BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
May 20 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!
S Kawishiwi - September 2013
September 19, 2013
South Kawishiwi River
Number of Days:
We spent the night at Canoe On Inn since our tradition is that it rains when we camp and hey, why not have one last night of dryness! Breakfast at Brittons = awesome!
We headed toward our EP and were ready for our first trip down the wet, and kind of muddy 140 rod portage by 7 am. We had the trail to ourselves and enjoyed the walk down this pretty nice trail. The portage trail is actually a nice trail for terrain with only a short drop toward the end. I'd say one of the easier trails of this length.
We had expected thunderstorms last night so finding they had not happened when we got up this morning was nice. But it also meant they could still be coming (I never get lucky enough to miss the rain). So we headed down the portage trail in 66 degrees with light fog and humidity.
Back for the second trip of our gear (we opted to pack in lighter packs since my paddle buddy was recovering from a back injury). And walking the trail without a canoe on your head is always a pleasure.
We were back at the EP landing by 8 am and ready to paddle under what was becoming quit dreary skies. We only saw one campsite with anyone camping along this section of the river, and no other canoes or wildlife.
As we approached the 5 rod portage we could hear thunder in the distance. Surveying the skies was not much help as a very low layer of clouds were sheltering the view of what was actually going on in that storm system above us. We were over half way to our destination for the day so based on what we could hear and "not" see, we decided to hug the shore and paddle on to the next campsite while watching the weather.
We had paddled no more than five minutes when the thunder intensified and surrounded us (but was still hidden by the lower level clouds). With our Girl Scout skills and safety knowledge ingrained in our heads, we opted to pull up to land and hang out in the woods until the quickly approaching weather passed over us just in case what we couldn't see was worse than it was sounding.
After about an hour the storm had moved mostly past us but another system could be heard not far off. We had a peak at the sky to the north of us which helped us get an idea of what Mother Nature was up to. Since we were not at a campsite, we made a plan to make a quick paddle direct to the first campsite and set up camp before that system moved in on us. Our goal was the campsite on the peninsula along the river between the portages to Eskwagama and Clear Lakes.
We pulled in to the nice landing about noon and immediately went to work setting up the tent and rainfly and getting our gear secured and stored. The rainfly was no more than thrown over the tent when the rain let loose in buckets.
We finished up and took shelter under the rainfly for lunch of pitas and pb&j and oranges. The mosquitoes were out in full force so we retreated to the tent and napped the afternoon away while the rain and thunder continued.
By 5 pm we were ready to get out of our tent and move a little. It was still raining off and on. We put the rain gear back on and headed out to prepare dinner of pizzas over the stove since neither of us were too excited to try to find firewood in the rain.
With dinner done and a few million more mosquitoes swatted, we hung our food and settled in to the tent to list to the continued rain. Tomorrow we hope for less mosquitoes and more sunshine.
Our original plan had been to stay at Clear Lake but we have abandoned that plan and are opting to stay where we are and just relax for this trip. The Kawishiwi Triangle will have to wait for another year.
Our pre-dawn alarm clock = red squirrel busily dropping pine cones on our tent. Wow is he efficient! By day light at 7 am we were definitely ready to get out of our very wet (on the outside) tent to survey the weather. Last night brought a night of wind and rain of varying intensities all night long so we hoped for clear skies.
We adjusted the rainfly and prepared blueberry pancakes for breakfast while the wind and rain continued (so much for clear skies).
By 9:30 the rain finally gave us a break so we decided to check out our campsite trails and enjoy the changes that fall brings to the BW. Not too far from the fire grate area is a nice small stand of trees which begged for us to put up our hammocks.
With the rainfly hung above us, we were able to relax in our new, less windy, living room. We opted to move lunch prep to the same spot to escape the wind as well and enjoyed carrots, potatoes, and chicken (originally planned for foil dinners but modified to stove top). And... no rain!
We enjoyed some hammock time with our books but between the falling temperature, the constant wind, and the dampness in the air, we finally retreated to our tent to warm up for a while. I think all we do up here is eat and sleep!
With dinner finished and camp clean up done, we enjoyed about 5 minutes of sun peaking through the dark clouds before climbing into our tent for the night. We had no more than zipped the tent closed when we heard the familiar pitter patter of... rain! Our of curiosity I looked at my clock and at the peak of our tent it was now 56 degrees.
We had originally planned to do a day paddle but it was not meant to be. But our unplanned day was very enjoyable and relaxing.
Here are a few pictures of our tour around the campsite.
Happy Birthday to my paddle buddy!! This morning this chilly and neither of us are excited about getting out of our bags and packing up to head home. We have a great time together even though the weather and bugs were not ideal. But any time in the BW is better than any day at work!
After a breakfast of oatmeal of fruit, we have dry skies to begin the packing. While everything is going home wet and muddy, at least we can dry it out a little and take our time to enjoy our last day.
Since we didn't take much sight-seeing time on our way in to camp, we decided to follow the shore line and enjoy the views on our way back. Just after leaving our campsite there is a rocky inlet where we watched an otter playing in the water and then proceed to shore to enjoy his breakfast.
Not too much farther down the river we found four ducks lounging on a rock and soaking in the morning sun.
We reached the portage landing at the EP as another couple were finishing their first trip to the water. We were not in a rush so we pulled off to a rock and enjoyed a snack while watching two young eagles in the trees directly across from us. We eventually headed to the landing, stowed our canoe and gear pack and made our first trip down the portage trail while the other crew finished up their organization.
Once back at the car with all our gear, the sun was shining brightly and the temperature was warming up nicely. We took some time to dry our feet and remove some wet, muddy clothing before heading back to Ely and then home.