BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
April 19 2021
Number of Permits per Day: 27
Elevation: 1356 feet
Moose Lake - 25
Back in the Saddle
June 05, 2009
Number of Days:
Headed out from Stevens Point, WI mid-morning going north on I39/Rt51 and then connecting to Rt29W to US53N to MN169 into Ely. Knowing that I had at least 6 hours drive to Ely, another 30-45 minutes to Williams and Hall Outfitters and then another hour to get up to Splash Lake, from Moose Lake, I should have left earlier. While the drive was uneventful, I could tell after a few hours that I may have decided to take on this trip too soon after my radiation treatments. I tend to be a little head-strong at times! By the time I had arrived at the outfitters, it was later in the afternoon and I had decided to get a tow up Moose and New Found Lake to the portage for Splash. I pushed into Splash at 4PM, and waded over the rapids into Ensign. By this time there was no question that I had pushed the envelope on this one. The wind was up as I entered Ensign, so I pulled over to the first camp site on the south-east end. I took my time setting up camp and felt much better at the end of the day. My spirits were lifted just knowing that I had made it. Not to be over dramatic, but there were times in the previous months when I did think a lot about the possibility that I might not visit my favorite places, again. [paragraph break]
My canoe, for this trip, was a Wenonah MN II that I had bought at the Canoecopia this spring and had spent some time refinishing the wood trim and adding a few personal touches. I also brought along a new Katadin BaseCamp Filter (Christmas present from my mother-in-law). The MN II is a lot more canoe than a solo tripper needs, but I wanted to take it on its maiden voyage. I have a Spring-Creek yoke/seat on it. The yoke, with the two padded straps is great for portaging, but the flip-side seating is a bit low and would not cut it for the long haul. My packs are a Duluth #4 and a food-pack, with a front portage pack that clips onto the #4. I have two beer bottle boxes, duck-taped all over, for the food pack. They sit well in the pack and help keep things sorted. I also brought along a number of food items from CacheLake and they definitely have got the right idea. I’m more of a cook’s helper, and their selections are great.
The next day began with high winds, and partly sunny. Feeling much better, I packed up and moved to the central part of Ensign, directly across (north) of the portage into Boot Lake. Camp set up; I paddled over to both Trident and Vera in the afternoon and walked over both portages. I hadn’t really made any specific plans for this trip, beyond getting to Ensign and base-camping and was just enjoying being back out in the wilderness.
Today, I headed out to Ashigan and Jordan. I spent most of the day in both lakes fishing and just paddling around the area. I caught two smallies, but admittedly wasn’t very focused and just drifted around. There was a steady rain all day, but it had warmed up some and was OK. I was back to base camp by around 3PM and spent the afternoon either reading or wandering around the camp site. I made dinner at about 6PM and then shortly thereafter, the rain turned into a storm and chased me into the tent.
I broke camp by 9AM and made my way back to Splash Lake. The water levels were high and I was able to run the rapid between Ensign and Splash. When I got to the portage from Splash to Ensign there was a line of canoes waiting to either get in or out (looked like O’Hare airport!). My tow picked me up at 11AM and I was on the road, heading home by noon. I realize this wasn’t much of a trip, even by my own past experiences, but it was important for me at that time and place in my life. Almost two months later, I am feeling great and have a trip planned with my daughter for mid-August and one planned for early September with a friend.