BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
July 04 2020
Number of Permits per Day: 1
Elevation: 1237 feet
Stuart River - 19
Solo Trip: Stuart River to Moose River September 2019
September 11, 2019
Moose/Portage River (north) (16)
Number of Days:
Day 1: Enter at Stuart River EP 19, paddle to Stuart Lake, camp.
Day 2: Paddle to east end of Iron Lake, check out Curtain Falls, camp.
Day 3: Paddle to Rebecca Falls, then through Bottle Lake Portage, camp.
Day 4: Paddle north to Warrior Hill, check out pictographs north of there, paddle back south to Boulder Bay, camp.
Day 5: Paddle to Moose River EP 16 via Agnes and Nina Moose, exit BWCA.
Day 6: An extra day in case I have to lay over due to wind/weather.
I knew this itinerary was ambitious. If this weren’t achievable, my 2nd option was to skip Warrior Hill and the pictographs on Lac La Croix--just visit Curtain Falls. My 3rd option, and least desired, was to take Dahlgren River from Stuart Lake to Agnes, find camp, then paddle out through Moose River EP16 (shortest route). I arranged to have my car moved from Stuart to Moose prior to entering.
Bell Magic canoe; Granite Gear Superior One canoe pack; 30-liter bear barrel w/ Granite Gear harness; Werner Skagit kayak paddle (plastic); 54 in Sawyer wood traditional canoe paddle; Old Town portage yoke with brand new Chosen Valley Canoe “bolt on” portage pads; MSR Hubba Hubba tent, CCS 10x10 tundra tarp; Big Agnes Mystic SL sleeping bag w/ Q-Core inflatable mattress; Sawyer gravity filtration system (7 yrs old); Jetboil burner.
Day 1 (Sunday, 9/11): I got a late start, entering Stuart River EP19 at 10:00 am. It was a nice day. I actually enjoyed the long portage in the beginning. I double portaged, but need to learn how to better pack for single portaging. I encountered 4 beaver dams on Stuart River, two that were three to four feet high. I watched an otter play in the current on Stuart River--one of the nice trip highlights.
[paragraph break] [paragraph break] I was initially going to paddle the whole trip with a canoe paddle, but switched to my double-bladed kayak paddle around 3 pm, recognizing I needed to get moving, and as much as I hate to admit it, the kayak paddle is more efficient. I missed my portage into Stuart Lake because I was in a hurry and had to backtrack. I made it to Stuart Lake 45 min before sunset. I camped at the island campsite, only because it was the closest campsite from my portage--it was nice site but had been abused by the previous campers. I quickly pitched my tent, got water to filter, but my Sawyer filtration system didn’t work. I back flushed the filter, but still not working, (I tested it at home before I left, too). I was thirsty so paddled out to the middle of the lake and collected water. I used unfiltered water the rest of the trip, but always went out quite a way from shore to collect water. Dark descended and I grabbed a pack of jerky and ate in my tent--I know bad move, but the mosquitoes were bad and it was dark. I woke up at 2:00 am to the sound of wolves howling. This persisted for 15 to 20 minutes—that experience alone was worth the trip. I heard them again about 5:00 am. [paragraph break] Day 2 (Monday, 9/12): I awoke to partly cloudy skies and wind. I took a layover day because I was beat. I thought about moving later, but the winds were 15-20 mph in the afternoon. I set up my tarp, practiced knots and read. That night it rained incessantly. My old MSR Hubba Hubba leaked at three corners. The weather radio was predicting a 50% chance of rain for day 3, and wide spread rain with T-storms for days 4 and 5. [paragraph break] Day 3 (Tuesday, 9/13): I made the decision to shorten my trip. I paddled Dahlgren River to Agnes. Hadn’t seen anyone for two days, but Agnes was busy. Though 5 mph winds were predicted, my guess is 10-15 mph winds were experienced. I was glad I was on a river. I really enjoyed the portages from Stuart Lake to Agnes Lake, very scenic. I found a campsite at the SE corner of the lake. That night, the weather radio predicted an 80% chance of widespread rain with a chance of T-storms starting late Wed afternoon through Friday. [paragraph break] [paragraph break] [paragraph break] Day 4 (Wednesday, 9/14): I got an early start and made it to EP16 at about 2:30-3:00 pm. Unfortunately, I left my portage yoke at the south end of the 70-rod portage on Nina Moose River, the first portage north of Nina Moose Lake as you head north (I was heading south). I didn’t discover this until I was at the 25-rod portage south of Nina Moose Lake on Moose River. I decided not to go back for it, but was really angry at myself for leaving it behind. But then I saw two other trippers’ hand-written messages pinned to the EP16 kiosk--they had also left some valuable gear in the wilderness—I felt less alone and cut myself some slack. [paragraph break]