BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
May 25 2013
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!
The Crew - 2007
July 25, 2007
Number of Days:
This was our first trip to the bwca. We had talked about putting this together every year when we were in college and finally I took the initiative to do so. I have to say, I have never met anyone as lucky as me to have such unbelievable friends. We had the best time and will be going back every year as long as we are capable of doing so.
We started out on Tuesday afternoon from my house in Albertville, MN about 1 pm. Arriving in Ely about 5:30 was perfect. It was hot outside but comfortable. We stopped into a couple of shops buying maps and other items. Then we went to the liquor store for some beers. We took off from Ely and headed up to our campsite on Moose Lake, where we were staying the first night before entering the waters in the morning. Several guys didn’t even set up tents in anticipation for the morning and they didn’t want to be hassled with unpacking anything yet. They opted to sleep in their vehicles instead. 7 of us had left from my place in the afternoon and we were waiting for 1 more. None of us had seen Benny in 2 years and we eagerly were wondering if he would show up like he said he would. I had talked to him earlier that day and he was on a bus coming from Montana to St. Cloud, MN. His brothers were picking him up there and driving him up to meet us at Moose Lake. We began consuming some beverages and the time past by. To help out we sat and made an crazy list of several outrageous things we wanted to accomplish on our trip. For some reason I can't recall anything that was on that list though. About 10 o’clock a car pulled into the site and sure enough it was the Smith brothers. We proceeded to have a long night of alcohol consumption. It was awesome! Waking up the next morning was not, however. We met our outfitter at the Lake One entry point at 9 am and got going around 10. This was our first time in so we made a few wrong turns on the way to Lake 3 but all we could do was say, “oh well”. I know, that is pathetic navigation but we were all pretty new to this type of thing. We arrived in Lake 3 around 2 pm. The original plan was to camp in the southern end. We dropped off a couple of guys at a campsite on the northern end in case we couldn’t find a nice one down south. And that is what we found, nothing. We headed back up and it was a good thing we did because this site was perfect for a large group like ours. We set up camp and started getting ready to fish. Deciding we were going to have a contest for biggest fish and most fish, we took off all in separate directions. We didn’t catch much but enough for a snack with our T-bone steaks. That night we sat around and talked about Montana with Benny mostly, drinking vodka-tang and lemonades. The next morning we got up, ate breakfast as quickly as possible and headed out to fish. Again, we struggled. Around noon a storm was coming in and everyone headed back to camp except Gundy and Gross. Needless to say, they ended up getting drenched while we sat at camp under the tarps laughing and taking pictures of them as they paddled back. After the storm, we went back out and caught a pretty good amount of fish and had a decent meal of fish with our spaghetti. Again, that night we spent hanging out B.S.ing about all kinds of crap that we used to get into when we were at UW-River Falls. The next morning we got up and decided that we were going to take a day trip up to fire lake and back seeing if we could have any more luck fishing. On the way up we caught a few and had enough to eat for shore lunch when we got up there. There was absolutely no one up there when we were and it was just awesome. After lunch we were all uncomfortably hot so we went swimming off a huge rock by the site we stopped to eat at. We jumped back in our canoes and headed east a bit more. Benny and I found the short portage that went down to Hudson Lake. We had radios and asked everyone else if they were coming because we were going. Everyone said no but we still went. As soon as we got over to the other side we threw our lines in and Benny had a pike on immediately. A couple of minutes later he caught a smally and then another one. We radioed the other guys but we were already too far away. We pulled in to a small edy just as the water way to Hudson Lake turns south. We positioned ourselves between a huge rock and the shore. I threw my line in and let it hit the bottom. Within seconds I had a smally on. Then another and another and another. Pretty soon a couple of walleyes were on our stringer. Unbelievable, we had hit the jackpot. We sat there and caught fish for 2 hours. Estimating we probably caught around 40 smallies and walleyes sitting in this hole. We were a long way from camp so around 6 pm we started heading back going through Hudson Lake and using the small portages going back into Lake 4. On the way back we ended up running into the rest of the guys in Lake 4. We held up our stringer and they all seemed a bit jealous. They were actually really pissed off they didn’t come with us. Rod and Adam decided to come with us back to camp and start cleaning fish and get ready for dinner. We headed through the small stream that connects lake 3 and 4, which we used all the time. Adam and Rod were ahead of us. Benny and I got through and were wondering what they were doing just sitting there in the bay? Rod had knocked Adam’s rod into the lake and it sank to the bottom. Leave it to Benny to pull out the snorkel and head out to get it. On the first dive Benny emerged with Adam’s gear. Lucky Bastard. That night was spend again talking about all the fish Benny and I had caught that day and talking about where we were going tomorrow. We drank some beverages as well and caught a snapping turtle, which was quite delicious. The next day we headed out and fished the small rapids where the portages are located on the way to Hudson Lake. That is as far as we got because we caught so many fish. It was an unbelievable day. Half way through the day we were all feeling a bit intoxicated. That was very evident with Gross and Gundy when Greg through his rod into the water after landing a fish. He thought it would float but found out quickly it wouldn't. He jumped out of the canoe after it and ended up forcing Gross to do the same in order to not tip the canoe and loose everthing in it. The best part was there was an older couple who witnessed our group catching fish like crazy and decided to stop and fish a while. As soon as they saw this happen, they got out of there quit fast. "Dear Lord", the old man said as Gross and Gundy swam their canoe to shore. Sunday was our last morning, we packed up our stuff and headed out. Every one of us vowed to make this trip again next year and it has already begun to take shape. I hope your experiences in the waters were as good as my first.