BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
January 21 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!
Everything Moves in Waves: A First Timer's Solo Trip into Boundary Waters
August 27, 2007
Number of Days:
I was up early and saw a nice doe and her fawn then later a gray wolf as I drove to my entry point on Lake One. This was my first time in a canoe in over ten years and a few hens splashed out as I paddled away alone. I made it through Lake One and its easy portages with no problems but when I reached Lake Two the sky darkened and the wind and waves picked up. By the time I reached Lake Three where I planned on making camp, I was struggling against the wind and as I moved south around a small island the wind had me sideways. With everything in me I tried muscling my way straight to no avail. The rock studded shore of the island was getting closer and for the only time on the trip I was really scared. This is when I had no choice but to give in and I learned a big lesson: sometimes you need to have faith and let nature take you where it will. Luckily for me the winds pushed me to the sheltered north side of the island where I regrouped then moved on to another island for lunch and a break. The winds died down later and I found a nice campsite upon a 20' rocky cliff on the southeast side of the lake. That night it thundered and rained like I have never experienced before in the wild.
The next day was gray and overcast. I spent most of the day fishing and had wonderful luck catching walleyes off of a small island in the middle of the lake. Before I returned back to camp at dusk, the sun finally showed me some of its brilliant colors that I had been anticipating for so long.
When I returned back I sipped on some whisky keeping my eye out for the full moon. It was still cloudy but for a few moments its rays shined through. That night I fell asleep quickly waking several times to a bull moose calling from the south.
On Wednesday I woke up with the sunrise to a very cold morning. The sky had cleared and temperatures had to be in the lower forties. A dense fog covered the lake and was slowly burning away with the daylight and the full sturgeon moon stood small but visible before it finally sailed away.
After putting on my cold weather clothes, I made some hot tea and curry soup then packed my gear for my trek to Horseshoe Lake. I portaged into Horseshoe Lake by 9:00AM and found a very nice and secluded site in the southeast arm. This was going to be my day to relax and the sky was blue and filled with beautiful white clouds that passed by with the light breeze.
The day was perfect and I only briefly saw one other canoe. It felt like the lake was all mine. After a swim and some much needed yoga, I made pasta and fried walleye for dinner and drank one of the beers I had portaged in. The sun set quickly and I snapped a few photos as the lake shown calm and as smooth as glass against the fading colors of the sky.
That night as I layed in my small solo tent, two loons talked to each other from each side of the lake. I fell asleep dreaming and again woke to a bull moose calling and then later the howl of a lone wolf. They were telling me how good it is to be alive.
The next morning Horseshoe Lake was calm and clear. I packed up quickly and headed off back to Lake Three with my eyes on an island campsite. When I reached Lake Three, not a soul was to be found which felt odd since I had seen several boats my first few days there. I paddled on smoothly with the light breeze and the site I wanted was open. The site was on the east side of a large island in an area where several smaller islands converge and it pointed out to a wonderful view of the north and east. I set up camp and wandered around the island a bit before spending the rest of the day on the water fishing. The day was sunny and breezy and very hot and I sunburned my face and hands. The fishing was great but four days of hard work was making me tired and sore. I fished hard right in front of camp and later returned and cooked a nice dinner and had my last beer as the skies darkened. The critters of the night kept me up for a while but soon I fell asleep with a nice cool breeze blowing through my tent. The next day I was heading home.
I peeked my head out of the tent early in the morning and saw the first light of day. The chilly morning air made me scramble for clothes as I stepped out into the most magnificent sunrise of my trip. The horizon started bright red and then yielded into yellow and blue through the light clouds.
I had oatmeal and tea for breakfast and then packed camp. Once the sun rose, the winds picked up and while looking at my compass I knew they were going to battle me all the way out. I sat and read from Ivan Turgenev's "Sportsman's Sketches" hoping the winds would die but the horizon showed no signs of change and I knew it didn't look good. I battled the stiff north breeze through all of Lake Three and then again through Lake One before finally making my way out through where I entered. Four men were on shore ready to embark on their own adventure and a beautiful young black lab with a red bandana around its neck swam out to my canoe and welcomed me.
I pulled my canoe on shore exhausted yet content and took my time packing things up. An older gentleman and I spoke a bit about fishing and the weather and it really felt weird to have an actual conversation with a person, but being alone for five days sure made me a good listener. Time alone with nature can do wonderful things to you if you let it. It doesn't often come easy or without a price though, but then again, nothing worth a lick ever does.