Boundary Waters Route Blog
    Trip Reports
      Trip Report - Canada Chaos
 
  Last Visit: 10/15/2019 07:04AM

Entry Point 12 - Little Vermilion Lake

Little Vermilion Lake (Crane Lake) entry point allows overnight paddle or motor (Unlimited max). This entry point is supported by La Croix Ranger Station near the city of Cook, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 45 miles. Enter from Crane Lake. Note: Not the entry point to use for Trout Lake (#1)

Number of Permits per Day: 6
Elevation: 1150 feet
Latitude: 48.2995
Longitude: -92.4268
Author Message Text
bwcarocks
senior membersenior membersenior member
 
03/05/2011 01:08AM
 
New Trip Report posted by bwcarocks

Trip Name: Canada Chaos.

Entry Point: 12

Click Here to View Trip Report
Reply Top Bottom Previous Next
BigZig
distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/05/2011 09:43AM
 
I would love to see pictures of this trip.
arctic
distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/05/2011 01:54PM
 
Glad you had fun and were able to explore some new country...

“Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.” -Edward Abbey
PortageKeeper
distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/05/2011 03:29PM
 
Bummer! I am real familiar with this area as our family has had a cabin up there for years and a houseboat before that.
You could have taken the portage from Lilac to Spring, and then from Spring to Wilkins Bay on LLC. Regardless, you can talk about this one for years! Thanks for the report!

“The more you know, the less you carry” Mors Kochanski
bwcarocks
senior membersenior membersenior member
 
03/06/2011 12:38AM
 
arctic – Yeah, contrary to the intensity of the trip. It was an adventure and we all had a ton of fun. We are all in our 20's and we seek adventures. This one just turned out to be a little more fun then what we were expecting. I definitely have the courage to take on any portage in the BWCA now. Portages in Canada/Quetico, now that's another story.


After talking to some people, and doing some research it sounds like Quetico portages are a little harder on average. Maybe they don't get traveled or maintained as much. I'll definitely talk to some outfitters or rangers before going into Canada again. Portages in the BWCA are so easy to find, and so well maintained that is was never a problem. I just assumed it would be the same. I was in for a big surprise.
bwcarocks
senior membersenior membersenior member
 
03/06/2011 12:39AM
 
PortageKeeper - I'm jealous of your cabin. Beautiful area up there. We totally found that portage that went north out of Lilac Lake. Awesome sand beach right there. I literally ran a half mile up that portage to see if it was the right one, but because we were looking for one that header WNW I gave up on it and ran back. Plus our map didn’t have that portage (and it doesn’t have the one going from Spring to LLC either). It's a shame, because that portage was in good condition.


After talking to the fishing outfitter guy. He mentioned a portage that goes from Trout Lake to Minnow Lake. And then from Minnow Lake to LLC. Our map shows a 160 rod portage going from Lilac Lake to Trout Lake so this would have been an option that would have worked also.


See attached map.
Red lines are the portages that several popular maps list. I had a McKenzie Map from REI. I bet that bottom one exist, but the 2 we tried to use definitely do not exist. After talking to the outfitter and PortageKeeper it sounds like there are portages where the orange lines are. Blue lines is the route we were forced to take.


bwcarocks
senior membersenior membersenior member
 
03/06/2011 01:01AM
 
Made good time for a couple miles.


Day 3. Work up to some cool fog.


Camping on the island in Canada. Campsites are a little different in Canada. They come stocked with wood, but they don't have a crapper.


We beat up ourselves going through the dense woods and marshes.


One of the marshes we had to cross. Not fun. But it gets worse.



A little clearing in the woods. We are a few hundred feet above LLC. We are in the middle of the insane portage. Elevation and dense woods to deal with.


Finally made it through the hardest of the portages. Our canoes are just down the other side of this cliff.


Have time to chuck the firz off the cliff.


Nice sand beach on north side of Lilac Lake.


Some of our fish.

arctic
distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/06/2011 07:53AM
 
quote bwcarocks: "arctic – Yeah, contrary to the intensity of the trip. It was an adventure and we all had a ton of fun. We are all in our 20's and we seek adventures. This one just turned out to be a little more fun then what we were expecting. "
I figured that if you hadn't given up after the first portage, then you were out to make some memories. Sometimes, actually pretty often, if you travel outside of the managed parklands of the BWCA/Quetico, you will HAVE TO bushwhack. The Canadian topographic maps often don't show any portages, or place them where they don't exist. Fortunately, portages are USUALLY found in the logical places, as people have been traveling these waterways for countless centuries.

When there is no portage, a bushwhack is in order. Some can be pretty easy; others can be hellish nightmares!

“Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.” -Edward Abbey
BigZig
distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/06/2011 06:15PM
 

Nice sand beach on north side of Lilac Lake.


"


That alumacraft doesn't appear to have a portage yoke. That would make it alot tougher. Thanks for sharing the pictures!



SunCatcher
distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/08/2011 11:00AM
 
bwcarocks,


Very Great Adventure...I am glad you shared and came up with some photo's. The more you tell about it the more I understand just how much of a challenge it really was! Onbe you will NEVER forget.
Thanks for sharing,
SunCatcher

"WWJD"
OldGreyGoose
distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/23/2011 12:57PM
 
Bwcarocks, I'm a little late with this, I know, but why did you want to go there in the first place??? It's not in either the BWCAW or Quetico, so the "portages" probably wouldn't be maintained by anyone, unless some locals did it. Your canoes look like rentals -- did you ask any outfitter about the area before you went out? Finally, you say the McKenzie maps showed the missing portages -- did you contact them about that afterwards? [I have found the McK maps to be very good (not perfect) in Quetico.] Interesting story, for sure, and I'm sure glad I wasn't along. --Goose

Soloing is sweet, but a good partner is "priceless."
AndySG
distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/25/2011 09:22AM
 
Sounds like you have "gone where no man has gone before." Quite the adventure. Thanks for the report and keep exploring while you're young. The knowledge gained will come in handy for many years to come.

"WWJD"
fitgers1
distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/27/2011 12:13AM
 
Sounds like a pretty awesome voyage. Congrats on finding your way out. Good orienteering skills are a must up there for that type of portage.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson...and...“Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading".
bwcarocks
senior membersenior membersenior member
 
06/28/2011 11:35PM
 
Goose -
No problem. This is a fun trip to talk about.


"why did you want to go there in the first place?"
HAHA. Exactly. This entry probably wouldn't have been at the top of our list. But we made the reservation only a couple days beforehand. Everything good was booked up, and we thought we could make something out of this. The plan was once we got through CAN, we were going to go down to Loon Lake and loop back along the US/CAN border. A big loop like this would have been fun. Plus, I try to find a new and different entry/area each trip.


"It's not in either the BWCAW or Quetico, so the "portages" probably wouldn't be maintained by anyone, unless some locals did it."
Yeah, total wakeup call! Some local did build and maintain other portages that I am aware of now. (See picture of map attached in previous post.)


"Your canoes look like rentals - did you ask any outfitter about the area before you went out?"
Nah, those are our canoes. We have all our own gear to save money and time. This forum does a good enough job now that I have found it.
bwcarocks
senior membersenior membersenior member
 
06/28/2011 11:39PM
 
"Finally, you say the McKenzie maps showed the missing portages - did you contact them about that afterwards?"
Didn't contact them. I was really pissed for a couple days. But I realized that McKenzie isn't going to recall all of those maps and make updates to them. There is a bigger problem. The map has been wrong for 30 years! And several other big name map companies have it wrong also. Talking to locals, outfitters, and people on this forum is the way to go. I hear you can go online to find updates for maps...
McKenzie maps on my other trips have been good. Maybe 95% accurate with portages. In this situation it was just way off.
bwcarocks
senior membersenior membersenior member
 
06/28/2011 11:39PM
 
We've gone on several trips where everything has worked out. This was a bit of a learning experience. Part of the reason why I am active on this forum today is to scope out routes ahead of time.


Despite the craziness of this trip I wouldn't change a thing about it now that I look back. I learned from it, I grew closer to my friends and family that were on the trip, I got a little more in tune with nature, I built up confidence and knowledge, I had a ton of fun, I look back and laugh about it, and it is one hell of a story!
bwcarocks
senior membersenior membersenior member
 
06/28/2011 11:40PM
 
AndySG - Couldn't agree more.


fitgers1 - Orienteering O yeah! I kind of showed myself that I could do it with a good deal of accuracy. If I was one degree off with the compass I would have missed the lake with our canoes. I am definitely not nervous about doing something like this again.
Reply Top Bottom Previous Next
Routes
Trip Reports
a
Routes
Trip Reports
Routes
Trip Reports
Routes
Trip Reports
Routes
Trip Reports
Routes
Trip Reports
x
Routes
Trip Reports
fd
hgc
Routes
Trip Reports
Routes
Trip Reports