BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
April 04 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!
2 Families, 3 Generations
May 26, 2013
Number of Days:
We left town around 8am. Got to VNO with minimal issues around 5:30. Got checked in, watched the movie, and picked up our last minute items. We proceeded to the Boathouse for dinner and beers. Just a heads up, The Boathouse, a micro brewery, only sells their beer. After dinner we took a lap around Shagawa trying to find a nice sunset spot. Gabe grew a little impatient on my lackidazicle driving and took the lead. We proceeded to the Ely Lodge, where we went down a nice asphalt one lane road to the lake. As we got to the lake, we both figured out this wasn't a road for cars. We high tailed it back to the parking lot without getting our butts chewed and did see a no motor vehicles sign. "Damn people from Illinois!!!!" After our heroics we proceeded back to VNO and behaved for the rest of the evening.
Everyone woke up sporatically, got showered, and headed over to Britton's for breakfast. Reached the Kawishiwi Lodge on Lake One by 8am to rent a canoe. At this point the two grampas took the rental. Each dad paddled with his son using the two canoes we brought with us. Beautiful morning heading down the river, accomplishing our first portage without any issues. We then approached the a set of rapids, which we decided to portage around. Then we came to the 32 rod portage. All the newbies were introduced to a slightly uphill portage and would learn to appreciate from there on out. Did our pull over and we were into the section of the river we were looking to camp at. We were trying to get one of the three spots on the north side of the split. We were able to get the island site. Ate a lunch of sausage, cheese and crackers. After lunch we set up camp. Went out trolling and caught a couple of hammer handles. Came back to camp and Gabe made steaks and baked potatoes for supper, while the Spanier's did dishes. Fished from shore after dinner and heard my buddy Manny at the neighboring campsite. We had planned on trying to meet in the wilderness, but didn't know if it would happen. Sat around the fire and gradually everyone went to bed.
Everyone woke up, one at a time. Jim had cleared the center column of the coffee pot and we were able to have fresh brewed coffee upon leaving the tent. Dad and myself hiked through the woods and fished a dropoff on the north side of the island, with Dad catching the only hammerhandle to show for it. Meanwhile, Gabe and Jim made the eggs and suasage and compiled the breakfast burritos. After dishes were done, we all headed out to check out Murphy's Portage. Fished along the way, with Jim catching the only hammer handle. Walked across the portage and took pictures. On our way back, ran into Manny and his wife, Deanna. Deanna caught a 40+" northern. She didn't seem overly thrilled, which I found funny. Made it back to camp in time for me to try and make Chili Mac, Aug Rautin Potatoes, and Brats. My Chili Mac and potatoes were a wee bit on the runny side, probably due to too much water and no milk. Needless to say plenty of leftovers. After lunch/dinner we all took turns freshening up. Then Jim, Gabe, Jake, and myself went fishing, while Dad and Ethan sat back at camp and read. Durning the evening camp fire, the Wades informed us of there tent zipper malfunctioning. So Dad McGiver was able to do a temporary fix with thread and duct tape. We then were listening the weather radio and the forcast was for rain on Thursday and Friday. So with the zipper and rain combination, we decided tomorrow was going to be our last day.
The last morning, awoke to the coffee brewing again. Today was the day Manny and Deanna were going to bring their reflector oven over to our campsite and make biscuits and gravy. Everyone gathered small sticks for the oven. Manny made the biscuits and I made the gravy. Oven worked fabulous and the gravy was pretty good too. Manny and Deanna had already broke camp and were fully loaded, so after breakfast they headed out. We had to do dishes and then begin breaking camp. Within an hour we were heading out the same way we came in. We decided to fish on the way out around one of islands in the main river and below the rapids at the pullover. The beauty of it all was the wind was at our back. So after the 32 rod portage, we pulled our canoes together and broke out the granola for a floating lunch down the river. The next portage had the rapids and the two grampas almost headed down them backwards after the portage. But with some fancy canoe maneuvering, they managed to clear themselves from disaster. One more portage and we were in the last stretch of the trip, but we all decided to get lost in one last bay before we reached the Kawishiwi Lodge.
My thoughts on this trip: It was short, but amazing how even just three days of solitude can do wonders to a person’s soul. This is a very good trip for the two grampas, not to difficult, very beautiful, and secluded for only being six miles back. Still question why we could only catch small northerns and not many of those either, but I guess we should just talk to Deanna.