BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
January 23 2020
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!
Lake One to Hudson July 28-31, 2010
July 28, 2010
Number of Days:
Arrived at Kawishiwi Lodge late afternoon, unloaded our stuff and parked the vehicle. We would be staying in the bunkhouse, and heading out early the next morning. In other trips to BWCA, it was an early, early start for the 7 or 8 hour drive, then immediately into the water. I have to say that made for a long day. The extra cost for the night's stay was worth it, not only for the break, but paddling out first thing in the AM was quite pleasant. We spent a leisurely evening on the dock, did some repacking/reorganizing, and eating.
Thursday AM greeted us with partly sunny skies and a light breeze. Perfect for paddling/portaging. I had purchased a GPS, and this trip would be a practice/figure-it-out exercise. I clicked to start tracking, and we were off. The first two portages were busy, and everyone was polite and considerate, as always. Next, a longer paddle through Lakes 2 , 3, and 4. By this time, I was ready to get out and move. Three more portages, the last one into Hudson being particularly rocky, and we were paddling in search of a campsite. We were hoping for the one on the island, and were glad to see that it was open. We landed and starting setting up camp. First order of business was to paddle back out and fill up the Katadyn bag filter, and get some water. None of us had any water with for the trip in, and the warm temps and portaging had taken it's toll on us. The original goal was to pack light, but we still ended up double-tripping the portages. We don't skimp on food, and we brought chairs as well. Also, the canoes we had were a Grumman aluminum and a Old Town Tripper... both 17 footers, and neither one what you would consider a lightweight. The next thing to do was to find some firewood. My son and I went into the woods and found some nice, dry stuff... cut it off with the camp saw and drug it back to camp. He began to clip off the branches with the hatchet, while I was busy with something else. I hear the chopping stop, and him make a grumbling noise, so I turn around to see him walking away from me, into the woods. He has his hand up, and is looking at it... it is completely covered in blood. OK, we've been here an hour, and we're 5 hours from a phone. I'm thinking “this is not good”. Turns out, a small piece of a branch had sprung up, and stuck him inside of his nose... bled like crazy for about 30 seconds. Scared the crap out of me! So then, with camp set up, some fluids back in, and a little rest, it was time for supper. This is where the extra portaging is rewarded... rib eye steaks over the fire. Never has anything tasted so good! It was 9:00 and some mosquitoes had appeared, so we decided to hit the tents. Shortly after, a light rain began to fall. It sprinkled off and on over the night... nothing major.
After the light rain Thursday night, Friday morning brought in some wind. Not horrible, but a steady blow, and occasional white-caps could be seen. We observed a few parties coming out of Insula, traveling past our island campsite, and some of them were struggling with the wind/waves. Spent most of the day relaxing and just enjoying the day. Went out after supper to try fishing.... no luck. Mosquitoes right on schedule at 9:00, and another sprinkle or two overnight.
Saturday the wind went down considerably, and was a really nice day. The guys wanted to walk the Hudson-Insula portage, take some pictures, and collect some Insula water. Later, we paddled up the northern end of Hudson, and checked out the campsites up there. Looked to be a nice, quiet area. Fishing was a bust up until this evening... the FIL caught a northern right about where Hudson starts to get narrow at the north end, and my son caught a couple of walleyes out by the rock in the middle of the lake. It was just about dark. They came in, and cleaned the fish.... fried them up in a stick of butter. Mmmmm. Had a campfire, so we put up with the mosquitoes for a little while. Saturday night was clear, and pleasantly cooler... no rain.
Sunday AM... time to pack up. We did oatmeal for a quick breakfast, and loaded up for the trip back. We paddled into a breeze most of the way, but as it was fairly warm again, it felt pretty good. The portages seemed easier, as did the paddling. This was the opportunity to test the Trac-Back feature on the GPS. Except for a short diversion towards Drumstick Creek when I inadvertently hit a button and temporarily lost my track, it worked flawlessly. For being a “wilderness area”, Lake One looked like a major recreation hotspot...canoes everywhere. We got back to Kawishiwi around noon, stopped at the Pizza Hut in Ely for lunch, and then took off for home. Very nice trip overall... family, nice weather, bugs not too bad, a couple of walleyes... can't ask for much more than that.