BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
January 21 2020
Number of Permits per Day: 14
Elevation: 1324 feet
"This trip will be taking off from Fall Lake up through Newton Falls portage onto Pipestone Bay campsites. 3 day, 2 night trip into the wilderness.
1981 Border Route Revisited
July 18, 2011
Number of Days:
In July 1981 a friend of mine and I made our 1st trip to Crooked Lake after seeing a program on TV about the great smallmouth fishing on Thursday Bay of Crooked Lake.
Well, I always told my sons that we should make that route (or part of it) sometime... We would see the pictographs and table rock, plus some real good canoeing, and not to forget, good fishing.... 30 years later, we made it back!
Monday, July 18, 2011....
We were on the water at Fall Lake #24 at 8:00 AM and paddled through Pipestone Bay of Basswood Lake by shortly afternoon......It was extremely hot and humid and the filtered water flowed well, except it just wouldn't quench the thirst.... but the flask came out and..... "Up Pipestone Bay and hang to the left".....well we hung to the left all right and missed our turn to the gaging station....ending up in Jackfish Bay and almost an hour out of our way before talking to three canoes of cliff divers to straighten out our directions....
We finally made it to the mile portage at the Basswood Falls and drained what was left of our (my) energy in the heat....We told each other let's take the first open campsite and "captured" the first one we came to .......up on a huge rock point....not far from Wheelbarrow Falls.
We set up camp and went swimming....the water was a lifesaver and rejevenated us to an extent... Not feeling like cooking...we filtered a bunch of water and had some Indian rice foil pouches (cold) and raspberry lemonade....had a small fire and turned in a little after 9 PM...
After paddling the Basswood River we pull into Crooked Lake, through Wednesday Bay, and around the curve to a finger of Thursday Bay and our next campsite for two days......"The Hilton" (according to our friends at VNO)... It was a real nice site with a great cooking area and fireplace complete with two rock workstations. First things first, another well deserved swim off the rock in front and then to lay out to dry off.
We laid around most of the afternoon before getting the fire built for ribeyes, mashed potatoes, and vegtables... After dishes, we rigged up the rods and gave it our first try at fishing.... good walleyes, good smallies....we were good... After a small fire we turned in to loon songs.
Breakfast at 6:00 consisted of French press coffee and bisquits (made by my wife and carried in the food pack) and sausage gravy.... 'um good.
Morning fishing.....around our bay... smallies and "pickles" and then swimming and layng around......til supper .....Bratwurst and saurkraut on flour tortillas (our version of Mexican Brats) and coconut creme pudding. Looks like rain, but we decide to venture to the narrows that go between an island and Canada to try our luck in the current..It sprinkled , and we picked up a really nice smallmouth and a nicer Northern pike and then it just let loose.....in a downpour. Because of lightening to the north , we decided to head back to camp....by the time we made it back across the lake we were soaked, so we stripped out of the wet clothes and hung up a line.
That night's fire lasted til dark and then we crawled into our dry sleeping bags and had actually comfortable sleeping after the rain... a Breeze came up and the next morning our wet stuff was dry....
Today we would begin our trip back towards Fall Lake and #24.....After packing the gear we had a breakfast of bacon and eggs with cheese in flour tortillas....Breakfast Burritos... and coffee.
We were off by 8:00 AM and heading back down the Basswood River..and once again to that long mile portage.....it was again, hot but not as bad as on our way up.....the thing that really tired us today was the wind on Basswood Lake. We had to paddle into 1 1/2 ft whitecaps for an hour or better until we could turn the corner into Pipestone Bay and find a camp site for the night...
We set up camp and fixed some rice and foil pouch chicken which really hit the spot, and had a brownie for a topper.. Watched the sunset and listened to the people across the lake...til dark..Sleep came fast to our wind beaten bodies...
6:00 AM and oatmeal and the last of the coffee welcomed a short paddle to the bottom of Piestone Bay next to Pipestone Falls and Wiggin's point... We were set up on a new site by 10:00 AM and ready to enjoy our last full day of the trip... This afternoon we tried fishing just below the Pipestone Falls and had very good luck with several walleyes on the stringer and topped it off with a couple smallies....We would eat fish tonight for our FISH FRY....fish tacos and fish strips..... That evening after the fish fry.. we went for a last fishing venture....caught a couple more smallies and a couple more small Northerns... I must say we caught a good amount of fish on this trip IT WAS FUN!! Later we had a fire and watched the loons and took some pictures....making memories of our time together..
5:40 up and packing to make the last leg and be back to the truck by 9:00AM or around there.. The Newton Falls portage was a close paddle and then Fall Lake was a breeze too...We landed right on time (9:00) and loaded up just as it started raining. We made it back to VNO and that much needed shower and a complimentary Hamms.... We sorted through our packs and tackle getting it all back to the right guy and walked the streets of Ely, shopping for t shirt or two before ending up at the Ely Steakhouse for that Bucky Burger and a couple brews....
It was right at 12:00 when Nick and I said goodbye to Adam til another day and headed south on our 7 hour drive to homes in Iowa...
We're already planning the next trip and looking back with memories at this one...