BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
September 23 2017
Number of Permits per Day: 18
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!
Return to My First Trip Area
June 19, 2016
Number of Days:
The trip in was fine, slight wind in our face, made it over the two portages with no problems. Once we hit Lake Four we started looking for a campsite, and all were taken with the exception of the last one before portaging into Hudson. Which was the one I was wanting so we were lucky there! Site was nice, good tent pads on grass or in the woods. We chose out in the open in the grass. Trees for hammocks were limited in the open area. Campsite was clean except for sunflower shells, and pistachio shells everywhere. Bad thing was there were several small firs cut down back in the woods... don't know why there was plenty of fire wood with the burn area near by. Once camp was set up the wind started blowing 20 - 25 constant with gust up to 35 or more. It stayed the same way until Tuesday morning.
Storms Sunday night brought rain and more wind but nothing worse than what we had had so far. All we could do from Sunday until Tuesday was relax in our hammocks, or explore the huge island campsite we were on. On Monday while exploring I found the remains of an old cabin, some huge old logs were used to build the 16 ft square cabin. All that was left were the bottom 3-4 rows of logs.
Tuesday morning broke with no wind so we decided to go fish the Kawishiwi River where it runs into Hudson from Insula. One of my favorite spots! We get there and fish for 35-40 minutes before the wind starts again. While I love my SR Quetico 18.5 when it is loaded and paddling into the wind, it is not fun unloaded in a high wind. We have a very difficult time getting back across Hudson to the portage lakes where we are somewhat sheltered from the wind. When going across the lake trying to maintain the nose into the wind was virtually impossible being unloaded with a lot of freeboard. We were blown across the lake to the windward side of the lake three differnt times before we were able to get close to land on the north side to be in the leeward side of the wind. Very exciting times!!
Once we get back to camp Kim checks her phone and she has one bar of signal, she checks the weather and sees that the wind Wednesday is supposed to be out of the east. All day I contemplate what to do, leave with the favorable wind? Or fish tomorrow and try to paddle out Thursday or Friday. I finally make the decision at 7:00 pm and tell my wife Kim we are leaving in the morning, early. So everything is made ready, and we depart at 6:45 Wednesday morning. On the way in on Lake One I see two men in a canoe fishing, we paddle over to them and ask if they are using leeches, they say yes and I give them almost a pound of leeches that we don't need.
Needless, to say the wind comes up a little and we are blown a little more before we get to the Entry point. Trip is cut short, but we are safe, Kim's shoulder is sore but okay. And there is always next year... I hope!!
Good Things: Equipment Review: 1. MSR Autoflow Gravity Filter for water. How did I ever live without it!! 2. Thermarest LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot: My wife wondered why I had not purchased this for her before! No really, she said she had the best night sleep ever on this cot with a thermarest pad on it. With her shoulder replacement I wanted her to be comfortable and she was. 3. Thermacells: Once again, when the wind did not blow the mosquitoes were out in force to make up for lost time. These were very effective! 4. ENO Hammocks: Having to spend many hours in these over the course of 3 days was very relaxing, which we needed. 5. Eureka Timberline 4XT: at 11 years old it is still doing the job in the rains of the northwoods!! 6. The new and improved Bivy, with the lid! Much better my wife says!! 7. New portage pads made this year worked great!! 8. Solar Shower: Made my wife a happy clean person! Me Too!!
Good Things: 1. Spending some quality time with the spouse! 2. Rest and relaxation. You never realize how much you need it until there is nothing else you can do! Being wind bound is not all bad! 3. Zup's Ribeyes. Still very tasty cooked over a bed of coals! 4. Wild Life. Wife had more fun watching the mama ducks and their babies! 5. Meal at Rockwood's was good!
Bad things: 1. People cutting small fir trees and leaving them in the woods behind camp! What happened to leave no trace? 2. Nut shells scattered around camp. Foil in the fire pit! 3. No portage knowledge! 6 canoes all from one group obviously tying up a portage for over 30 minutes. Kids sitting in the aluminum canoes on the rocks, not helping load or unload. Trying to scoot the canoes off the rocks into the water while loaded, and sitting in them. (I know the rule is 4 canoes and 9 people) but there guys were all together. 4. Person(s) in camp prior to us, using coal to draw all over the logs...? 5. Wind, Wind and more wind! Big gust hit me when taking the canoe up on my shoulders, like not to have been able to hold it! Ended up having the wing nuts from the portage pads slice through my forearm and rip up about three inches of skin through my shirt as I was able to keep it from blowing away.
Things I learned: 1. If you are entering and have a lingering sinus infection, take plenty of medicine with you. Particularly if your spouse is getting a sinus infection as you are entering. She had it move to her chest and get sicker, and mine still is not better! 2. Learn to relax, it's okay if you don't get to fish! (not really, but you do what you have to do) 3. When you plan an easy trip, it usually is not easy! 4. Learn to accept the small blessings as you get them! 5. Learn to appreciate the big blessings when they happen! (ie... getting the last open campsite, making it back through a tough wind) 6. Have the knowledge to do what you have to do. Make informed decisions, communicate with your partner or spouse expectations of what to do in a storm, or in high winds!
I love the BWCA, It is my release place, my escape from the stress of being an assistant principal at a high school of 1100 kids. We will be back!!