BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
February 26 2021
Number of Permits per Day: 1
Elevation: 1249 feet
North Kawishiwi River - 29
First winter experience
February 22, 2008
Number of Days:
As we left this area of the Kawishiwi River and went through our first 20 rod portage we came up to more open water, which wasn't what we had wanted to see. It was directly in our way to getting to the next portage and we were in somewhat of a spot. Around the corner came a man with his 2 daughters and after some friendly greetings, we told him where we were intending to go, he let us know that the only way to get to Lake One was to take a trail he and one of his friends had made to Lake One, which was just a couple hundred yards away. The trail was heavily covered with brush and trees and small hills, but we managed to get through in about 35 minutes. If you look on map 18 on the McKenzie Maps, you'll see an area that is shown in white, just south of the 20 rod portage. That is where we traveled through to Lake One.
Once through, we moved south to the first, what looked to be island and made for the point where we set up camp. I had sweat so much through the portage and pull to where we camped that I was a bit nervous,(I had sweat through all my layers and my outer jacket) so I basically undressed, got dry and put dry clothes on. We set up our tent and made a fire to warm up by and ate some snack food for dinner that night as neither wanted to get all the cooking gear organized and out. The temp. started to drop and at 10:30 when we crawled into our tents, the temp read -10 below. Neither of us had slept in mummy bags before, so it was rather humorous watching eachother try to get the zipper all the way up and velcro the top. Needless to say, it was a very cold night.
One neat thing though was that there were wolf tracks not 20 feet from our tent that were not there the night before! SO COOL!!!
Our feet were so cold that we actually contemplated packing up and staying in a hotel/motel and doing day trips. We have both suffered frostbite on our feet previously so our concerns were valid ones. We decided to walk around for awhile to see if we could warm up. We must have paced about a mile back and fourth along the lake. Eventually, we warmed and decided to stay. Neither one of us wanted to be the cowboy and 'gut' it out, so we made the decision together, which turned out to be the right one.
I had bought the "ICE-BOX" igloo maker at Midwest Mountaineering and we were very motivated to get going on this task as we did not want to sleep in the tent again. It never seems to fail that the one thing that would be of utmost importance to us once "in" -is forgotten back at the truck. The written instructions to the igloo maker! We had watched the how-to video and read the directions a few times, so we gave it our best effort. There are some important things to do right away in the start of making this shelter that we messed up on, so the angle wasn't right for us to get the top on. We secured a tarp on top and had a wonderful 1/2 igloo to sleep in, which was much more comfortable and warmer!
After this project was complete, we took off down the lake's shore looking for a good stash of dead wood and came upon the motherload! A big fallen over pine that produced wonderfully dry and ample wood for the three days and nights that we had fires. Another blessing from nature.
Before retiring for the night, we grilled up our New York Strips and spuds with some wonderful lake water and hot black chi'tea with chocolate for dessert. One thing is for sure, we were not going to go hungry. We didn't bring in a ton of food, but what we had served us well.
Our first night in our make shift igloo was great! We put one of our tarps on the ground, followed by our blue, closed cell pads and our ThermaRests. I forgot to mention that I had also brought along my video camera and had been taking video of various activities throughout the day. I was able to get some cool shots of my brother with the 'nightshot' lens of my camera that night in the igloo...kinda spooky, but funny as well. We were quite comfortable and once all zipped up, we were fast asleep.
We came back to our site and decided to take a rest and just hang out for awhile. There were some cute birds that were our constant companions, especially if we had a few peanuts to share. In the picture of me reading my book, look closely at my leg...there is one of my friends eating a snack!
We ended up napping in our lounge chairs for over an hour and actually got a smidgen of a sunburn! Today, the temp. would eventually reach 60 degrees F on the lake with all the suns energy being reflected off the white white snow!
As fun as it is running around with out my shirt on because of the warmer temps., I had a funny feeling that our 1/2 igloo may not fair so well...and when we got back from another slushy snowshoe walk, we came up to see 1/2 of the igloo had fallen. As things happen, all we could do was wait out the rest of the day for cooler temps to arrive and replace the wall with new bricks. At this point, we had become fairly able and quick with forming bricks so the task took only about an hour. We placed our bedding inside and waited yet again for the snow to harden up with cooler temps still on the way. We needed to put our tarp on top and secure it with bungee's and large tent stakes.
During some of our wait times, Eric tried his luck with fishing and didn't get a bite. Honestly, we didn't put the time into it that maybe could have produced something, but at least he tried...if he had caught one, he would have had bragging rights for the rest of our stay, not to mention for awhile afterwards!
Our night ended with chili and cream of wild rice and ham soup with hot coffee and more chocolate for dessert. Another fine, warming meal. We had also been to our wood stash and had ourselves a wonderful last night bonfire. Our last night in our shelter proved to be the most comfortable and we both slept deeper and harder than the two previous nights. I've always known that the longer I'm in, the more restful my sleep can be. Another blessing brought to us!
The difficult trail that we took in also had to be taken out and thanks to our initial pass, the warmer temps and subsequent cooler temps, our path was basically formed for our sleds and it made things so much easier! I taped the whole portage with my video camera and watched it last night...what a gas! We saw wolf scat on the way out and lots of prints. We came across many wolf tracks and again, felt blessed for the chance to just witness these awesome creature's tell tail signs...well, it was just a thrill!
We walked for a bit and came across a quinzee which we had seen on the way in which was pretty cool. We finally reached our destination, and made it back to my truck and spent some time saying goodbye to this place. Each trip I have ever been on is etched into my mind and soul forever. This trip and experience, although short, was one of my best! This picture is of the 'hidden' trail that we were shown. This is looking at the trail leaving Lake One.