BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
September 21 2021
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.
May 21, 2010
Number of Days:
Travel day- we plan to leave my house at 8 am to make sure we make it to the ranger station by 5 to pick up our permit. We leave at about 8:30 which isn’t bad considering some of the trips I’ve gone on with others. I am always kind of antsy to get going and am a never late always early kind of guy. I will try to forget all that and be very patient this whole trip since it is a vacation. We make the usual stops(gas, bathroom, and lunch) and make it to Ely from Alexandria MN by about 4. We grab our permit and head to Jordan’s Outfitters, which is where we will rent our canoe. Once there we realized we picked the right outfitter. They are out of town about 3 miles which is great, we can begin relaxing instantly. They offer free lodging and breakfast for all renters which is perfect for us. They have a fire ring which we light up and have some brews and chill out by the fire until about 11. We then head to bed. Hard to sleep with all this anticipation!
We wake up early, have breakfast and are on the road. We manage to be on the water in Lake Mudro by about 9 am. The wind is at our backs and we are off! We find our first portage from fine but have a little trouble with the second one. We find what we think might be it and we decide to scout it out. I step out of the canoe and lose footing and the water is deep so I go down taking the canoe with me. We are soaked along with everything we have (Fortunately we have dry sacks.) We have a good laugh and find the portage and we are off again with what seems to be 50 extra pounds. The portages all seem fairly easy thus far. We head through Horse Lake and up Horse River and its 3 portages and hope there is an available campsite near Basswood Falls. We make it to the falls and the campsite right above Lower Basswood Falls is available so we take it since it’s after 5 and we are beat. It is a raised site but I would say it was a 3-4 star. The falls were great as they were right there. We set up camp and then hung all our wet gear from the spill out to dry. We then hunt for some firewood and stoke up a fire for some bacon wrapped filet minion we packed in! They were delicious with the instant potatoes. We then spend the evening relaxing and are off to bed by 11. Mudro, Tin Can Mike, Horse, Horse River
Wake up to great weather and I am eager to move on (as always). Steven is feeling ill from exhaustion and throws up in the latrine. He wants to stay at this camp for the day to re-coup, and went back into his tent. I have to admit I as a bit disappointed, but I spent some time fishing and relaxing and decided I could care less what we did. I did although do some scouting and found the campsite below the falls was now open and much more to my liking. I got back to camp after about 3 hours and Steven was getting up and feeling much better so I was able to easily convince him to move to the next site which had a great view of the falls. I make us some tuna salad pitas for lunch and I must say the packets of tuna and miracle whip are great to bring along. We then decide to do some more fishing and on my second cast I pull in a huge northern. So fun to catch a big fish on a lightweight setup! We let him go as it would be too much fish for the two of us. We then go out in the canoe and fish some more but have no luck. We have Bear Creek wild rice soup for dinner with prepackaged chicken and it is awesome. I take a very quick swim in the lake and we make a fire and have some s'mores. We head to bed and will travel tomorrow. No travel
I am woken up early by thunder roaring through Crooked Lake right into our camp. It is raining heavily so I go back to sleep. I wake at 8:45 and it has stopped raining and is starting to clear up. It looks like it will be a beautiful day. We break camp and hit the water headed to Thursday Bay (no portages today!). The paddle through Crooked Lake is beautiful. We stopped to check out the pictographs and marvel at the high cliffs lining the waterway. We stop at a vacant site for a quick lunch and then back on the water. We check the island site in the middle of Thursday Bay and it’s open and there isn’t a soul around. The site is a 5 star if I ever saw one! There is room for at least 4 tents with a great view with a very personal setting. We also notice that there are absolutely no mosquitoes here which is fantastic! Some one had left a makeshift bow there but no arrow so I carved one up and used a piece of birch bark as a feather on the back and actually got it to stick into a tree. The weather was perfect all day we spend it lounging around camp; we played chess, did some fishing, and made a fire. It is almost a full moon now and we enjoy the brightness before heading off to bed. I can sleep without my rain-fly tonight! Crooked Lake, Wednesday Bay, Thursday Bay
Wake up to another beautiful day with no clouds in site! We make pancakes and Spam for breakfast. Needless to say it is delicious. We then decide to break camp to keep our days light even though we could stay on the island for days because it’s such a great site. The wind is blowing right in our face today but we don’t plan on going super far so it is ok. We head up and out of the bay and into Friday Bay and down to the portage to Papoose which is very muddy after the rain in previous days. There are now 3 campsites between us and the 328 rod portage into Gun Lake and we plan to stay in the last one, but will check the previous 2 first just in case. We head through Chippewa and Niki Lakes passing up on the open sites and make the seemingly all uphill portage to Wagosh Lake to find our site waiting for us, and it’s only like 2:30. This site is better than the 2 we passed up but the island site is a tough act to follow. We set up camp and do some fishing from shore and I pull in another northern, and it’s the perfect size for dinner. We then hang around camp and I spend a couple hours carving a stick to near perfection. There is a storm bordering us but it blows by quickly. We fry up some fish and make some more potatoes and have another great dinner. Food was to be one thing we would spoil ourselves on with this trip. We call it a night around 10:30 tonight, and again I will sleep with my rain- fly off. Thursday Bay, Friday Bay, Papoose, Chippewa, Niki, Wagosh
We wake up and break camp again which is becoming more efficient every time. We load the canoe and have a short paddle before we hit the 328 rod portage. It is pretty even terrain and isn’t nearly as bad as we had imagined. It took us 1:20 from water to water which we thought was pretty decent. We then do the paddle/portage thing through Gun and Fairy Lakes. We then hit Boot Lake, our intended stop for this short day. The first site is occupied which is fine with us as we would like something closer to the portage on the other end. We decide to go with the third site which is on a point and is a pretty nice spot to stay. We are both wearing down from the weeks travel so we set up camp quickly and then set our hammocks up and commence to some serious napping and lounging for about 6 hours and we finally make some chicken noodle soup at about 9pm. We hang by the fire for a couple hours and then off to bed for which is to be the last night of this trip. Wagosh, Gun, Fairy, Boot
I wake up at about 5 am to a slight mist coming down, so I yell to Steven that it’s raining and pop my head out of my tent to roll my rain-fly on. I then fall back asleep for a couple hours and wake around 7 to some heavy fog. It is dead calm and bright and sunny out. We can see bugs’ zipping across the lake from shore it is so calm. We break camp one last time. We pack the canoe and make our way to the portage to Horse Lake. We make the portage and stop for a photo op on the other side. We then make our way to the final 3 portages back to Mudro. The first of which is only 10 rods, but the second and third prove to be quite a test after this long week. There is also a lot of waiting to portage as this area is teeming with people the Thursday before Memorial weekend. We make quick work of these and it looks like we will exit by noon. We hit our spot right around noon and are refreshed to see my van. It has been an incredible week! We load up the van and head to Jordan’s to drop off the canoe. We head to the Ely Steakhouse for some burgers and a Coke. We then head back to Alexandria which we reach by 8pm. I am happy to get home to my family after a week without them. Boot, Fourtown, Mudro