BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
January 28 2023
Number of Permits per Day: 5
Elevation: 1348 feet
A favorite route offering many trip options and memorable things to see including;
World Class fishing for all four BWCA Species
Soaring granite hills and cliffs
Tumbling rapids and waterfalls
Wildlife, including Moose
Vistas from high points across the region if you're willing to climb. Rating Easy to Moderate. Day One. Get to EP16 off of the Echo Trail early. The initial portage is long, but well worn and smooth, sloping gently downgrade to the launch area. Load your canoe and head North. You'll be paddling with the slight current on this narrow winding river. The water is clear and make sure to tell the bowperson to watch for looming rocks!
Early June 2009 EP #16 First trip for all of us
June 04, 2009
Moose/Portage River (north)
Number of Days:
This was a travel day we didn't actually enter the BWCA until Friday.
It was the last day of school. The plan was to leave as soon as the two younger (14, 16) boys got home from school. Our oldest son (20) was home from college already. I left work early to get the car packed up so we were ready. We have two small kayaks that we decided to use and we were going to rent a canoe from Voyageur North Outfitters. The kayaks and few other items were loaded on the trailer and the car was packed. We hit the road for Ely around 4 pm Thursday afternoon. We were planning to get up to Ely and meet with Lynn and get the paper work and route planning done before going to bed. The drive to Ely went great except for the rain. We made to Voyageur North Outfitters (VNO) around 10:30 pm. Took care of the pre-trip stuff and went to bed. Nina Moose Lake, Agnes, Lake
First BWCA day. I got up early and noticed it was still raining. I was worried about starting out getting wet. I woke the boys up and packed up. We went downstairs to load the canoe and the rest of the rental gear. Headed for breakfast. I wish I could remember the name of the restaurant but I don’t. Anyway, the breakfast huge and really good. Towards the end of breakfast I noticed my middle son looking a uneasy. When asked about it he said he was getting a migraine. I thought if we got back to the bunk house and he laid down for a bit it would pass. While he was sleeping the other boys and I watched TV and walked around the VNO store. The rain had pretty much stopped by 10 am. I woke Ethen up to see how he was feeling. He was still not 100% but said he could go. I was unsure if we should try it or wait until the next day and take a shorter trip. It was decided to go for it. We made it to the EP before noon, unloaded and headed out. The portage in was long and we had to make two trips. For not feeling well Ethen was amazing. On the drive up it was decided that the oldest and the youngest would take the kayaks and Ethen and I would take the canoe. It took some packing and readjusting to get all the gear into the canoe, the kayaks just didn’t have a place to stow anything. The weather changed from drizzle to almost sunshine. As soon as we got our rain gear on it would stop raining, we would take the rain gear off and it would start raining. Oh well, just roll with it. We were still trying to figure out the best way to unload, portage and reload but, we were getting there. VNO recommended that we stop at a huge rock hill on the way to Nina Moose Lake. We stopped there and found the shore very muddy. The youngest (Gaven) was stepping out of his kayak and started to sink in the mud. He jumped out and ran for higher ground forgetting to pull the kayak up with him. Needless to say to started floating down the river. The rest of us were already out of our boats and they were pulled up on shore. We all looked at each other to see who was going to go after the escaped kayak. Brennen ( the oldest) got back in his kayak and rescued the runaway kayak. We made our way up bald rock. It was a heck of a climb but well worth it. The view was great. Back in the boats heading for Nina Moose Lake. Once there we were met by a head wind. Being in the canoe with two paddlers going wasn’t to bad, but the guys in the kayaks had to paddle hard and keep paddling to make head way. Gaven was having a heck of a time. We decided to head up and cross wind to the shore line that was some - what protected. We finally crossed Nina Moose Lake and headed for Lake Agnes. We reached Lake Agnes and we were all tried (out of shape). In my research while planning I had decided on which camp sites to stay at. The wind was still in our faces so we headed to the nearest site. We got close and found it was occupied. Headed for the next one, occupied, we kept heading up the lake into the wind. Being the canoe was quicker we headed out to find a site. The two in the kayaks stayed together and kept paddling. Finding that the next site was also taken we rounded the point to see what was open. Gaven seeing that we weren’t stopping exclaimed "WHAT are they DOING!!!". We found very nice site on the north side of the point (1801) and set up camp for the next three nights. Eat and went to bed early. Nina Moose Lake, Agnes, Lake
Woke up and decided to head for Oyster Lake to see if we could catch some fish for supper. We tried to pack light because it was only a day trip with a long portage. We figured we had all day so we didn’t push it. On the way to Oyster we saw a couple of deer and a moose way off in the distance. Once on Oyster we paddled around a bit to see what there was to see. We stopped at site 1782 for lunch. It looked like a real nice site. After lunch we headed back out to see if any fish were biting. Two of the boys were not into fishing but humoured me to drag a shad rap around for a while. With very little effort put into fishing is wasn’t a surprise nothing was caught. Weather was pretty nice. It wasn’t swimming weather but it was a great day. Agnes, Lake, Oyster Lake
Lac LaCroix, Boulder Bay was the destination for the day. What a beautiful day it was. After a short portage around rapids, north out of Lake Agnes we crossed a small bay and took a portage towards the northeast to Boulder Bay. We noticed from the map if we kept the shore on right we would make a loop back to the portage into Lake Agnes. It was a great relaxing paddle. Looking back I should have thrown a fishing line out and trolled. We decided when we got back to camp to pack up and head to Nina Moose Lake that afternoon so we didn’t have such a big day of paddling all the back to EP 16 the next day. We found a pretty nice site on Nina Moose (#1789). We set up camp and had supper. Explored a bit around camp and went to bed. Agnes, Lake, Lac La Croix, Nina Moose Lake
When we got up it was cooler than it had been, the sky was dark and looked of pending rain. We quickly packed up and grabbed a quick bite to eat. We loaded up and headed south for the river. With me guiding the crew we went to far to the right. Things were not looking familiar. We stopped to talk and decided we were in the wrong bay. Back tracking following the shore we found the correct river and head up. We noticed after hitting bottom a couple of times that the water level had gone down making the trek upstream that much slower. The weather held and we made it back to Ely before it started to rain.[paragraph break] Looking Back
It was a great trip. A chance for the boys and I to spend time together away from cell phones, work, and other distractions. I had planned hard and expected much, I need to learn to live in the moment and enjoy things as they happen not in the planning of them happening. When first asked Gaven (youngest) said he had a good time but wasn’t sure if he would do it again. It took a little convincing but he is on board for the 2010 trip as I write this. I need to learn to pack lighter, enjoy the journey, and how to hang a food bag.