BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
April 02 2020
Number of Permits per Day: 6
Elevation: 1166 feet
On the Water- Monday July 20th-
On the water late considering how far we need to go today. Up the Horse river to the falls by 6pm. Started raining and NO campsites available. Mudrow-Alruss-Tin can Mike-Horse Lake-Horse River-Basswood. 13 miles by water. (not counting portages)
Tuesday July 21st-
Rain all night, all morning and all day. Went north by petroglyphs, table rock and the the Crocked Lake Narrows across Thursday bay to campsite. Basswood-Crooked Lake-Wednesday Bay-Thursday Bay. 11 miles in the rain.
Wednesday July 22nd-
Up early and calm winds to take advantage of, considering the big water we have to cross. Found beaver dam to lift over and did a portage from hell between Pandos lake and Chippewa Lake. VERY steep and slippery after rain. Many mud holes. Then the mile portage after Wagosh Lake to Gun Lake. Never saw another soul in a canoe or campsite the entire day! Thursday bay-Friday Bay-Pandos Lake-Chippewa Lake-Wagosh lake-Gun Lake. 11 miles by water.
Thursday July 23rd-
Finally had a dry night. got everything dry!!! A few portages today to Fourtown Lake campsite. Easy day by comparison. Gun Lake-Fairy Lake-Boot Lake-Fourtown Lake. 6 miles. Put the long miles at the first of the week for a buffer for contingencies!
Friday July 24th-
Last day. Stormed last night bad. A few portages today with one bad one between Fourtown Lake and Mudrow lake. To entry point by 1pm. Ready for a hot shower! 4 miles
45 miles by water
13 miles by portage (3 trips each)
58 miles total.
Wandering Women 2008
July 21, 2008
Number of Days:
We left Hudson, Wisconsin around 10:30am and made our way to Ely. Checked into Adventure Inn and brought our sleeping/next day gear up to our room. We left the Inn and did some shopping in Ely. One of the women bought a new pair of mukluks. We had dinner at the Chocolate Moose and then went back to the Inn to review our maps. We hit the hay early so that we could get up early to head to Mudro.
We had a quick breakfast at the coffee shop. I had a great piece of quiche and a latte. Great way to start the morning. We took off for Mudro around 7:30am. When we arrived at the former "Chainsaw Sisters" parking lot, there wasn't anyone else heading in. It was nice to not feel rushed to get on the water. We portaged all of our gear, and then waded out with our loaded canoes until the water was deep enough to paddle. We paddled through Mudro, and then made our way across the portage to Sandpit. I always read others writing about how "difficult" this portage is to travel. Sure, it has a steep part (better going from Mudro to Sandpit because it's downhill) but it's really not a big deal. We paddled across Sandpit and took the portage to Tin Can Mike. That's one of my favorite portages. A really nice walk in the woods, with a boardwalk on the Tin Can Mike side. When we arrived on Tin Can Mike, another group had caught up to us and was also completing the portage. They stopped after carrying their first load, and had a quick snack, then headed back for the rest of their gear.
We paddled Tin Can Mike and decided to spend the night there. We took the campsite closest to the portage. (#1120) It's not a great site, but we always believe that it's bad karma to have a great campsite the first night. We like to think that we work our way up to a great site. There is really only one tent pod at this site, and it's on a slope. We explore further around the site, looking for a more level spot. Nothing found. We put up the tent, unpack our personal packs, hang one hammock, and do some swimming. It's a beautiful day and we are happy to have time just to hang out.
Dinner that night was brats (from Zups) and pringles. We had a small fire and cooked the brats on the grate. (after rinsing the grate with water, and allowing the fire to burn for a while, heating the grate... since guys seem to use pee to put their fires out ;-) After eating we find a tree to hang the pack from. We wrap the rope around a rock, and hit the right branch after three attempts. The pack goes up, and we call it a night. It's a beautiful night, and the weather is perfect for sleeping. Last year it was so hot on our trip, that we rarely took our sleeping bags out of their stuff sacks. This year, we used them every night!
We awoke this morning to another beautiful sunny day. Today was my birthday, and we decided to actually cook breakfast this day. After boiling water for coffee (in the lexan french press - YUM!) I toasted bagels in the frying pan. After they were toasted, I put bacon and provolone cheese on them and steamed them under a lid. We ate them as sandwiches.
After breakfast, we packed up our personal packs and then took the tent down. We loaded the canoes at about 9am and paddled to the portage to Horse Lake. We paddled through Horse and over to Fourtown. We had two pull thrus to get to Fourtown. (going upstream) We paddled through Fourtown and fortunately, there wasn't a strong wind, and the water was very calm.
When we arrived at the portage to Boot, there were two groups there. One was loading and heading out on Fourtown. The other was three fathers and their sons. We sat in our canoes, waiting for the traffic to move. One boy, probably about 10 years old, came back to get a pack. He tried to get it on his shoulders, but couldn't life it and get it on at the same time. We told him to put that pack on top of another pack that was on the ground. He did it, and was able to just stand and put his arms through the straps. He smiled and thanked us for our advice. After this group cleared their gear and were gone, we unloaded our canoes and portaged to Boot. We knew that the fathers and sons were heading to Gun, so we slowed our pace (it was my birthday, after all!) and let them get ahead. They were done portaging when we arrived.
We portaged to Fairy Lake and went to see if the campsite that we wanted to stay at was available. It was! We have been to Fairy Lake in the past, and have stayed at both of the campsites on that lake. It really is a magical little lake. The campsite (#1087) has two levels. The beach and kitchen are on the lower level, as well as a nice hammock/hang out area. Walking up a small hill, you find the tent pods. We selected the spot that was best, and set up the tent. The only drawback of this site is that the tent pods are quite close to the biffy.
We went back to the lower level to have lunch, and that's when we realized that we had lost a nalgene. We talked it over, and agreed that it was probably back on the portage from Boot to Fairy. After lunch two of the women went back to the portage and found it. Crisis averted! It was another sunny afternoon, so we hung out on the beach and did a lot of swimming.
Dinner tonight was pizza. My friends gave me a birthday tiara to wear, and I wore it while cooking the pizza! We cook pizza on the stove. First, I cook the Boboli crust on one side, using the frying pan. (individual size crust) Then I flip it over and put the sauce, cheese, and toppings. (pepperoni) The lid goes on, and the heat is lowered. The pizza is cooked until the cheese is melted and bubbly. The real key is using a heat diffuser under the frying pan. This prevents the middle from burning. It's served with parmesan packets. We ate this using the unassembled Orikaso bowls as plates. This is definitely my favorite meal on the trip. After each eating a pizza, we were stuffed! We spent some time organizing our gear and then found a tree to hang the food pack from. A couple rock tosses and the pack was up.
The mosquitoes were starting to come out in full force, so we retreated to the tent and spent some time reading. I opened birthday cards from friends, including a gift card to REI. I had to make sure to pack that down in the pack so that it wouldn't get lost!
It was a marvelous birthday.
When we woke this morning, it was lightly raining. We rolled over and went back to sleep. The rain only lasted about a 1/2 hour and then we got out of the tent. We made coffee and ate our breakfast bars. The plan today was to head to Thunder or Beartrap.
We were on the water before 9am. We did the short paddle to the portage and then portaged from Fairy to Gun. It was a cloudy morning. We paddled Gun and portaged to Gull. Near the portage to Mudhole, a group at a campsite asked where we were going. We told them, and they responded "Wow, it must be great that way, because a lot of people have headed that way." We were a little nervous that there might not be any campsites available. We portaged to Mudhole. The end of the portage was quite swampy and muddy. We did the quick paddle to the next portage. The rain started when we started the portage. When we arrived on Thunder we got our raingear. I hate wearing my rain jacket when it's warm. I sweat so much underneath the jacket, that it almost makes me as wet as I'd be just letting the rain fall on me. The portage was full of mosquitoes, so we hustled to get on the water. We arrived at the first campsite. (#1883) It was very tiny and looked as though it hadn't been used in quite a while. There was a tree growing in the fire pit, and despite some effort, I couldn't find the biffy. We had stopped here because we saw people at the next campsite. My bowmate and I stayed at the site, and our friends went to check out to see if any other sites were available. They started waving to us when they arrived at the site where the people were. Turns out it was empty, and we had imagined seeing people.
We decided that this would be the site for the night.(#1884) We set up the tarp (CCS-- what a great tarp!) and got out our crazy creek chairs to sit in to have lunch. After lunch, the rain stopped, so we hustled to put up the tent before it would start again. We unloaded our packs, and then went to filter water.
Last year I got a new katydyn gravity filter. It's really nice to use because you don't have to pump. Just fill with water and let gravity do the rest. Now... my groups don't usually filter water. I have a steripen and that's what we use when we need an activity to do. Otherwise, we just fill our water jugs in the middle of the lake and drink it. One of the women on this trip had leukemia that was in remission. She needed to be particularly careful about germs. So we used the gravity filter and then she would also use the steripen.
It was chilly this afternoon, and I had to get my fleece jacket and pants out to wear. We sat under the tarp while it rained and read, chatted, and ate snacks. (pistachios and turkey jerky)
Dinner tonight was tuna sandwiches in pita bread and rice crispy bars.
It rained throughout the night, and was drizzling in the morning. By the time I got out of the tent (I'm never the fist one. I sleep later than everyone else) the rain was done. We had coffee and breakfast on the rocks, and then packed everything up. We were heading to Moosecamp today. We retraced our steps from yesterday, and did the portage from Thunder to Mudhole, then from Mudhole to Gull. It started drizzling a little bit when we were paddling across Gull. We did the portage from Gull to Gun, and then made our way to Bullet. We did the portage from Gun to Bullet, and the rain let up. When we arrived on Moosecamp, we were alone. We chose the campsite that we liked the best. (#1089) It had a great rock ledge and a nice canoe landing.
We ate lunch and then put up the tent, tarp, and two hammocks. Moosecamp is a beautiful lake. The campsite had a nice rock beach, where we were able to dive/jump right off the rock and into very deep water. It was probably the coldest swim of the trip! Around mid afternoon it started to look like rain, so we quickly put the rain fly on the tent, and moved all the packs under the tarp. It was a false alarm. No rain fell.
After a delicious dinner of Cache Lake beef stroganoff and oreos, we continued reading aloud from Bridge to Terebithia. We always choose a young adult novel to read on our trips. Last year it was Harry Potter- since the last book came out a week before our trip. Years ago, we were at a campsite on Friday Bay. It was late afternoon and a father and his two young sons pulled up at our campsite. It was starting to rain, and they asked if they could share our site, because all the others they had passed were taken. We said sure. After dinner, we started reading a book called "I want to go home." It is about a boy who goes to summer camp and spends the entire summer trying to escape. While we were reading, the boys (and dad) kept moving closer to us, so that they could listen to the story. Well, we read about 5 chapters, and then said good night and went to our tent. The two little boys (probably 8 and 10) came over to me and said, "Can we please borrow your book so that we can finish reading it in our tent tonight. We want to see how it ends!" We heard them quietly reading out loud, and laughing for the next couple hours. As a teacher, it made me happy to see them enjoying a good book.
After reading for a while, we turned in for the night.
We woke this morning to beautiful sunshine. We made our coffee/tea and ate breakfast. It didn't take much time for us to pack up camp and hit the water. We were headed for the Moosecamp River. It was a scenic paddle. The flies were a little annoying, but the scenery certainly made up for it. There were two beaver constructions that we had to lift over. The first was quite easy. The last was a little more challenging because of the drop from the logs to the water. About halfway down the river, a duck joined us. He quacked noisily and stayed with us until we got to Fourtown. It was fun having a little duck leader. He would keep turning around and quacking at us, as if saying, "keep going this way."
We arrived on Fourtown, and found that it was quite windy. We pulled over at the first rocky shore, and took a short stretching break. We decided that we shouldn't stick around too long, because the wind was really starting to pick up. We were paddling toward Horse Lake and decided to find a campsite on Fourtown since it was getting difficult to paddle. We found an open campsite (#1100) and decided to stop for the day. It wasn't even noon yet, and we hadn't portaged at all.
We had lunch and then put up the tent and the hammocks. Today is when we started having problems with the gravity water filter. The same thing happened last year after about 4 days. We cleaned the screen and tried again, but for the rest of the trip, it was very slow running. It seems like a filter should last longer than four days. Hmmm. I've been reading on this site about people using a coffee filter to prefilter. Maybe we need to try that next trip.
We spent the afternoon reading and relaxing. It continued to be very windy, and by the end of the afternoon, we all had windburned cheeks.
For dinner, we had cache lake macaroni and cheese. I'm not usually a mac and cheese fan, but it was delicious! (even Dixie the dog liked it, and she doesn't like any of the food we eat on trail except beef jerkey) Dessert was frosted animal crackers. After dinner we finished reading Bridge to Teribithia. It's a tear jerker near the end of the book, and we had to take turns reading just to get through one chapter.
I guess we're a bunch of old softies. :-)
Woke this morning to a sunny day with little wind. A big relief after yesterday. We had coffee, breakfast, and then hurried a little to get packed up and on Fourtown before the wind picked up. We paddled back to Horse Lake, and then portaged to Tin Can Mike. We had decided that was where we would spend our last night, at the same site that we spent the first night. (site #1120) It isn't a fabulous site, but we didn't want to move any closer to Mudro. We were savoring our last hours of BWCA glory.
It was hot this afternoon, so we spent the afternoon chasing the shade and swimming. One gal went for a swim, and came to shore with a whole family of baby leeches on her leg. Yuck.
We made soup for dinner. We had two kinds-- garlic potato and black bean. We added chicken to both pots. We decided to skip using bowls tonight, and just ate the soup out of the pots.
There were some small critters nearby who seemed to be playing in the water. Two little guys would scamper around on a rock, slide into the water, and repeated this over and over. It was fun to watch.
We awoke to a beautiful sunny morning. We made coffee and ate a leisurely breakfast. We packed up camp and loaded the canoes one last time. The paddle to Mudro was uneventful.
On the portage from Sandpit to Mudro, we ran into a group of boy scouts from Illinois. They were climbing the portage after dropping their gear in Sandpit and were on their way back across for a second load. Their leader stopped all the young men and had a discussion with them about being kind in the BWCA. Suddenly all the guys came over and asked if they could carry some of our gear over. They said it was a waste to walk without anything. We have been double portaging the entire trip (6 trips neeeded betweeen the 4 of us) and so had some "extra gear" to give them. One of the gals with me was 60, and has a head of white hair. They guys all ran over to her to "help." They were surprised when she told them that she didn't need help. We obviously didn't "need" help with our gear. But I understood that the leader was teaching these young men to be kind and generous. So we let them help, and were able to single portage. They were impressed to see us "wet foot" into the lake to quietly drop our canoes into the water. No banging or slamming of our canoes.
We made our way across Mudro. It was around 10am and it was very crowded. A couple other groups were crossing on their way out... so we just enjoyed the sun and took our time.
We did the last portage into the parking lot, packed everything in the car, and changed into clean clothes. (not that it makes much of a difference when you're so smelly, but at least there aren't stains all over!) We drove to Ely and enjoyed a last lunch at the Chocolate Moose before heading home.
What a great trip!
A couple of notes: We made it through the entire trip without using one band aid. That's a first for any trip that I've been on!
This was the first year that we decided against bringing cheese to have for lunch. I usually pack 2 string cheeses per person for each lunch. For a week, it ends up weighing about 5 pounds. We decided to cut that weight this year and just take jerkey and nut butters. (almond and peanut)
Jelly beans are much better tasting than GU power gel when my blood sugar is low. (I have type 1 diabetes and need to pack food that is easily accessible and lightweight for hypoglycemia) Gu is nice to have, because it's in single serving containers and can be slurped down quickly. This year I also brought some individual packs of Power Beans. Next trip I'll bring more of those.
Slap straps ROCK. I can't believe I spent all those years rigging hammocks up with rope. Never again.
We used a new food pack this year. A CCS deluxe food pack. I loaded all the food into the containers that fit inside the pack. It was a dream to carry and easy to keep meals/food organized. LOVE IT.
We used a thermacell, but only when it wasn't windy. It really works, but the slightest bit of wind and it isn't effective.