BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

January 24 2019

Entry Point 30 - Lake One

Lake One 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 21 miles. Access is a canoe landing at Lake One.

Number of Permits per Day: 7
Elevation: 1230 feet
Latitude: 47.9391
Longitude: -91.4792
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!

Village Idiot Reaches Lake Three

by Kevlar
Trip Report

Entry Date: September 17, 2009
Entry Point: Lake One
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 9

Trip Introduction:
What we found on a five day trip from Lake One into Insula. Our group included 2 social security aged guides, another healthy 54 year old man, and 6 rookie women campers.


Our trip started out just fine...met at City Hall in Minnetonka, breakfast in Canyon, drove to Ely, permitted, launched at Lake One. Camped on Four, reached Insula by noon the next day, and took a good campsite (but the sand beach beauty was taken!). We had warm weather, poor fishing, but most of the women were more interested in seeing than fishing, so I took them meandering. As usual, I stopped to look at several campsites, just for future reference. We found one on the southern side of Insula, on an island facing south, where the fire had been built on the rock and gravel slope halfway to the beach. This fire had been built with 8" in diameter, 12' logs, and had been nestled up against one of the main roots of a medium sized cedar tree, charring it badly. And then the ashes and charred wood had been kicked around the slope, with much of the logs partially burnt.

On our way back to Lake Three we took the northern bay of Hudson, up into Fire and Bridge, and down into Lake Four...gave the rookies a good look at back-country portages and they got to see a different area. On Lake Three we again went meandering after visiting the old CCC camp remains on the hiking trail near the Horseshoe portage. This is where we found evidence of the village idiot and his clan. The campsite on Lake Three, nearest the Horseshow portage, had two tentsites piled at least 5" deep in moss and a few cedar boughs. The rest of the green cedar tree was piled next to the fire grate. And behind the campsite, every birch tree in sight had been cut and peeled for about 5'!!! This looked like something out of an 1870 camping manual (maybe Rushton's?). I have never seen that much moss on a tentpad. Where do people like this live, so far out of touch? Under rocks? How can they not have heard of "no impact", "no trace" camping? We haven't reached them all, yet.

A couple of quick points: 1. every campsite but these two were left in great condition.  2. we had poor fishing, saw no moose, deer, bear, but had great otter sightings on Three and Four  3. the loons had all moved out...we only saw a few on Three 4. it still does my heart good to watch rookies learn how to paddle, portage, set up and take down, and best of all, ENJOY the BWCA.