BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
September 20 2019
Number of Permits per Day: 7
Elevation: 1230 feet
My son Remy and I, and my friend Keith and his son Charlie put our canoes into Lake one at 9:30 Monday morning after dropping off a car at the Snowbank Lake landing. Lake One can be tricky to navigate. On our way to Lake Two we turned East too early and ended up paddling about a mile out of our way into a dead-end bay before we realized our mistake. We blamed the fact that Lake One was split between Fisher Maps #10 and #4 for our error. If the entire lake had been visible at once on a single map, we would not have made the wrong turn. Once we got back on course we portaged the 30 rods into a pond and then portaged the 40 rods into Lake Two. The weather was nice, and there was a bit of a tail wind out of the West. We stopped for lunch on the shore of Lake Two. After lunch we canoed through the North end of Lake Three and into Lake Four. We stopped for the night at a campsite on the West shore of Lake Four, just North of the channel heading toward Hudson Lake. We had to battle swarms of mosquitoes as we set up the tents. We then had a nice refreshing swim. Because we had brought steaks along for the first night, we didn't go fishing.
On Tuesday morning we had a bacon and eggs breakfast then packed up camp and headed out in our canoes. As we canoed past our campsite, we realized that Remy & I had left our hammocks pitched between trees. We landed again and quickly packed them up. Once again we had beautiful weather. We paddled East and completed 3 short portages before entering Hudson Lake. The 105 rod portage into Lake Insula was exhausting! Lake Insula is a large gorgeous lake broken up by multiple islands and penninsulas. We had lunch at a campsite on a large island just East of Hudson Lake. It felt like we had a tail wind as we were heading East, and then as we turned North it seemed like the wind shifted and was at our backs once again. We navigated Lake Insula flawlessly and camped for the night on the island just West of Williamson Island. After setting up the tents and a refreshing swim, Remy & I got back into the canoe and tried to catch some fish. We had no luck! At 9PM that night, just as we were going to bed, a thunderstorm rolled through. That night I was awakened several times by the loud croaking of bullfrogs from the shallows around our island. What noisy neighbors!
By Wednesday morning the weather had cleared, but the wind was now coming from the Northwest, pretty much in our faces. We paddled to the North end of Lake Insula and tackled the largest portage of our trip. The 180 rod walk to Kiana Lake actually seemed easier than the 105 rod carry into Lake Insula. We headed onward into Thomas Lake where we really started feeling the headwind. We finally made it to the campsite just Northeast of the portage into Thomas Pond in time for lunch. After lunch we proceeded across Thomas Pond and into Thomas Creek after hiking across the famous Kekekabic Trail. We managed to easily run the rapids in Thomas Creek and avoid the 2 short portages. We camped for the night on Hatchet Lake at the northern campsite. It was cool and windy, so we didn't swim. There was lots of threatening weather going by to the North of us, but we stayed dry. After supper we canoed back to Thomas Creek to fish and look for moose. No luck on either count, but we did see a beaver swimmming.
The weather was nice again Thursday morning, but the wind was out of the West which was the direction we were heading. We portaged into Ima Lake and canoed across it. Before portaging into Jordan Lake, we watched a bald eagle sitting in a tree get harrassed repeatedly by a seagull. The narrow channel leading into Jordan Lake is quite beautiful. It is narrow like a river with big rock outcroppings. We paddled across Jordan, Cattyman, Adventure, and Jitterbug Lakes. We found the Eastern campsite on Ahsub Lake taken, so we camped at the Western campsite which had a great place for swimming in front of it. There was a very brave loon in front of the campsite who didn't seem to mind if we got close to it. We tried our luck at fishing, but only caught 1 smallmouth which was too small to eat. Between 5:00 and 7:30 that evening we saw a number of canoes heading across Ahsub Lake from Disappointment Lake to Jitterbug Lake. We weren't sure where they were planning to camp, but it was getting late.
On Friday we awoke again to good weather. We paddled the length of Disappointment Lake and portaged into to Parent Lake and then on to Snowbank Lake. It was July 4th, and as we entered Snowbank Lake the sounfd of firecrackers reminded us we weren't in the wilderness anaymore. After a brief splash war on our way across Snowbank, we made it to the landing and our car was still there. What a great trip!
First BWCA trip - Lake One to North Wilder
August 26, 2009
Number of Days:
Woke to a beautiful clear morning and started out around 9:00 am. Once we got out into the main part of Lake One we initially had a hard time with navigation. Islands we saw didn't seem to be on the map and it took a little while to get used to the scale of the map compared to the scale of the lake. We checked the map frequently and finally made our way to the first 2 portages. These portages were easy and we soon enough found our way into Lake Two followed by Lake Three. The day was warm and clear and perfect in every way. We spotted eagles from Lake Two. By the time we got across Lake Three we were used to the scale of everything and easily found the portage to Horseshoe Lake. The portage from Lake Three to Horseshoe was the easiest yet. There was an island straight out from the portage that we stopped to eat lunch on. We could only see one group of people on the lake and it looked like they were leaving a campsite. After lunch we headed over to that campsite and it was a keeper. It had a nice view, a level tent pad and the latrine was clean. It was around 1:30 pm at this point. We set up camp, searched for firewood, and worked on hanging a bear bag. This site really didn't have good trees to hang a bag from. There were no high limbs sticking out from trees high enough to hang a bear bag from. We decided to use two trees and string a line between them and use that. Although it appeared that we were the only campers on Horseshoe Lake, there were two groups of day trippers. One group, consisting of a canoe and a kayak, passed back and forth 3 times. This group was LOUD! So loud in fact, that had they been camping on the lake we would have packed up and moved on. By 4:00 pm though, everyone was gone and we had the lake to ourselves. In fact, we would not see anyone else for a couple days. We took a swim, started up a fire, and cooked up some ChedderWurst for dinner. Tim tried fishing for a short while without any luck. Shortly after dark we went to hang our bear bag. As soon as we started to string it up the limbs came crashing down. So much for a bear bag. We hid our food around in several locations and called it a night. That night went to sleep to the sound of a loon.
Woke up to a beautiful morning. Found our food intact, cooked breakfast, broke camp and headed off for the day at around 10:00. We were the only ones on the lake and we didn't see anyone else the rest of the day. We paddled over to the portage to Brewis Lake. Ken carried the canoe on the first portage. He tripped on a rock and fell pretty hard but luckily he didn't hurt either himself or the canoe. The portage was pretty narrow and a bit muddy for a short while but pretty easy. Brewis is pretty small so it didn't take long until we were on the next portage to Harbor Lake. This portage was fairly easy as well with an uphill and then downhill. We single portaged this one and then had lunch before moving on. By this time it was starting to get a little cloudy. Once again it didn't take long to paddle to our next portage to North Wilder. I had read that this portage was difficult due to lots of blockage from blowdown but all the blowdown was cleared. This was the longest portage of the day but was pretty flat. I carried the canoe this time and soon we were at North Wilder. North Wilder was very pretty even though it had lots of blowdown. Right across the lake was a nice campsite and we took it. The campsite even had lots of firewood left from the previous occupant. We set up camp and rested a bit. It was about 2:30 at this time. Around 4 pm we decided to canoe around the lake and explore every arm of the lake. As soon as we got back into our canoe it started to rain, lightly at first and then harder. Even with the rain we enjoyed exploring the lake, which was much larger than we initially thought. We also decided to take a look at tomorrow morning's portage to Wilder Creek. It was actually difficult to find this portage. Once we did, Tim and I walked the portage while Ken waited with the canoe since this was not an easy portage to land. The portage was a bit narrow and had a blowdown tree to cross, but the big problem came at the other end. The creek was very low, and from just the portion we could see there was at least 2 or 3 spots that were too low to float a canoe. We also knew there was a beaver dam somewhere down the creek. After much thought and discussion, we decided not to attempt paddling the creek. We would turn around and head out the way we came. About the time we got back into camp it stopped raining so we cooked dinner and talked around the campfire. Lots of good trees here to hang a bear bag so that wasn't a problem here. It started to clear a little and the moon came out for a while. There was some lightning in the distance. We really didn't know what kind of day the next day would be, but the weather forcast we looked at before we left didn't look good. After we went to bed it started to rain - HARD. Horseshoe Lake, Brewis Lake, Harbor Lake, North Wilder Lake
The next morning we got up and kind of took our time getting ready. It was raining - sometimes lightly and sometimes hard. We cooked breakfast (actually Tim did). The rain did pause long enough to take down our tent and pack up. So much for our gear being lighter from eating the food and using fuel - our gear was soaked and we would be carrying water weight. By the time we got back on the lake it started raining again and it rained moderately most of the day as we worked our way back. The portages were very muddy now when they weren't just the day before. We decided to do a two man carry of the canoe right-side-up back through the portages as we thought it would be safer with the muddy trails. This worked out fine. We didn't pause very long until we got back to Horseshoe Lake. The wind was pretty strong all the way back and we stopped at our old campsite on Horseshoe Lake for lunch. During lunch we decided to move on to Lake Three tonight to make the final day's paddle shorter. We continued on and had a little difficulty finding the portage from Horseshoe to Lake Three. The Pow Wow Trail runs along the shoreline near the portage and we were fooled twice where the trail met the water before we found the real portage. Once on Lake Three the first couple campsites were occupied but then we found an open site. Although this site was pretty close to two other sites, we never heard a peep from either site and both of the other sites were out of sight. We set up camp, found a place to hang our bear bag (easy here) and went off to search for firewood (difficult here). This was a beautiful site and we saw an eagle fly around directly across from our camp. We started a fire and the rain then tapered off and then stopped. We really enjoyed this site and were glad we continued to this site. Around the campfire we heard a sound, which turned out to be what we think was a mink. What a nice finish to what was a stormy, wet, cold day. North Wilder Lake, Brewis Lake, Harbor Lake, Horseshoe Lake, Three, Lake
We woke up on a cloudy, but mostly dry day. We had a little rain but not much. What did concern us was the strong wind. It was obvious we were going to be crossing Lake Three (and everything else for that matter) with a strong headwind. We broke camp and loaded our canoe (strapping everything to the canoe this time) and headed back. As we were paddling across Lake Three we were greeted with the sight of an eagle. Unfortunately, we couldn't stop to look as any pause in paddling would push us back. We only got brief rests behind a couple islands but the paddling was constant and hard. We were actually looking forward to the portage to get a short break from paddling. Again, the numbered lakes were a little difficult to navigate and it took us a few minutes to find the portage to Lake One. A little over 3 hours after we started we were back to our car, a little tired but happy. Three, Lake