BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
July 07 2020
Number of Permits per Day: 27
Elevation: 1356 feet
Moose Lake - 25
A Week On Knife
July 31, 2007
Number of Days:
We paddle and portage our way through the chain of small lakes that will eventually pour us out onto the western most reach of Knife Lake. The series of paddles and portages … Birch, Carp, Melon and Seed … are an easy warm up and break us in gently for the days ahead.
Leaving the last portage from Seed into Knife we are finally onto some big, and tremendously blue, water. We paddle past Dorothy’s Isle of Pine and stand in awe of one remarkable person. We reach our first campsite on the east end of Robbins Island where we’ll spend the rest of the day setting up camp, fishing, eating and fishing some more. It’s easy to see that this is a popular campsite…as it shows the wear and tear. We caught and released quite a few smallies, none of great size…except for the two that got away of course.
Aided by a brisk wind, we both enjoy the cool waters of Knife Lake and our refreshed enough for some more evening fishing. Returning just after dark we eat, play some cribbage and retire…this time to a great night’s sleep.
After breakfast we break camp and head out east on Knife, pass to the right of Thunder Point and head down the South Arm. This was one harrowing day of paddling…high winds (which I find out upon return had gusts up to 33mph and sustained max. winds of 24 mph) and huge, rolling, breaking waves make for some interesting moments. Despite the wind being at our backs, it was still a very tense paddle for the some seven and a half miles to our next campsite just past Eddy Falls.
We overshot the campsite landing and had to turn back into the wind and while broadside to that west wind we were nearly swamped on two different occasions. But after a much adrenaline-aided effort, we turned and then dug our way back to the campsite landing…the first one just to the east of where Eddy Falls empties into the South Arm. The campsite sits up on a rocky point and offers a tremendous few down the length of beautiful blue waters of the South Arm. That is, unlike the Robbins Island campsite, an abundance of firewood.
Needless to say we were windbound for the rest of the day and night but did manage to wet a few lines from shore…spending the rest of the day reading, siesta, gathering firewood and playing some cribbage. The wind never let up throughout the rest of the day and night. I began to be concerned because I sure didn’t want to even think about having to paddle back into the teeth of that wind. Tonight the sky was absolutely stellar. A late moonrise preserved a black sky that afforded us a tremendous view of the Milky Way’s brilliance. We also saw many shooting stars and satellites. The night was concluded with more cribbage and cigars and a good night’s rest followed.
After fishing, we continued back west on the South Arm and about half way the winds started to pick up a bit and since we were heading into them, we decided to occupy the last campsite before reaching Thunder Point, on the north shore of the South Arm. Not much of a campsite, more like a rocky knob…but we managed. We set up camp, grabbed our poles and set off back to the east to fish some deep drop offs along a sheer rock wall. Good choice! Smallies and large mouth would be the fare for this Friday’s meal.
Sunday, August 5, 2007 + What a great morning to sleep in! We had but a 2.7 mile paddle back to the portage into Sucker to meet our tow…so after breakfast we broke camp and wrote the final chapter…well, almost the final chapter…of one fantastic trip, with one fantastic son, into the BWCA.
Our tow from Williams and Hall was right on time…we loaded up and sped SW into some bouncing troughs and made the trip back in just over twenty minutes. Here is where the story gets ‘interesting’…unfortunately. I say unfortunately because it is the part of the trip that I would definitely leave out if I had the choice. Once the tow boat stopped at the dock, I jumped up and out of the boat onto the dock…hitting my head on the metal bars used to secure the canoes in the tow. I knew instantly that it wasn’t just a ‘bump’; and after stopping the bleeding, and then showering (nothing was going to keep me from that shower) we headed to Ely and the Ely/Bloomenson Community Hospital ER. Thanks to the quick work of Doctor Stephen Park, who by-the-way, is also ‘one of us’, he sutured the laceration in my head with six staples.
My son and I then made our way to the Ely Steak House one more time to each polish off a king-cut of a very succulent rib-eye steak. We finally got way from Ely and made our way back to Rochester…the drive back seemed MUCH longer then the drive up.
I have to conclude my trip report with another story…which from its beginning I thought for sure was going to be anything BUT a story with a happy ending.
Here it is: The last day in the BW…as we broke camp on Birch…I took my wedding ring off (the original ring I was married with 39 years ago) to put some sun-screen on my legs. The ring never made it back onto my finger. It wasn’t until after my shower back at Williams and Hall…after the incident with my head…that I finally noticed that my ring was gone! I knew instantly what had happened. However, I wasn’t for sure if the ring was at the Birch campsite or if it possibly could have fallen out of the canoe at the last portage. Before leaving Williams and Hall for the hospital, I told Blayne about the ring and he told me that he would be going back to the portage area the next day and that he would look for it. Realistically, I didn’t hold much hope…because I didn’t even know if it was there or at the campsite…let alone the likelihood of it being found, regardless of where it was. Blayne called me a couple of days later to tell me that he had had no luck. About a week later Blayne called again with the great news that my ring had been found! Seems as if a fella by the name of Jeff Anders of Hawley, Minnesota had overheard Blayne talking to me on the phone, telling ME the bad news that he wasn’t able to find my ring. Jeff had gone back to purchase a water bottle and fortunately for me was in the right place at the right time. While Jeff’s group was at the portage into Birch he was out looking for some raspberries and said he looked down and there was the ring…under a bush. He recalled the conversation that he had inadvertently overheard, put the ring in a dry bag, enjoyed his stay in the BW and then shared his discovery with Blayne upon his return. I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled I was to get that second call from Blayne telling me that a Jeff Anders had found my ring. I called Jeff and thanked him profusely and I can’t say enough about Blayne and Williams and Hall for all their help and effort. When Blayne sent the ring back he included a little note…ending with “I can’t tell you how happy I am that it was found. You are one lucky guy!” Call it luck, call it Providence…I don’t know. But I do know that my gratitude to Blayne and Jeff just can’t be expressed enough.