BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
July 05 2020
Number of Permits per Day: 14
Elevation: 1381 feet
Trout Lake - 1
Mudro to Beartrap to Moosecamp and back
June 25, 2008
Number of Days:
After a night in a Voyageur North bunkhouse, we made our way to entry point 23 at 6:30 AM. The sky was overcast with patches of sun lighting the day as bugs hovered around our heads. Quickly, we unloaded the canoe and unpacked the car and as I walked around the car I looked into the creek separating Mudro Lake and Picket Lake and saw something rather unnatural floating along. “Hey Blake, your sleeping bag is floating down the creek!!” I yelled at my cousin. This was he and his younger brother, Tyler’s, first time to the Boundary Waters and they were off to quite the start.
Blake unleashed an abundance of curse words and retrieved his bag then we portaged our gear down to the water’s edge just as the sky decided to unload sheets of rain. It poured and poured for about ten minutes soaking us all to the bone as we all scrambled for our rain gear. Finally, we hopped in the canoe and paddled off down the creek between tall reeds of grass as the sky suddenly opened up to a beautiful bright blue.
We made it through Mudro and the pond separating the lake from Fourtown Lake and then to the up and down the 141 rod portage I had long warned my cousins about. I carried the canoe in one trip and it was grueling, especially with the rain slick rocks and mud holes. In time we made it though and zipped right through Fourtown Lake, Boot Lake, Fairy Lake, Gun Lake and Gull Lake. Along the way I thought Fairy Lake was aptly named because there was something mystical and beautiful about it. By the time we made Gull Lake, the gorgeous northeast campsite was open and we stopped and searched around. It was still reasonably early and my mind was made up that we were going to shoot for the only site on Beartrap Lake which was still three lakes away.
We made it to Beartrap around 4:00 PM and thankfully the site was open. After nine hours of paddling and portaging covering around ten miles, we were relieved and exhausted. That evening we had a terrific meal of German wild rice venison bratwursts slow cooked over a pine fire and they were heavenly. Once the sun started going down we tried our luck fishing around a small island in the middle of Beartrap Lake. The weather was by no means ideal for fishing with a strong sun overhead and hardly a breeze at all. We had some bites but caught nothing and returned early so I could photograph the sunset which wasn’t overly dramatic with no clouds.
The next morning was clear and calm again and I threw out a line with a slip bobber and sat and watched the fog burn off the lake while drinking green tea and eating blueberry granola. I let the guys sleep in and it was a nice morning, just me and many birds behind me singing their lovely morning songs. Soon the boys were up and we packed camp hoping to get the nice site on Gull Lake we inspected the day before. Even late in the morning the sun was very intense and when we made it back to Gull drenched in sweat, our site was taken. We portaged back to Gun and it didn’t look promising either so we made the executive decision of paddling to Moosecamp Lake a day earlier than we had originally scheduled. By this time it was quite hot and we were getting a bit sunburned.
We made it to Moosecamp Lake early in the afternoon and the best campsite by the Bullet Lake portage was occupied so we moved on to the northeast site. Thankfully it was open so we got set up and in a short while it truly felt like home. This was a wonderful site with a great view to the west across the lake and also to the east towards the creek portage.
After eating, we headed out to the only decent drop in the lake to chase walleyes and we had some bites but caught nothing more than some baby perch. Blake complained of a headache so Tyler and I dropped him off so he could nap and we went back out to fish. By this time, I had a line in the water but my focus was to the sky. A spectacular sunset was forming right before me. I took some terrific shots before returning back to camp where Tyler and I sat around a campfire sipping Maker’s Mark as the clear sky sparkled with space. This turned out to be one of those perfect summer nights that one cannot help but dream of. Tyler and I formed a good connection and even the bugs were forgiving and gave us a break. As we watched the sky, to the east a glowing star shown big and bright. I snapped this picture before it faded away quickly and now after some research, I believe that it was planet Jupiter. Moosecamp Lake was truly magical this night.
Early the next day it was overcast so I stayed in my small tent and rested. Soon the rains came off and on and Blake and I went out and fished and caught some nice small mouth bass and northern pike but once again no walleyes. We returned when the thunders came loud and near and finished a wonderful meal just before the rains came. Tyler informed us that a cow moose was feeding on trees on the latrine trail while we were out, and when she spotted him she trotted off into the trees. We spotted her the day before as well. For the rest of the day we lounged under the tarp trying to stay dry and finished off our flasks while telling stories. With my whisky gone and my body tired, I returned to bed early to do some writing.
The winds picked up heavily through the night as rains beat down on my tent. I was afraid that my cousins were getting wet in my old two-man tent and when we woke, my suspicions were confirmed. The morning was bleak and rather chilly so we decided to pack up and head home a day early. After a late breakfast we were off down the long and winding creek that drains Moosecamp Lake into Fourtown. It was a slow and pleasant paddle on an overcast Minnesota morning and around one turn we startled a hen and her ducklings. The ducklings scooted rapidly across the water like they had Jesus feet while the hen splashed and balked at us for probably a third of the way out before finally flying back over our heads to find her babies. Nature can provide such good entertainment.
After four days we were wet and tired and we pushed hard through Fourtown Lake with a crosswind battling us most of the way out. We were hungry and sore and entertained ourselves as we paddled the westerly shore by telling stories of the beautiful young waitress at Sir-G’s in Ely who we titled “Pizza Girl” (we ate there the night before we entered). As we paddled I kept looking back at a nice open site and asking the guys if they really wanted to leave. Every time I asked I got the same answer, and so we moved south and out.
I snapped a picture of this island before we left Fourtown towards the rather miserable portage. On the last portage before Mudro, I took a picture of these lightly flowing rapids and then we finally arrived back at the car. It was now 4:30 PM and we took our time loading things up. Once packed, we headed back to Ely, wet, dirty and tired with warm food and hot showers on our minds. All along the way my mind kept looking back though, to the feeling that we just did something really special.