BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
May 24 2022
Number of Permits per Day: 13
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!
South Kawishiwi River
August 04, 2011
South Kawishiwi River
Number of Days:
On the way saw several other canoe groups. Paddled up through the rapids quite easily, we traversed the 70 rod portage into Clear Lake only to be met by a group coming in the opposite direction also looking for a campsite. They told us all 5 campsites on Clear lake were full. To check for ourselves we paddled around the lake only to find out they were correct!
So back across the 70 rod portage we went to find all close available sites in the river were also taken. Getting late now, about 4-5pm I reckon, we started paddling back in the direction we came from. Every site taken. We met a guy in a kayak who was at the Kawishiwi River campsite 7/1702, who told us that on his map it showed an old no longer used campsite, just around the peninsular from where he was camping. He said we could also share his site with he and his wife if we wished. He showed us the 'unauthorized' site and we chose to use it for the night. He said they were leaving their site in the morning. It was actually a nice flat site, no latrine or fire grate, but for one night it was great. We were all exhausted anyway by that time.
Day 2; Our new friend vacated campsite 7/1702, so we made a beeline for it and set up a base camp there. This day was a recovery day so to speak from day 1. Later in the day we saw other groups paddling past our site also unable to find campsites? In fact we had heard of one group camping on a portage! In all the 11 trips or so I have been coming up here I have never had trouble finding a campsite. It kind of makes me wonder if all groups actually had permits? Or were there illegal campers? Anyway we now had a site and we were staying put!
Day 3; We fished and had great luck finding walleyes and bass and had a great fish meal later in the day. We also took a trip to the rapids at site 10/1131, which we paddled through and continued on to a near by 30 rod portage, that we walked just for fun. On the way back we met a husband and wife who came in at Farm Lake, and were looking for a campsite. That was about 5pm. Late that night we endured quite the downpour, but managed to stay dry.
Day 4; Time to go out. Overall a fun trip. Saw too many other groups though. Next time I will go in at a more easterly BWCAW entry point. Fewer people and better luck finding a campsite I hope.