BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
December 10 2023
Number of Permits per Day: 1
Elevation: 1237 feet
Stuart River - 19
Angleworm to Mudro with a newbie
June 03, 2015
Mudro Lake (23)
Number of Days:
After months of planning and preparations it was finally time to head north, and I was only a half hour behind schedule, that's good for me. The three hour drive to northern Iowa to pick up Rod and his oldest son James was uneventful and we were on our way to Minnesota to meet up with Rod's youngest son, Riley in the Twin Cities. He is driving over from Waukesha and will take two vehicles to Ely. We arrived at our bunkhouse room at Canadian Waters in a heavy rain and decided to get a pizza and then a couple of drinks at the Boathouse. We tried to organize our gear and went to bed.
The alarm went off and we could hear that it was still raining, so we took our time getting ready and had a hot, filling breakfast at Brittons Cafe. We picked up our fishing licenses and bait at TGO and we were finally on our way up the Echo Trail. While we were unloading gear and shuttling I was wondering what took me so long to get back to canoe country, it had been nearly six years. We had tried to pare our equipment down and reduce duplication, but we were still carrying way more than I wanted for our two mile plus starting portage. We got almost fifty yards down the portage trail and I tripped over a loose strap on a bag and went down to my knees on rocks, then I was wondering what I had gotten myself into. We met a nice couple from Spain on the trail that were out wildlife viewing and continued on past the halfway point. The trail was wet and slippery, so we gave up on the single portage and shuttled gear the rest of the way, and there was definitely a sense of accomplishment when we got to Angleworm Lake. We paddled up to the campsite we were going to stay at and found the fire grate removed and a ribbon tied to a tree stating the campsite was closed, so we paddled back to the campsite across from the put in spot and set up a comfortable camp. While splitting wood to get to some dry center wood our new hatchet broke and my spork broke in half during our supper, but it didn't matter, we were having steak and pork chops in the boundary waters. We were all pretty tired, so we went to sleep early to get ready for another big day.
Friday broke clear and calm, and we were greeted by a pair of loons and a couple of turtles sunning themselves on a rock just off shore from camp. We had a hearty breakfast of pancakes, eggs and shelf stable bacon. We made a plan for the day, broke camp and paddled to the fueling depot in the woods by Angleworm. We talked to a couple of hikers from the St. Cloud area and headed to Home Lake. The portage to Home was easy and uneventful and we paddled across Home to the portage to Gull and had a quick snack when we got there. I think that I know how a salmon feels swimming upstream now that I have done this portage. We had to wade almost the entire portage, through current a lot of the time, and I even lost my boot as it got sucked off in the muck and had to go back for it. At least there were grouse along the trail and we finally made it to Gull Lake. It was decided that Riley and I would go ahead and try to get the campsite that we wanted and Rod and James would do a double portage for the rest of the gear and follow us. We made it to the site with the nice sloping point and great tent sites, found that it was not occupied and began setting up camp. Rod and James soon joined us and told us that they saw a group with aluminum canoes paddling across Home, and we wondered if they carried them in to Angleworm, poor souls. We had philly cheese steak hamburger helper with dehydrated ground elk, and blueberry muffins in the jello mold oven and finally got some fishing in. James was the big winner in the fishing derby, catching a few smallmouth, a pike and a walleye all from shore at camp, with two smallmouth over 18”. Between the rest of us we caught another dozen smallmouth, another walleye, pike and a bunch of bluegills. James shored up a livewell that someone made, and we anticipated fried fish for breakfast and we went to bed.
I woke up early to do some fishing, and when I went down to the point I discovered that all of the fish escaped from the rock live well overnight. I went to the fire grate and started to rehydrate some pork for a breakfast of biscuits and gravy and soon James was up to do some more fishing. He was disappointed that the fish escaped, but didn't let it get him down, and he proceeded to catch a couple more smallmouth, one of them a 20 incher and I caught a couple more, so we still had fish with our biscuits and gravy. I don't know who invented the jello mold oven, but they are a genius. The only modification that I made was from an idea from my sister, I use black paper binder clips to hold it together, and they also act as handles. That is one of the reasons that I love this site, I call it the C.A.S.E. Method, Copy And Steal Everything! This was the first day that we really saw other canoeists, with a few groups passing by while we broke camp. The portage to Gun was easy, and we took our time paddling through Gun, because it is one of my favorite lakes in the BWCA. We met a couple of guys at the portage to Fairy and shared some map information with them, the did the easy portage to Fairy. At the other end of the portage was the first campsite that I ever stayed at in the Boundary Waters. It isn't the greatest campsite, but when I got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night many years ago, I laid on a rock and watched the Northern Lights while listening to loons, then a pack of wolves joined in, and how can you not fall in love with a place like that? We paddled across Fairy and portaged to Boot and were greeted with substantial whitecaps. The life jackets went on and we tried to hug the shore to get to the other end. There were a few open campsites, but we got to the other end and convinced James and Riley to go on to Fourtown and look for a close campsite, that would mean one less portage on the last day. They found an open site, but it only had two decent tent pads. I drew the short straw and would later pay for it. We got our camp set up and supper about finished when the storm hit. We had spaghetti with semi soggy garlic bread and pudding, yeah, we ate well on the trip. All of our gear was safely stored under the fly and we went to bed.
I woke up sometime in the middle of the night and realized that I was getting pretty wet. I turned on my headlamp and found a couple of inches of water in the bottom of the tent. I looked outside and saw that I was basically camping in the middle of a pond. I curled up In the corner of the tent and waited for the sun to come up. I was lucky that it was the last night and that it was warm. We broke camp and started the trip out. The short portage was very slick, but not any trouble, the long portage was different. We got to the portage and there was a group of canoeists coming in, and after 45 minutes they finally let us land. There were six canoes and 12 people, obviously breaking the rules, but it was also the first time that I encountered that kind of rudeness and arrogance in the BWCA. The portage itself was no problem, and we met a scout group and a nice father/son combo on the way out, and soon we were at the car. We headed out, turned in the rented gear and showered at Canadian Waters and headed south. I got to have supper with my daughter in Minneapolis and then it was back to the real world. I can guarantee that it won't take another six years to get back!