BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
May 21 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!
A canoe country meditation...four solo trips
September 07, 2017
Number of Days:
3. Kawishiwi Triangle. This is a classic BWCA route SE of Ely. I entered at Farm Lake, which means canoeing past a lot of cabins and boats initially. The Triangle is beautiful route with only two longish portages (that aren’t too bad). The Kawishiwi River splits on the east end and rejoins later outside the BWCA, with portages in and out of Clear Lake providing the western edge of the Triangle. There’s good fishing, especially below the rapids. I took my time and explored Conchu Lake as well. There were interesting log pilings on the North Kawishiwi on both sides of the river near my campsite (adjacent to the Conchu portage); which I think may have been used for log storage back in the logging era (1899 to 1920 or so). I'm reading Miron Heinselman's book (Boundary Waters Wilderness Ecosystem) which has wealth of information about the early logging practices with specific references to the logging between Lake One and Farm Lake.
4. East Bearskin Lake to Alder Lake. Just off the Gunflint Trail, north of Grand Marais. These are longish East West lakes. I camped on a really nice site on Alder Lake, just past the little island, where I was entertained by a family of otters.
This was my first solo canoe outing; I had wanted to find a partner to go into Wabakimi...maybe next year. Next year tentative canoe plans include doing Woodland Caribou with my wife--Leano Lake entry; two weeks with the Wabakimi Project; a possible BWCA (or Missouri Breaks) trip with my brother's family; and another solo outing. I'd love to do interior Wabakimi trip if I find a willing partner.
Lastly, I addressed the threats to the BWCA in my video report. I encourage all those who love this wilderness to support the fight against sulfide ore mining. There’s groups, like Save The Boundary Waters https://www.savetheboundarywaters.org/
And Friends of the Boundary Waters, http://friends-bwca.org