BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
September 23 2023
Number of Permits per Day: 5
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.
July 28, 2015
Number of Days:
I'd spent many months planning the trip and the day finally had come. Half of the group was from the Green Bay area and the other half from Madison. We met up in Wausau to drop off a car and caravan up to Ely. My 8 year old and I hopped in the van and were off to pick up my mother-in-law. We met the rest of the crew in Wausau and made our way to Ely where we'd be staying at Cliff Wold’s Outfitting Co. Bunkhouse. Not knowing what to expect, it was a room with bunk beds ;) It was quite hot and humid and unfortunately around mid-night one of the 13 year-olds had to throw up. The two 13's ended up sleeping outside on the porch along with my uncle due to the heat. Thankfully when we got up in the morning he was feeling much better. Too much junk food on the way up and a hot room were a bad mix.
We set the alarms for 4:45 and had a quick bagel breakfast before we were off to hit the bait shop for leeches. We set our sights on the 5-star site at the mouth of the Horse River with the beach landing and wanted to get to the entry and hit the water ASAP. It takes a little organizing, be we soon have our 3 canoes on the water. The creek at Mudro was a little low, but for the most part not to bad. Having done this entry before, I prepped the group for the portage from Mudro to Sandpit Lake. While it is short at only 70 rods, the steep grade is difficult. Having dropped 30 pounds over the past 2 months, it wasn't as difficult as I remembered, but still a good challenge for our group. As we made our way to Tin Can Mike we chatted with 2 guys from Missouri that were headed to Horse as well. They had their sights set on the Island site at the north end of the lake. We met 3 different groups coming out of Horse and one said they stayed at the site at the mouth of the Horse, the plan is taking shape!! I decide since a group vacated it this AM, my mother-in-law, myself and my 8 year-old are going to push ahead to get the site. As we come into Horse, I notice the site on the large rock face is vacant, but really want the site by the Horse River. We pass the 2 guys from Missouri on the lake and are on our way. Excitement is short lived as the site comes into view. I can see a tent out near the point... We decide to paddle up anyway. Turns out they've been on the site for several days, I guess the group coming out was confused. Bummed we turn back to the large rock face site. We meet the rest of our group on our way back and finally pull into what will be home the next several days. As we look over the site we're pleasantly surprised at the ample tent pads and space. We set up camp and decide to do some shore fishing. The kids catch several bass and nice sized sunfish. The sunfish would make their way to our plates along with a few walleye we got from the canoe later in the evening. My cousin Jackson had the catch of the day. One of the rods was pulled into the water by a large sunnie and he was able to retrieve the rod along with the fish. Everyone hits the hay a little early tonight after a long day.
We planned to fish the lake pretty hard today. After breakfast of scrambled eggs mixed with left over brats from the night before, we hit the water. The wind makes the current was a little stronger than I like it for jigging, but we were still able to manage a few walleye. My son Drew was chomping at the bit to do some shore casting so I tied on a spinner bait I expected to lose within a few casts to a BWCA rock, but was pleasantly surprised. Cast after cast, the lure returned ;) Then he thought he had a snag so he handed me the rod. I gave a few tugs and the drag began to pull. I gave him the rod back and said "you have a fish on!" He landed a nice bass. We were able to hit the water before dinner and landed a few more eater walleye for dinner. Not quite enough to just have fish for a group of 9, so we supplemented it with some freeze dried spaghetti and meat sauce. This would be a windy night in the tents. Thankfully I could sleep through a train going by.
We had tentatively planned to head up to Basswood Falls today, but the kids wanted to do some exploring of the islands and fish instead. I've been to Basswood and recommend it to anyone heading to Horse, but ultimately we wanted the kids to enjoy their time and they were excited to check out some of the islands. The winds were a bit challenging for our newbie paddlers, so in hindsight, probably a good idea we didn't head up the Horse River. Having had good luck on a previous trip to Horse on the north end near the island, my mother-in-law and I paddled into the wind with Drew riding middle to get some walleye. Unfortunately the trip down didn't produce any walleye, but Drew pulled in a good sized northern on 4 lbs test using a jig and leech rig. Glad I had my collapsible net in the canoe as the line cut as I was bringing in the net from the water. Drew couldn't have been happier. We also caught some sunfish and a bass that the rest of the crew wanted to give a try. Wouldn't you have guessed it? The wind switched on us and we had to paddle into the wind on the way back too. While we were gone the others caught a few walleye near the campsite in a spot we had zoned in on the previous couple days. The fish hit the spot and we added a little freeze dried chicken and rice. Later in the evening after some of the boys went out fishing, we saw a couple beavers near camp working on a beaver dam. The kids thought this was pretty cool, as did I. Another fairly early night to bed after a tough day of paddling into the wind.
My uncle and the two 17 year-olds had to leave today since my cousin had a baseball tournament on Saturday in southern Wisconsin. They got up early and were gone my 7 am. On their way out they met a group of 3 canoes on the portage from Sand Pit into Mudro with only 5 paddles. In talking to one of their group members, my uncle found out someone had forgotten it and they were trying to paddle a canoe with two people and just one paddle. Since my uncle and the two boys had 3 paddles, he offered one up. That would have been a difficult trip IMO. Unfortunately for those that are still back at camp, it would rain off and on throughout the day. We were still able to catch several walleye and sunfish throughout the day when the rain gave us a break to have a nice meal that evening. As we tried to start packing up some of the miscellaneous gear, the rain continued to be an issue. We got as much done as we could and set the alarm for 5:45. Thunder and lightning would crack throughout the night.
We had a good amount of rain and everything was wet in the morning. Nothing like packing up wet tents and other gear. We made the best of it and were on the water heading out at 7:40. Down 3 of our bigger guys we were a little concerned about getting the gear out, but the 3 young guys stepped up to the plate and did awesome. I expected to have to triple portage most, but only ended up having to carry the 2 canoes out. We had great teamwork that got us to the parking lot in 3.5 hours and then headed to Ely for a well deserved stop at Dairy Queen. 8.5 hours later, Drew and I pulled into our driveway. He hit the showers and I started hanging tents and other gear in the basement to dry out. Another great trip in the books. Can't wait until next year! I probably wouldn't do a group this big in the future. That's a lot of gear and food to haul in and out. 4-6 people seems to be the sweet spot for group size.