1612.jpg[/img]

There were a couple other groups coming and going at this portage and we chatted some, then portaged through. Although it's something like 180 rods, this portage is a very easy thoroughfare: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1617.jpg[/img]

Another gnarly tree fungus along the portage: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1620.jpg[/img]

Wild rose: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1623.jpg[/img]

Based on the report we'd gotten from the portage crew, we had already decided not to look for a site on Clear Lake and paddled instead directly toward the portage to the South Kawishiwi. There's a big bog right after the portage on the edge of Clear (which, like the Kawishiwi, is heavily bog-stained and not all that clear): [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1626.jpg[/img]

A low-lying island as we paddled down the lake: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1629.jpg[/img]

Our Voyageur map showed the portage beginning from the outlet at the south end of the lake, but it seemed to just keep going into marsh with no portage in sight: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1632.jpg[/img]

We backtracked and checked the little baylet further east. Yep, the well-worn portage landing was there. The Voyageur map had also been wrong about where the portage from the North Kawish into Clear Lake begins. It wasn't a big deal either time, but I was still a little disappointed because when I used their map number 3 before, I thought it was very accurate.

Looking back at Clear from the portage: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1643.jpg[/img]

At about 70 rods, this portage is not long, but it was the most rugged portage on our short trip. This rock garden reminded me of many Quetico portages: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1641.jpg[/img]

Further on the old portage path is flooded by high water and you have to go up and over a newer rough-hewn path. There's an enormous old beaver dam at the far end, and it looks like the resident engineer recently raised it a bit. Possibly you could avoid much of this portage by utilizing the higher water to start carrying from the outlet (where we were exploring before) closer to the South Kawishiwi. Looking out at the beaver marsh: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1638.jpg[/img]

The landing on the South Kawish was mucky, buggy, and stinky. Before we loaded up, we noticed that a leech had hitched a ride across the portage with us: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1635.jpg[/img]

We removed him from the canoe (which was not easy), loaded up, and set out. We were now ready to find a campsite - one exposed to the north breeze to keep the bugs down as much as possible. The first site we passed was too sheltered from the north, and the second one was occupied. As one who usually paddles in Quetico and has generally only tripped in the Boundary Waters in May or September, I'm not used to worrying about finding a campsite. But now I started thinking about all the BW stories I've seen posted where every campsite is full. With that in mind, we steered toward an area where there were several sites. On the way we entered some narrows marked by these cliffs: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1644.jpg[/img]

At the end of the narrows was an open campsite next to a small rapids around an island. After a quick inspection we decided to call this spot home for the night. It was a great site. Looking out at the island and little rapids: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1651.jpg[/img]

After a swim to clean off the bug juice and portage grime, we set up our tent under a towering old Red Pine. Looking up into its branches from the tent the next morning at dawn was pretty awesome: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1655.jpg[/img]

The area around the heavily-used fire ring had a strange structure built up around it: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1658.jpg[/img]

We hung some of our wet gear there, but otherwise ignored the fire ring and put our kitchen on a wonderful ledge that was overlooking the river and exposed to the north breeze: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1649.jpg[/img]

Several groups passed by and it was fun to watch them negotiate the little rapids. Later on we enjoyed the view with some post-dinner Maker's Mark: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1660.jpg[/img]

There was a very cheeky chipmunk who didn't mind getting within a couple feet of us in his search for crumbs (or more): [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1661.jpg[/img]

"These people are too neat! I want an M&M!" [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1662.jpg[/img]

Although the weather was much nicer today, it had still stayed overcast almost the entire day. But just as dusk fell the clouds started breaking up to the west, letting a few rays of the setting sun through: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1663.jpg[/img]

A few minutes later, golden light filled the air and lit up the trees all around: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1676.jpg[/img]

The mix of overcast with a gap in the west was perfect. Looking westward at the light hitting the tops of the trees: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1680.jpg[/img]

A final view: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1669.jpg[/img]

As the sunset faded, the bugs came out in force and we retreated to the tent. When I woke up in the middle of the night, the clouds had completely cleared, and the sky was filled with a million stars.

 



Day 4 of 4


Day 4 (July 3, 2009): [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/MapDay4MarkedCompressed.jpg[/img]

I woke up a bit before dawn on the last day of our trip. It was a beautiful clear morning. Dawn comes very early at the beginning of July, so I stayed in the tent a bit longer and got up around 6:00. What a great morning: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1688.jpg[/img]

Looking north up the misty narrows, there was a big snag on the opposite shore where a Bald Eagle perched, which you can just barely discern in this picture: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1689.jpg[/img]

After not too long, the sky clouded over, seemingly from the rising mist from many days of rain and from the lakes as well. But I was pretty sure the sun would win the battle in the end today. Looking out from the campsite: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1691.jpg[/img]

And looking back over the fire pit toward the tent: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1698.jpg[/img]

We were in no hurry and lingered as we broke camp, then got on the water about 9:30. After launching we circled around the ricy upstream side of the little island where the rapids were: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1710.jpg[/img]

Paddling a bit further upstream, we rounded a bend and saw a White-tail on the shore. David got out the camera while I paddled as quietly as I could toward it. It's way past time to get a new camera, because the optical zoom on this one is so 2002. With the wimpy zoom, this is the best shot we got before the deer bounded into the woods: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1718.jpg[/img]

By now the clouds were burning off and it was getting pretty warm. Despite putting 30 SPF sunscreen on, by the end of the day I would get a very noticeable farmers' tan: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1720.jpg[/img]

Our route today took us over three portages around rapids on the South Kawishiwi on the way back to the 190-rod North Kawishiwi entry portage. The portages on the river were short, in the range of 40, 15, and 15 rods. Here's a view up the rapids before the first portage: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1723.jpg[/img]

Another shot from the portage: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1725.jpg[/img]

After the portage we continued upstream: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1735.jpg[/img]

We soon came to the next short portage. There was a Merganser swimming with ducklings on her back here. Again, the optical zoom failed us, so this is as good as it gets: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1737.jpg[/img]

The portage was short, level, and easy (but surprisingly buggy): [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1740.jpg[/img]

A Pileated Woodpecker banquet: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1739.jpg[/img]

It was a couple miles till the next portage. The wind was now blowing head on, but the breeze was appreciated in the bright sun: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1747.jpg[/img]

A sheltered spot on a beautiful day in the Kawishiwi Triangle: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1749.jpg[/img]

We probably could have lined up the last rapids on the river, but we portaged around. As we did, we heard some whoops and shouts. It seemed another canoe was going through on the water in the other direction. After carrying our gear, we looked out over part of the rapids: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1752.jpg[/img]

Now we were getting back to where the North and South Kawishiwi divide. It was hard to believe on this beautiful day that it was so cold and rainy when we passed through here at the beginning of our trip just a couple days ago. We paddled up the narrow channel between a number of islands and the east shore of the river: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1755.jpg[/img]

Before tackling the long portage back to Triangle Lake , we stopped for lunch on a little rocky peninsula where there was a breeze and a bit of shade: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1759.jpg[/img]

Looking back from our lunch spot toward the direction we came from: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1758.jpg[/img]

Now we were ready to tackle the 190-rodder back to Triangle Lake. We had repacked our gear so that we could single-carry through here, since we had already done our usual sightseeing along this portage a few days ago. When we got to the landing we found a canoe and some other gear there, presumably left by the group with today's North Kawishiwi entry permit as they went back for another load. When we were here three days ago, the bugs were murder, but now there weren't any. Instead there was hot sunshine. I made final preparations to carry pack and canoe in one trip across without stopping: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1761.jpg[/img]

As I started across the portage I quickly encountered the first guys from the group whose gear was back at the landing. The were very heavily loaded with a lot of loose gear. As this was the beginning of the Fourth of July weekend, I kind of figured that they waited too long to get an entry permit and were "stuck" with the North Kawishiwi, which was not their first choice judging by their portaging style. It looked like they would have been happier entering directly from the road into Lake One. But at least they were getting out into the Wilderness.

My shoulders were definitely feeling the load as I got close to Triangle Lake, and I mentioned that to David, who I thought was right behind me. No response. I called a little louder. Nothing. Usually David easily keeps up with me when I carry the canoe, but he seemed to have disappeared. I kept going to the end, set down my load, and went back to find him. A little while later he came down the trail bent under the weight of the mega-big-pig pack, which really slowed him down. I guess we're not switching to regular single portaging anytime soon.

At the landing on Triangle Lake: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1765.jpg[/img]

Today this was the buggy end of the portage, so we quickly loaded up and launched into Triangle. By now it was a bright, hot, intensely sunny summer day at the beginning of a holiday weekend. Some women in swimsuits where paddling around nearby, seemingly on an outing from one of the few remote cabins on the lake. Definitely a scene straight out of a beer commercial! Our beers were back in Ely, though, so we dug in our paddles and headed for the take out on Ojibway via the roller portage.

Back on Ojibway, we paused to check out the Osprey nest on the island in there: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1767.jpg[/img]

We chatted with a nice couple enjoying the day touring the lake in a motor boat. They were very interested in our trip. It was a fun day to be out and about. Ojibway Lake really is a beauty: [img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v213/billnwashdc/Kawishiwi%20Triangle%202009/IMG_1768.jpg[/img]

Then we headed for the boat ramp and the end of our mini adventure. We had not traveled far or long, but it was a fun trip. Now beer and showers and a bright sunny Fourth of July beckoned.

 


Routes
Trip Reports
a
Routes
Trip Reports
Routes
Trip Reports
Routes
Trip Reports
Routes
Trip Reports
x
Routes
Trip Reports
fd
hgc
Routes
Trip Reports