BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
January 21 2021
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!
Me, Three Blonds and a Mom. Again!
July 27, 2011
Number of Days:
Day one: The door of the house must have opened 50 times with the B’s running in and out putting the gear in the car. I was getting a bit nervous hoping they wouldn’t forget me! I sat on the floor in the living room, waiting. Then I heard someone say, “Get Float Stanley in the car!”. Did I hear them right? The car….not the trunk!!!!!! After the traditional departure picture taken by “Dad” and the speech about ‘listen to your mother’ and ‘please bring my kids home alive’ we were on the road. Mom and B1 in the front seat, with me nestled in the back between B2 and B3! …on the road again (da da da) just can’t wait to get on the road again……..oh sorry. I was just reminiscing. [paragraph break]
We only had to stop once in Cloquet to pick up a new pair of leather gloves for Mom. Oh yes, and some Jiffy Pop Popcorn too! Then…on the road again… [paragraph break]
So we were cruisin’ along down the hill going into Virginia, and Mom was makin’ good time! At that moment she said “I wonder what the speed limit is here?” “Oh there’s the sign. 45mph”, and she gently applied the brakes. It was then I noticed some beautiful lights behind us. I was so excited! I thought we had joined a parade by accident or something, until I heard Mom swear (I never heard that before!). When I looked at the B’s uneasy faces, I could tell the lights weren’t so ‘beautiful’ to Mom. A man in a blue uniform got out of the lit up car and had a bit of talk with Mom. But he seemed nice and they even laughed a little. Mom handed him her license and he went back to his car. I had no clue what was going on! When he returned I remember him saying, “We are cracking down on the speeding in this area and we’re giving tickets to anyone going 10mph over the limit. I commend you for taking your girls to the BW, and I’d really hate to ruin your trip by giving you a ticket, so I won’t. Please drive safe and have a nice trip.” Mom was so happy! When the officer started to walk away and Mom said, “Could I ask a favor of you? I know it’s a bit odd but we have this PFD named Float Stanley with us.” Then she’s asked the twin B’s to pass me to the front seat. I really hoped she wasn’t sending me with this man! She explained why I was with them, and then asked if she could take a picture of me with the officer. He smiled real big,( maybe in disbelief) then paused and looked around. At this point I thought maybe he was reconsidering the speeding ticket! He seemed to like Mom and the B’s though. He told Mom if the traffic wasn’t so heavy he’d do it, but he didn’t want us getting out of the car because it was dangerous. Then he said, “How about this. I have your address on the computer in the car, so I’ll send you a patch from our department to sew on Float Stanley.” What I nice guy. I GET A PATCH FROM THE MAN WITH THE PRETTY CAR![paragraph break]
When we got to Ely, Mom checked us in at Kiwishiwi Lodge. There had been a change in plans. They had a big group coming in so they bumped us out of the bunkhouse into a cabin. It was a huge three bedroom cabin. We even had our own dock! After the gear was organized in the cabin, we went to Ely. I had to check at VNO with Lynn and John to see if they had a room for me. I needed to spend a little R and R time somewhere after this trip. Lynn said “No problem!”. While the B’s were looking around, Mom shopped a little for a birthday gift. It was for “pillow 2” whose family would be picking me up at VNO to trip with them next. We headed back to the cabin, got organized, giggled, checked out the lake and I played a dice game with B2 and 3. Then we got tucked in bed early. Mom’s a good tucker! She also made it very clear we would be through the portages between Lake One and Two before the rush hour canoe traffic showed up. Mom isn’t real fond of crowds.[paragraph break]
Day Two: Everyone was up early and on the water shortly after sunrise. I got to sit on the food pack! Just before the first portage B1 lost her sun glasses in the lake. So with some patience and a few wasted minutes we retrieved them with a fishing pole and a paddle. The traffic wasn’t too bad… yet! It picked up, as did the wind, by the time we got to Lake Four. Mom and the B’s decided to camp on Lake Four for now. I got propped up by the tree to supervise the camp set up. Mom and B1 put up the tarp and got the ‘kitchen’ ready while B2 and B3 set up the tent and got the inside organized. Just like clockwork. The B’s are good helpers! We giggled, fished, and explored. B1 made a little keychain/decorations out of clam shells, fish line, and beads from Mom’s tackle box. Then…we made “Bob the Log”! Actually, it was just a big fallen pine tree that the B’s cut up, pushed in the lake, and floated on. He has quite the floating ability, for not being a PFD! That night we played a card game called ‘You Gotta Be Kidding!’. My thoughts were, you gotta be kidding, this is really a game!? I didn’t tell Mom or the B’s that though. Shhh! [paragraph break]
Day Three: Today we moved to a site on Hudson. Again I didn’t have to “crack the strap”, everyone helped get camp set up. Once we got set up we tried to fish. It wasn’t great, but the swimming was! That night we played ‘Pass the Pigs’. Note the flipping technique I have developed over the past two trips with the B’s! B3 was amazed by my skill when I rolled a double leaning jowler! B2 was not thrilled because she, at that time was losing. B1 was too busy keeping track of points, and making sure no one cheated! This is a competitive group of gals, and things were getting wild! I needed to score big so I whipped my strap… and accidentally bounced a pig off the table (a pan lid) and it stuck in B3’s hair! I think when we went to sleep we were more exhausted from laughing than anything. [paragraph break]
Day Four: “Rise and Shine!” The B’s hate it when Mom says that. She tells them that her mom use to say that to her. Now it’s her turn to annoy her children in the morning! We packed up and hit the long portage into Insula early. We crossed the portage with ease compared to the group we met trying to portage. They were falling on the rock “stairway” with their packs because they were wearing FLIP FLOPS !!! Must be newbies…. I don’t even have brains and I know better than that! I can say that because I’m not a newbie anymore! I’ve been trained by ALL the BEST! [paragraph break]
Now back on the water, I crawled up on a pack so I could see better and help pick out a campsite. Look! That one is open! Wow! SAND! I hoped Mom would let us stay here…. and she did! The B’s and I were so thrilled to have our own beach! We got unloaded and quickly set up camp because there was a storm coming in. And out. It only lasted 30 min. Fine with us! I had to stay under the tarp with my PFD buddies because they were scared of the wind and lightning. After the sun came out we were back on the beach! The B’s and I played, sang and giggled until the sun set, then crashed on our Big Agnes’. [paragraph break]
Day Five: We wanted to see more of Insula, so today we paddled all around fishing. There was some sadness in the canoe when B2 lost two big fish! Mom really is reconsidering bringing a landing net on the next trip. Then we paddled to The Rock. Mom wouldn’t let us jump off of it though. There was a HUGE spider on the rock! It was windy and hard to keep the canoe still when Mom took the picture, so it’s a bit blurry. But as a comparison, the white body was the size of a very large grape! B2 was really creeped out and couldn’t get away from the rock fast enough! [paragraph break]
When we got back to the campsite the B’s wanted to have some fun on the beach! So did I! We built sand castles, wrote in the sand, and made sand tattoos on each other. But then the B’s had a crazy idea to play dress up. Since the ONLY clothes available were for the female gender, I had to wear a BIKINI! Then they giggled. That experience sure took the MANLY out of Stanly! No more cross-dressing for me! No way! No how! (I can’t believe I’m even posting this!) The sugar cookie ring Mom made was just what I needed after being traumatized. Yummy! Comfort food!
Day Six: We left our lovely beach site and headed back to Hudson, Fire and Bridge. The original plan was to go to Rifle and camp, then go into Lake Two. The bugs were nasty on Fire and Bridge, and there wasn’t much of a breeze on the smaller lakes. Mom and the B’s voted to head back down to Lake Four. We stopped for lunch at a campsite, and the fire was smoldering when we arrived! Boy, if I ever got a hold of the dummies that left this site, I’d give em’ the old strap slap! The wind picked up, and by the time we had our lunch out of the pack, the fire was burning again! You wonder why there are fires in the BW! Dah![paragraph break]
We ended up on an island site on the south side of Lake Three. After camp was set up the B’s wanted to swim and float with me. Yeah! Float, float, float, I’m so good at that! The B’s had been eyeballing the rock cliff by the canoe landing. Next came the, “Mom pretty please” begging for permission to jump off the rocks. Mom gave the speech about “what your dad said before you left” and all of the What If’s that could happen. Then she checked the depth with 550 cord and a weight in various areas. And if we did jump, we MUST WERE OUR LIFE JACKETS (easy for me, I’m a life jacket! Heh heh)!!! Finally, she said it was our choice, and left the fate of her marriage in our hands. That’s enough to make you think twice! After standing at the edge looking over into the water, it was decided that B1 should jump first “because she’s the oldest”! With a deep breath, she jumped off the cliff…and came up, ALIVE!! Yayy!! Over and over again we jumped off the rock. Mom even jumped off! The B’s made up a game that involved singing before you hit the water. Oh and I almost forgot to mention, they giggled! We were all tired when we crawled in the tent that night. About 1:30 am the thunder and lightning started and continued for about two hours. I wanted to plug my ears but I wasn’t sure where they were.[paragraph break]
Day Seven: Today we paddled over to the portage that led to the Pow Wow Trail and went for a little hike. We saw the remnants of an old logging camp. The trees on that trail are awesome! B1 said it reminded her of a place she read about in a book series. On the way out Mom started chatting with some folks at the end of the portage. They were newbies and had so many questions! An hour later we put the canoe back in the water and went to camp. The B’s teased Mom about always making new friends![paragraph break]
After lunch we went out paddling again. We went around the island that burned earlier this summer. Mom took this creepy picture of this crow landing on the black charred trees. The B’s think it should be on the cover of a murder mystery book! I think they should write one. They surely have the imaginations to come up with a story! After we took the pictures Mom had people from another canoe talking to her again! They didn’t know where the portage was so Mom said, “Follow us!” We got them safely on their way, heading in the right direction. [paragraph break]
As we paddled closer to the shore by our site, B1 saw something way up in a pine tree. We were all trying to guess what it was. Shirt, bandana, shorts, towel, what was it? Now on shore we could see ”it “ had been there a very long time. We were on a mission to get “it” down! I took cover as the B’s and Mom started chucking rocks thirty feet up at “it”. All being softball players they were hitting “it” but “it” didn’t budge. Next Mom tied a rock to a rope. She threw the rock over the branch that “it” was stuck on then B2 and Mom pulled down on the rope and released it quickly. The thought was to make the branch spring up and fling “it”out. Didn’t work. Mom was very determined! She told everyone to hide. Then she threw the rock and rope over the branch and carefully pulled on it. When the rock was a few inches from “it” she yelled, “Everybody hiding?” and gave the rope a jerk! The rock hooked “it” and then came flying to the ground. It took three times using this method and then “it” came down. We all rushed to see what “it” was. The winning guess was a pair of shorts! Yep! Dress up time again for Float! I got to wear the old shorts with crusty elastic and hole the size of a fifty cent piece right in the back! I could have pooped without even pulling them down! Guess what? They giggled. [paragraph break]
Mom and the B’s had never been to the numbered lakes because Mom says there are too many people. Apparently that must be true because the ducks here were tame! B2 was sitting on a rock eating a granola bar and one came after her trying to get her food. They obviously have been fed a few times! Sounds like a few more people need a strap slap! A parade of seven ducks made their way out of the water and up the trail to our camp. They waddled around under our tarp awhile, then checked out the gear before heading back to the water. Bedtime was 9:00pm. All was quiet until the “who did it” question was asked. One of the B’s yelled out. “It was FART STANLEY!” I couldn’t believe it! Always the guys fault![paragraph break]
Day Eight: We were up very early to again try to beat the traffic on our way out. We packed up and made it back into Lake One only meeting two other canoes. I was the official canoe counter. From the time we started paddling on Lake One until we pulled up on the shore of the Kawishiwi Lodge I counted 34 canoes going in!!!!!! Wow! We felt like we were traveling the wrong way on a one way street! At one point we heard an awful noise. We turned to see an eagle dive down and grab a duckling! The noise was coming from the mama duck. I can’t imagine what Mom would do if something tried to get the B’s.[paragraph break]
After relaxing on the dock at Kasishiwi Lodge we showered, packed up and headed to Ely. I knew when the car stopped I would have to say my goodbyes. I always have mixed feelings about this. Bad feelings the trip is over, but good because another one will begin soon. At VNO John took me from Mom and the B’s and put me in Lynns special room. I will wait here until someone picks me up for my next adventure. Until then, paddle on! FS