BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
May 18 2021
Number of Permits per Day: 1
Elevation: 1249 feet
North Kawishiwi River - 29
My first solo - lake one loop
September 26, 2007
Number of Days:
I woke up about 4:00am and finished packing up the last few things I needed. Pretty soon the car was loaded and I hit the road. Oddly enough the power was out that morning in our neighborhood, so I got a headstart on getting by without power:)
After several coffee stops and breakfast along the way I pulled into Ely around 9:00 am. I picked up my permit and chatted with the rangers for a few minutes and headed out. I decided to stop at Voyageur North and pick up one of their used Kondos packs while I was in the area. Then it was off to Lake One.
I got everything unloaded and down to the landing and parked the car. A group there was learning how to paddle from a guide and I said a quick hello and was off. I think it was getting kind of late, maybe 11:00 or so by the time I was on the water. I wasn't planning on going real far so I wasn't too worried about getting going late. My goal was to get to Rifle Lake and spend the night there. This was my first trip in my Bell Magic and I gained confidence with every stroke. There was a bit of wind to deal with, but once I got it trimmed right I didn't have any problems. This is also the first trip I had my new waterproof digital Olympus camera with, so I took a ton of photos.
Here are a few on the Lake One/Two area on my way to rifle.
I had a bit of difficulty finding the Rifle portage, it was alot further down the shore than it showed on my map. The portage was a little bit rocky if I remember right, but not awful. Rifle is a very cool little lake. As I had hoped, the one site on Rifle was open so I took that for the night. I had been up since very early in the morning and was happy to set up camp.
After I got camp set up and found some firewood I sat there for a second and though "now what?" For the first time on the trip the fact that I was alone sunk in. It was a bit weird to be quite honest. I decided to break out the small backpack guitar I brought and play a few tunes. Soon the sun was going down and I was eating my fire cooked steak and sipping some Grand Marnier. I grabbed a book and passed the time away sipping, playing and reading. Great night.
About 3am I had to water a tree and apparently surprised a beaver that was working on the camp's shoreline. He slapped his tale and, in my half asleep state, it startled the bejeezes out of me. I yelped like a cross between a Homer Simpson "Doh" and a school girl scream. I'm glad no one was around to hear it:)
The next morning I awoke and started up breakfast. I made some cache lake scones with a little squeeze jelly and some coffee. For the first time in my BWCA experience I started portaging right from camp since the camp is connected to the Bridge Lake portage. This was a long one and I took the time on the return trip (I double portaged) to take some photos. Here are a couple:
I was a bit bummed I missed the peak color up there by a week or two. Oh well.
Bridge was a nice little paddle, I passed another solo guy on the way to the portage into Lake 4. The portage between these two was very scenic. A cool little narrow pond with some cliffs surrounding it.
I paddled away and headed back up north towards Fire and then on to Hudson. A Storm was moving in and the thunder and lightening kept threatening. I was having a hard time telling which way the weather was heading. It ended up heading SE and I stayed right on the edge of it. I waited it out for a little bit on shore, but soon I was aboe to get back on the water. Here's a pic while on Hudson where I was right at the edge of the storm.
I paddled on south then headed west a bit back towards Lake Four. I camped at the first site on the western arm of the lake. It turned out to be my favorite campsite of the trip. I saw some traffic moving through but not too much. I think I took about 100 pictures at this campsite alone! I'll spare you the vast majority of them:) I didn't really get a great view of the sunset like I had hoped, but I caught the tail end of it as the clouds broke a bit.
Dinner that night was some Bear Creek Wildrice soup. I had a great night, I was getting used to just being alone. It was wonderfully quiet. I read, I played,I sipped, and I slept.
Then it was some breakfast and some coffee and some good chilling time. I was in no rush today. I only planned to get to lake two today so I took my time getting moving.
On one of the portages I ran into a couple of moose hunters on their way in. Their canoe was enormous! It took both of them to carry it and they were some pretty big guys. I would guess it probably weighed 150 lbs or so. I suppose you'd need one that big if you got a bullwinkle.
The calm waters began stirring up a bit as the day moved on, by late afternoon I would guess the winds were approaching 15-20mph and I was glad I had claimed a site, even if it was a poor one. It was on a northern point, right in the middle of the lake. It has been well used over the years being so close to the entry I guess.
That night I just munched on snacks for dinner. Beef sticks and string cheese tasted pretty good. It stayed windy, but died down a little bit as night came in. The Harvest Moon was a few days earlier, but it had been at the start of each night so I missed the moon rise. I was able to catch it tonight and it was beautiful! I set up the small tripod and the camera and played with he nightmode setting and snapped a few pics of the moon and the fire.
After that I took a few more sips of the Grand Marnier and headed into the tent for the night.
The wind was still blowing pretty hard and Lake Two greeted me with some Whitecaps. I made some coffee and munched on some granola and cliff bars for breakfast. I decided to break camp and wait out the wind and hope it'd die down enough for me to take off. I was on the windward side of a point, and new if I could get around the point I'd be sheltered from the wind the rest of the way to the car. So I waited....and waited. I even thought of bushwacking my way to the other side of the point to avoid the wind. It was about then that I noticed some dark clouds on the horizon heading my way. I debated setting the tent back up but instead just dug out the tarp and decided I could just wait it out. It looked like it was moving pretty fast so I thought it'd be over pretty quick. The thunder and lightening soon kicked in and it was a bit more of a thunderstorm than I thought it'd be. I just huddled in camp and wrapped up in the tarp and waited. It was a weird storm, it's like there was a hole in the clouds that the storm dumped out of. I also disrupted some feathered friends around camp (Mergansers?)
Soon I decided it had died down enough to make a run for it, so I loaded up and headed out. There were still some whitecaps, but it wasn't too bad. As soon as I could get around the point I was able to stay pretty sheltered. I even had the wind to my back most of the way out! A BWCA first for me! Before I knew it I was chatting with some folks at the landing of Lake One and loading up the car.
This was my first solo. Once I got used to the fact that it was just me and developed my routine, I really enjoyed it. I've always needed a fair amount of "Me" time and this just reinforced that. It was just what I needed at the time. I'll continue to enjoy trips with my friends, but I know I'll be doing this again soon.