BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
July 02 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!
Detour to Chad
September 04, 2015
Number of Days:
We entered the eastern side of Vermilion around 8am with hopes to get is far up Trout lake as we could on day 1. Luckily we had some strong winds going with us and we were able to cover 15 miles on big water. We reach Little Trout Lake around 3pm hoping to stay on the island on the north end of the lake. We make our way up and find that there is no sign of a campsite at all. I really should have done my homework, because I now clearly see that no one has ever rated this site before.. We check the NW site and it's already in use, which was a bummer because the next closest site is on the exact opposite side of the lake. We paddle into heavy winds across and to our delight find an open site to claim. It's a pretty simply small site, but there is a nice sandy beach to take a dip in after a long day of paddling. We drift off into the night with hopes to hop on the LIS river in the morning and make it all the way to Cummings...or so we hope.
We get up at dawn and set out for the LIS. The portage is shown on maps to be in the NE corner of Little Trout Lake, but we have a really hard time finding it. We find what appears to be some sort of path, although it looks like no one has used it in over 10 years. It is severely over-grown and feels like we are hiking through thick woods rather than a portage. Many fallen trees. We're about half way to LIS when the poratge suddenly stops. We drop our canoes and explore the area. Nothing. No path to be found in any direction. We feel like we've been fooled. We all explore deeper in the woods towards where we expect the LIS would be, but we end up finding nothing. Now we must make our way back to our canoe..not an easy task after we had taken so many turns in thick woods.. we really made a rookie mistake not marking our route. I admittedly feel very worried. We had been lost on the portage for over an hour now and we were without water on what was a scorching hot day. Finally after frantically combing through the woods one of us sees our canoe and we all yell out a big Wohoo! Now we're back to ground zero. Still haven't found the portage. Our new plan is to leave someone at the canoe as two of us venture back out. Hunter and I, follow what appears to be a path near where we initially got lost. We follow this path for what seems to be an eternity and sure enough at the very end lies a calm marshy LIS river. We hike back and yell to Kyle to let him know we've found it. Onwards. Holy hell that portage was long.
Now we're on the LIS after losing about 2 hours of our day. Waters were low, and the LIS is moving at a snails pace. We paddle for a couple hours and realize we may not make Cummings before sundown. We grab our map and see a small creek that leads to nearby Chad Lake. This appears to be our best option, so we go with it.
Boy, were we in for a treat. This so-called creek was more marsh than anything. I'll bet we had to hop over 20 beaver dams; which we got pretty good at by the end! The creek was so windy our long 3-person canoe couldn't make all the tight turns - so we had to improvise quite a bit. At some points it was so dry we couldn't even paddle. Two of us ended up getting out and standing in the waist high mush and tugging along the canoe. I don't even want to know what sort of living creatures lurked below. It was hard to tell how far we had gone, because of how windy it had been..we'd look ahead and it appeared to be a never ending doom in both directions. We pondered going back towards LIS because the creek wasn't getting any better. I'll be honest it was the most frightened I'd ever been in my life. Each turn we made in the creek was like a new nightmare. We moved about as slow as paint drys. With the sun going down and no lake in sight, all we had was each others hope to lean on. Alas! We see lake in the horizon. The best feeling I've ever had. We were hooting and hollering so damn loud. Like any good ending we make it to Chad lake. We're so beat, so we b-line to the nearest site on the NW side of the lake. It's beautiful. So damn beautiful. There's a peninsula to look out on, deep waters to swim in. We're in heaven. We decide to stay here for the remainder of our trip. Good night moon.
We break down camp around dawn and venture back to Trout Lake via Pine Creek. Luckily Hunter's brother met us on Vermilion to tow us back to our car. We made decent time.
All-in-all it was a good trip. It didn't go as planned, but that's how it goes up there. Our mantra for the weekend was 'you never know in the bdub'...oh so true.
Till next time!