BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
September 20 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!
2019 Troop 743 BWCA Trip
July 21, 2019
Farm Lake (31)
Number of Days:
We started by missing the channel that takes you past Kawishiwi Lodge and into a bay. It wasn't much of a detour and we quickly got our bearings and made it through Lake one pretty easily. I was a bit turned off by the number of people. Every campsite we past had someone on it.
Going from Lake One to Lake Two required a short portage, an almost as short paddle, then another short portage. Having full gear and food for a week, the boys decided they were done portaging for the day. We settled on going into Lake Three and finding one of the campsites recommended by our outfitter. Unfortunately, Lake Two and Lake Three were no less crowded and all the sites were taken. We paddled to the south end of Lake Three, then back up between the east shore and a big island. We finally found camp at site 1493.
We were in the area of the the fire, and the other two adults weren't thrilled with it. Being a grouse hunter, and knowing how fire is a necessary evil didn't mind it at all. In fact that night we had a ruffed grouse drumming so close to our tent that I could hear his feathers rustle on the log he was using.
We had a quick lunch refilled water, and setup camp. The area looked promising for shore fishing, but that proved to not be the case. Of the 7 of us, only myself and my son had any fishing experience. Keeping the 3 boys set up and teaching them how to do things took up most of the afternoon.
This night we learned a few things, including have your bear tree setup and ready to go along with camp. We were in the process of setting it up as the sun went down and the mosquitoes descended. I've never seen mosquitoes like that.
Again no fish caught from shore, so after lunch I took one of the boys out into the river and showed him how to vertical jig. The wind was strong enough that I had to paddle so I coached him and kept the canoe slowed. He hooked several fish, probably walleye, but wasn't setting the hook and lost them all after a short fight. As the wind picked up, I got tired and we decided to head back to camp and rest and hope the wind would die towards evening.
After dinner the wind died, and the boys tried fishing some more. All 4 were trying, but not much luck. I decided to go out and try and as I was launching the rain started and soon after the thunder so we called it a night.
Also, portage 603 is tricky to find. It starts right at the rapids, not at the beginning of the pool preceding the rapids. It doesn't have much room either. While the other two canoes went through, I had the boys in my canoe fish and one managed to hook a nice fish and fought it for several minutes before losing it. He was pretty bummed as it would have been his first.
After setting camp, I decided to cast from the big rock that the fire grate sat on. My first cast I hooked a fish. The boys were excited as I played it in. It came easily and I figured I had a walleye. The water was dark and stained, so I couldn't see the fish, but when I got it close to shore and lifted my rod to bring it up where I could grab it, an enormous head emerged. It was a huge northern, too big for me to reach across the back of his head. With his head out of the water he thrashed, spit the hook, and was gone. Everyone was silent. That would be the biggest fish seen all week.
That night we were out on the lake for a couple of hours. My son landed a small largemouth from the portage landing. We trolled, casted, and jigged. I finally managed a small largemouth on a popper. The other boys lost a couple of fish, but none landed. We did see several beaver, including one that surfaced right next to the boys canoe.
This was a nice site and our best fishing spot. My son found a submerged tree that was full of large rock bass, and all the boys happily caught numerous fish. This made the trip a success because every boy caught fish. At dusk I casted a popper and had northerns flying out of the water. Lots of action, but only one hookup on a 22-24" northern.
In all it was an experience of a lifetime. We had fun, but it was a lot more work than anticipated. I'm glad I had stepped up my hikes with the dogs with 50# weight. I wish I could have managed to bring my CPAP to get some sleep. In the future, I'm going to be more adamant our Scouts train more like they do for Philmont, some weren't ready for the physical exertion required. I'll, also, not want to use a route as long as the one we took to allow for days to rest/fish.