BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
July 02 2020
Number of Permits per Day: 14
Elevation: 1381 feet
Trout Lake - 1
August 18, 2019
Number of Days:
This was our first BWCA trip for both my girlfriend and I. We arrived in Ely on a Saturday and checked into the Canoe on Inn. After dinner at Insula we finalized our packing lists and got to bed early. Woke up on Sunday early with a hearty breakfast at Britton's, followed by picking up canoe, portage pack, food pack from Piragis Outfitters. We loaded the canoe and headed to EP30. Packs were slightly heavier than expected. We had the canoe dropped in the water and loaded at 9:15 a.m., weather was cool and cloudy.
We are both avid campers but have never been to BWCA, this has been a bucket list trip since moving to MPLS a few years ago. After putting in around 9 we spent some time catching our bearings and reading a map. I managed to get us turned around within 15 minutes! A short while later is started to rain heavily, put on our rain coats, and had some difficulty finding the first portage. My girlfriend pre downloaded some google maps so was able to re orient us. As the day wore on and the sun dried us out, we improved our map skills, and had the wind to our backs. We made it through Lake One, Lake Two, Lake Three, Lake Four and into Hudson lake where we headed north toward Fire Lake. We settled on site #1368 just north of the burn, and arrived at 3:30. This is a beautiful sight on a peninsula perched up on a hill.
We set up camp and I got our fishing rods set up for slip bobber fishing with leeches. My girlfriend caught an 18 inch walleye within 5 minutes! We caught a few more walleye that evening after dinner. Dinner was steak, grean beans, walleye. Into the evening we were looking to the south west toward the burn area when we noticed a very odd looking light. After much speculation about what it could be (thought it was a fire initially), a bright red moon rose over the horizon! It was a great first day and we were exhausted. The night was finished with whiskey and red wine around the fire.
Day 2, we were up at 6 a.m. for some early morning fishing, coffee and oatmeal. We packed up camp and were onward to Insula. A quick paddle and we were at the 95 rod portage to Insula from Hudson. We double portaged for most of the trip to avoid carrying canoe and heavy pack at the same time. Sunny and mid 70's with a breeze today. Lake Insula can be difficult to navigate due to its many islands but eventually made our way above the burn area and into wilderness. We didn't see anyone until later in the afternoon. We chose site #1334. A 4-star site with a very large sandy beach. The beach was great for relaxing on, but not very good for shore fishing due to shallow water. Lunch was tuna salad wraps. We spent the afternoon swimming, hammock napping and happy hour cocktails on the beach. For dinner we had a pre made vegetable Indian curry, rice, and added chicken. This night the mosquitoes were out in full force so ended the night early playing Yahtzee in the tent.
Day 3- We slept in due to a slow thunderstorm rolling through that provided some rumbles of thunder and a reason to continue snoozing. For breakfast we made Ova-Easy dehydrated eggs, pre cooked bacon, and dehydrated hasbrowns with coffee. This was our layover day and we decided to head toward Fishdance Lake to see the pictographs. I trolled a rapala on the way and caught a good size Northern Pike, but forgot the needle nose at camp, luckily the fish shook out the lure in the net and off it went! Got caught in a downpour on our way but eventually skies parted and sun was shining. Very beautiful paddle to Fishdance. The pictographs were enjoyable to see, but it turned out to be a long day since we got a late start. Lunch was salami, cheese, crackers and trail mix. We caught some smallmouth bass below the rapids at the portage.
We were back around 7 p.m. and pretty exhausted. We made our fire and and cooked pizza quesadilla's, these were the best meal of the trip! Enjoyed a nice sunset from the beach and relaxed around the campfire in our Helinox camp chairs. These were a game changer the whole trip and I highly recommend renting if possible.
Day 4- We were up early and packed up camp. Breakfast was breakfast burritos and coffee. The plan was to find a site north of the burn area on Lake Four. This was our toughest day paddling. With a strong headwind and multiple portages, we made our way back from Insula to Hudson and then Lake Four. Our preferred sites (1483, 1484) were both occupied and we were getting a little worried. We paddled further west and found the last site (#1485). This site is up on a hill and had a flat camping pad but the kitchen and fire grate were on a slope. Did some fishing after setting up camp with minimal success. Dinner was cheese and shells with spam. The weather was low 70's and partly cloudy during day. This was the coolest of the nights dropping into mid 40's overnight.
Day 5- This was our last day of what was an amazing adventure that was both challenging and rewarding. We started off with an immediate portage that had tough landings on both sides, very rocky. This was followed by a 156 rod portage into Rifle lake. Weather was calm and cool, with no wind, great paddling weather! After a few more short portages we were back at the EP 30 entry point. We loaded up the canoe and returned to Piragis. I was never more excited to demolish a Subway footlong.
Overall the trip went pretty smoothly and the weather was very cooperative. Here is a list of things we learned. 1. Pack a little lighter- bringing more people would help better distribute gear! 2. Give ourselves more planned time for paddling/portaging 3. Plan more time for relaxing- This could be done by adding an extra day or basecamping