BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
July 16 2018
Number of Permits per Day: 7
Elevation: 1230 feet
My son Remy and I, and my friend Keith and his son Charlie put our canoes into Lake one at 9:30 Monday morning after dropping off a car at the Snowbank Lake landing. Lake One can be tricky to navigate. On our way to Lake Two we turned East too early and ended up paddling about a mile out of our way into a dead-end bay before we realized our mistake. We blamed the fact that Lake One was split between Fisher Maps #10 and #4 for our error. If the entire lake had been visible at once on a single map, we would not have made the wrong turn. Once we got back on course we portaged the 30 rods into a pond and then portaged the 40 rods into Lake Two. The weather was nice, and there was a bit of a tail wind out of the West. We stopped for lunch on the shore of Lake Two. After lunch we canoed through the North end of Lake Three and into Lake Four. We stopped for the night at a campsite on the West shore of Lake Four, just North of the channel heading toward Hudson Lake. We had to battle swarms of mosquitoes as we set up the tents. We then had a nice refreshing swim. Because we had brought steaks along for the first night, we didn't go fishing.
On Tuesday morning we had a bacon and eggs breakfast then packed up camp and headed out in our canoes. As we canoed past our campsite, we realized that Remy & I had left our hammocks pitched between trees. We landed again and quickly packed them up. Once again we had beautiful weather. We paddled East and completed 3 short portages before entering Hudson Lake. The 105 rod portage into Lake Insula was exhausting! Lake Insula is a large gorgeous lake broken up by multiple islands and penninsulas. We had lunch at a campsite on a large island just East of Hudson Lake. It felt like we had a tail wind as we were heading East, and then as we turned North it seemed like the wind shifted and was at our backs once again. We navigated Lake Insula flawlessly and camped for the night on the island just West of Williamson Island. After setting up the tents and a refreshing swim, Remy & I got back into the canoe and tried to catch some fish. We had no luck! At 9PM that night, just as we were going to bed, a thunderstorm rolled through. That night I was awakened several times by the loud croaking of bullfrogs from the shallows around our island. What noisy neighbors!
By Wednesday morning the weather had cleared, but the wind was now coming from the Northwest, pretty much in our faces. We paddled to the North end of Lake Insula and tackled the largest portage of our trip. The 180 rod walk to Kiana Lake actually seemed easier than the 105 rod carry into Lake Insula. We headed onward into Thomas Lake where we really started feeling the headwind. We finally made it to the campsite just Northeast of the portage into Thomas Pond in time for lunch. After lunch we proceeded across Thomas Pond and into Thomas Creek after hiking across the famous Kekekabic Trail. We managed to easily run the rapids in Thomas Creek and avoid the 2 short portages. We camped for the night on Hatchet Lake at the northern campsite. It was cool and windy, so we didn't swim. There was lots of threatening weather going by to the North of us, but we stayed dry. After supper we canoed back to Thomas Creek to fish and look for moose. No luck on either count, but we did see a beaver swimmming.
The weather was nice again Thursday morning, but the wind was out of the West which was the direction we were heading. We portaged into Ima Lake and canoed across it. Before portaging into Jordan Lake, we watched a bald eagle sitting in a tree get harrassed repeatedly by a seagull. The narrow channel leading into Jordan Lake is quite beautiful. It is narrow like a river with big rock outcroppings. We paddled across Jordan, Cattyman, Adventure, and Jitterbug Lakes. We found the Eastern campsite on Ahsub Lake taken, so we camped at the Western campsite which had a great place for swimming in front of it. There was a very brave loon in front of the campsite who didn't seem to mind if we got close to it. We tried our luck at fishing, but only caught 1 smallmouth which was too small to eat. Between 5:00 and 7:30 that evening we saw a number of canoes heading across Ahsub Lake from Disappointment Lake to Jitterbug Lake. We weren't sure where they were planning to camp, but it was getting late.
On Friday we awoke again to good weather. We paddled the length of Disappointment Lake and portaged into to Parent Lake and then on to Snowbank Lake. It was July 4th, and as we entered Snowbank Lake the sounfd of firecrackers reminded us we weren't in the wilderness anaymore. After a brief splash war on our way across Snowbank, we made it to the landing and our car was still there. What a great trip!
EP 30 to EP 27 Loop Solo
June 13, 2012
Snowbank Lake (27)
Number of Days:
Wednesday morning I was out by 6:30 to get my food from Piragis. At the EP an on the Lake One by 7:45. Back home in New York State, I'm a weekend warrior canoe racer in C1 stock. Paddling a fully loaded boat was different, but enjoyable. Took a while to get used to, and fore/aft seat adjustments didn't have the same effect, but more on that later.
Lake One and Two were quiet, and beautiful. Saw several Bald Eagles. Once on Lake Three, Four, and Hundson the sign of the fire were evident. What I noticed most was the lack of shade on the portages. It was sunny and hot. I thought I might make it to Alice, but by 3:30 I was cooked and I grabbed a campsite on Irsula. Nice sandy beach, out of the wind. Bugs a little nasty. A little rain at night, which was welcome. Dinner of beans and rice, with fry cakes and a spicy sausage. I was out by 10:00.
Side note on the canoe: The Voyager at 17'6" is a great boat. Never a hint of tippiness. Tracked like a hound dog. The only problem I had was with wind on rear quarter. I had a tough time keeping the boat from rounding up, even with moving the seat all the way back. Finally, shifting weight way back helped. That was my only complaint. Up wind in any angle, directly down wind, even wind on beam, this boat was awesome.
at about 8:30 a.m. the skies opened up and it rained hard. really hard. I put on my slicker and kept paddling. After two slimy portages, I settled into paddling. Around 10:30 the temp dropped and I started to get a chill. I continued up the Kawashiwi until the south turn to Record Lake and I started to get really cold. I'm a Ski Patroller, and know cold, I and knew this wasn't good. Stupidly, I'd left my poncho in my pack!
I pulled into the Campsite at the corner of Kawashiwi and Record River, and set up a temporary camp. I was really cold. Stripped off my wet clothes, put on my backup layer, made a cup of hot coffee, and hung the clothes out to dry - haha. At 1:30 p.m. I started out again and headed north, my final goal being Boulder Lake. I paddled through Trapline, Beaver, Smits, Adams, and crossed the two beaver dams into Boulder. Its was cloudy and windy, but the rain held off. I'd been through 8 portages. I got to Boulder, and not a sole was on the lake. In fact, I hadn't seen anyone since 8:30 that morning. I picked the campsite on the island on Boulder, set up the tent and a clothes line. The wind picked up, I sat down for a sip of whiskey, and the rain started. I put on the poncho (I'm a slow learner) and had a cold diner in the wind and rain. Retired to the ten around 8:30 exhausted. I'd worked hard this day... The wind and rain were discouraging, but the weather radio promised a nice albeit hot day tomorrow. It rained half the night, then calmed down.
Disappointment Lake was inviting, and I can see why people like it. But, when I got to Parent, once again, I had the entire Lake to myself. The third night in a row where it was just me. I felt lucky and almost elated. The wind came up on queue, and the rain's started, with two big storms. I ate a late dinner between them, watched the stars come out at 10:00. Then spent a rainy night in the tent.
Up a 4:45 the next morning to be at the Snowbank EP 27 Sunday by 7:30. Hitched a ride back to EP 30. Piragis was great checking me in. Took all of 5 minutes. Had a big breakfast, shopped a bit for a gift for my gal back home, and toured Ely.
In summary a great trip - good workout. Beautiful vistas. Lots of time to reflect. I realized that in the middle of the trip I'd gone 36 hours without seeing a person, boat, sign, even a candy wrapper.
30 Lakes and 30 portages in four days. Uffda!