BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
July 02 2022
Number of Permits per Day: 1
Elevation: 1249 feet
North Kawishiwi River - 29
Number Lakes Loop- First time out West
September 06, 2012
Number of Days:
I was on constant rock duty through the Kawishiwi River. The dead and fire scarred trees were interesting at first but as the day drew on, they started to get a little depressing. Lots of wildflowers though. Super healthy and vibrant. Lake Insula’s south half was scorched as well, but we finally put our backs to the brown and black stubs and found a lovely cozy site along the western shore about halfway up the lake. The water was perfectly calm and the sky perfectly clear. We could not have asked for better weather to start our trip. We spent the evening relaxing around camp and watching the stars come out. The Milky Way swooped overhead and the stars reflected in the water like tiny floating candles.
We followed the Kawishiwi River once more and it was a joy to paddle with small rapids, glittery gabbro outcrops, and chattering kingfishers. By lunchtime, we made it to the Fishdance Lake Pictographs and feasted at a perched campsite across from the giant cliff. Before we left we floated along side the face of the cliff and gazed in awe at the ancient paintings. One couldn’t help but feel the presence of history here. Early afternoon came and we started looking for home. We juggled between two sites on either side of an island in the Kawishiwi River and opted for the northern site for it’s superior swimming hole. Not long after unpacking I utilized said swimming hole with great relief. It was a hot sunny day of paddling. This site features a nice rocky ledge high off the water with great views to the western shore. From here we watched a family of eagles hunting fish, and plentiful beaver activity. More stargazing and a lovely evening fire.
Adams Lake was my favorite of the trip and featured a continuous shoreline of craggy basalt. Small trees clung desperately to the surface. Lots of rocky islands! We have definitely climbed in elevation from the river and the water is crystal clear. Rocks the size of vans litter the bottom of the lake. Getting out of Adams and into Boulder was not quite so fun. Lots of slogging through shallow channels, hefting the boat over two beaver dams, and the wind has picked up again. The struggle to get to Boulder Lake is worth it though and we ended up having the lake to ourselves. My Dad had camped on this lake as a boy and we headed over to an island which he said boasted a fantastic site. Many huge erratic boulders line the site and the view from the throne is great especially if you like geology.
Finally, some cloud cover and sparse drops of rain to give us relief from the glaring sun. Like my favorite outdoor humorist Pat McManus writes: “Camping is a fine and pleasant misery.” After all, what would a canoe trip be without blazing sun, wind, and mucky beaver dams? It just wouldn’t be right without them. ~River Lake, Beaver Lake, Adams Lake, Boulder Lake
By now, the wind had gotten noticeably stronger which made the crossing of Roe and Cap Lake harrowing to say the least. I was too busy churning up a froth to notice any pain in my arms. My eyes stayed fixed to the farther shore willing it to get closer. We found out later that the gusts were up to 27 mph! The next lake was a little better wave wise but the gusty winds made me wish for a decent camp and pronto. Finally we made the quick portage into Shepo Lake and, after taking a look at the numerous whitecaps on Fraser Lake, we decided to stay here. The only site on Shepo is open and rocky only offering a little protection from the swirls of wind. Naps were taken, a few games of Yahtzee played and hot beverages consumed. We had a lot of time to kill and not a whole lot to explore.
Turns out my Dad left his Nalgene at the portage into the lake so we had to paddle back out to retrieve it. While returning, we spotted a few distant plumes of smoke to the north signaling a wildfire. Of course that unsettled us and even though we knew it was VERY far away, all sorts of scenarios start running through your head. Every wispy cloud turned into potential smoke plumes and our site faced away from it so we couldn’t keep tabs on the situation. Dusk started to fall and the excitement continued. Strange noises were occurring across our bay: Grunting and rather large trees falling. We assumed this to be a beaver since we had heard and seen much beaver activity earlier in the day. At least that’s what we were hoping. On top of that, we haven’t seen a soul in two days. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing, but if crazy things are happening its kind of reassuring to know there someone else nearby. Night fell and the crashing continued to get closer and closer to our site and then it all fell eerily quiet. We vowed to leave at first light tomorrow to beat the wind and leave the strange creatures behind. ~Cap Lake, Roe Lake, Sagus Lake, Shepo Lake
Fraser Lake was fairly calm this morning, which was great because it took a while to reach the other side. We met some other early morning paddlers with the same idea as us. Finally back into a smaller lake: Kiana. The fall colors are really popping now. The blueberry and diervilla turned plum purple and the maples yellow and scarlet. When we finally reached Insula again, there was only a short diagonal trek between us and “home.” We set up camp on Williamson Island, a small rocky island only inhabited by mice and a red squirrel. A welcome change from Shepo. We relaxed on the rocky front porch with oatmeal and coffee in hand because we had missed breakfast that morning. The wind picked up again but our site was well protected. After a very short tour of the island, we took our appointed baths and had a nice afternoon tea on the rocks. The only thing to watch out for on this site was the abundance of mice rummaging all around. Heard wolves again in the distance. Not too many loons on this trip, though. Watched shooting stars under the chilly clear sky until the fire dwindled. A much more relaxing evening. I think I’ll sleep well tonight. ~Shepo Lake, Fraser Lake, Thomas Lake, Kiana Lake, Insula, Lake
Definitely a little bite in the air today and we saw many flocks of geese heading south. The fire pit area boasted an incredible view of the sky and we watched a fireball leave a bright streak across the sky! ~Insula, Lake, Hudson Lake