BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
September 30 2023
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!
2nd Solo to Insula and a bit beyond
August 27, 2017
Number of Days:
What I learned. 1. Folks told me that my second solo would be smoother than my first, they were correct. I especially did much better on food. 2. I brought my big birding binoculars; I need to get a small pair for canoeing. I will bring a good camera. 3. I have found that I don’t enjoy fishing so much when I solo. I like fishing by myself when fly fishing. I think it’s the hassle of controlling a canoe and fishing at the same time. I will continue to bring a rod, but exploring and birding will likely be my main activities. 4. I found single serving size Mountain Home meals at Wal-Mart. The beef stew, chicken and rice, and beef lasagna were pretty good. 5. Having some sort of mirror is important. (see face story) 6. Birding in burned areas is easier. 7. I need to learn to identify trees. I tried, but I have a lot of work to do in this area. 8. While on my trip, I started reading Allan Eckert’s second book Wilderness Empire, Eckert’s books are good reads. Living in Cincinnati puts me nearly in the center of the history he narrates. 9. I need to dedicate a knife to my fishing tackle. 10. Using an important new piece of equipment, like a sleep system, for the first time in the wilderness may not be the smartest move! 11. Bring some back up paper and pen (I did) if you cannot find your primary journal materials. Turns out I did have them but they were between the pack liner and the pack. My primary journal is a “Rite in the Rain” notebook; I highly recommend “Rite in the Rain” materials. 12. On my first solo, I moved nearly every night. On this one I spent 2 nights at one camp and 3 at another. I think spending 2-3 nights in a place before moving works well for me. 13. New equipment: 1. (re)zip leak proof storage bags are nice. I used the 1 cup size and the lunch size. 2. My Garmin in-reach was flawless. 3. I have a small pocketknife style made for carving knife, by Queen Cutlery. Great for carving on-the-go. 4. Sea to Summit medium pack liners worked well. My only complaint is that they are not wide enough to fold back over the mouth of my pack (CCS Pioneer and CCS solo food pack). 5. The Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core was great except for the slow leak. ~Three, Lake, Four, Lake, Hudson Lake, Fire Lake, Insula, Lake, Fishdance Lake