BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
April 02 2020
Number of Permits per Day: 8
Elevation: 1191 feet
Snowbank Lake - 27
Thomas Lake June 20th/25th
June 20, 2004
Number of Days:
We arrive in Ely around 5:45 pm after leaving Arkansas the night before at 10:00. We hustle to the Wolf Center to get our permit. We then go to Voyager North to get bait, a canoe for the other couple, and some good conversation from Lynn and John. We then go to the Ely Steakhouse for dinner. After that we head out to Smitty's to spend the night. Once we get there and find Ron and Julie to be excellent host.
I had forgotten how early it gets daylight in the north! I awake at 4:00 and get up to start getting things ready to go, but remember that my friends wife has to make a telephone call at 7:00 am, so I just relax and my fiance Kim and I enjoy a great breakfast of Blueberry pancakes at the lodge and visit with Kaitlyn, Bear Dancing Woman on the CCBB. She tells us of wind problems she had coming in Friday! Perhaps an omen of what is to come! We leave at 8:00 and the wind is already blowing hard! We make it across Snowbank despite 18-24 inch waves and some unwanted surfing if you knon what I mean! We go through Disappointment where we probably should have stopped and stayed but we didn't. We make it through Disappointment, Ahsub, Jitterbug, Adventure, to Cattyman where we stop for lunch of tuna pitas, (idea got on this board) and to visit the falls which were rolling. We take some good pictures, see below, and tried to help some girls from Minnesota which were confused!! See picture below!!! We all had a good laugh and went on our separate ways. We go on and cross a very wind blown Ima, and pass through Hatchet Creek where we are able to pull through a couple of the rapids since the water was so high. We finally get to Thomas and stop at the campsite Adam recomended. Everyone was tired and the wind blowing too hard to go further. After we get camp set up I prepare a meal of Jambalaya and pita bread. After dinner we enjoy a good cup of Columbian Coffee with a nice shot of Amarula in it and everyone goes to bed early. Total miles by GPS 14.67. Time traveled aprox. 8 hours. Weather, low 70's with winds 20 - 25 mph. Wild life seen included loons, gulls, and a flying eagle. No bugs.
I arise early and see beautiful sunrise. Everyone else is still asleep so I let them rest, while I get my fishing gear ready and throw out a leech to see if I can get a bite and enjoy a cup of coffee by the waters edge... solitude, peace, and nature... it doesn't get better than that!!! Finally everyone else gets up, and we have a breakfast of bagels and strawberry creamcheese and Crystal Light Sunrise Delight Orange Drink, which is great! Kim and I head out to try and find some lakers while the other couple goes after walleye. We see the other woman catch a walleye around 4.5 lbs... dinner tonight maybe? Kim and I hit deep water, and the wind starts to blow... too hard to troll, so we finally head for a cove to fish for northerns. No luck so we decide to head back to camp, and as we turn the corner to quarter back across the wind, my SR Q 18.5 is turned like a styrofoam cup on top of the water and blown to the opposite end of the lake about 3/4 mile away!! We make it across to the far shore where we rest and then head back island hopping and trying to stay out of the wind as we could! Finally, get back to camp, Kim is exhausted and I am tired so we take a nap, the other couple with us does too. He ties the Walleye out on a stringer and I tell him to put plenty of extra rope to allow the fish to swim from turtles... turtles win however and he wakes up to an empty stringer and a loggerhead by camp wanting more free meals. So instead of walleye we have Cheesy chicken enchilada tacos... build a nice fire relax and talk about taking a daytrip to Fishdance to see the pictographs the next day, if the wind lets us. We all go to bed early again. Miles traveled today 2. Weather high in the 60's, wind again around 20+ mph. No wildlife other than a little red squirrel which came into camp.
We all arise early and have a breakdfast of bagels, creamcheese, coffee and Crystal light. We leave at 6:00 to go to fishdance fishing a little along the way. In Kiana, I have a huge northern close to 40 inches follow my spoon right up to the boat... I am glad he did not hit it that close to the canoe!!! The other boat catches a northern about 25 inches long and we move on and do the 180 rod portage into Insula. We fish below the rapids there where the Kawishiwi runs out of Alice and catch several small walleye. Kim catches a sucker about 5 lbs, and I think for a while she has a huge walleye! Then I hook into a big fish and fight it thinking it might be a big sucker... but, instead it is a huge walleye, 28-30 inches long and weighing 7-8 pounds I think, my biggest ever no doubt. Picture of the walleye will come later. We move on to Alice, get caught in a storm with high wind which quickly passes as we stand at the portage into Fishdance a huge Alaskan Husky comes running up out of nowhere and licks my friends hand while his back is turned... his wife screams and we all jump!!! One of those moments you know! We make the rough protage into Fishdance and see the pictographs, take pictures and head back to camp... Finally, get back to camp where I prepare my famous lemon peppered walleye and cajun walleye with stove top stuffing. Afterwards, we all go to bed early again because of being tired. Miles covered this day 18 by GPS. Weather lows at night in the high 30's, daytime highs in the 50's high winds and rain! No wildlife other than the Dog... even no bugs!
This was to be our day to move back to Lake Disappointment but, we decide to stay on Thomas another day to rest! We get up and I prepare pancakes with Strawberry Jam and butter. Kim and I decide to try and get to Sagus today across Fraser... we head out fishing as we go. We see an eagle sitting in a tree and Kim get some good video as a gull tries to run him off. We get half way across Fraser and dark clouds start rolling in behind us, we give up on Sagus and head back to camp. I can tell Kim is trying to be as game as she can be... but fighting the wind, and hitting knuckles on the sides of the canoe is about to take it's toll. I am very proud of her however, as she never complained... she wanted me to have and enjoy my vacation. We fight the wind hard and get back to camp where it starts to rain, I cook hamburger helper taco caserole under the tarp, we all eat and rest for the rest of the day, and get things ready to leave the next day to Lake Disappointment. Miles traveled this day 4. Weather, highs low 50's, lows at night mid to upper 30's, wind... as always... 20+ mph it seems! Wildlife we saw the eagle and the other couple had a mother moose and baby almost run into camp on them... scared them bad!! Still no bugs!!
We get up early, have breakfast of bagels and creamcheese. We pack everything up wet as it had rained during the night and was still raining, cold and the wind blowing hard!! We make it across Thomas and Hatchet Creek okay, but when we get to Ima!!! the wind is blowing directly into the protage, the waves are 24-30 inches high, and we decide to wait it out for a while since the girls are tired. While we wait for 4 hours we see several groups come and go, mainly Boy Scouts, two of which capsized in Ima and we helped them get out on bank. Finally, after much prayer, and hope we start out after a slight wind shift... and as if God was just waiting on us to have the faith to go... the wind stopped when we were 100 yards out and the lake calmed!!! Thank you Jesus, Kim Shouted out!! We were able to make it back to Disappointment where I told everyone... Why don't we just go ahead and paddle out, we can be at Smitty's by 6:30 and at Voyager taking hot showers by 7:30... They all said, they would be glad to stay another night and leave in the morning, but I told them not to worry, all the campsites on Disappointment were probably full any way. So we paddled across Disappointment, had a quick snack of tuna and did the 140 rod portage out. As we were about to step into the canoes to leave, I was in the water and Kim was facing me looking away from bank, I told her to turn around very easy and see what was standing behind her... A black bear was about 35 feet behind her. She said, get the video camera, which I did and she got about 10 seconds of video before her tape ran out. But I got several pictures yet to be developed. That made the trip end well! And the hot showers and cold beverages at Voyager North made it ever better. My vacation adventure ended a couple of days early, but it was worth it to have my fiance Kim say she would like to do it again next year, just not quite as hard as this year. I again was very proud of her, she paddled 55 mile in 5 days, and portage who knows how far carrying a 35 - 40 pound pack. She said she never truly realized what I did up here until now, and that she is impressed with me even more... That sure made me feel good!!! It was a great time again to be in the North.
Trip home was no problem... Only down side to the whole trip was when I got home and started hanging things out to dry on my flat bottom, I discovered someone else had taken a liking to my Evinrude 25 hp fourstroke motor and and taken it with them!!! Oh, well that is why I have insurance... Take care and God Bless All!!!