BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
May 29 2023
Entry Point 16 - Moose/Portage River (North of Echo Trail)
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!
Oyster Creek and Boulder River
June 05, 2011
Moose/Portage River (north)
Number of Days:
Sunday morning we were up at 5:30. We had breakfast sandwiches from the Clark station next door. We had intended to buy our leaches from TGO, but he wasn't up yet, so got them from Lynne and headed on up the Echo Trail.
The day was sunny and warm. We had smooth paddling except for the occasional beaver dam. We paddled down the Moose River, crossed Nina Moose lake and into the Nina Moose River. Then, on the 70 rod portage on the Nina Moose River I tripped on a rock and went down hard on my hands and knees, dropping the canoe. I have NEVER fallen on a portage before and have to admit it shook my confidence. Am I getting too old for this?
Jay was there in a flash, asked if I was alright. "Yes, I just tripped on a rock", I said, wondering if I was being fully honest. I picked up the canoe and continued on, watching where I put my feet. Those concerns stayed with me for the entire trip.
We continued until we reached the place we thought we should find the mouth of Oyster Creek. After one wrong turn we found it and paddled north. The Oyster starts out very narrow, winding in tight turns. For every mile the crow flies we covered maybe 3 or more along the creek. We had numerous beaver dams to drag over. The bottom is so soft and mucky there is no place to stand. When dragging over a beaver dam we had to balance precariously on the dam itself. By the time we reached Oyster Lake the wind was blowing pretty hard and we were tired. We took the camp site just north of the portage and made camp.
I recommend taking the portage from Agnes instead Oyster Creek. It would probably be a lot quicker and surely no harder.
After lunch we took the canoe out and paddled around the lake. We saw one guy bring a canoe down the portage. Never saw him again. I think he continued on to Rocky Lake or Hustler Lake. Later we saw a group of five (yup, count ’em, 5) canoes and 9 guys come in. They all went over to the camp in the middle of the point. After an hour or so the guy in the solo canoe paddled around to the camp on the tip of the point. Looked like intentional rule breaking.
As we passed the camp on the tip of the point there was the one solo canoe and all the guys together. The next camp had the four tandems. Must be a path connecting the camps.
The rain was rapidly approaching and there was thunder and lightening. Just as we got to the portage to Rocky it started to rain. We put the packs and canoe on the shore and hoped it would pass. No point in just standing around. We portaged to Rocky. Once there we waited, watching the rain and the lightening. .
The storm tapered off. We started paddling up Rocky. Soon the rain and lightening were back. We paddled to the camp site on Rocky and set up the tarp for a little shelter. Then we relaxed, ate some gorp and jerky and watched the weather.
The storm passed. We portaged on to Green and then Ge-Be-On-e-Quet lake. We camped at site 119 on the point. There was plenty of room for my little solo tent and for Jays larger tent. I strung my tarp over my tent in case the rain returned. Not a bad little camp.
We arrived at Pocket Creek in a short time, made the right turn and arrived at Lac La Croix a few minutes later. Once on the big lake the wind increased dramatically. We pulled into campsite 150, which I had marked on the map as a 5 star rated site. By now the wind was blowing a moderate gale, according to the Beaufort Scale. We set up camp and rigged the big blue tarp as a wind break. The camp was a bit of a disappointment. The south beach was overrun with poison ivy and the area around the fire grate was brushy. I rated it a 3 star, but we were glad to get out of the waves. It was chilly and we soon put on our long underwear, fleeces and wool shirts. Then we had a rather pleasant day lounging around camp, gathering firewood and trying to avoid the poison ivy.
I didn't like the upstream portage from Boulder River back to Boulder Bay' The Boulder bay end is very rocky with no place to set a canoe or packs. We checked out the 115 rod portage that goes from the Boulder River to Agnes. It comes out right by the place we wanted to camp. It turned out to be a straight, level easy portage. I liked it. After lunch I took a hike to the top of the hill behind camp to get a photo of Boulder Bay.
The portage was easy but pretty buggy. Thank God for Permethrin. We camped at site 1803 on Agnes. Somebody had strapped a deer scull with an 8 point rack (4 point for you westerners) high up a red pine. Jay says he can reach up exactly 8 feet, so by eyeballing him pointing up the trunk we estimated the scull to be 24 feet up the tree. What kind of person will pack an extension ladder into Agnes?
Our temporary fishing licenses had expired so we gave our remaining leaches to a guy fishing from a solo canoe near our camp.
On the first portage on the Moose River we met 4agreenearth and his group heading in. We had a nice chat. Glad to meet you Dave. Always happy to run into another Michigander in Canoe Country.
We were back in Ely early afternoon. Lynne got us our room in the bunk house. Jay bought me a steak dinner at the Ely Steakhouse. We wandered around town, did some shopping and got to bed early. We were on the road at 5:45 the next morning, clean, rested and well fed.
I have given a lot of thought to my ability do continue tripping (no pun intended). I've decided I'm still pretty fit for 65. I'll continue my wilderness trips, but I plan to pare down the weight of my pack and to be more aware of where I put my feet. My wife assures me that I'm not as young as I used to be, but Tom Petty says 'If you never slow down you never grow old.' Guess I'll listen to both of them.