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July 12 2024

Entry Point 27 - Snowbank Lake

Snowbank Lake entry point allows overnight paddle or motor (25 HP max). This entry point is supported by Kawishiwi Ranger Station near the city of Ely, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 24 miles. Access is a boat landing or canoe launch at Snowbank Lake. Many trip options for paddlers. This area was affected by blowdown in 1999.

Number of Permits per Day: 8
Elevation: 1191 feet
Latitude: 47.9716
Longitude: -91.4326
Snowbank Lake - 27

Finally a solo

by smuts
Trip Report

Entry Date: September 19, 2011
Entry Point: Wood Lake
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 1

Trip Introduction:
Have always wanted to take a solo. Finally bit the bullet and purchased a solo canoe - now no more excuses. Looking to find myself and unplug. This trip has been on the bucket list for over a decade.


The great fire of 2011 threatened the trip that I have been pondering for years. My entry permit was for the 19th of September at Sawbill. That permit ended up being cancelled as that entry point was closed. Have been monitoring the fire and all its write up almost hourly; as well as the last thing before going to bed and the first thing when I wake. My family is very upset that I pick up a permit for a another entry point and I let them know that I am still going to make the trip. 

New entry point - Wood Lake, same entry date as before.

Goals for the trip; Solitude, heavy fishing (mainly pike), and seeing the historic remains of the logging era that I have read about on this webpage that are in Hoist Bay. I want to find the submerged boat/train in one of the bays.

09-18-11; I leave from home later than expected as I watch in disbelief that my Vikings blow ANOTHER two digit lead in the second half. It's a seven hour drive to Winton, I am going to spend the night at Packsack. About 20 minutes out from Ely, I come over a small hill and a large adult gray timberwolf emerges from the woodline and stops at the roadside directly in front of me. I slam on the brakes and he stands still as if waiting for traffic to clear before crossing. Awesome looking animal. It is the second wolf sighting that I have ever encountered. I arrive at Packsack about 10:00 pm and I am the only one in the bunkhouse - perfect. It rained the entire trip up so I am hoping that they lift the fire ban.

09-19-11; Up before my alarm. Pick up permit, bait, and then head to the EP. Pretty nervous, yet very excited. Lot of firefighter activity in Ely, I learn that the fire is only 10% contained. There is still a fire ban so I expect the nights to be cool.

When I pull into the EP I see that I am the only one here - perfect.

Triple portage, load the canoe and head in. If there is no one on Wood, I plan to stay here; otherwise my destination will be Good Lake. Weather is perfect.

There is no one on the Lake so I decide to take the campsite closest to Hula Lake. Stayed there before. Nice site - great little beach landing, nice tent pad, and private bay.

Camp goes up quickly and the food pack is hung without any complications. Last time I was at this site (years ago) a bear came through and helped himself to our food and drink. They bite almost everything in camp to see if it is something they can eat. Water containers, boots and other items destroyed. 

In no time my fishing poles are ready and I head out to get some water. Fishing is fantastic. I'm a big pike guy so that is my target. I fish for a few hours and then head back to camp for supper. Mom made me a special German dish and wrapped it in tin foil. Perfect end to a perfect day.

Hit the sleeping after star gazing. Every sound that night has me on edge. Get up to check the food pack, my canoe and fishing gear. On another past trip to this lake at this same campsite, I had a beaver get my fishing pole tangled in a tree branch that he drug from the camp area into the bay. The only way we found it was my camping partner saw it in the middle of our bay as he headed up to the head one morning.

9-20-11; Took photos from the hill behind my camp. Wood Lake at its finest.  

Back to fishing. Fishing again is fantastic. A lot of beaver activity near my camp.  

I know it is hard to see in the second photo, but there were three beavers right there next to my camp landing. Caught so many northern today that I had to strip off about 50 feet of my fishing line. The line is hunter green in color, now it is white. I also have to put a new steel leader on.

Little camp buddy is here to keep me company.

So far no boredom or self questioning of what have I gotten myself into. I am really enjoying the freedom and solitude.

Fish Hula Lake for the evening - Northern packed!! Nothing monstrous, but a lot of activity.

Second night I am fast asleep.

Trip to Hoist Bay planned today. Skies are cloudy, but little or no wind. The trip to Good is uneventful. Once on Good I debate taking the stream to Hoist Bay or the portage to the lake. I was told that the stream would be safe to take even this time of year. I go with the creek as I'm told that it is safe to go this time of year. BOY WAS I MISINFORMED.

After a lot of pushing and pulling I'm through to Hoist Bay. The first thing that I see is the huge remains of an old dock - It is very cool. I paddle over to rest (from the stream/bog fight) and inspect the dock remains.

I then head out to find the submerged remains that I have read about on this website. It wasn't had to find, the remains were sticking out of the water. It is very cool to check out. I spent quite a bit of time with the item.  

Head back to Good Lake for some fishing. Both camp sites are empty. I stop at the campsite in the middle of the Lake for dinner. Elevated campsite. Great view and campsite, terrible landing. Big storm blows up. The wind is crazy. Stuck at the camp for hours hoping the wind stops; it doesn't slow at all. I'm cold, wet, and darkness is coming. I head off into it. The trip across Hula had to be record time. I never paddled once. It is a small shallow lake - and it was whitecapping! Luckily wind was to my back. Made it back to camp (lots of prayers said today). Took a photo from camp.

The storm rages all night, the wind is howling as I drift off to sleep.

Up early with a big breakfast of sausage and pancakes. Back out into the world of Northern Pike. The fishing this trip has been excellent. At times I had to quit trolling as I made it back to camp for meals.

Never had any issues with boredom on the trip. Really enjoyed the trip, will take another one again. On the trip out was the first time that I spoke to another person all trip. The parking lot was full when I exited and every camp site that I passed on my way out was occupied. Good time to exit. 

Shot of the portage out of Wood.


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