BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
December 10 2023
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.
THE trip (hunter island, quetico...solo)
September 07, 2011
Number of Days:
i stopped at TGO and VNO to see if jim and lynn were around. i went 0-2.
after a couple of epa's at the steakhouse i went cheap for dinner. DQ.
stopped and picked up a sixer of schells o-fest before i headed to williams and hall for the night. half way there i remember that i forgot to get 2 quarts of gatorade for the morning. turned back and stopped at the station next to VNO. i glance over and said "i know that guy". it was bellolake (chuck) just getting back from solo #1. we chatted for awhile about his trip and life in general then parted company.
it was a beautiful day and evening. after downing a couple of schells at the dock i went to the bunk for the night, to write and finish the beer.
im all set now. my tow to birch is will begin at 7am. still on the fence if im going to take my camp stool or not. it will be decided in the morning.
im excited, nervous, you name it...thats me right now.
i checked with mrs. k earlier, last contact for awhile. bad news, my old paddling buddy dons wife pam had passed away. her 15 year battle with cancer was now over. i do know she is in a better place now.
my friends son evan is on my mind too...it tough not knowing how things are going.
amok's been in my head too. i hope i can show him a good trip.
once i get dropped off at birch it looks to be 25 miles to cache bay, where my quetico permit awaits. 2 days will be plenty of time to get there.
9pm now and not tired yet. barley was right...this oktoberfest is some gooooood beer.
alarm is set for 5:45 and i must have checked it 15 times to make sure it was right.
"bethany" cleaned this room. leaving her a nice tip.
now im sitting here wondering whats ahead for me. once i get on saganagons it will be all new too me until i hit friday bay on crooked. fun pondering that. :)
its so quiet outside. no cars, no radio, no chat room door opening and closing. suppose i better get used to it.
cracked the last oktfest at 9:45...my last "anita" for a while.
earlier i went over the loop with dave...looks pretty straight forward. low water will make the falls chain much milder but at the same time i wonder how the levels will affect the rest of the trip.
hoping the skwoosh seat works, i will be enduring some looooooong paddling stretches.
thanks for understanding me mrs. kanoes! i know youre worried but im also sure you know im very capable of completing this safely. i sure married up. :)
10:08 and the rack is hit. IT begins at 5:45 tomorrow morning.
dropped off at birch, its 7:25 and im alone.
i hit knife about 3 hours later, no more portaging today. i make camp one at the western most of 2 sites north of the portage to amoeber, its a 2 star. its an early stop because im staging to pick up my quetico permit on saturday.
the gel seat seems to be helping my assue.
oh, what the hell...mixing a vodka/lemonade...saving the ec for quetico.
lots of loons today, adults and immatures. an adult surfaced in front of the canoe with what looked like a half pound smallie. earlier this morning i had a head on view of one coming in for a landing...ended up about thirty feet from the bow. really cool to watch.
gathered enough wood for a small fire tonight.
it was a beautiful day, almost too warm for me though.
the canoe is wet again at 7:53.
nice paddle up the rest of knife and ottertrack.
at 1pm i take a site just west of cache bay. itll be a quick paddle over in the morning.
rewind a bit. while packing up this morning i went to clear my first need canister of water before i packed it. during the first pump the top tube between the pump and can looked like one of those sprinkling hoses....water spraying everywhere. of of those little red bears with a long fluffy tail decided to chew on it overnight. i leave camp not knowing if its fixable. now fast forward. that transparent duct tape is some great stuff. :)
its the second warm day now and ive been sweating like crazy. as soon as i got here i stripped down to my undies and did a lake rinse. since then ive been in camp wearing just my undies and crocs. no self portrait was taken...youre welcome. :)
have seen many groups in these 2 days.
to answer my first day dilemma, the camp stool did come along.
im already a little frustrated with this 2 day staging idea. i would be well into quetico by now if i permitted at prairie portage.
thoughts turned to evan hawkins, praying he is ok.
sitting in the shade trying to stay cool. 20 minutes ago i set up the tent and inflated the exped...sweated my a$$ off just doing those. ill take mid 60's over these temps anytime.
didnt sleep well last night, early trip jitters i guess.
i got stung in the leg during the monument portage. forgot how painful bee stings are.
after 7 now and loon calls just lit up the night air.
really gotten sunburned these last 2 days...thru my shirt.
cocktail time and i think ill catch the twins game tonight.
this site has a small bay next to it. bullfrogs or similar have been conversing for the last 20 minutes...its given me childhood flashbacks.
both campsites so far have had the sitting logs around the grate facing away from the lake. dumb.
after a little bs'n with janice, john and friend for a while i get my permit.
IM IN! q camp 1 is next to the portage to wet lake. today was a blur. calm, smoky day on saganagons. im spent now...ive done three of the falls chain portages. 3 more tomorrow and then the kennebas falls one and ill be paddle crazy on kawnipi.
ran into hoho and david today. we were headed in opposite directions. after a short chat we went our own ways.
6pm and just mixed a cocktail. i toasted pam, phil, my parents, and everyone else ive loved and lost.
will a golden perch in the same tree as a bald? i think thats what i saw today.
more clouds this evening and they look different. wish i knew my formations and what they mean.
beaver wood was left here and there will be flames. once started i cant sit near it...too warm out. sitting 15 feet away enjoying the fire from a distance.
what ive seen of the falls chain so far has been gorgeous.
MVG (most valuable gear) award so far goes to my flying moose bandana. sweat wiper, head cooler, neck/ears sun shield.
wind allowing, i hope to be at the end of kawnipi tomorrow.
some pics from the day...
im at q camp 2 at 4:45. toughest paddling only day of my entire life...all 6 straight hours of it. kawnipi was not kanice! it was a real battle today. i paddled in stuff today i would never ever consider during a cold water season. i met my goal anyway...to finish kawnipi.
while paddling across the opening of mckenzie bay i saw a huge smoke plume directly to the south, a long ways away. must be a new fire somewhere.
i should be on sturgeon tomorrow. looking forward to the smaller poets chain waters tomorrow.
saw another golden today. huge birds!
saw a few canoes today but they seem to be thinning out the farther i get in.
this campsite is a 0.5 but it works for me.
glass calm evening, mixed a drink.
a red is yelling at me now...i turned and looked him in the eyes and said "leave my sh!t alone".
"beer" just popped into my head for the first time since being in. soon enough my love (spoken in homers voice).
it feels like ive been in much longer than i really have.
i think ive made good progress so far.
there is an early bailout trying to tempt me for tomorrow. shut up khashapiwi creek, it isnt going to work.
no big wildlife sightings so far just many merganser families, eagles, beavers, loons, geese, the normal stuff.
its 9/11 and i wonder if anything terrible has happened on this anniversary of that devastating day.
ive gotten much calmer at night now...i believe im in that groove now.
the sounds of the forest machine are as loud as ever now. time to hit the pad.
some pics from the day...
started paddling at 7:30 and now its 2:15. im at the small site at the bottom of chatterton falls on russell lake. got here just in time too...a big blow hit and its too hairy to paddle now. im going to sit this out for a while and see if ill have a shot at moving later.
snake falls was very pretty, the falls south west of there even prettier.
i now know how splitrock falls got its name.
the wind shows no sign of letting up.
i hope to be at the western end of sturgeon tomorrow.
its 4:30 now and i WAS able to move...40 yards up the shoreline to a more protected site. i portaged here. :)
well, im here for the night now. its a decent site with a nice line of little cedars blocking the wind. it was a good move.
although ive only been slightly turned around twice so far im still always questioning my navigation skills.
this is my first day of seeing no one else.
some pics from the day...
up early and paddling by 7:15 to try to beat the wind. i beat it by all of 15 minutes.
another very tough paddle on sturgeon and i only made it as far as the sand peninsula site before the wind dictated i stop again.
its 11:30 and i think im stuck again.
this is an amazing site. we could have a wing night here. it could easily hold 50 tents.
there are two lunds stashed down the shoreline. they look as though they havent been used in a long time. i wonder what their story is.
much cooler today, the stocking cap came out.
its about 4 miles to the maligne...ill be heartbroken if i dont make it there tomorrow.
some site pics...
many big old white and red pines reside on this sandbar, their root structures must be incredible.
HOLY F&%#! did a gust just come thru! snapped off the top of a birch about 30 yards away! that was wild!! that must have been a 60 mph gust.
it feels like the weathers changing now. i dont care if it snows tomorrow, just give me a wind i can paddle in.
i have yet to feel lonely on this trip. not sure if that a good or bad thing. :)
at one point paddling the caps on eastern sturgeon this morning i started to lose the bow to the wind...this was the first time i yelled at myself up here. "youre losing it, YOURE LOSING IT! DIG! DIG! DIG!" when i got the bow back in line i let out a howard dean like scream. was kinda funny looking back at it now.
its really strange being at such a huge campsite, on such a huge lake, in the middle of quetico...i feel really small now.
its almost 8pm as i finish my last cocktail.
i hope to reach tanner tomorrow, maybe even LLC if the weather smiles on me.
well, here i sit on this little island in the middle sturgeon.
after an hour an ten minutes of paddling im sitting here, stuck again, at 8:15am. ahhh, the agony of defeat.
the wind never did break last night and got worse as i got here. it was a white knuckle paddle to just get this far.
the river is only 2 miles away now but it might as well be 1000 miles away. either way, i wont be getting there anytime soon.
this island has been a campsite before so it wouldnt be terrible if i got stuck here overnight.
it just hailed...#4 buckshot size.
ive been here 7 hours now and it finally seems to have calmed down a bit. im going for it.
just as i make the corner all hell breaks loose again. i would have been screwed if i was on the big lake when it hit...including two nice snow squalls. what a rush!
even though it took me 2 days to cross sturgeon i still consider it a major accomplishment...considering the conditions i was dealt.
tomorrow i WILL make it to LLC!!!!!!
at 7:45 i start the maligne, frosty and foggy.
the upper maligne is absolutely beautiful, indescribable. the lower river is not nearly as nice.
i run into three guys at twin falls waiting for their zups ride out.
the twins are very pretty also.
some pics from the day...
i reach a campsite at dogs point on LLC at 5:40. it was long day of travel, kinda nice after yesterdays issues.
im on the water at 7:30 to a heavy fog and slowing begin picking my way down LLC with the goal of reaching crooked today. ill finally get to see curtain falls...and i did. id love to see it during high water too.
i take an island site just east of the falls...a really nice one too.
there is a really nice pile of split wood here, too bad i wont be burning it tonight. its too dry in the forest and the winds are too high.
its a relaxing evening. all my gear is dry, camp is set, im just going to sit back and enjoy it.
some pics from the day...
this is the most pleasant evening ive experienced over that last 4 days, mentally and physically. im sure being on the way out has something to do with it.
a couple of brainfarts today. forgot about rebecca falls and blew past warrior hill without even noticing it. duh me.
right now im drinking some very special vodka given to me by a friend. its a wonderful gift, one that will be paid forward.
on this trip so far ive stayed at 5 star camps and 0.5 stars. as long as i could set up a tent i was happy.
im really starting to crave cheeseburgers and beer now. hahaha
ive been in the sleeping bag by 8pm every night and tonight will be no different.
friday bay was windy but thursday bay was nuts! strong wind out of the south, it was not a fun crossing.
made it to the north/south portion of crooked and it sucked! it was paddling in a wind tunnel for hours. no big waves, just intense winds.
when i got down near LBF i had lost my bearings a little. i stopped at a site to ask a group which site they were on (i had watched them battling the same wind). bob looked me in the eyes and said i was welcome to join them for the night. i obliged.
left to right...tim, bob, rick, bruce (elvis) and terry.
i was fed a wonderful meal of fried breaded zucchini, carrots, corn bread, potato pancakes, walleye and pike. wow, what a meal. these guys know how to cook!
this was a welcome end of the trip break. awesome guys and a lot of fun to be with, id trip with them anytime.
a little drinking and bs'n happened around the fire. i had a great time.
a late start as i wanted to paddle to the basswood/horse river split with them. they will be taking the horse river from hell, ill be heading east on the basswood.
i decided to do the 1 mile horse portage figuring the river paddle would have some tough take outs/put ins due to the low water.
the horse portage was easy, just long.
once i hit big basswood i decide to not push my luck with wind...i head south.
im on a small island site just outside jackfish bay.
tomorrow i will portage into then out of wind lake to moose.
its been raining all day now and i had to do an entire clothing change. my main pack will be about 5 lbs heavier tomorrow now due to wet clothes.
some pics of the day...
short and sweet now. the wind lake portages were a ZOO! SO MANY PEOPLE!
paddled to williams and hall, landed at the dock, got out, layed down...and kissed it! :)
what a trip!!! words and photos dont due justice to what ive just experienced but i hope they gave you a little taste.