BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

November 17 2019

Entry Point 1 - Trout Lake

Trout Lake entry point allows overnight paddle or motor (25 HP 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 30 miles. Access from LakeVermilion via 60-rod canoe portage or 180-rod portage that allows the use of portage wheels. This area was affected by blowdown in 1999.

Number of Permits per Day: 14
Elevation: 1381 feet
Latitude: 47.9144
Longitude: -92.3220
Trout Lake - 1

Solo Trip: Stuart River to Moose River September 2019

by jwenck
Trip Report

Entry Date: September 11, 2019
Entry Point: Stuart River
Exit Point: Moose/Portage River (north) (16)
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 1

Trip Introduction:
My wife and I have completed 8 trips in the BWCA beginning about 7 or 8 years ago. Five years ago, I bought a used Bell Magic because I wanted to do a solo trip. I finally made it up this year, but I've got some learning to do.

Part 1 of 4


My planned Itinerary:

Day 1: Enter at Stuart River EP 19, paddle to Stuart Lake, camp.

Day 2: Paddle to east end of Iron Lake, check out Curtain Falls, camp.

Day 3: Paddle to Rebecca Falls, then through Bottle Lake Portage, camp.

Day 4: Paddle north to Warrior Hill, check out pictographs north of there, paddle back south to Boulder Bay, camp.

Day 5: Paddle to Moose River EP 16 via Agnes and Nina Moose, exit BWCA.

Day 6: An extra day in case I have to lay over due to wind/weather.

I knew this itinerary was ambitious. If this weren’t achievable, my 2nd option was to skip Warrior Hill and the pictographs on Lac La Croix--just visit Curtain Falls. My 3rd option, and least desired, was to take Dahlgren River from Stuart Lake to Agnes, find camp, then paddle out through Moose River EP16 (shortest route). I arranged to have my car moved from Stuart to Moose prior to entering.

 



Part 2 of 4


Primary Equipment:

Bell Magic canoe; Granite Gear Superior One canoe pack; 30-liter bear barrel w/ Granite Gear harness; Werner Skagit kayak paddle (plastic); 54 in Sawyer wood traditional canoe paddle; Old Town portage yoke with brand new Chosen Valley Canoe “bolt on” portage pads; MSR Hubba Hubba tent, CCS 10x10 tundra tarp; Big Agnes Mystic SL sleeping bag w/ Q-Core inflatable mattress; Sawyer gravity filtration system (7 yrs old); Jetboil burner.

 



Part 3 of 4


Daily Log:

Day 1 (Sunday, 9/11): I got a late start, entering Stuart River EP19 at 10:00 am. It was a nice day. I actually enjoyed the long portage in the beginning. I double portaged, but need to learn how to better pack for single portaging. I encountered 4 beaver dams on Stuart River, two that were three to four feet high. I watched an otter play in the current on Stuart River--one of the nice trip highlights.

[paragraph break] [paragraph break] I was initially going to paddle the whole trip with a canoe paddle, but switched to my double-bladed kayak paddle around 3 pm, recognizing I needed to get moving, and as much as I hate to admit it, the kayak paddle is more efficient. I missed my portage into Stuart Lake because I was in a hurry and had to backtrack. I made it to Stuart Lake 45 min before sunset. I camped at the island campsite, only because it was the closest campsite from my portage--it was nice site but had been abused by the previous campers. I quickly pitched my tent, got water to filter, but my Sawyer filtration system didn’t work. I back flushed the filter, but still not working, (I tested it at home before I left, too). I was thirsty so paddled out to the middle of the lake and collected water. I used unfiltered water the rest of the trip, but always went out quite a way from shore to collect water. Dark descended and I grabbed a pack of jerky and ate in my tent--I know bad move, but the mosquitoes were bad and it was dark. I woke up at 2:00 am to the sound of wolves howling. This persisted for 15 to 20 minutes—that experience alone was worth the trip. I heard them again about 5:00 am. [paragraph break] Day 2 (Monday, 9/12): I awoke to partly cloudy skies and wind. I took a layover day because I was beat. I thought about moving later, but the winds were 15-20 mph in the afternoon. I set up my tarp, practiced knots and read. That night it rained incessantly. My old MSR Hubba Hubba leaked at three corners. The weather radio was predicting a 50% chance of rain for day 3, and wide spread rain with T-storms for days 4 and 5. [paragraph break] Day 3 (Tuesday, 9/13): I made the decision to shorten my trip. I paddled Dahlgren River to Agnes. Hadn’t seen anyone for two days, but Agnes was busy. Though 5 mph winds were predicted, my guess is 10-15 mph winds were experienced. I was glad I was on a river. I really enjoyed the portages from Stuart Lake to Agnes Lake, very scenic. I found a campsite at the SE corner of the lake. That night, the weather radio predicted an 80% chance of widespread rain with a chance of T-storms starting late Wed afternoon through Friday. [paragraph break] [paragraph break] [paragraph break] Day 4 (Wednesday, 9/14): I got an early start and made it to EP16 at about 2:30-3:00 pm. Unfortunately, I left my portage yoke at the south end of the 70-rod portage on Nina Moose River, the first portage north of Nina Moose Lake as you head north (I was heading south). I didn’t discover this until I was at the 25-rod portage south of Nina Moose Lake on Moose River. I decided not to go back for it, but was really angry at myself for leaving it behind. But then I saw two other trippers’ hand-written messages pinned to the EP16 kiosk--they had also left some valuable gear in the wilderness—I felt less alone and cut myself some slack. [paragraph break]

 



Part 4 of 4


Hindsight Analysis: [paragraph break] 1) I Should’ve entered Stuart River at 8:00 am. I rushed getting to Stuart Lake and didn’t enjoy the day as much as I would’ve had I started earlier. [paragraph break] 2) I should’ve had a spare filter/ I did look the day before I left, but my filtration system is old and the newer filters don’t have the same endings for my setup. Why wait till the last day on something as important as filtration system. [paragraph break] 3) I should maintain my tents better. I have since learned that it’s not a good idea to store tents in their stuff sacks. Better to put them into a much larger mesh bag, or hang them. I also learned I can treat seams and the floor of my tent with a waterproof application. Cascade Designs recommends GearAid seam sealant and seam grip. [paragraph break] 4) The Superior One canoe pack is too big for the Magic. I laid it on its side, but ¼ of the pack was still above the gunwales. Perhaps, the Quetico Pack would fit between and below the gunwales. [paragraph break] 5) I felt unstable in 10 to 15 mph winds on crossings in the Magic compared to my tandem Souris River Q17. Of course, I have another paddler in the boat, which makes the Q17 much more stable. While the Magic tracks like a dream, turning on the smaller rivers was challenging. And I think I’d prefer more stability in wind over tracking and speed for a solo in the BWCA. I notice some folks on this forum like the Wenonah Wilderness, and apparently at one time Souris River had a solo Q16 with the seat set back slightly from center eliminating the need to attach and detach a portage yoke. Maybe they weren’t very popular. I weigh 250, short and plump, and I think I’d prefer something more along the lines of the Wilderness. [paragraph break] 6) I took way too much stuff. I would love to learn how to pack for single portaging. It's always a learning experience.

 


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