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BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

July 14 2024

Entry Point 20 - Angleworm Lake

Angleworm Lake entry point allows overnight paddle only. This entry point is supported by Kawishiwi Ranger Station near the city of Ely, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 18 miles. Access is a 640-rod portage to Angleworm Lake.

Number of Permits per Day: 2
Elevation: 1260 feet
Latitude: 48.0659
Longitude: -91.9303
Angleworm Lake - 20

Stuart - Iron - Crooked - Moosecamp - Fourtown

by 30Smoke
Trip Report

Entry Date: June 07, 2022
Entry Point: Stuart River
Exit Point: Mudro Lake (23)
Number of Days: 9
Group Size: 2

Trip Introduction:
My cousin had spoken of going to Crooked, and I wanted to return to Stuart and see Iron. We agreed on a big loop starting at EP19 and checked all the boxes, spending 8 days and 7 nights in the BWCA, not counting the first night of getting there and trying dispersed camping in the SNF!

Part 1 of 9


I worked during the morning and left about noon to meet Peter at Piragis. My mission was to find plant-based Lemon Eucalyptus insect repellant. Found some at Walmart in Wadena, MN and then worked my way to Ely to fill with gas, meet Peter and plan our trip.[paragraph break] Peter and I found spots to park at Piragis about the same time and went to check out light weight tent stakes and also fill my map hole of the northwest corner of Crooked Lake (North end of Sunday Bay). There was a nice lady working in the equipment / maps section of the Piragis Store that helped us and had some advice on fishing curtain falls in the current – either below or above the falls. She warned fishing above the falls could be dangerous, as the current could push you over the falls. We then mentioned we were also considering dispersed camping in the SNF that night to avoid a campground fee and get an earlier start. She advised against that idea, as the black flies and mosquitoes were creating great demand for head nets and heavier clothing to keep the biting insects at bay.[paragraph break] We left Piragis with supplies and information, driving to Fenske Lake campground to see if there were any available sites. After checking out the options, we decided to drop Peter’s truck off at the Mudro Entry point and then discussed our options. We settled on dispersed camping and were on our way to find a good site in the forest. After finding a good site, we set up our tents, and were amazed how nice it was outside that night, not a bug or bite in sight. No reason to stay up late in a dispersed campsite, so we retreated to our tents and got a good night’s sleep. Another amazing thing: I took no pictures!

 



Part 2 of 9


We were up early and packed, ready to go, but we forgot some things and had other things we decided we didn’t need. This delayed us an hour as we took things to the truck and then got back on the trail. Still no issues with insects, so we stopped for breakfast, actually eating power bars and hot chocolate. As we got going, we actually met two separate groups coming out. One guy mentioned how high the water was on Iron and that he had been in the BWCA for a month. Before we knew it, we were on Swamp Creek and decided to paddle around the last part of the portage and go over the beaver dam. It was actually pretty easy; a quick pullover and the water was high enough that we could paddle into the Stuart River and work our way to the second portage.[paragraph break] I had been on this 99-rod portage twice in 2018, going in and coming out. It was as I remembered, a pleasant walk through the woods, fairly flat and well-worn trail. The next section of the river would take us to the large beaver dam, and we were able to quickly traverse this one and keep going, as my prior experience shed light on the portage on the west side to get around the dam.[paragraph break] I really enjoy paddling the Stuart River and look forward to future trips along this place. It was a winding half mile plus to the 58-rod portage, and I could see a water path all the way to White Feather Lake, but we had a goal to get to Stuart. I remember this portage from 2018, as there is a puddle part way through the portage, and if you step right in the middle, you will sink almost all the way to your hip. I managed to drop into that hole both on the way in and the way out. But this time, I would cross it during daylight hours, not in the dark! I really like the longer June days.[paragraph break] Still daylight and we make it to the next portage of 68 rods right after Contest Lake, followed by a quick paddle and then another 19 rod portage before another half mile paddle to the last portage into Stuart. This portage is fairly easy, but getting into the canoe on Stuart can be challenging with the rocks at the end of the portage. Made it into the canoe without tipping and we headed toward the Island site, TAKEN! Next choice was the NW site across from the Dahlgren portage. This site was open, and I really liked it, maybe even better than the island site, but this time there was no snow to deal with. My experiences getting to Stuart Lake have always been eight plus hours, but each one was worth it. We set up camp, I threw a slip bobber out front, and we ended up with a walleye for dinner, as the hook got too far in the fish to remove. I was content to enjoy the whole evening from camp, mostly gazing at the island just south of us, reminiscing all the fish I have seen Gopher Adventure catch walleye after walleye from that island on YouTube, and then have a fish fry on the island. Fun day and fun to get to Stuart! We are off to a great start.

 



Part 3 of 9


We started the day with an adventure, looking in woods for white throated sparrows and grouse – didn’t find any, but it is easier to bushwack with just a camera rather than a Canoe or large portage pack. We did find sign, but it is difficult to move quietly in that thick underbrush. Good news is we didn’t get lost and were soon back at camp planning the rest of the day.[paragraph break] I let Peter know how beautiful the Dahlgren portage is and that there could be nice walleyes below the waterfall. He portaged his canoe and tried fishing from the falls to about 100 yards down river without any fish. We took some pictures by the falls and I explored the area, climbing to the top of the falls and looking for any unique landscape or animal pics. I walked the portage back and realized I dropped my sunglasses. Walked back again, enjoying the pine trees, that area truly is beautiful, and hopefully my body allows me to return many more times, as it is quite an effort to reach Stuart Lake. Met a group coming to Stuart on the way back, and they saw my glasses and put them up in a bush. Got them and hurried back to catch up with Peter.[paragraph break] Peter was fishing around some islands in the Southwest corner of the lake and having luck with some nice perch. We moved over toward the island and worked our way toward the falls. We probably fished that area for 30 minutes without any success and then headed back toward camp. As we left, it appeared that a group was taking up residence on the point by the falls, as all the campsites were taken. Wanted to say something, but also thought it might be better to just leave them alone, as you never know how people will react to a confrontation. The group we saw on the island site was still there, and Peter stopped and talked to them for a while. They were three brothers from Alaska that do an annual trip up here, and after our trip Fritz Fremgen commented on my post “thanks for the visit on Stuart”, so we now know who Peter visited with. [paragraph break] I have always been fascinated with the island in front of our campsite, and now that I had an opportunity to explore it, I wasted my time fishing and never did set foot there. The most fascinating part is that at one time there was a campsite on the island according to Paddle Planner, which shows it as closed, but still very cool place. I did row out quickly before dark and try to catch some of the walleyes, but they still refused to cooperate and soon my attention switched to paddling around it while taking several pictures. There was an otter that kept appearing, but never allowing me time to capture an image. Another glorious day in paradise. Looking forward to traveling to Iron tomorrow.

 



Part 4 of 9


June 10, 2022 - We were on the water about 8:30 am heading across Stuart for the first portage. As we paddled away, I took some pictures of the island that intrigues me, even though I do not understand the infatuation! This was my first return to Stuart since October of 2018, when it was windy (gusts up to 50 mph), rainy, and even snowed one night. These two days were much enjoyed, realizing that weather is not always optimum on trips, but each trip has its own joys, some come days after the hardships are over. [paragraph break] The paddle was pleasant as the water was glass with no evidence of a breeze. We were heading to the first portage into fox, a 279-rod walk in the woods. It was a workout, but I really enjoyed the views along the way. Seems like Stuart Lake and beautiful portages go together. Fox lake was a short portage and the one campsite on the hillside that did not even arouse a desire to check it out. Then a 65-rod portage into Rush Lake, and the campsite was occupied this day, but it looked like Rush would be a pleasant lake to spend a night and evening on, with the island camp site looking very nice.[paragraph break] The portage into Dark Lake led to a muddy landing, which was even less appealing than Fox lake, and even though I was browsing the shoreline for the campsite, I did not locate it before jumping on the trail to Iron. I had also seen many videos of Curtain Falls and Iron Lake, and my first view of Iron took my breath away, or maybe it was the portage, either way I felt we had arrived in heaven. [paragraph break] When we started the first portage this day, Peter felt like he needed to help me and we discussed our travels and came to an understanding that he is faster than me on the trail, and it takes me longer, but I can do it. We agreed we would each carry our double portages, and he would fish the next lake until I caught up. This worked great as he likes fishing and I try to enjoy the journey. We have made enough of these trips that we are each starting to learn to slow down or speed up, smell the roses or catch the fish or both, and as will be explained on the next day, it is worth bringing my Nikon DSLR camera with, as it takes much better pictures than the waterproof Lumix. [paragraph break] At Iron, we got on the water and Peter said he would try to get to the island campsite, but his race with another group came up just short, and we ended up on site 1836, even though the landing seemed flooded, the fire grate was higher up the hill side and It was actually a very nice site. Another lesson I have learned is that most campsites are nice, just because they are in the BWCA, although there are some that are not even adequate, but few and far apart. We set up camp and spent the evening fishing, catching several Walleyes, but all catch and release as we have learned to clean fish and eat an earlier meal so we do not have to fight the mosquitoes, just get to camp and go to bed. This was the first trip we brought the lean 3 with, which has made it possible to actually stay up later without the bugs bothering us. But this night, we just hit the tents and got a good night sleep. [paragraph break]

 



Part 5 of 9


June 11 - We got up for breakfast, and Peter had already caught a nice Smallmouth (we don’t eat bass, especially bass as large as the one pictured). After breaking camp, we paddled toward Peterson Bay and the Island site was open, so I checked it out while Peter fished the bay. I got many pictures of the campsite and the island and was getting ready to join Peter and work toward Curtain Falls to stay on Crooked that night, when I got careless and my Nikon D7200 fell into the water, drowned, and would never take another picture. I was wet and trying to dry my camera out, so Peter agreed to spend the night on the island. After spending time drying everything out and hoping my camera would come back to life, I accepted its loss and made plans to paddle over to Curtain Falls with my Lumix. Peter caught just enough to fill us for the night, so we ate, cleaned up, and I went to Curtain Falls. [paragraph break] My first time to Curtain Falls was amazing, as the water was extremely high and fast moving. Amazing to see the power of the water flowing from Crooked into Iron. This is turning into a wonderful trip with excellent adventures and seeing things I doubted I would ever be able to, knowing that I have to take care of myself and maintain my strength as I grow older if I want to continue having adventures like this. Words cannot describe the beauty and wonder of Curtain Falls, at least the way I put words together cannot express my reactions to these wonderful areas, so I will let my pictures speak. [paragraph break] Time goes by so fast and civilization beckons our return just as we get into the rhythm of the wilderness. Knowing the paddle back to the island would take quite a while, I left before I wanted to, knowing I would return in the morning as we moved onto Crooked for a day or two. The saddest part of the day was realizing I would be limited in the quality of pictures for the rest of the trip. I was not upset about the camera, more upset that I had gotten careless and not following my protocol of putting the camera in a waterproof bag for all entry and exit of the canoe. However, I was not going to let the loss affect the remainder of my trip, as this was a dream trip, and each year it seemed like we had a better, more epic trip in the BWCA. [paragraph break] I had a nice paddle back to the campsite, meeting Peter by Three Island on the east point. Upon arrival, we turned in for the night in preparation for the move to Crooked.

 



Part 6 of 9


June 12 - Breakfast was cooked, consumed, and everything cleaned and put away. After a quick 2 ½ mile paddle and 133-rod portage, we were at the top of Curtain Falls, just as impressive as the night before, I got some pictures of Peter at the top and we moved down the shoreline portage to the safe put in. [paragraph break] Peter fished his way up the shore, catching many bass, and I worked the shore trying to find the pictographs just before campsite 1850. Being early in the day, we ate some snacks and moved further east. The wind started to pick up from the South and we fought our way behind the island that has campsite 1876 on it. It was definitely a good workout, we got some nice waves, but nothing scary or beyond our skill set.[paragraph break] Once we passed the island there was a long paddle into more large waves, but we were soon paddling East with a big island to our south, and the Canadian border to our north. As we paddled around the end of the island, we could see that campsite was take as well as the one on the island straight east. We worked our way south-east to campsite 1879, which seemed small in the dark forest, but after setting up the Lean 3, we had a comfortable spot for dinner, which was caught by Peter. The walleyes were good and we fished some more afterwards. It would have been nice to spend an extra day on Crooked, but we have already used six of our eight days. Tomorrow would bring our longest travel day, including the 320-rod portage between Wagosh and Gun to end the day, or we thought.

 



Part 7 of 9


June 13 - After eating, we got on the water by 9:00, starting the journey with some fishing, but within the first mile, the rain began. As we turned South at the top of Friday Bay, we were getting soaked and pulled over on shore for a break. Soon the rain died down and as we got into the canoes and continued on; the winds began. Deciding another break was needed, we pulled into campsite 1868 for a break to stretch our legs and have a snack for energy. It had been a couple hours since we got on the water, and we had a long way to go. The wind was letting up, so we got to the portage to the Papoose Creek, took a right on Chippewa Lake followed the creek to Niki Lake and then met the first portage that was almost as bad as the goat cliff portage from Haven to Abinodji. After wearing out on the Niki portage, a short paddle across Wagosh gave me some energy, and on the mile portage to Gun, I carried my first pack about half way, and then found the strength to carry my small pack and the canoe all the way across the portage. Peter went to check for an open site on Gun. I got my final pack and got on the water as Peter was returning with the bad news that all the sites were taken. [paragraph break] Big decision time. I had proposed we do the Moosecamp creek on the way out as we planned the trip. We considered our options and Peter suggested we do Moosecamp and then the creek the next day. I was all in for this plan. I was pretty low on energy, but I followed the trail to the Moosecamp portage, and thought I had good footing, but slipped down to my waste in the water, nothing else got wet. Lucky! Peter had just come to check on my progress as I rolled onto the bank, and he took one pack, and by the time I caught up with him, he had just landed a nice Largemouth. Soon we had our campsite 1089 set up and a warm meal done. I was ready to sleep, as we paddled 7.7 miles and portaged 5 on the day over 10 hours. It was a good day, and I was excited to explore the Moosecamp Creek the next day.

 



Part 8 of 9


June 14 - We got a late start. Peter was going to fish for a while and catch up. I checked out the campsite 1090 to the east on the way to the creek. There were some remnants from the logging era, and the campsite seemed to get some use. I took a few pictures and resumed my journey. I had slept in, and it was getting past noon. I ran into my first obstacle, a submerged log all the way across the river, tested my mettle. I stuck my paddle in the creek bed, and there did not seem to be a bottom, so I went to the side of the creek and crawled along the grass and reeds past the log. Peter caught up at the dam across the creek. I asked how he handled the obstacle he claimed to have just stepped on the log and was able to push his canoe to the other side and get back in! I would have been stuck in the creek bed if I had tried a maneuver like that. [paragraph break] We were blessed that the water was high enough to paddle the full creek, and I enjoyed the whole paddle. This can be a very difficult creek when the water is low, but luck was in our favor and I enjoyed the full paddle, and it was disappointed that the creek had to enter Fourtown, as the paddle in the creek was over! But when one journey ends another begins, and coming into Fourtown Lake for the first time, the lake and was beautiful and all three campsites on this end were open. We opted for site 1102, and it was large enough to easily handle 2 times the BWCA limit per site. Peter worked hard to find a few walleyes, and I threw a bobber out and caught a nice walleye and sunfish. We would eat good the last night of our trip.

 



Part 9 of 9


June 15 - For the trip out, we were on the water by 8am and Peter was catching walleyes while I looked for the Fourtown Mining Camp, the bed frame and car skeleton. Unfortunately, I was looking along the north shoreline through the channel that connects the north half to the south half. Unfortunately, my search had me about half a mile north of the actual location, as I failed to mark the spot on my map. Since we were trying to get out early to make our drives home, I gave up on the quest and we continued south to the portages into Mudro. I was intimidated by the cliff and how I would get my Canoe to the top, but Peter helped and we were on to the second portage, where I say something I had never seen before and probably never will again.[paragraph break] Peter started up the 2nd portage, and as I got to the top, Peter was already on his way back – he said he had to put the canoe down as this was a tough portage. That was something I had never seen before. But I agreed with his assessment and put my canoe down, just a few feet after his. We wrapped this up and headed to the third portage. This portage wasn’t long, but without care, the portage held great potential to break ankles. Fortunately, we were able to avoid any broken ankles and were on Mudro. I was really impressed with Mudro Creek and was sad when we reached the entry point. We got all our gear on Peter’s truck, and before we hit the Echo Trail, my eyes were shut. A quick shuffle of my gear from his to my truck, officially ended the trip and started the long drive home![paragraph break] We have had some great trips and I am finding it difficult to rank any of them, as they are all special and have unique special moments. I am not sure what I would rank tops on this trip, but I really enjoyed seeing the power of Curtain Falls, but the paddle on the Moosecamp Creek was very special and may be the once in a lifetime paddle for me. But I have many more destinations planned. Safe paddling and portaging to all. - Smoke  

 


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