Boundary Waters Trip Reports, Blog, BWCA, BWCAW, Quetico Park

BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

July 22 2024

Entry Point 30 - Lake One

Lake One entry point allows overnight paddle only. This entry point is supported by Kawishiwi Ranger Station near the city of Ely, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 21 miles. Access is a canoe landing at Lake One.

Number of Permits per Day: 13
Elevation: 1230 feet
Latitude: 47.9391
Longitude: -91.4792
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!

Getting back to the woods - 2013

by treehorn
Trip Report

Entry Date: October 16, 2013
Entry Point: North Kawishiwi River
Exit Point: Little Gabbro Lake (33)
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 5

Trip Introduction:
I made one BWCA trip back in 2000 or so, maybe my junior or senior year of college? That was pretty much a completely outfitted 5-night trip that I still to this day look back upon as possibly the best 5 days of my life. I loved it, but mainly because of distance, just never made a point to go back. I finally just told myself and a few friends that I knew would be willing, that we NEED to start taking BW trips. We all have very busy schedules but after I talked them all into it, we squeezed this in, and it became an annual trip...

Day 1 of 4

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I'm trying to recall this trip 6 years later, so keep in mind it is subject to all the fallibility of the human memory. But I wanted to get it down on *paper* before I truly forgot it all.

I did not really plan hardly any of this trip. I just remember stirring up a hornet's nest of "let's go camping!" amongst the fellas I wanted to come with me. Lo and behold, I got my brother Keith and 3 others (Wade, Andy, Trent) to agree to go, and Wade took the bull by the horns and actually planned the EP, contacted an outfitter, and bought some maps.

That was about all I knew going into it. We were going camping in the Boundary Waters and I was stoked. We were also bringing some true greenhorns. For Andy and Trent, this would be pretty much their first time paddling a canoe, and first time sleeping in a tent in any sort of remote place. But they were game, and we figured we had it covered.

Since it was planned fairly last minute, we were trying to squeeze the trip into the shortest possible time away from home/work as we could. I worked a full day on Wednesday then drove up to Andy's house in Milwaukee from mine in the Chicago area. I crashed with him that night, then woke verrrrry early Thursday, picked up Trent and headed west & north. This was our entry day.

That's right, we woke up in Milwaukee on our entry day. I had no idea this isn't how it's normally done.

But, we made hay and booked through Wisconsin up to Fenske Lake Outfitters, where we met Keith & Wade. I'm not sure what time it was, but doing the math, it's at least 8 hours from Milwaukee to Fenske....maybe we left at 5am...that puts us there at 1pm at the very earliest. Normally, this is the time of day that we start panicking if we haven't found our campsite yet, but didn't know any different this year.

We had to pack bags and get situated with various rental equipment at Fenske Outfitters, then eventually they drove us to our EP...#29, the North Kawishiwi River, and we set sail.

The interesting thing about that EP, which none of us had any idea was interesting or different in any way at the time, is that you have to paddle through 2 entire lakes (not exactly small ones either), and take a pretty damn long portage before you are even in the Boundary Waters. You go through Ojibway Lake and Triangle Lake, then a 200 rod portage before emerging onto the North Kawishiwi River.

So, that we did.

I honestly have a hard time recalling what I was thinking or what my emotions were like at the time. I do remember sharing a canoe with Trent (the first timer), who remarked almost immediately as we launched our boat onto the first lake..."yeah, this is sweet..." So, he was sold already. That peacefulness and remoteness sets in quick, and we were digging it.

So we get to the Kawishiwi and start heading south. And the sun starts to get low. And we start to notice all the river campsites are taken.

Panic did not set in, but we started to realize the reality of what we were up against. We needed to find a vacant spot before the sun went down. Eventually we did find one in a bay on the river. I don't remember it being a great site, but it certainly fit the bill for our first night.

It was unseasonably warm (hot) and the mosquitoes were still out in full force even though it was September. I jumped in the lake to wash off accumulated grime from the day's travels, and we cooked up a fish I caught on the way to the site and some other food for dinner.

And then enjoyed our first night as a group in the woods. Had a nice fire, some cocktails, and tried to get Andy good and scared of the bears that were going to be haunting his tent at night...he was solo, and it was his first night ever camping, so we made sure he knew it wasn't safe and that those sounds he'd be hearing laying in his tent were definitely malicious critters out to get him.


Day 2 of 4

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Woke up and had a good breakfast and packed up camp, as we wanted to switch sites and get to some different areas. We didn't have a specific plan, but were going to keep heading down the river toward Little Gabbro/Gabbro and just see what we found.

We took the portage into Little Gabbro and turned east toward Gabbro. The narrows between these two lakes is a really cool area, with a bunch of little islands and rock outcroppings. We landed at one or two sites along the way and ultimately were deciding between the last site by the bay right before you enter into Gabbro (1711), and the first site on Gabbro proper, elevated up on an island (2135). We were torn, and took a vote, and I think I was the only one who choose the island site, but was not disappointed at all. I was game for either.

So we made camp, and quite honestly don't remember exactly how we spent the day. There was definitely some swimming (still HOT for this time of year) and some fishing. We had luck in the narrows between the two lakes, getting pike & bass at a fairly steady rate.

I think we had a fish fry and just otherwise enjoyed nice weather and a really nice campsite. It's elevated and pretty open to the lake, so the view from here was phenomenal, and there was plenty of space around camp. Nice firegrate and nice level tent pads. Probably the only drawback is the amount of groups that paddle by fairly close to your site, and the fact that another campsite is visible to the south across the opening to Gabbro. Something about having to see someone else's tent makes me sad when I'm in the BW.


Day 3 of 4

Friday, October 18, 2013

This day is again not clear in my head any longer....but we did not move camps and I'm sure did a lot of swimming and fishing. We were within pretty easy striking distance to our exit through the portage into/out of Little Gabbro (ep 33), so moving didn't make a lot of sense.

Weather was once again perfect and warm, and we were loving our campsite and just hanging out together. The fish were biting again as well, so that's always a plus.


Day 4 of 4

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Exit day. We packed up and headed over across Little Gabbro to the portage out of there, where the outfitter was going to meet us. I remember this portage out being fairly long, and EXTREMELY buggy. It was warm and humid and under the canopy of the forest on the portage trail, every mosquito in northern Minnesota must have come to life.

The outfitter picked us up and drove us back to their location on Fenske Lake where we showered up and gave them back their rental equipment and sorted all our stuff back into our respective cars. Me and the Milwaukee duo drove all the way back there, then I continued on to Chicago. Keith and Wade just had to get back to the Twin Cities.

So, all in all it was an awesome trip and made all of us fall in the love with the Boundary Waters...we've come back as more or less this same group every year since and plan to continue doing so for as long as we still can.

One interesting thing I think about when I think back to this trip is how different of an experience it was for me personally than every trip since. I went in basically blind, not having planned the route at all and not really knowing anything about the varieties of EP's available, the different areas of the Boundary Waters, etc. I just jumped in the canoe and followed Wade's lead, who was the one who planned that stuff. It wasn't until after this trip that I became obsessed with learning the area and staring at the maps of all the lakes and daydreaming about possible routes. For this one, I was just along for the ride and part of me really looks back fondly at that experience. I just kind of soaked up being in the woods in a cool place with my buddies without worrying about the maps or the different lakes around that I was missing or whatever.

Either way, awesome trip, and the first of many awesome trips that have come and will come!


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