BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
January 24 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.
Father/Daughter 12 Days in August 2014-Updated
August 01, 2014
Little Indian Sioux River (north) (14)
Number of Days:
We asked our outfitter to get us on the water at first light and we were not disappointed. Perfect morning. We had limitless energy and were eager to get started. I've read a lot about canoe trips and watched a lot of youtube videos, but this is not the same as doing. We took off from the put in, paddled to the portage, but I didn't see the yellow blaze to mark the portage that I'd seen in the Quetico canoe videos. So we kept paddling. We had no experience regarding our speed and pace in relation to the FISHERS map. or the subtle contours of the map compared to the landscape. We paddles for an hour and managed to go in a full circle on Fall Lake. On our second launch from EP 24, we managed to find the portage and gradually paddle our way thru Pipestone. We looked for the 5-star campsite on Basswood Lake our outfiiter marked, it was occupied so we pushed north (but it was actually North EAST) to the next site (seemed like a 5 star site to me). Sandy beach layup, logs for seating and great views.
Dad Journal Entry[paragraph break] What a beautiful site. Glass lake greeted our entry on Fall lake. We missed the portage and circled the lake for "practice". A few wrong turns and a long day, about 6 hours on the water. 1 mile portage tomorrow. [paragraph break] Daughter Journal Entry[paragraph break] Soooo, not such a great start. We thought we were following the map but ended up going in a huge circle, that took an hour and a half. That was just our warm up lap. Then we finally really start. Going good until we got lost. We thought we went further than we did. Oh and no cute guys passed us. After finally getting directions we got going the right way. After 5 hours of paddling we made it. So xxxxx tired. Oh, and i'm working on a good farmers tan.
After another perfect sunrise, we were off. We thought a simple North West route would get us to Basswood Falls, unfortunately since we were further East than we thought, we missed the opening to Basswood Falls and ended up going three miles into Quetico. We were again, fine tuning our ability to judge our speed and pace in relation to the FISHERS map and the subtle contours of the map compared to the landscape. On our way back South West, the fisherman at the opening to Basswood falls was a very welcomed site. After today, a GPS unit has moved to #1 on my wish list for the next trip. As we enter Basswood Falls portage, we see four college age boys just finishing the one mile portage looking exhausted. We were already exhausted and hoped we could find a campsite soon. We managed to find an open campsite on the 1 mile Basswood Falls portage. This was the low point of our trip, but we knew a positive attitude would be the only way to get thru the next 10 days. We did not let each other get down. The sound of Basswood Falls next to our campsite was a constant reminder of how lucky we are to be there.
Dads Journal[paragraph break] We discovered we paddled faster than we thought, we ended up 3 miles in Canada, doubled back and still made it to basswood falls by 5pm. Canoe tipped over at shore, soaked everything except clothes & sleeping bags. We were doubling back with heavy packs thinking we would have to portage the 1 mile trail with water logged packs. Fortunately, we found an open campsite. Good dinner, except I fixed four portions for two of us. Hope we catch some fish.[paragraph break] Daughter Journal[paragraph break] Sooo, not such a good start... AGAIN. This time I was bound and determined to not get lost, but of course we did even with me at the helm. I mean I said I wanted to go to Canada, and boy did we. Several miles in fact. Then we saw some canadian campsites. They aren't all that great. Then we were on the right track and I decided to check out a camp site, and tipped the canoe with all our stuff tumbled out. Luckily the worst damage was my pillow. Karma maybe? I never thought I'd be so happy to see another person until we turned the bend to finally get back into America. And we were right by the falls. Plus got a pretty good campsite. I felt bad dad made too much shepards pie, that was actually good. Mosquitos suck, but we are finally stopped on our mile portage. Portage tomorrow and everyone on SPOT saw how lost we were.
Today was our portage day. After seeing the four guys yesterday look exhausted after they finished the one mile portage, I was not looking forward to today. We tackled the one mile portage without incident, almost easy. Our bodies must be getting used to the work. We made our way to Wheelbarrow Falls, and noticed a line of boy scout canoes waiting in line for the 50 rod portage. We decided to paddle around the island to Wheelbarrow portage, 32 rods. It was not very long, but elevation change, deep ruts and four foot deep mud holes made this portage the toughest of our entire trip. We camped just south of Lower Basswood Falls. The rigors of this day kept our spirits high the rest of the trip. If we can survive and enjoy the longest portage of the trip and a tough portage, there is nothing we can't conquer. [paragraph break] Dad's Journal[paragraph break] The tide has turned, re-heated sheppards pie for breakfast. Yesterday was a paddling test. Today was the portage test. We each carried the canoe, wow my daughter is strong. 1 mile portage around basswood falls and a small but very muddy portage at wheelbarrow falls. Everything went so well we've decided to not rest tomorrow. Saw lots of people today. We survived all BWCA could throw at us.
Daughter's Journal[paragraph break] Today was so much better. WE DIDN'T GET LOST! Although I never want to do that mile portage again. That took forever (sandlot voice). And the dang Park Rangers that were on the trail said we were half way there on the trail, which was BS. But we made it, double portage. The rest of the day was 2 small portages and not getting lost. Found a campsite pretty quick and relaxed, napped and read.
Another perfect sunrise. We saw the pictographs and had lunch at the table rock site at the transition to Wednesday Bay. We quickly got to our campsite on the north east side of Thursday Bay and enjoyed some good fishing and a rest day. [paragraph break] Dad's Journal[paragraph break] Started at 6 on a campsite at lower basswood. hearing the falls were great. One portage and we made it to the fishing spots on the bays. We pushed it today to reach a five star site, only it didn't have a fire grate. We hit the pictographs and had lunch at table rock site. We got turned around for a few minutes and spoke with some other folks that helped direct us. As we approached our campsite for the night, an eagle soared above us. [paragraph break] Daughter's Journal[paragraph break] Today started off good. We are actually very good paddlers. We did get a little turned around. I feel bad I got so frustrated and short with Dad. I just hate getting lost and I feel like I keep questioning his every move. Kinda weird I haven't been too hungry and also the thought of peeing and bathing has been put off by all the mosquitoes. Overall so far so good. Sunset was nice. Dinner on the rocks. Things are looking up.
[paragraph break] Daughter's Journal[paragraph break] Today was a pretty good day. Our rest day. Campsite was nice although the mosquitoes are swarming here. I've found my new torture, mosquitoes.. especially when they bite my ankles. Also the constant buzzing at night is ridiculous. We spent the day fishing, had several bites but only caught one small bass. Dad caught a bass and a small pike. we had that for dinner. We aren't going to starve! We also found a plaque dedicated to "Lil Brother" There were tons of blueberries around there. Probably picked a pint all together. There are also bald eagles across the way from us. That's pretty darn neat. Dad and I are getting along great, although we sometimes get short with each other. I feel bad he's doing the bear bag all by himself but the mosquitoes are eating me up, but not him. Only a week left! Crazy but I'm ready for a real shower and no mosquitoes. I've killed probably 50 by now, if not 75. Another one....
Late start in the day. We had a hard time getting back to rigors of paddling. Not many miles traveled, but we were exhausted and by the time we got to Sunday Bay, we were ready to setup up camp. [paragraph break] Dad's Journal [paragraph break] Rain last night, started on the water at 10. We saw a dad with his family and talked with him for a while. He is going on the exact same path. He said Iron lake open site would be hard to find, so we changed our route a bit. We setup camp early and will paddle thru iron lake tomorrow. Caught some fish trolling today. We were very tired today, after just a few hours of paddling. [paragraph break] Daughter's Journal[paragraph break] Half way thru our trip we didn't move very far today, but we made progress without getting lost. It really is nice out here. It doesn't feel like we are camping. Going without electronics hasn't been bad but I really do miss some TV. I can't wait to take a real shower. We did take it pretty easy today. It's nice and we got the radio to work. Weather has been so nice, last night we had a thunderstorm. It wasn't crazy raining or anything but there was lots of lightning and thunder. Oh I actually finished a 330 page book in six days, which is crazy for me. Anyways, things are pretty great except the toilet. Nothin beats 75-80 degrees in a hammock with some radio and nature sounds. Dad's a good cook too.
We got an early start on the day and found that if we are on the water soon after sunrise, we have more energy and the day seems to go much smoother. We enjoyed the pictographs and Warrior Hill
[paragraph break] Dad's Journal[paragraph break] Whew, we made up some ground today. Traveled about 11 miles across a lot of big water, Lac la Croix. Great Indian pictographs and Warrior Hill. We broke camp at 7 and paddled until 2. Saw another eagle overhead. Camped next to the family of 9 we met a few days ago. Early starts seem to work out well for us. [paragraph break]
Daughter's Journal[paragraph break] We made up some miles today. It kinda stinks we ask for directions all the dang time but it beats getting lost. I feel bad cause I always second guess dad's directions and map reading skills. I just really don't want to get lost again. Eventually it should be getting easier to tell which way to go. I swear the mosquitoes are going to be the death of me. After a week, their stupid humming is driving me insane. If i never see a mosquito again it will be too soon. It's bad i don't even want to take a shower, they are everywhere. Again beautiful weather and sunset. Not to shabby. Although I'm starting to think 12 days is too long.
This was our most scenic day. Beauty all around. Probably pretty typical for BWCA, but we're from the midwest where everything is flat. Small lakes, easy portages, and tall trees made the day very enjoyable. We didn't talk much and just soaked it all in. We had our first carry over a beaver dam experience, once is enough for me. [paragraph break] Dad's Journal[paragraph break] Broke camp at 8. Navigation was good. Traveled up stream on some small streams thru bogs and beaver dams. It was worth it, we didn't see a person all day. As we entered finger lake, we heard a moose call out. First cast from our campsite and we got a bite. Love the lake, beautiful sunset but hard portage to get to pocket lake. Daughter carried the canoe, good thing cause I was worn out. [paragraph break] Daughter's Journal[paragraph break] Got up early again. If we need to get mileage, getting up early is the way to do it. Although when we finished our several portages, i was very tired and ready for camp. Too bad we aren't good fisherman cause where we are camped has great fishing. All dad caught were babies. We are finally out of open water. Went down streams and for the most part we are alone now. Only a few more days left (sad face).
Another early start, another perfect day. We felt like we could have paddled all day, but when we hit Steep Lake, the water was so clear we decided to setup camp.
Steep Lake is by far our favorite lake. [paragraph break] Dad's Journal[paragraph break] Woke up at 6 and fished from camp, all small fish. Hard day. We decided to to try and bust it so we could rest up tomorrow during the rain storm. I twisted my ankle and daughter busted her knee. Not enough to tap out, but things went slower. We got to Steep lake and settled down. No mosquitoes, but some black flies. cleanest water ever.
[paragraph break] Daughter's Journal[paragraph break] Today was a little rough. I decided to slip on a rock and catch myself with my knee and dad hurt his ankle. Both banged up. The lake we are staying the night at is Steep lake. It is the cleanest we have seen. Probably could drink right out of the lake. This camp site is pretty nice too considering the other sites we saw today were run down or had lots of mosquitoes. This one had black flies that I will gladly take over mosquitoes. The portage today was kinda rough. Pretty tiring, we both got pretty sweaty and smelly which is why I think we didn't see any wildlife, they smelled us coming from a mile away. We went further than we had planned but it will make monday's travel easier. We are both excited for a rest day tomorrow. Can't believe the trip is almost over. It's gone by quick.
Baby small mouth, loons and beaver kept us company as we rested and enjoyed the day. [paragraph break] Dad's Journal[paragraph break] Caught up on sleep. Caught several small fish. This is a good lake, isolated, loons, wolves, beaver.. and I assume grown up fish. Hard to believe only two more days. Daughter is getting excited to return to civilization. Full day tomorrow. [paragraph break] Daughter's Journal[paragraph break] Today was a chill day, our 2nd day off. We knew it wouldn't be great weather so we planned it. It hasn't been a big storm yet but some drizzle all day. Pretty bummed we couldn't catch fish today. Dad was mad he lost his hat today. So that's a pair of shorts and a hat he lost. He keeps saying, so much for leave no trace. I feel bad, we wanted this to be a perfect trip and i think he did pretty darn good. We only have 2 more days, well pretty much a day and a half. But as much as I don't want it to end, i do miss technology. And as I'm writing this the storm is rolling in. It's crazy you can hear the wind coming a minute before it even gets to you because of the trees. And the sky turns black pretty quick. Hopefully this storm won't be too bad tonight. We have a ways to go tomorrow. So far, a great trip.
even more beautiful than previous days. We found a great campsite on Little Loon lake with a sand beach, but lots of blow down.
[paragraph break] Dad's Journal[paragraph break] Final Night - Camped on Loon lake, perfect sunset again. Sandy beach. I really enjoyed the day with my daughter. We didn't rush and talked a lot. She is anxios to get back. Not sure I want this trip to end.
[paragraph break] Daughter's Journal[paragraph break] Today was the last full day. It's hard to believe it. We were going good until we missed the portage and had to walk the canoe through knee high water, rocks and mud. Kinda blame that on dad because he didn't see it on the map until later. We made good time, so tomorrow we have a few portages left before they pick us up. We did get a pretty nice camp site for our last night. It has some sand and a nice sunset. And today, I totally won the challenge of who can get the canoe up better. And I have been out doing dad the whole trip. He was kinda surprised and keeps saying how happy he is that I came. I'm pretty happy too. Lesson from today- don't worry about your lure getting stuck in the net until you have your fish secure! Also don't throw tricks you can't land dad. I'm pretty excited to get back to the real world tho.
Day 12 Lakes paddled - Little Indian Souix River Paddled 10 miles, 4 portages/300 rods.
Creek paddling is not my favorite. We ran into lots of people going the opposite direction. There were a group of four women, probably in their 60's that go canoeing every two years together. Hopefully, I will be so lucky.
We are ready to rejoin civilization.
Biggest Surprise: How difficult it was for us to navigate. The combination of our inability to know our speed of travel, lack of map and compass skills and being unfamiliar with the landscape caused us a great deal of stress the first two days. We eventually got better at it, but it was a challenge. Favorite Lake: Steep Lake Biggest Accomplishment: Day 3 - we tackled the one mile portage and four foot deep mud holes like champs. [paragraph break]
Thanks to Voyageur North Outfitters for planning the route and setting us up at the bunkhouse. They are top notch folks.
Special Thanks to Maddy the Goose youtube vidoes for it's inspiration.
I've already purchased a souris river canoe for next year. Choosing gear, planning routes and meals is becoming an obsession. I hope to make this an annual trip for the next 30 years. [paragraph break] Lessons Learned from my daughter's journal. Mosquitoes never sleep, when you kill them they multiply. Not knowing where you are is way more stressful than going hungry. Rocks should have a sign "slippery when wet". The constant sound of mosquitoes swarming is the new torture device.