BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
December 09 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.
Ensign in October
October 17, 2012
Number of Days:
The plan is to meet asap after work and pack our gear and hit the road from Saint Peter. Being that there is some duplicate gear, we spent some time weeding out a few extra items. Also, having some new to the BWCA campers, we made some recommendations on what to leave behind. Everything went into plastic bins in the canoe trailer because we didn't want to spend time packing duluth packs tonight. Hit the road in the dark, knowing the next time the sun was up, we'd be in a whole new world. As we got within a half hour of our stop, the fog set in and the deer came out. There were deer on ever curve, straight away, and ravine! We got to our camper cabin at Bear Head State Park around midnight. It sure was a nice,cheap place to crash for a few winks before hitting the water in the morning.
Today's weather 44 for a low, 53 for a high. Rain/sprinkles until mid afternoon, then overcast. More evening sprinkles.
Our day started with an early alarm. If it were not for the excitement of our journey ahead, I'm sure there would have been more grumbling. It was dark and now raining. The camper cabin has a nice porch for working dry and packing gear. We spent a fair amount of time taking instruction and packing our gear into duluth packs and a few random extra packs. My day started with a trip to the car. Just outside of the range of the porch light was a GIANT puddle. That was a fine way to start my day. I guess I'll start my wet portage boot program early today. We had arranged for a shuttle up Moose Lake to the first portage. We met our guide and loaded, now in a heavy rain. I think everyone is too excited to complain about the rain though. The first timers and the veterans are equally loving the north woods smells and sights. The little portage to Splash was just too easy. I guess that's a good way to break in the greenhorns. Splash lake was calm. Up the channel to the next portage. I was bold, being in a heavy aluminum canoe, I decided to try to paddle up the rapids to avoid portaging. It was an easy feat. The kevlar canoes followed suit. Paddling against the wind in a driving rain made it easy to think that we should be almost to our proposed campsite. In reality, we were only half way. We stuck together and stuck to the plan. The site suggested to us was great, for summer time. We needed some windbreak, and space for a 12x12 tent. We found and settled on 1226, the site just to the NE of the portage to Boot. By mid afternoon the rain had let up and we had camp set up. We prepped wood and did some fishing. The camp stove was great in the tent to help dry things out. Steak was on the menu for supper. What a great way to end the day. As we tucked in for the night, the rains came again.
Today 39 for a low and 53 for a high. A few scattered showers today. At day break it looks promising for a nice day. Fishing and camp area exploration are on the agenda today. Following a well-established trail to the North led us to the next campsite. We did some off road travel too, just not too far for fear of getting turned around. Fishing was not great, but we did snag a pair of northern for a meal. As the day progressed we made some more great catches. Two keeper walleye among them. It's going to be good eating tonight. I've never caught walleye before and I took the biggest at 18.5 inches.
Today 30 for a low and 51 for a high. Mostly sunny!! You wouldn't think that a mostly sunny day would provide such a cool foggy start to our day... Our coldest morning. Who wants to cook? Oatmeal it is! We did some fishing and photography as we waited for the fog to burn off before our 6 lake loop. As the fog lifted, 4 of the 6 packed for a day trip. We looped through Boot,Haven,Abinodji,Swing,Gibson,Ashigan,and back to Ensign. It was great weather. We had shirts off on portages and for our lunch break at the halfway point. After our day report the other 2 fishermen decided they'd join us for a day trip next time. They missed out! We won't be taking an aluminum canoe where a bunch of portages are concerned. Man, that beast sucked. We did have fun though, and the portages were quite nice and very scenic. We took some time along the way to do a little hunting for grouse. We didn't bring guns all this way just to carry them!
We got back for some snacking, lounging and then supper. I took an opportunity to go solo and troll for fish and snap some photos....
We didn't want this day to end. We had some glow bobbers out off our shoreline and had 2 or three otters come along and cause trouble with their playing. It put an end to our fishing, but was fun to see some playful creatures.
Today 32 for a low and 53 for a high. Sun, rain, sun, rain, sun.
Packing up went quite well. Lucky for us it didn't rain until we got on our way in the canoes. I wish I had not packed my camera so far away. We saw several bald eagles on the way out and one was so well lit in the sun on the top of a tree. Damn! That one is for my memory, not for the memory card I guess. Before leaving Ensign, we also saw what at first seemed to be ducks. We got close enough en route to the portage that we realized we were seeing a group of otters. Nice! We rode the rapids past the first portage to Splash and had a rainy portage to Newfound. The paddle back to Moose and down Moose was long for some tired dudes. We fought some wind, and then it rained pretty good into our faces. By the time we got to the EP it was sunny again. It was a good trip over all. Fishing was lacking, but two grouse to eat was a bonus. No major injuries and I think everyone is already signed up for next year!