BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
September 18 2021
Number of Permits per Day: 2
Elevation: 1210 feet
Slim Lake - 6
Going It Alone
June 01, 2021
Number of Days:
My first day started with an alarm going off at 3:00am as the road from Valley City, ND to Ely MN is a 6 hour drive. I pulled away from the house around 3:30 as I had previously packed all my gear the night before. The 6 hours of driving was a piece of cake as the excitement of getting on the water kept me focused. It was 9:30 when I arrived at Piragis Outfitters in Ely to rent my Northwind Solo canoe. As I drove to the entry I couldn’t believe that I would be heading into the wilderness alone, both excited and nervous at the same time. I arrived at Entry #6 at 10:30 and started getting things organized to make the 90 rod portage into Slim. I talked to a guy in the parking lot who was getting his last bit of gear. I find out him and a buddy are just traveling Slim Lake for a day trip. The parking lot also had a ND car which I was hoping is not camped on Hook Lake, my goal destination for the day.
The weather was perfect as I pushed off onto Slim Lake. It was in the mid 70’s, light wind and sunny. As I worked my way up the lake, I see an occupied campsite with tent and tarp. I now know that my site on Hook should be available. As I pass by I wouldn’t know it then, but that would be the last people I would see until my drive out in a few days.
From Slim I portage the 52 rod portage into Rice Lake. I am double portaging this trip as I take my canoe and a 20lb Earth Pak my first trip and then my 40lb Superior One Granite Gear pack on my second trip. The 130 rod portage into Hook was the longest of the trip. Arriving on Hook Lake I make my way to my campsite. It is around 2:00 when I step out of my canoe onto the campsite that would be my home for 2 nights.
The campsite on Hook is an amazing site. There is a large rock ledge that gives you an amazing view of the lake. There is a great area in some tall pines for a tent pad. The site is large and roomy. Some things I didn’t like about the site is all because of previous canoers. I found stumps that had been burned. I found branches and small trees that were cut and thrown in the lake. I found fried fish and grease left on the rock next to a fire grate that was left in ruins. I have read of the negative things people are doing in the boundary waters and I witnessed it first hand at this site. I did my best to fix what I could. I promise I left it way better than how I found it.
The completion of my first day was in the books. I had camp set up. I had filtered water and had something to eat, but mainly I relaxed and took in the wilderness. I sent my wife Nicole a message on my Spot as I crawled into my tent to let her know I was having a great time and everything was going well. ~Slim Lake, Rice Lake, Hook Lake
I woke the morning of day 2 at 6:45. It was a glorious morning. The weather was perfect and the sites and smells of the wilderness were amazing to take in. I sent a Spot message to Nicole and started making breakfast. I enjoyed my oatmeal and the morning sitting in the buggout. I did some organizing of the camp, did more campsite maintenance trying to fix the issues I found, filtered more water, and did some reading thru the morning.
I planned a day trip to Keneu Lake where I was hoping to have lunch. I left my site around 11:30 and headed for the south end of Hook. As I got close to the portage, I realize I forgot my map back at the campsite. I searched the for the portage and find what I think is the portage. I walk it empty handed and find it to be a rock filled portage with a large pine laying directly across it. Being only a 30 rod portage I first thought it would be a simple portage. I decide not to carry the canoe and pack across as trying to climb over the large pine and the rocky footing, I would probably just create a disaster. I get back to my canoe and decide to explore Hook a bit and finish back at my site and have lunch there.
This trip I had some basic camera gear along to try and make a YouTube video for family to see. During the afternoon I do more video and did some reading back at my site as I relax and just enjoy my time. I am a teacher and had just finished my 27th year in the classroom, which was because of the pandemic far from normal. This time of relaxing and enjoying the boundary waters was such a refresher along with the challenge of doing it alone.
As evening started, I enjoyed my supper of Beef Stroganoff. I enjoyed my hammock that I had hung in my buggout and read. I sat and watched a 45 minute rain shower move thru the area. I couldn’t believe that tomorrow morning I would already be packing up and headed back home. I crawl into my tent and listen to the water dripping in the forest. I also came to realize that because of our summer schedule this might be my only trip into the BWCA this summer. I take in the sounds as I fall asleep.
My final morning I was up at 5:30am. I wanted to get packed up and back to my pickup at a good time. Because of the evening shower my tent and buggout are wet and make packing them a little more difficult. I have my breakfast of oatmeal and organize my gear as I pack up. With all my gear in the buggout it starts to softly sprinkle. The weather report says no rain, but the sprinkle slowly turns to light rain. As gear gets packed and the canoe loaded, I pull away from my site in a soft rain. The weather was warm and I push for the entry. I travel out the same as I came in a few days earlier and travel the entire morning in the rain. I push hard as the rain makes me move faster. I reach the entry and am back to my pickup around 9:30am. I quickly get the canoe loaded and change into some dry clothes for the drive back into Ely. I return the canoe at Piragis, use their showers and do a little shopping in their store. I needed a souvenir t-shirt and cap for myself and purchased a sweatshirt for Nicole as a gift for her worries. I left Ely and daydreamed of my trip all the way home. I was excited to see Nicole and be back home, but was also thinking of when I can return to the BWCA.