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June 18 2024

Entry Point 14 - Little Indian Sioux River North

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
Latitude: 48.1466
Longitude: -92.2103

Trip with Friends BWCA 2022

by Hueyav8r
Trip Report

Entry Date: August 22, 2022
Entry Point: Moose/Portage River (north)
Exit Point: Little Indian Sioux River (north) (14)
Number of Days: 6
Group Size: 4

Trip Introduction:
This trip came together in late 2021 when I was asked to co-lead a group from the Central Indiana Wilderness Club. We normally plan for eight people but this year I wanted to keep it to six. I was concerned about finding campsites large enough for eight tents, especially after my challenges in the summer of 2021 finding open camp sites. Our group ended up being only four of us. All had some experience in the BWCA. I wanted to try a new area/route then I’ve taken in the past. I worked with the staff at Voyageur North in Ely for some suggestions. They sent me a couple links from Paddle Planner of some route ideas. There were a couple options with going in at Little Indiana Sioux and coming out at Moose River. One was a longer trip on some big water but shorter portages and the other was a shorter trip but longer portages. I chose the shorter trip thinking portages, No Problem ??. That was my first mistake. This was one of my harder trips for four older and in my case out of shape paddlers. The entry point we received was Moose River EP 16. We could do my route in reverse. ? Our drive from central Indiana was uneventful. I’ve driven straight through in the past, not any more. First night we stayed in Eau Claire WI and made it to Ely midday on Sunday. Two of our group have new solo canoes and wanted to utilize them on the trip. I drive a Honda Ridgeline with a large Yakima roof rack that can fit both canoes. My Ridgeline was prefect for this trip. Two canoes on the roof and all the gear in the back. Canoe tripping is the reason why I chose a Ridgeline when I replaced my last car.

Part 1 of 6

Monday morning we started early. There was some concern about the time since it was about a 30 minute drive from Ely to EP 16 Moose. We were there when our outfitter opened at 6:00 AM. On the water about 7:00AM. Moose River was slow going with a couple beaver damns. But we were lucky, the week prior the Ely area had rain most of the week. We could paddle through but slow going. We were able to get to Lake Agnes around 3:00 that day and found a good camp site. ~Nina Moose Lake, Agnes, Lake


Part 2 of 6

Day 2 – The day of portages. Tuesday morning, not much paddling but a day with the most portages. Left Lake Agnes and a 188 Rod Portage to Oyster River and another 67 Rod portage to Oyster Lake. That was just the beginning. Next was a 301 Rod (basically a mile) over to Hustler Lake. This one was a challenge. After we finished we took a break and were spent for the day. We planned in a weather day in our plan and Tuesday night/Wednesday day there was rain in the forecast. We spent the day in camp under the rainfly. We definitely needed a rest day. I always tell my groups, the harder the protage the better the camp sites. We only saw one other group on Hustler Lake and it was on Wednesday. ~Agnes, Lake, Oyster Lake, Hustler Lake


Part 3 of 6

Day 4 Thursday started the morning with a little portage to Ruby and larger one, 265 rods to Lynx. Onto a Little Shell and Shell. Spent the night in Shell Lake ~Ruby Lake, Lynx Lake, Little Shell Lake, Shell Lake


Part 4 of 6

Day 5 Friday we started the morning with a 222 rod portage to Lower Pauness Lake. We heard from a solo paddler coming the other way there were no open campsites on Lower Pauness. This didn’t surprise me. Same situation as 2021 with the increase in visitors. He headed over to Upper Pauness Lake and essentially raced another group to a small camp site through the grasses in the southern part to a small campsite overlooking the stream and protage between Lower and Upper Pauness. The grasses were thick and not a clear path through them. At first we were concerned this campsite was not going to be large enough for four tents. But we all fit, little tight but great view. We were up on a bit of a hill facing west and saw one of the most spectacular sunsets I’ve ever seen. My camera was in my pfd, in the canoe. But a couple of the others took a couple wonderful shots. ~Lower Pauness Lake, Upper Pauness Lake


Part 5 of 6

Day 6 Saturday morning we skipped breakfast and hit the water early. I sent a message Friday via my inReach to a member of our club in Indiana asking Voyageur North to pick us up at 10:00 vs our original plan of Noon. It was threating rain as we started out and had some drizzle. The others in our group put on their rain jackets. I decided not to, lucky choice since it only drizzled for a while. The take out is listed as 54 rods, but it’s uphill. But we were motivated to get to parking and wait for our shuttle. Ran into a younger couple heading onto the water, the reverse of our route. Gave them some advice about a couple portages. I also joked with them about the challenges ahead. If they think you cannot handle the portage, think of our group, old and out of shape. I believe the age of our group was ranged from the mid 50s to the late 60s. Our shuttle from Voyageur North was on time. Pleasant surprise they some “cold ones” for us in the van. I learned it was a busy day for them. Four groups were all coming in at the same time. When we got back to Ely, I headed to Zups for a couple cases of Dorthy’s Root Beer. My daughter wanted some for her wedding in October. Plus a few extra cases for the others on the trip. Root Beer first then the gear. Wonderful burger at Stony Ridge Cafe and began our drive back to Indiana. ~Upper Pauness Lake


Part 6 of 6

Conclusion Paddleplanner shows our route as a total distance of 34.7 miles of which 19.1 was canoeing and 15.6 total portaging (double portages). I’m not much into the numbers. I plan the route and estimate a stopping point each day. Usually try to finish around 3:00 each day so we can find a camp site and relax before dinner. But it’s nice to see what our trip included. My normal trips to the BWCA, I’m usually excited with planning the route, reviewing the packing lists, updating the other members, etc.. This trip I couldn’t get excited. I wasn’t even going to go there in 2022. I have two daughters getting married and I wasn’t taking the time to get in better shape. When the normal conflicts and people dropped out of the trip. My feeling was to just cancel this year. I’m really glad we didn’t. The trip was a challenge but as always it recharged me, able to face another year in my work and personal life. I showed my pictures to my youngest granddaughter Dorothy and she wants to go to the BWCA with me some year. My goal is to get the next generation excited about the wilderness.


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