BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
September 27 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.
Not exactly a trip report, but a Wall Street Journal story about escaping to the BWCA
August 09, 2020
Number of Days:
A globe-trotter’s retreat to the Boundary Waters
Robert Keeler knew what his 2020 work schedule was supposed to look like as early as last September. He had 42 weeks of travel planned across the U.S. and from Europe to Australia. Once the pandemic escalated in spring, those trips evaporated, to be replaced with hours of back-to-back phone calls.
“It definitely makes for a longer day, not going to lie,” said Mr. Keeler, a 52-year-old resident of Chaska, Minn., who works in sales for a consumer electronics trade association.
Trying to get in touch with clients via email amid conflicting schedules means it’s common for Friday work hours to stretch into the evenings. “You have to be much more patient and understand that things might take a little longer to get done,” he said.
Robert Keeler, right, and his son, Ryan, went to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota.
PHOTO: RYAN KEELER
Of all the travel spots on his list, Mr. Keeler looked forward to Australia the most, especially since his work obligations would’ve been a half-hour away from family members who live there. That kind of quality time is hard to come by for a self-identified workaholic, but the pandemic made an alternative possible closer to home.
Mr. Keeler and his 23-year-old son, Ryan, went to Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, just south of the Canadian border, in June and August. They were miles away from civilization with little cell service. The barrage of emails and phone calls halted.
He stayed unplugged for five days, not turning his phone on until after they returned home.
The two of them spent four to five hours paddling in their canoe each day, trying (and failing) to catch lake trout and spotting bald eagles, coyotes and other wildlife around them. They went days without seeing people in June, but in August, there were plenty. The two of them had to keep paddling until they found an open campsite because most were taken.
The best moments were the nights when they sat in chairs overlooking the lake and stayed up late talking under the starry sky. Mr. Keeler loved listening to his son share details about what was happening in his life, from navigating work after being furloughed to picking out a new tattoo. “You free yourself from all those distractions, and the conversations tend to be a lot deeper, a lot more genuine,” Mr. Keeler said.
Ryan Keeler in his canoe during the trip.
PHOTO: RYAN KEELER
“It’s funny how all the crap that’s going on with Covid is probably our favorite summer,” Mr. Keeler said.
He and his wife are already planning their next getaway before they reach Minnesota winter, dusting out the mothballs in their 20-year-old travel trailer and giving it a much-needed makeover. He’s not sure where they’ll go in the next couple of weeks, but staying in Minnesota for Split Rock Lighthouse State Park or Gooseberry Falls State Park are possibilities.
“Wherever I’m at, I’m working. It’s easy for me to be in L.A. and overlook the ocean and work still,” Mr. Keeler said. “I see some pretty cool places, but you’re still grinding away and it’s just nice to escape.”