BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
December 10 2023
Number of Permits per Day: 3
Elevation: 1392 feet
Farm Lake - 31
2 weeks of reality in the time of COVID
August 10, 2020
South Kawishiwi River
Sawbill Lake (38)
Number of Days:
Latrine has been chewed on by some animal- sharp edges! Found a rope and weighted bag abandoned in a tree and managed to free it.
Got up before the sun and were on the water by 8. Portaged into Lake One and then took the back way to the main body of the lake, avoiding the entry point. So many people! Found a site on the far shore of Lake Two near the portage into Rifle. Large, spacious, not too many tent pads but a real nice rock kitchen area under the trees. Used my new solar shower for the first time....awesome! Shored up the firegrate, which is rusted out on 3 legs, washed our clothes. Found: 1/2 a cigar.
Decided to take a layover. Explored the cool peninsula near camp, made pancakes, cut wood, and lazed around. Did some swimming. So many people paddling by in both directions! Another really hot windy day. Saw someone looking for a campsite at 730 pm....wonder where they ended up.
Paddled 12 miles today to get through the burn area to the end of Insula. We were both getting a bit hangry by the time we found a site. Lots of shade here and a very nice tent pad. Fire grate rusted out and cracked in half, but usable. Poured last night, lots of thunder and lightening. Thought it would rain all day, but only a few sprinkles. Evidence of spruce budworm everywhere so far- lots of dying spruce.
Super noisy guys across the way from us tonight, hollering to passing canoes and talking about their sonar that came with a radar service, warning everyone that it's gonna rain. Yup, sure is. Sigh.
Nice paddle up the Kawishiwi to Malberg. Saw an eagle eating fish guts and a loon with baby super close to the canoe, making little squeaky noises to each other that I did not know loons made. Only 2 portages, but the 2nd one to Malberg started with a knee deep sucking mud pit and had a beaver pod in the middle of it. Fun!
Baffin Swamp Buggies earned their stripes! They did not get sucked off my feet, and the insides were not full of silt and sticks. Impressive.
Gorgeous campsite down at the end of a bay on Malberg, feels very private for such a busy lake. We've been out a week now.
Found: Green carabiner
Saw loon baby being fed by it's parents just off shore from our campsite this morning, and a kestral being chased by blue jays. Started out real foggy, but now a clear blue sky.
Got to Polly- seemed like all the sites were taken, but found one tucked behind an island and got everything set up before it rained. So many tent pads here! Also a million skeeters- haven't really seen many of them on this trip. Gorgeous sunset, but a lot of canoes on the water.
Up before dawn again, cereal and coffee and on the water by sun-up. Paddled and portaged the Phoebe River to Hazel. Saw one group- they daytripped into Hazel, sat on the shore for 30 minutes, then turned around and left- odd. Other than that, totally deserted back here. HOT! Hung sleeping bags to air out, everything just a bit damp.
The route here was interesting....Phoebe River is little and full of beaver dams. They have widened some areas and made others much more shallow, so portages are only approximate....some treks along the river edge to reach navigable water.
Heating up the solar shower again....could be last shower of the trip.
Layover on Hazel- explored the gorge. Really amazing little place that feels like no one has ever been there before, though I'm sure they have.
Crazy thunderstorm last night with high winds and a little hail, torrential rain. Dog was none too happy about it!
Found: Rayban sunglasses, red stringer
Paddled, portaged, and lined canoe through the shallows to reach Ella Lake. Fell in the river twice before I learned not to have my pack on when walking over algae slimed rocks (LOL) Still have not seen anyone- it's been 3 days now. The portage from Grace into Ella is....quite the boulder field at the start. Ella is deserted. The campsite just across from the portage is a 5 star for sure- All granite and white pines, lots of stone benches/tables. Very flat tent pad.
Last full day on the trail....foggy misty day. Lots of ravens here and still no people. Explored Ella and hiked the portage into Beth to see what's in store tomorrow. Piece of cake- easy as pie. Dreaming of real food, and starting to have attacks of maniacal laughter over...the smell of our scrubbie. Probably have been alone in the woods too long!
Got up and going- we have a smooth routine now. I break down the tent and pack our gear, Jesse makes coffee and breakfast and packs the kitchen pack. and...it's a wrap.
Once we hit Alton, it's crazy again. The portage into Sawbill is a congested madhouse- 8 canoes in the portage and more waiting to load/unload. Nuts.....and then it's back to the world of masks. Sure was a good couple of weeks though...