BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
July 18 2018
Cross Bay Lake entry point allows overnight paddle only. This entry point is supported by Gunflint Ranger Station near the city of Grand Marais, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 45 miles. Access is thru the Cross River with two portages to Ham Lake and a 24-rod portage to Cross Bay Lake. This area was affected by blowdown in 1999.
Number of Permits per Day: 3
Elevation: 1670 feet
Cross Bay Lake - 50
Number of Permits per Day: 3
Elevation: 1670 feet
Cross Bay Lake - 50
Mudro to Friday Bay and Back Again
June 04, 2014
Mudro Lake (restricted--no camping on Horse Lake)
Number of Days:
Our group left from Helenville, WI around 6pm on Monday the 2nd. Our goal was Ashland, WI as a member of our group works with the WDNR on contaminated soils and had a project there. The drive was uneventful and we arrived in Ashland around 1am. We all enjoyed an anticipatory lunch at the local Perkins and pushed on to Ely. Upon arriving in Ely we checking in with Voyageur North Outfitters and got the run down of the current conditions on our route. We were traveling from Mudro through Sandpit and Tin Can Mike into Horse Lake and eventually Lower Basswood falls via the Horse River. Then from the falls into Friday Bay. We planned a two night stay in either Gun Lake or Moosecamp, then a paddle back out to Mudro. We received good info from the outfitter and hit the hay early for a 6am start.
Day 1 of 5
Wednesday, June 04, 2014 We were all up early and on the road with the sunrise. The group was in it’s Minnesota III’s by 6:40am. The morning started foggy and enchanting. We didn’t get any pictures, but I will always remember the image of fellow group members paddling ahead, disappearing into the misty morning backlight fog of Mudro Lake. What a start! What no one mentioned to us was that the creek leading into Mudro Lake was a bit tricky, we hit a few rocks on the way out. Don’t tell anyone. Once into Mudro it was smooth sailing all the way into Horse. Portages were a little wet, but nothing unexpected. By the time we were in Horse the fog had burned off. The Horse River was a blast. 3 or 4 fun rapids awaited us and we picked our way up the river, expertly or luckily, not hitting many rocks. “Many” being the key word of that last sentence. We got a nice campsite below the falls and enjoyed a few small walleye before drifting to bed to the sound of Lower Basswood Falls.
Day 2 of 5
Thursday, June 05, 2014 Our group slept in a bit, not leaving camp until 9am. Today’s goal seemed very achievable; make our way up to Friday Bay, no portages. Viewing the Pictographs up close was great. Once around the corner, a few former Eagle Scouts in our group thought it would be a good idea to attempt to erect a sail between our three canoes. At best our results were mixed, but the process was fun. We saw next to no one all the way into Thursday Bay. I’m not sure if it was the impending weather, or just the feel of the place, but this leg of the trip seemed odd. It could only be described as a feeling of desolation, verging on creepy. Who know’s, maybe it was just me. I would be interested in visiting this area of the BWCA another time to see if the same feeling returns. Unbeknownst to us, a fairly strong south wind had developed during the day. Thursday Bay was rolling with white-caps and we had plans of crossing. The first two canoes crossed fine, the boat I was in was loaded too heavy in front. We struggled in the waves and took some water over the bow and side. After a hair-raising 15 minutes, we met up with the group again. Our boat members were exhausted, frustrated, and high on adrenaline but happy to be mostly dry and moving on. Fearing large waves on Friday Bay, we found a soggy campsite on an island just East. We had camp set up just in time before a 6 hour soaker came through. Another night of a few small walleyes and wet clothes.
Day 3 of 5
Friday, June 06, 2014 Friday morning was started early, on the water by 6am and down Friday Bay. No south wind this early and smooth paddling. Lots of grouse heard on the portage between Friday and Papoose Lake. We had a few beaver dams to contend with between Chippewa and Niki Lakes. The uphill portage from Niki into Wagosh Lake was a killer, but we were excited for this and the challenge of the 1 miles portage that lay ahead. All members met this portage with good spirits and it was completed in about 30 minutes with no incidents. Our group spread out here, each going at their own pace. It was nice, meditative even. Moose poop was seen about ½ through, which excited us. The moose was never found. Our goal was the campsite on the trigger of Gun Lake, finding it occupied we turned around and headed for Moosecamp. Once there, we headed for the old logging camp site on the eastern side. It was open and we enjoyed a nice afternoon swim. That night we tied into some nice walleye and enjoyed a fish fry under the stars.
Day 4 of 5
Saturday, June 07, 2014 Our plan was to stay on Moosecamp another day. All members of our group slept in. We didn’t hit the lake until about 10:30. My canoe returned to the entrance into Moosecamp from Bullet Lake. Here there was a fair amount of current entering the lake via some beaver work. My fiancé through her popper into the mouth and was rewarded with an 18” smallmouth. After some pictures and a release she casted again and hooked up with a 19” smallmouth. More pictures and another release followed by another smallmouth 18.5”. Here I asked her to stop so I could tie something on and get in on the action. A few casts with a tube jig rewarded me with a 17” and 18” bass before she finished with another 17 incher. What a great half hour of fishing that was. All bass returned to the lake, we went back to camp for a nap and some Euchre with our campmates. That night we returned to our walleye honey-hole and caught a few more, we returned them all to the lake for the next campers. That night the lake was wonderfully still and we enjoyed the calls of owls and loons along with a campfire and maybe just a little whiskey.
Day 5 of 5
Sunday, June 08, 2014 We again awoke early, needing to be back to EP 23 by 2pm. The lake was covered in fog, just like Mudro the first day. Our cameras were ready and we captured some amazing moments. All gear loaded we started down Moosecamp Creek. We were all in stealth mode, hoping to see the moose we thought was in the area. No moose viewed, but we did see a whitetail in the marsh grass. The creek was blocked by three beaver dams and we enjoyed the challenge of the pullovers. The creek is full of bends and tested my paddling skills, maneuvering the 20’ canoe around tight corners. We grabbed some snacks at the mouth of Fourtown and headed down the lake. One member of our group wasn’t much into fishing and saw this as an opportunity to paddle with gusto. We cruised down the lake, our canoe finding a natural rhythm and groove. Making good time, we stopped for a quick snack and nap before tackling the 3 Dragons. After the first portage, I wondered if these were aptly named, they are. The second, 140 rod portage was a bear. The rocks left you wondering where to put your feet and the elevation left you gasping for breath. All three portages complete we found ourselves back where we started, Mudro Lake. It was a bittersweet ending. We had an amazing time on the water and didn’t want to leave. I asked myself how important those obligations at home really are, can’t we stay? Once back to EP 23 we were met by our Outfitter who brought along cold beer! It’s the simple pleasures. We raised a can to an amazing trip with amazing people and reluctantly climbed into the van.
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