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June 18 2024

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

bear attack

by nooneuno
Trip Report

Entry Date: July 04, 2014
Entry Point: Lake One
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 1

Trip Introduction:
I had been planning this trip for days it was to be my first canoeing trip with the boys, Caleb age 11 from my first marriage, Abel age 10 from my second marriage, and little George from my 3rd he was just 9 but like I told his ma by the time I was his age I had been squirrel huntin by myself for years so he was plenty old enough, she insisted that I also bring along with us his new step dad which was okay by me. On Monday when I started to plan this trip everyone was gung ho but by Thursday it was down to just me that’s the trouble with women they change their minds for no dang reason at all and they put the kabash on the whole trip. Well I had already took the time off work at the scrapyard so I was going anyway “solo” as they say. I had borrowed a canoe from my boss it was one of the new fiberglass models, they sure don’t make em like they used to, the fiberglass was so thin you could see light through it and it was light as a feather. When I was a kid fiberglass canoes were nice and heavy and built like a rock these new cheap ones probably come from China like everything else but it was free for me so whatever. I spent a few hours rigging some portage wheels from two by fours and c clamps and the tires off the neighbor kid’s bike, sweet no unloading and carrying crap for me. By Friday night the Trans Am was all loaded up and ready to go. I wanted to get an early start Saturday morning so I set the alarm for 10:00am, the six pack I drank while getting the gear packed up worked its magic and I was soon fast asleep. The alarm went off early as planned and I only had to hit the snooze button twice, I left out enough food for the dog, locked up the trailer and hit the road, from Landfall near the East side of Saint Paul to Ely only took 6 hours and two tanks of gas, for a” 72” that Pontiac still moves pretty good. I would have made it quicker if I had remembered to tie down the canoe, oh well scratches give it character anyway. I looked around for a Wal Mart in Ely to sleep in the parking lot but couldn’t find it so I pulled off behind the dumpster at the dollar store and got some shut eye.

Day 1 of 4

Day 1 Sunday 9:00am Sunday morning I got woke up because some darn fool was ringing bells like it was Christmas or something I wanted to get an early start but this was ridiculous, I mean where’s a cop when you need one, anyways I took a leak behind the dumpster and was off to the put in at Lake One. I got all my gear loaded up in about an hour and was getting the lawn chair situated just right in the middle of the boat when this bloke starts settin up beside me, he was going “solo” as well but he barely had any gear and just this funny lookin little boat he called a Canak. (He was the one that told me about this forum said his name was “Starman or something like that”) Now I probably shouldn’t have laughed, after all not everyone can afford a lot of gear like me, so I offered to let him hang with me but he was probably embarrassed and said no thanks, and left. I moved the car to the parking area and shoved off, I was canoeing at last, the water was only about two feet deep so I got everything loaded back up, this time I threw in some pretty good size rocks for ballast, obviously the Chinese have a lot to learn about canoe building, soon I set off again. The wording on the side of this boat was Quetico Le Tigre 17 and I am pretty sure that is Chinese for slow and tippy, because it sure was. As I reached the first portage I could see four canoes on the shore and four more just floating around like they was confused or lost, well I wasn’t lost so I turned on the speed and blew right past em and ran my boat ¾ of the way up the rock, I turned to the guy who was standing in water up to his knees trying to unload his gear without falling in and said “that’s how it’s done” I stepped out and didn’t even get my tennis shoes wet. With the portage wheels clamped in place I passed everyone by and was across in no time at all. When I was takin the wheels down I seen two guys whispering and pointing at my canoe, they even took a picture when they thought I wasn’t looking, that’s the problem when you got injunooity folks is always jealous and wanting to steal your ideas for themselves. I settled back in the lawn chair and was at the next portage in no time. Halfway across this portage I got behind a group of 8 Girl Scouts and their troop leader, they were loaded down with packs, tents, and all kinds of other stuff, I could tell they were really struggling, I had to ask them three times to move out of the way so I could roll past, talk about bad etiquette I could tell they were jealous of my wheels as well, but I pushed on ignoring their whispers. Four hours later I was at my base camp destination, Lake Three. (I made a mental note to myself that next time I come back I was gonna rig up a bracket for a small outboard then I could really scoot along.) I set up camp in an empty spot and settled in. Since little George’s step dad couldn’t make it I left his portion of beer at home which means I was gonna have to do a little rationing to make it last as I only had a twelve pack for each day (and a little something special for the final night). I popped my first and got a roaring cooking fire going. Now I don’t care who you are or where you’re from nothing hits the spot in camp like a big can of baked beans and spam cooked on an open fire. My uncle Jethro taught me everything I know about the great outdoors he says lots of folks worry about bears in camp and hanging your food up in the trees but if you bring everything in cans the bears don’t mess with your food because they can’t smell it. Jethro also taught me all about "LEAVE NO TRAILS(LNT)" so after finishing the last of my paltry beer ration for the day I scattered the cans from supper along with the empty 12 pack in the woods and turned in for the night.


Day 2 of 4

Day 2 Monday The morning started off cool and cloudy but natured called so I popped a beer and headed back to the throne of shame, beans and spam not only go down fast but they come out just as fast which was good because while sitting there I realized that I forgot to bring two important items bug spray and clean underwear, now the bugs weren’t just bad they were unholy bad, by the time I got back to the tent I was feeling dizzy from the blood loss. In the tent I pondered my dilemma over another brewski and remembered something else that Jethro taught me so I put on all the clothes I brought (both pairs of jeans, both heavy cotton sweatshirts, two pairs of gym socks, and my tennis shoes) the mosquitos couldn’t bite through all that but it was hot as hell. Now uncle Jethro taught me that you could heat birch bark over the fire and the sap would reduce down to a sticky tar like substance that kept the mosquitos away better than anything you could buy so I set about stripping the birch bark off every tree in camp up as far as I could reach. When you make this concoction it smokes a lot and stinks like the pigs eye plant in St. Paul so in keeping with LNT I built a big fire in the woods behind the latrine as it stunk back there any how and filled my big cast iron Dutch oven up and let her boil. While I was waiting I grabbed a six pack and went off on a nature type hike in the woods. Uncle Jethro often told me a man could live perfectly fine off the land on berries and such and I could not believe the bounty of these woods, there were blueberries, raspberries and even little cherries growing wild all over the ground so I took off one pair of my socks and filled them up with these tasty morsels and headed back to camp. Since I no longer had the beer cans to carry I was making pretty good time but I wasn’t fast enough to beat the rain and all my clothes got completely soaked. Back in the tent I took off all my wet clothes and had a lunch of wild berries and pickled sardines, delicious. I spent the rest of the day in the tent snoozing, only coming out ounce in a while to cut down small trees to keep the fire going on my bug dope concoction. The rain stopped and the bugs died down just after dark so I had a few more brew skis and heated a family size can of Dinty Moore beef stew for supper. I hung all my clothes near the big fire in the woods by the stinkbox to dry. Just out from shore at this site was a big flat rock a guy could jump to that was just perfect for fishing so that’s what I did next, or tried to, as actually I lost my balance and put one foot in up to my waist, at least I didn’t drop my rod, or the beer. I sure was glad that I decided to leave the boombox on dry land and just crank it all the way up if it would have fell in I would have been without tunes for the rest of the trip, lucky me. The fishing was great I caught six nice walleyes and one big pike I let them all go thou because I didn’t have a fishing license and didn’t want to break the rules. I then laid back on the rock and watched a few small planes go by way up as high as the stars. A huge Dinty Moore fart snapped me back to reality and I jumped the gap back to camp to turn in. I sure missed my boys, even though the court didn’t let me see them much, then just about midnight I remembered their surprise. Before the trip I had swung over to sconnie to buy the boys a gross of bottle rockets for the trip and forgot to unpack them, these weren’t those cheap little whiz bangs either, I sprung for the good ones, whistlers. So in a fit of nostalgia, and a tribute to my boys I cranked up the tunes and lit off every last one of em, it was a glorious site, I could tell everyone else camped on the lake thought so to because I could hear em all a hootin and a hollerin the whole time. Remembering Uncle Jethro and LNT I scattered the trash and turned in.


Day 3 of 4

Day 3 Tuesday Along with the rest of the berries I had smoked oysters in the tent for breakfast, didn’t finish them all though as my stomach was a little queasy and I had the squirts something fierce this morning. It musta rained a little after lights out because my clothes were still soaked but at least my bug dope was done and since I was still neckid I slathered it on. This stuff really worked good the bugs were scattering like Mohamed parting the Red Sea. Halfway back on the trail from the thunderdome I slipped in the mud and fell I cut both shins and my left shoulder (note to self, first aid kit next time). Arriving back at the tent I was really pissed some animal had shredded the side of the tent, damn raccoons. Hearing rustling from inside I grabbed my paddle and poked the now collapsed tent, instead of a raccoon out came the cutest little bear cub. I did not want this bear to become socialized to people so I gave him a whack with the paddle and he ran off, that’s when I heard a stick break behind me I turned around to see the largest, angriest bear on earth. Now Uncle Jethro always said bears were more afraid of you than you are of them, just then I realized Jethro was a damned liar, come to think of it I don’t think he ever left the East Side of St. Paul. I screamed, the bear roared, I screamed louder, I shit myself. I ran toward the next campsite, the bear followed. Through the trees I heard voices, many voices, Girl Scout voices, I was saved, I pictured myself laughing, sitting by a crackling fire, eating thin mints and doe si does.

Now imagine for a second you’re leading a group of eight girl scouts on a one week trip to the BWCA, you stop to check out the feasibility of a camp site, you hear screaming, suddenly from the trees emerges a 40 year old, fat, naked man. A man completely covered in a black tar like substance, blood, and human feces, screaming some incomprehensible language "something about a bear" you reach for your bear spray. The bear spray hit me full on in the face, I couldn’t breathe, my throat burned, my eyes were on fire. The girl scouts jumped in their canoes and paddled off. The momma bear sauntered away, I swear I heard her laughing. I blindly crawled naked on my hands and knees through the poison Ivy to the edge of the water where I stayed for hours, drinking the cool water, washing my face, and watching a beaver hard at work constructing his lodge about 20 feet away. Upon nightfall I staggered back to my campsite finished the last 12 pack and ate a cold can of Hormel chili. Things couldn’t get much worse I thought, then I remembered my something special, a tall cool 40 oz. bottle of Schlitz malt liquor I had chillin in the lake. I retrieved it, twisted off the screw on cap, held it high like a trophy to human perseverance , when accidently it slipped through my fingers the glass bottle exploding on impact. I crawled under my collapsed tent and cried myself to sleep.


Day 4 of 4

Day 4 Wednesday I awoke bright and early at 1100am to the most glorious day I could remember the birds were singing, the sun was shining, all my senses were overcome with the sights, smells, and sounds of nature in her finest glory. It was life alteringly beautiful but it was also time for me to return home. So with that thought I scattered the last of the empty cans in the trees, kicked the broken glass into the lake and threw my trash, shredded tent and sleeping bag on the fire and packed up. As is always my practice, to make things better for the next group, I stacked up the extra trees that I cut down by the fire pit and headed back to civilization. I can’t wait for my next trip so I can bring the boys and learn them to appreciate nature the way I do. Sorry no pictures when I got back to let the dog out he ate the camera.


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