BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
May 30 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.
Murdo entry - Intorduction to BW for two of my daughters
May 30, 2005
Mudro Lake (restricted--no camping on Horse Lake)
Mudro Lake (restricted--no camping on Horse Lake) (22)
Number of Days:
Mudro entry, Mudro, 40 rod, 104 rod, 15 rod, Fourtown.
Breakfast – Journey’s End café in Ely
Lunch – Lunchmeat, cheese, candy bars, tortillas
Dinner – Chili, baked potatoes, cauliflower, jiffy pop
Monday we were awakened by the sound of canoes being loaded onto vehicles. We had driven all night so we tried to sleep some more but finally our stomachs got us out of bed. We went to Journey’s End Café for our last meal then spent the morning getting last minute equipment and forgotten items. I am now the proud owner of three canoe anchor bags, this was the second time I forgotten to pack one. We then loaded our canoe and started our drive to Chain Saw Sisters. When we arrived, there were several groups coming out so we paid and got our stuff ready while they cleared out. We loaded and pushed off into the current, down the small creek we went. However, in my haste I forgot to give last minute instructions to the girls about paddling. Well let’s just say it was interesting; we hit a rock got turned backwards and went down the creek looking over our shoulders. We hit the marsh and were able to finally turn around. We did get a compliment from someone on the shore, he said, “I have never seen anything like that”; at least I think it was a compliment.
We had a nice paddle across Mudro then, things went from good to bad. I had forgotten how rough those portages were. The girls got their boots wet on the first portage. They were carrying too much gear. We had tested the packs around our house but I should have backed down on weight to allow for rough trails. Their packs were medium ALICE packs with a light stuff sack tied onto the bottom. There were a bit awkward for them and a little too heavy for the rough trails. We had an ‘OH NO’ moment, I put the canoe in on one portage and it promptly squirted away across the pond. So there stood Dad the great protector watching the canoe floating across the pond. Fortunately there were some people coming in and they retrieved it for us. I could have gotten it with a fishing pole and lure but it gave the girls something to laugh about. I promptly tied a painter line onto the canoe and I did not loose another canoe for the trip.
We spent the next 2 ½ hours getting across the trails and it really wore us out. The trails have several elevation changes and are difficult. I greatly miscalculated the energy it would take us to get over. Well we hit Fourtown exhausted and claimed the first available campsite. I set up camp while the girls explored and dipped their feet into the lake. I did not bring swimming clothes, next time I would bring aqua shoes and swimsuits so they could wade and enjoy the water.
Dinner was interesting; at home when I go camping I usually bring wood. I keep a good stack of seasoned oak, which burns well and leaves coals to cook over. Well the pine found in BW provides a good flame but does not burn down to coals. Cooking was going to be an issue since we had decided to cook all of our food over a fire. That meant we would consume lots of wood each meal. It was time for a lesson; I went over how to gather wood away from camp and how to find the good dry wood. I would cut and stack the wood if they got it to camp. So off they went to explore and get wood.
The end of the day found us in the tent early and too tired to write in our journals. We decided to spend the next day at the same camp and relax.
I learned I can really push my body and I surprised myself having the energy to get over the portages. We also came up with a revised menu; we would consume the heaviest food first.
Remained at Fourtown camp
Breakfast – Cereal, milk
Lunch – Pepperoni pizza, tang
Dinner – Steak, baked potatoes, cauliflower
We all agree the bugs were a nuisance and today we tried to keep away fro them. We took turns relaxing in the hammock and the tent. A hammock is a great place to rock and enjoy the view. I remember observing the girls they argued and bickered frequently. I tried to get them to work together but they did not seem to be willing. They would not help each other with bug spray for example. I also noticed they were bitten more often by the bugs, I was not as affected. On the drive home each one counted 20 plus bites on their arms alone. However, they did canoe together and get some wood from around the bay but the bickered and it was not a good atmosphere.
We tried some fishing and had some canoeing lessons. We did some camp chores and redistributed the loads. Dinner was excellent; I like having fresh foods they are a real comfort. After dinner we went out from some more fishing; this trip was trolling practice, on the way back Ellen lost a pole over the side. Unfortunately I yelled at her. I had warned her to keep a good hold on the pole. It sent me over the edge, I yelled too much, not my finest hour. We made up later and I think she will keep a better hold on fishing poles; dad will remember they are learning and it really is not that much money when they loose or break something. That night we went to be early due to bugs and we talked about the trip and some of the feelings we had, not to be sexist but girls seem to open up more that us guys.
We decided to go on up to Boot Lake the next day. I thought we might pull together if we had an easy trip. There was one condition, that if the portage to Boot Lake was too bad we would stay on Fourtown.
On this day I learned that it takes 2 to bicker, if you are an 3rd party it is very annoying.
Fourtown, 40 rod, Boot Lake
Breakfast – Eggs, bacon, tortillas
Lunch – Tuna & egg salad, crackers, candy bars
Dinner – Steak, rice, carrots
Wednesday we broke camp and headed north to Boot. The sky was blue and the temperature upper 60’s. We had the wind to our backs and made great time with everyone working as a team. I thought we were turning the corner to having a great trip. The portage was easy and the girls liked exploring the rapids. We scouted a few sites before picking one that had the wind coming in so it would keep the bugs out. It turned out to be a great choice. It is interesting how campsites rating works for each person. For me it is tent pad first, then the fire and how the camp is situated. To the girls it was the latrine trail and smell. Oh well I am learning! We set up camp and then got down to some serious fishing before and after dinner. The girls dropped me off on a finger of land in the middle of the bay and I tried some fly-fishing. They paddled around the bay and were working well at casting some floating crank baits to see if the small mouths were willing. Nothing was biting I think the bay was too shallow or we spooked the fish. It was fun anyway.
Dinner took a 12’ jack pine tree along with some birch, which burned much better than the pine. Steak was on the menu again along with rice. I had brought butter and we cooked a top sirloin steak cubed in butter and put it over rice. All enjoyed the meal and we sat by the fire with hot chocolate until the wind died and the bugs returned. We moved to the tent and we discovered the tent zipper was broken. We had rented a 4 person timberline tent from the outfitters and the zipper had filed along a stress point. Not to worry I had duct tape and we zipped the tent up and read some and made some journal entries. We also had a great time hunting the mosquitoes that had feasted on us. We squished many on the ceiling leaving bloody marks (terminated with extreme prejudice). The mosquitoes had a preference for the girls they must be sweeter. We also talked about the trip and while things were getting better the girls were relieved when I suggested we could head out the next day if they wanted.
I was sad at the prospect of leaving but when you push too much you create enduring hard feelings. We all agreed that tomorrow we would get up early and try and make it out.
Thursday June 2nd, 2005
Boot Lake, 40 Rod, Fourtown, 15 rod, 104 rod, 40 rod, Mudro, Mudro entry.
Breakfast – Eggs, bacon, tortillas
Lunch – Lunchmeat, cheese, tortillas, candy bars
Dinner – The best pizza we ever had
I was up at the crack of dawn to do some fishing but my heart was not in it. I was thinking about all the things I would do differently if we were to go again. I started to make breakfast and heard splashing in the back of the bay we were on. I got up and peaked around the tent and there was a moose! I tried to wake up the girls as quietly as I could. After retrieving my cameras I finally got their attention. Then Ellen said to Emily ‘it will probably be gone by the time we get up so why bother.’ I had to use my stern voice to get them out of the tent. We spent the next several minutes watching the moose eat and then trot away. I managed to get a few pictures of them and the moose. For the rest of the day everyone we met heard about the moose.
Breakfast was good and we were packed up and on our way. The wind was in our face and paddling was more work but they did a great job helping. I made a deal with the girls; all they had to do was 2 trips over portages. Each trip was a backpack and a paddle or life vest. That meant I had 3 trips over with very heavy items. But that gave them time to relax each time and dip their feet in the water. Just changing things a bit really improved how they remember the portages out. Giving them more time to rest and explore broke up the work into manageable chunks.
At noon we were about ¾ mile from the river on Fourtown but the wind was taking its toll. We broke for lunch and rested for about an hour. The last ½ mile of paddling was rough, one time we came around a point and got hit by a gust. We went around and we headed back out of the wind. While we waited it was suggested we could camp here for the night, but it was still pretty early and I wanted to make it to a hot shower and bed. We found a lull in the wind and took off in a dash and made it to the river without too much trouble. Then the work began.
The first take-out is tough for anyone, let alone 2 girls and an out of shape dad. But we pulled together and I even caught them working as a team to get the packs up the rocks. It is about 8’ to the top and very few places to stand in-between. However, we made it and then went to the next portage the 104-rod monster. They rested while I made my first trip over. When I got back we discovered that we had left a fishing pole back at the last landing. I went back to retrieve it while they started on their first trip. I found the pole and had a time getting back with the light canoe and the wind coming down the gorge we were in. I made the next trip with the canoe and I might add, I made it all the way with out stopping. I really wanted to make it out! The rest of the portages were a blur but we made it in 2 ½ hours again and started on the trip to Mudro. Along the way we scared a bald eagle out of a tree just in front of us, they are a large bird. Emily was keeping score of the wildlife seen and the tally was; bald eagle, moose, beaver, turtles, fish various hawks, all quite close. When we had navigated the river we bypassed the normal take-out and opted to run the rapids to save the last portaging. The girls enjoyed going from rock to rock to move the canoe up the quick current. We made a soft landing on the sand and loaded the canoe quickly. While I was finishing up with securing the canoe they went in and ordered cold drinks, root beer and water, I joined them and had a beer. I returned a pair of holders for my sunglasses one of the Sisters had graciously loaned me and we headed back to Ely. The outfitters did not have any rooms for the night and we made due with an excellent room at Adventure Pines.
The girls requested dinner in the room they were tired and just wanted to sit. I took a quick shower and then headed out to retrieve pizza and milk for everyone. When I returned Ellen was still in the shower taking her time. We watched some TV and relaxed and planned the next day.
I learned hard work is good but sometimes you just need to relax.
It is amazing how one thing can make you forget so much. The moose sighting was a real treat. Emily had been told moose are not seen very often and to not expect it. It was very ironic the last day she got to see one pretty close. I think the wilderness and remoteness started to sink in.
Since we had planned on spending until Saturday in BW we took this day as a free day to shop and sight see.
We got up late and returned the last of our gear settled up with Mark at Canoe Country Outfitters. He took the tent off our bill and we talked about another trip into Lake One. Very little portaging and most are easy. This sounded good to the girls as long as there weren't any bugs. Maybe a fall trip would be just the ticket. Lunch was the Chocolate Moose with dessert boy did we eat.
We shopped around and then went to the Wolf Center. It was OK but the videos they showed did not interest the girls much and the wolves just laid there. I also took in the Dorthy Molter museum, the girls waited in the car while I enjoyed the history and artifacts. I took some root beer to go and we headed to highway 1 and a scenic trip down the shore of Lake Superior. If you go this way and like rocks there is a shop at Beaver Bay that is a rock hunters dream. Ellen especially liked visiting and looking at the rocks, talking about rocks. Next time we come up it will be an extra stop. Dinner this night was at a KFC south of Minneapolis, they had a buffet and we tore it up, worth every penny. We stayed in a motel and the next morning was shopping at Gander Mountain and then Cabela’s, planning for the next trip.
Bottom line from the trip, everyone enjoyed themselves and remember the trip in a positive light. Everyone realized solitude in BW equates to hard work. The girls just are not physically ready for a trip like this, but they did like the outdoors and wilderness aspects. This fall I will take Emily back to spend our alone time. She is excited and ready, if the bugs are not bad and if the portages are shorter and the gear lighter. As I write this I am planning the trip and I think Lake One will be a great place to visit.