BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
March 21 2019
Little Indian Sioux River (north) entry point allows overnight paddle only. This entry point is supported by La Croix Ranger Station near the city of Ely, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 32 miles. Access is a 40-rod portage heading North from the Echo Trail.
Number of Permits per Day: 6
Elevation: 1364 feet
Number of Permits per Day: 6
Elevation: 1364 feet
Solo July 2015
July 29, 2015
Little Indian Sioux River (north)
Number of Days:
First a little back story of why I decided to go on a solo canoe trip. My wife and I decided the summer of 2014 to separate. During the time I was trying to sort it all out, I was reading Cheryl Strayed book Wild” From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. During her trip she met a wise older man that told her that she was on a Spiritual Journey. I felt I needed the do the same thing. I suggested to my wife that we both go on separate trips. I was going to head into the BWCA, I suggested she head to NJ to spend time on the Shore (her favorite place). A solo trip is out of my comfort zone. I’ve been referred to as a Safety Dad. I’m retired military, helped lead a BSA troop for 10 years. I normally have a back up plan for everything and travel in a group minimum of 4 to 6 in case of emergency. My back up plan for this trip was a SPOT device I rented from the Outfitter. The spring of 2015 Canoecopia in Madison WI, I mentioned in passing to another traveler in our van that I was thinking of this trip. She had a similar trip a couple years prior and suggested I talk with Voyageur North Outfitters. They had a booth at Canoecopia. There I put together a rough plan to spend a short week in the wilderness to think.
Day 1 of 3
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 I decided to take two days to drive and arrived in Ely on July 28th. I did the tourist thing in Ely including visiting a couple of the museums. I got that out of my system, and then met with Lynn at Voyageur North to finish up the business side of the trip. Found out that Lynn had traveled the same route and suggested a couple camp sites. My entry point was #14, Little Indian Sioux River (north). When I arrived there the morning of the 29th, I noticed another group getting ready to head to the water. I rushed to get my things together and did a single portage to the water. In the process I dropped my map and one of my bags. I realized I was starting off wrong. The other group was helpful and picked up my things. Finally loaded my canoe and took a deep breath ready to get started. The water was just as I hoped. It started off as a clear day with little wind. Unfortunately that didn’t last long. When I made it to the Upper Pauness Lake, the wind had picked up. It was about lunchtime, I found a small camp site and stopped to eat and see if the wind would die down. It didn’t, that’s when I remembered that my main reason for this trip was serenity and to spend some alone time. I wasn’t in a hurry to go anywhere so I set up camp. I was in camp site #39. A small site, but for one tent it was fine.
Lakes Traveled: Upper Pauness Lake,
Day 2 of 3
Thursday, July 30, 2015 Day 2 was my chance to get out for a day trip. Decided I wanted to visit Devil’s Cascade on the Lower Paunees Lake. On the portage over to Loon Lake you climb a hill. Fairly smooth for BWCA standards but it was steep climb. Get to the top there was a nice camp site with a view of the steam/river below. I stopped for lunch and a couple pictures. Thought this would be a fun place for night’s camp, but would be hard to plan on. If it was late in the day and you were planning on it, but it’s occupied then you have bit of a portage and paddle to find the next campsite. When I got back to my canoe, the wind started picking up. I decided I better head back to my camp site. Glad I did, a couple thunderstorms rolled through. I didn’t set up a rain fly, so I headed into my tent. Realized the one thing I forgot was a book to read. I purposely left all electronics in the car except my GPS. That was just for a back up. But reading would have been nice during the down times. That night the sunset was beautiful. The loons serenaded me and late in the evening I heard my first wolf howl. It was so loud I thought they were in my camp site. I jumped up asking myself where I dumped my grey water. Realized I disposed of it deep into the woods, that was good. My guess the wolf was right across the water.
Lakes Traveled: Lower Pauness Lake, Loon Lake,
Day 3 of 3
Friday, July 31, 2015 Day 3 it was time to pack up and leave. Too short of a trip, but I was glad for the serenity. Luck would have it this was the best day. Sun was out, few clouds and no wind. On one of the Portages back out I talked with a Scouter (Boy Scout Adult), they spent the night in the campsite next to mine. They were on Loon Lake during the wind and rain. It was a challenge for them with 4 foot waves. He was happy with the beautiful day on our way out. Back to Ely for a shower and change of clothes. By the way if you rent your canoe from Voyageur North the shower is free along with a cold one from their fridge. By now it was mid-day so I decided to make it a two day drive back to Indianapolis. The trip was too short, but it gave me the time I needed to think.
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