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BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

June 06 2023

Entry Point 4 - Crab Lake & Cummings Lake

Crab Lake and Cummings from Burntside Lake entry point allows overnight paddle only. This entry point is supported by Kawishiwi Ranger Station near the city of Ely, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 23 miles. Access from Burntside Lake with a 320-rod portage to Crab Lake. This area was affected by blowdown in 1999.

Number of Permits per Day: 3
Elevation: 1406 feet
Latitude: 47.9337
Longitude: -92.0269
Crab Lake & Cummings Lake - 4

Base Camping on Little Shell

by KevinL
Trip Report

Entry Date: July 29, 2015
Entry Point: Crab Lake and Cummings from Burntside Lake
Number of Days: 6
Group Size: 2

Trip Introduction:
The following is a report made mostly by my wife that has never been camping before.


This trip report needs a little introduction. My wife has heard nothing but what my son and I talk about our trips together ranging from Boy Scouts and our trips up north and last year at Thanksgiving she said maybe I should give a trip a try. Christmas rolls around and I gave her a Bug Shirt as a Christmas gift and her response was “I guess I’m going now”. 

Now my wife has NEVER been camping other than we spent a week at a cabin fishing twenty five years ago or a couple years staying at a cabin at Jelly Stone.  While I enjoy the cabin and fishing, I always hate the Jelly Stone experience but it’s not for me but for the kids/grandkids and I have survived it.   We headed north on July 28th and did a little site seeing through Duluth, Two Harbors, then to Ely with a little shopping and a trip to the Bear Center.  A great meal of Chicken Alfredo at Sir G’s and then off to pick up our permit, watch the video and spend the night at VNO. On July 29th with a 5am wake up we headed down to Britton's Café for breakfast and then it was off to Little Indian Sioux North with a game plan of heading towards Shell. We ended up staying on the campsite on Little Shell for five nights. 

Well here is a copy of the letter that my wife Julie sent to our daughters and her sisters.    Since many of you have inquired as to my thoughts on my recent excursion into the, heretofore unexplored by me, territory of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, I have created a document containing ideas that passed through my mind (and some escaped my lips) whilst I was on this journey. These may be chronicled in order of occurrence, or perhaps not, and is not all inclusive. I do apologize to any that are offended for my mildly profane episodes of language, but felt it necessary at the time! For those curious as to my strange manner of speech, I did partake in reading the classic novel, Jane Eyre, during my stay. Thus, I shall commence with my list of memories. • Well here goes. • Not too bad so far. • Downhill. • Butt low. • Pretty lily pad blooms. • Still doing ok. • My arms are not used to paddling. • So if I got stranded out here, I could eat wild rice? • Survived that. • Keep forgetting butt low. • That’s a lot of mud!! I really don’t want to get in that! I guess I’m going to. That is past the top of my boot. My foot is stuck. • I don’t know which is worse, paddling or portaging. • Ok portaging. • This is a lot of work! • That canoe has to be heavy. Is Kevin doing ok back there? • These paths are better than I expected. • This is the long one. I don’t mind walking. I don’t like carrying this much. Does it always have to be up hill? This is pulling on my neck. I’m going to get a tension headache at this rate. Uphill. Downhill. • What the hell was I thinking!!! • Well this is it. That’s why he sent me ahead. He could leave me now and I’d be doomed. No food, no water. I have no clue where I am. I need to fix my sock. • You are going to owe me so many fabric stores, scrapbook stores, dress stores, fancy restaurants, a massage, a manicure, a pedicure.  • Is this the end yet? • Are you kidding me?! • What now? • I feel like a princess going over the moat. • He really does love me. • Here we go again. Uphill. Downhill. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Right? I need to fix my sock. • I think they should just have football players do some portaging to get in shape. • Trees, rocks, water. Trees, rocks, water. • Are we there yet? • If I can’t do this, how do all those wimpy little girls do it? • I’m not carrying that blue one any more. • Not more mud! • Those poor girls. I knew he would help them. He really is a good guy.  • Yuck! More fricken mud. • Those are big rocks! You could break an ankle here. They just get worse every time don’t they? Damn fricken rocks. I really need to fix my sock. And I’m hungry. • Butt low. Paddle hard. Land Ho!! • It’s a loon! • So this is home. The bathroom is off the bedroom. • I am NOT sitting on that thing! I will squat, but I am not sitting on it! • I’m cold. • I will call him Looney Tunes. He sounds so lonely. Don’t you have any friends Looney? • Why am I so cold? Are you cold? I’m freezing. I can’t get warm. • Delicious. Just need some of Mom’s pork chop gravy to go with it. I think this is the first time in my life I’ve eaten a whole pork chop without ketchup. • It’s a hummer. I don’t know what he eats up here, there are not many flowers. • Critters stay away! Leave me alone! Never to come back. • This isn’t so bad. Thank you God. • Ants and flies I can handle. • Oh no! I’m out of Hanlontown water. • Still smells and tastes like lake water. • Kind of creepy back here. • This air mattress is really narrow. And kind of squeaky. • Keep us safe Lord. • These are really little. But they are sweeter than store-bought ones. • Something just moved in there. Well I could have lived without seeing that. • Rain. Sun. Rain. Sun. • And wind. • SCREAM! Well it is dead now. • Looney where are you? • SCREAM! It is a little green frog. Not a toad. A frog. But he scared me. • This would be a perfect little spot to swim and play. Just right for Noah. • Good supper, Daddy-o. • I’m going out on the patio. • Phooey! I forgot to download my devotions onto my kindle. • The bumblebees like the colors on my kindle. • Delicious! • No make-up! No hair do! • What was that? • There is probably a bear or moose sitting back there saying NahNah you can’t see me. • Near catastrophe! I almost dropped the whole thing in the toilet. • There are people. • I’m spying on people. • I wish it would just either stay hot or cold. • Why can’t we get along this well at home? • I need to move around. • MMMM! • I stink! • Lord please don’t let us get struck by lightning. That is the most continuous thunder I have ever heard. And it is right over head. • Something is out there. • Ha! I’m standing naked in the woods! Yikes! The water is warm. The air is cold. • I’m going out on the patio. • That was the hummer. I felt like my head was being attacked by a helicopter. • I think that is a gray jay. • SCREAM! A beetle thingy on my shoulder. • Looney has a friend!! Is that Lucy? • I do miss my chil’ens. And my little kiddles. And my kitty puss. But I don’t miss the customers! • It is so peaceful. I hear something and think oh it is just a car or something but no, it is not! There is nothing here but water, trees, and rocks. • There’s a plane. • SCREAM! The little frog again. • I’m surprised there aren’t more birds. • I hear robins, but I never see them. • Oh, a chipmunk. • I stink. • Wind again. • Time sure doesn’t go this fast at work. • Now a piece of Hondo is up here. • I wish we could see the full moon shining on the lake. • Looney come back. It is lonely here without you. • Oh gross. Look at the antennae on that! They are huge. • I don’t want to think about going back to work. • And I don’t want to ask if we are going back the same way that we came. Might be better off to not know. • These mosquitoes are really loud. • That is pretty. The lake is so still. • Rain again. And wind. Always wind. • No don’t think about reality. • I’m wearing tall socks this time! • Good bye little campsite. Goodbye Looney. Goodbye Little Shell. • All those rocks. Damn huge rocks. • Which is worse paddling or portaging? • All that mud. • Portaging is definitely worse. • Cool! • This is a lot of work. • Uphill. • Is Kevin coming? Don’t let him have a heart attack. What would I do?  What if I have one? • The dreaded blue one. • Why do the rocks always have to be in the way? • I think it is going better on the way out. Is it because I know what to expect? • I always forget butt low. • Paddle. Paddle. Paddle. Another curve. Another curve. One of these curves has to be the last one! • Uphill. • Are we there yet? • Tension headache coming again. • Yeah, I really think they should train football players this way. • Am I going the right way? • It just looks like someone poured cement here. These rocks are huge. • Will I ever be at the top? • Finally! Now do it again. • OUT! • I don’t want to go back to reality! In conclusion, it went better than expected. We ate well! Relaxed. I would recommend trying it as long as you have someone as prepared and reliable as Kevin is. Aside from the time I thought he was ditching me, I felt safe and in good hands. And I would consider doing it again. Maybe not every year like Ethan. And certainly not twice a year like Kevin. But sometime. Again. And by the by, we did notice maple leaves turning color up there.


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