BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
September 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.
My First Real Trip - Mudro Loop
May 24, 2020
Number of Days:
I had my alarm set for 5:30am but barely slept at all. The excitement and anxiety of taking what to me is my first real trip kept me tossing and turning, waiting for that first bit of sun light to creep through my hotel room window. Once my alarm finally went off I enjoyed my last warm shower for the week and woke up my buddy. We loaded the rental car up and headed over to Ely Outdoors Company to meet Ryan and get our Food pack and canoe. After getting things loaded we picked up our breakfast at Brittons and made our way toward Mudro Entry Point. We arrived at the entry point at about 8:45am - which was later than what I had planned on and a theme for the rest of the trip (I had initially planned to be pulling away at 8:30am). Once we got the canoe all loaded up we were finally on our way toward the first portage in to Fourtown Lake. The first portage went fairly smooth for being our first time, we double portaged and at the end of the 141 rod portage we saw another group swimming after their canoe. I guess they had forgotten to tie it off while they went over the map. After a bit of comic relief, Drew and I re-loaded the canoe and headed toward the final portage in to Fourtown. The weather was perfect, Fourtown was glass and the sky looked like a Bob Ross painting. Drew and I were still running off adrenaline and made the paddle toward Boot Lake in what felt like record time. Taking in the sites as we paddle, I realized again while my uncle loves this place. From boot we made our way over to Fairy where the site I was originally planning on staying was already taken. We made our way to the site closest to the portage and set up camp for the night. After 5 portages these rookies had made it to camp by 3:30pm. We both took a dip in Fairy Lake to cool off before grabbing the Ribeye's out of our food pack. Drew got the fire going while I prepped ribeyes, vegetables and potatoes. It was at this point I realized our stove was missing the hook-up to connect the gas! Fire cooking all week it is! We cooked our dinner and sat on the point to eat. That might of been the best steak I've ever had. We sat and watched the sun set, reminiscing on the day we just had. There was something mystical about Fairy Lake, a sense of calm that set in as the sun set over the trees. Drew and I high fived over our success and headed off to bed.
I wake up at 5:15am again, the sun yelling at me to get out of my tent and enjoy the day. Drew is still sleeping so I use the solitude to make a cup of coffee and enjoy a little morning fishing from camp. After a few dozen casts and no bites I decided it was time for a little oatmeal and a few pages from a book my brother had given me before I left. By 8am Drew had woken up and I had started breaking camp down already. After he ate he helped me finish breaking down camp and we discussed our plan for the day. My original goal was to make it up to Beartrap Lake but after we started paddling our way through Gun Lake we couldn't help but feel like the site at Beartrap was definitely taken. Every site on Gun was full and I saw two canoe's headed toward Gull. Drew and I made the decision to head over toward Moosecamp Lake and glad we did. Once we crossed over to Bullet we had the lake completely to ourselves. I really enjoyed the paddle through Bullet Lake. Moosecamp Lake was great, we made our way over to the site closest to Moosecamp River and had everything setup by 1pm. Once we got camp ready we made a quick Ramen noodle & pb&j lunch we grabbed our fishing poles and went out to try our luck. After about 2.5 hours and not one bite Drew and I had a panic attack and decided to move our camp to Fourtown Lake where I had heard fishing was pretty good at the North end. NOTE TO ALL ROOKIE PADDLER'S! Don't let your emotions get the better of you! Although I really enjoyed the paddle down the Moosecamp River - getting caught in the wind and rain was not ideal & setting up a new site during dusk has its unique challenges. Once we got camp set up and found a small amount of firewood, we quickly made dinner and did dishes before laughing at each other over panicking and making a late evening trek down the moosecamp river. Those beaver's sure know how to slow you down when you're running from the weather! I made my way to my tent to enjoy a few pages of my book before dozing off to the frog choir.
Day 3 was an odd day. We were tired from our previous day and really needed to go get fire wood and get camp in shape for the weather that was coming. We paddled around and collected enough firewood to last us a couple days and made sure to fill our water up as well. Once we got back to camp we started to chop the wood and dry the pieces that needed it. Once we got that done we re-hung our tarp and added an area to keep our group gear dry when the rain came. Drew's tent wasn't set up in the best area so we decided to move it quickly to give him some protection from the wind. After finishing a few camp shores we made our way out to fish for a few hours, I was able to catch 1 smallmouth bass and it was one of the prettiest bass I'd seen. It had orange on its fins and underbelly, I had never seen that before. My buddy is from Colorado and is used to a faster pace fishing (Catching as I like to call it) so he was becoming very weary of how much I talked about the fishing in the BWCA. We made our way back to camp without any fish for dinner and a grumpy Drew. Dinner on day 3 was a personal favorite - Cache Lakes Blueberry Pancakes! Those pancakes are so dang good! We made a nice fire, enjoyed some pancakes and watched the sun set. Drew was pretty frustrated with the lack of fish caught and I was starting to feel a bit defeated myself. We both tucked are tails and told each other tomorrow was the day we filled the stringer!
I slept in today, 7:30am lol. Made a cup of coffee and grabbed my book - this quote stood out to me as I looked out on Fourtown Lake. "You know then what you had always been told -- that the world once lived and grew without adding machines and newsprint and the tyranny of clocks." Karen Blixen Today was a big breakfast, eggs, bacon toast and oatmeal. Drew and I fed ourselves and loaded up the canoe to prepare for our day of fishing. We both said we aren't coming back to camp without a walleye dinner! We headed out a little island by our campsite and had a few bites in the morning but nothing to get excited about. I decided to move to a new spot so we paddled toward Horse Lake where I had heard of good bass fishing at the inlet. We paddled down and ended up having lunch and swimming in this little rapid we found. Ended up being a nice break and helped me re-energize for an afternoon of fishing. Once we finished eating we loaded back up and made our way back toward the north end of Fourtown. I was convinced the island I had been trying was a good spot and just needed the fishing to turn on. We got back to the island at about 3-3:30. Not one bite until 5:30 when I switched our lures to a mimic worm I had bought from northland tackle. Drew threw his line out and BAM! He hits our first walleye! He reeled in the walleye and she was a beauty! He handed the rod back to me so I could land the fish and trying to be Billy Badass I decided against the net. As soon as I went to grab the walleye she spit the hook and swam back down to the depths - took our confidence with it lol. We both looked at each other and threw the lines back out. No more than 3 casts later and BAM! Drew had walleye number two. We put this little one in the net and Drew wanted a photo with it, I went to hand the net up to him and dropped it in the water, that's drew's 2nd fish we lost. He is now boiling and no longer speaking to me lol. Luckily Drew had all of the luck, he caught two more walleye that were perfect size for eating. He also landed two crappie and I was able to catch two smallies. From 5:30 to 8 we caught 4 walleye, 2 crappie and 2 smallies. Sun burnt & tired we made our way back to camp to FINALLY prepare our walleye dinner. We deep fried one fish and grilled one fish and it was spectacular. I made my famous bacon mac n cheese to go with the fish and I think it was a big hit with Drew. After a very tough week of fishing, those walleye really hit the spot. Drew and I ate the remaining sour patch kids I had brought, cleaned the dishes and went right to bed. Our last night in the BWCA was incredibly beautiful.
It's amazing how quickly the trip goes by. I was up before Drew again and took the time to really enjoy my surroundings one last morning. I tried to fish briefly in the morning with no success. I ate a granola bar and made my final wilderness cup of joe as I started to break camp down for the final time. The weather was nice but the wind was starting to pick up from the West which made me a bit nervous to make the trek back to Mudro. We hadn't seen a bald eagle the entire trip and right as I loaded the final pack in to the canoe one flew right over our camp and landed on the tree above. It was a cherry on top of the trip. Once we loaded up we made our way toward the west shore so we could get out of the wind and paddle a bit easier, we made our way to the first portage from Fourtown to Mudro and now that we were portage pro's we blew right through the first one. As we were finishing up I noticed two older gentleman making their way over to the 10 rod portage and they looked exhausted. I asked them if I could help carry their packs for them and after a bit of back and forth they finally allowed me to help out. Turned out to one of my highlights of the trip. They were on their 27th trip and after Drew and I carried their packs and loaded the canoe we sat down and listened to their stories for 25 minutes. Made me want to turn our canoe around and camp with them. We made it back to mudro parking lot and loaded all of our gear, snapped one last photo and after I looked back out at the entry point to reminisce on the trip we had just completed we made our way back to Ely Outdoor Company. Now for those of you who have read this whole trip report, day 1 I said we were missing a piece to our camp stove. When I got to the outfitter Ryan grabbed our stove to look at it and when he flipped it over he showed me where the piece I was "missing" is stored. That is the dumbest thing I have done to date lol and Ryan couldn't stop laughing. That's a mistake I wont make again!
All in all, I had a fantastic trip. We both made plenty of mistakes and learned a lot from them. I can't wait to come back in August and do it all over again!