BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
January 24 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 Fishdance Lake
June 02, 2004
Number of Days:
We left Nebraska at about 11:00 on Wednesday night and drove straight through to Ely, about 14 hours. Our group consisted of Me, 4 Rookies and 2 Guys on their second trip. The Drive was pretty uneventful, we decided to take the scenic route by driving from Two Harbors to Ely and got temporarily misplaced for about an hour. We arrived in Ely around 3:00 and went to our Outfitters. I won't name our outfitter, but lets just say that they were difficult to deal with and I won't go with them again. I have always used Voyaguer North before and been happy, so thats who it'll be next time. Anyway, had an excellent dinner at Stony (something? i can't remember). Hit the Portage for drinks before retiring at 10:00.
Our outfitter dropped us off at the lake one entry, and the rookies took a little while to get used to a canoe. I think the biggest adjustment was trying to comprehend the speed at which you move. There were several discussions about where we were on the map and how long we had been moving. Our outfitter had set us up with 2 17' Royalex Penobscots and a 18' Alumacraft, and the 3 rookies in the 18 footer were struggling with maintaining a straight track all day. The two portages into Lake Two are a piece of cake and we pick up a couple of northerns trolling rapalas. (Note: Fishing was slow this trip, so i am not marking fishing spots on the maps.) Lakes Three and Four were pretty but uneventful. My roommate, who is in my canoe, cannot get over how peaceful it is out here. The three small protages to Hudson Lake are no big deal. They are fairly level and are well cleared. We chose to camp on Hudson and selected the campsite on the map. After dinner, me and on other guy decided to go and explore Ahmoo Creek, where it feeds into Hudson at the south arm. We got maybe a half mile up it, and it became to shallow and congested to try to manuever it in the dark. Not to mention, the mosquitos are absolutley horrible. I saw my first Pine Marten up close as he tried to rob a food pack that we hadn't hung yet. Anyway, today was kinda tiring for the the rookies, and they aren't looking forward to the 95 rod portage to Insula first thing in the morning, so everyone hit the sack early.
We finally get camp broke and head for the portage to Insula. Nobody can believe that I think its easier to carry a canoe 95 rods by myself than havin a guy on each end. Anyway, the portage to Insula is a breeze, and everybody is lokking forward to today, because we have time to mess around. We spend most of the day cruising up Insula, and when we got up to the north end both of the campsites we wanted were already full. We decided to push on a little bit and camped at the site in orange on the map. This campsite doesn't look like much from the water, but it is actually very nice. It has a good log setup and is sheltered from the wind. We cook up some walleye we caught on Insula for dinner. I watch Eric, who brought whiskey in the same color nalgene as my cooking oil, take a shot of Pure Canola Oil on accident. Eric and I go explore a northern arm at night, and don't find much. It starts to rain and we all sack out for the night.
Today is the day that everyone has been looking forward to. We get to leave camp set up and go on a day trip. On the way to the toilet, i spot the ruffed grouse who has been calling all morning.(they make that really deep thudding noise that speeds up towards the end.) We pack just what we need for the day, and head out. We spot a cow moose and 2 calves about a 1/4 mile from camp. (marked on map) The Smallmouth were hitting good in the pool right above the rapids between Insula and Alice lake. We didn't know if the south arm of Alice would be passable, but it was, plenty of depth and not too much current. Crossing the south part of the main body was a little tricky. The whitecaps kept things interesting for the rookies, who decided to paddle sideways to the waves instead of angling across them. The portage to Fishdance wasn't to rough and the pictographs were pretty neat. Eric, Rick and Shane decided to cliff jump. (I don't recommend this to anyone.) They all survived and we headed back to Insula for another night.
We wake up to high winds coming at us, so we hop from island to island on the way to portage to Hudson. We portage no problem, and decide that from Hudson we will go up to Fire lake and loop around back to Lake Four, hoping that the wind won't be as bad. As it turns out, this little loop is the most beautiful leg of the trip. If you have the chance to do this little side trip, I strongly recommend you take it. The small portages are a little difficult, but it is well worth it. Anyway, we couldn't avoid the winds, and it started lightning towards the end of the day. We set up camp, have some northern pike/tuna helper gumbo that my buddy whips up, and it starts to rain. Not just a sprinkle, a massive downpour that blocks our view of anything. Then came the hail. So anyway, we all hide in tents until the morning.
We had high winds again today, but we had to meet our outfitter at Lake One at 3:30, so we busted butt to get there. There isn't much more to say about day 6 other than everyone was exhausted from the fast pace and moving into the wind. Anyway, I think everyone enjoyed themselves despite the lack of fishing success. Everyone is already talking about next years trip, and the rookies are all talking about what they will do different next time. I would have liked to have posted more pictures, but not many turned out. Anyway, I'm heading to Algonquin Provincial Park in about three weeks, so I'll have something to look forward to before my fall BWCAW trip. If anyone wants more specific info, just post and i'll see what i can do.