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December 09 2023

Entry Point 29 - North Kawishiwi River

North Kawishiwi River entry point allows overnight paddle only. This entry point is supported by Kawishiwi Ranger Station near the city of Ely, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 15 miles. Access the North Kawishiwi River through Ojibway Lake and Triangle Lake using two portages.

Number of Permits per Day: 1
Elevation: 1249 feet
Latitude: 47.9543
Longitude: -91.5641
North Kawishiwi River - 29

EP 30 to EP 27 Loop Solo

by ADKcanoe
Trip Report

Entry Date: June 13, 2012
Entry Point: Lake One
Exit Point: Snowbank Lake (27)
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 1

Trip Introduction:
4 day/4 night loop from Lake One to Snowbank. First timer, solo. 30 lakes and 30 portages.

Day 1 of 4

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - I drove up from Minneapolis to Ely Tuesday afternoon. As I was visiting my daughter, I only had room for minimal gear, so I opted for a complete outfitting by Piragis. Tues evening stopped by Piragis to get my canoe and gear. Everything was ready, laid out and well organized. They brought out a brand new brand new Voyager for me. My knees went weak! I stopped by the Ely Steakhouse for a Bucky Burger, then stayed the night at the Adventure Inn. Inn keeper was great - ex-guide - and gave me some good tips.

Wednesday morning I was out by 6:30 to get my food from Piragis. At the EP an on the Lake One by 7:45. Back home in New York State, I'm a weekend warrior canoe racer in C1 stock. Paddling a fully loaded boat was different, but enjoyable. Took a while to get used to, and fore/aft seat adjustments didn't have the same effect, but more on that later.

Lake One and Two were quiet, and beautiful. Saw several Bald Eagles. Once on Lake Three, Four, and Hundson the sign of the fire were evident. What I noticed most was the lack of shade on the portages. It was sunny and hot. I thought I might make it to Alice, but by 3:30 I was cooked and I grabbed a campsite on Irsula. Nice sandy beach, out of the wind. Bugs a little nasty. A little rain at night, which was welcome. Dinner of beans and rice, with fry cakes and a spicy sausage. I was out by 10:00.

Side note on the canoe: The Voyager at 17'6" is a great boat. Never a hint of tippiness. Tracked like a hound dog. The only problem I had was with wind on rear quarter. I had a tough time keeping the boat from rounding up, even with moving the seat all the way back. Finally, shifting weight way back helped. That was my only complaint. Up wind in any angle, directly down wind, even wind on beam, this boat was awesome.


Day 2 of 4

Thursday, June 14, 2012 - After a little rain at night, I awoke to a cooler and somewhat cloudy day. Made a good breakfast of ganola and fruit and set out at 7:30 a.m. Wind was strong all night from the south, and continued in the morning. By the time I was off Insula waves had set up. By the time I was at Alice, there were foam streaks and white caps. Skirted the south side of Alice and headed out Kawashiwi River.

at about 8:30 a.m. the skies opened up and it rained hard. really hard. I put on my slicker and kept paddling. After two slimy portages, I settled into paddling. Around 10:30 the temp dropped and I started to get a chill. I continued up the Kawashiwi until the south turn to Record Lake and I started to get really cold. I'm a Ski Patroller, and know cold, I and knew this wasn't good. Stupidly, I'd left my poncho in my pack!

I pulled into the Campsite at the corner of Kawashiwi and Record River, and set up a temporary camp. I was really cold. Stripped off my wet clothes, put on my backup layer, made a cup of hot coffee, and hung the clothes out to dry - haha. At 1:30 p.m. I started out again and headed north, my final goal being Boulder Lake. I paddled through Trapline, Beaver, Smits, Adams, and crossed the two beaver dams into Boulder. Its was cloudy and windy, but the rain held off. I'd been through 8 portages. I got to Boulder, and not a sole was on the lake. In fact, I hadn't seen anyone since 8:30 that morning. I picked the campsite on the island on Boulder, set up the tent and a clothes line. The wind picked up, I sat down for a sip of whiskey, and the rain started. I put on the poncho (I'm a slow learner) and had a cold diner in the wind and rain. Retired to the ten around 8:30 exhausted. I'd worked hard this day... The wind and rain were discouraging, but the weather radio promised a nice albeit hot day tomorrow. It rained half the night, then calmed down.


Day 3 of 4

Friday, June 15, 2012 - Thank goodness, a dry day. Wind was still up from the south. Dried all my clothes out, and packed up, in the canoe by 7:30. The two long portages from Boulder to Cup Lake took about an hour and a half. I two-triped all of them except a couple tricky sections where I three- trip portaged. After this slog of more than 250 rods, the rest of the portages on the trip where a piece of cake. This was a narrow path - lots of ticks. Each pass I'd pick a couple off me, despite Bens' 100% Deet. In this section I saw signs of recent moose and bear activity, but didn't see any creatures. I was elated to get to Cup. The little lakes of Cup, Roe, Sagus, and Shepo where delightful. Mental note - Sagus would be a nice destination to camp. The wind from the south was 10 - 15, so crossing Fraser and Thomas I stuck to the south shore where ever possible. I pulled into Ima about 4:00 and sure enough all the campsites I had targeted where full. I pulled into Alworth Lake and had this gem to myself. I camped on the island. Lots of bird activity, noisy loons, and a beautiful sunset. Went for a swim, and had a nice dinner of beef stroganoff with a couple glasses of red wine. Note- you can actually paddle from Ima to Alworth avoiding a portage here.


Day 4 of 4

Saturday, June 16, 2012 - Woke to another beautiful day. Got an early start as the forecast was for major rain showers in the afternoon, and wind backing to the SW - my direction. My goal was to get to Parent Lake by 1:00 which I did, despite taking a wrong portage to Snowbank. I had a good laugh, and a couple other on the portage who realized my mistake where very supportive. "You must have the same leader we have!". I felt guilty with my 35 lb canoe, while they'd schlep their 60-80 lb square stern grumans. Of course, I had a 40 lb pack on my back, too, so we were even.

Disappointment Lake was inviting, and I can see why people like it. But, when I got to Parent, once again, I had the entire Lake to myself. The third night in a row where it was just me. I felt lucky and almost elated. The wind came up on queue, and the rain's started, with two big storms. I ate a late dinner between them, watched the stars come out at 10:00. Then spent a rainy night in the tent.

Up a 4:45 the next morning to be at the Snowbank EP 27 Sunday by 7:30. Hitched a ride back to EP 30. Piragis was great checking me in. Took all of 5 minutes. Had a big breakfast, shopped a bit for a gift for my gal back home, and toured Ely. 

In summary a great trip - good workout. Beautiful vistas. Lots of time to reflect. I realized that in the middle of the trip I'd gone 36 hours without seeing a person, boat, sign, even a candy wrapper.

30 Lakes and 30 portages in four days. Uffda!


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