BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
February 08 2023
Number of Permits per Day: 3
Elevation: 1392 feet
Farm Lake - 31
The Circle Tour
September 25, 2020
Number of Days:
The other crew had camped on Alice. We camped on the south end of Polly; they made it into Polly and camped on the north end.
Birds seen on Circle Tour:
Canada Goose, Trumpeter Swan, Wood Duck, American Black Duck, Blue-winged Teal,Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, Ruffed Grouse, Spruce Grouse, Common Loon, Horned Grebe,Turkey Vulture, Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Spotted Sandpiper, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Belted Kingfisher, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Black-backed Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Gray Jay, Blue Jay, American Crow, Common Raven, Black-capped Chickadee, Boreal Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Winter Wren, Marsh Wren, Hermit Thrush, American Robin, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Palm Warbler, White-throated Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Lapland Longspur, Rusty Blackbird
September 30 - photo of beaver dam location is 47.870831, -91.102836 and the beaver dam overlays a constructed dam feature built sometime shortly after 1925. The project was prescribed by Arthur Carhart in his 1922 recreation report to raise the water levels of both Square and Kawishiwi Lakes. This rise in the water level eliminates a portage between Square and Kawishiwi and shortens the portage between Kawishiwi to Perent. Beavers have not fully covered all of the original rock work in the construction.
we planned to rendezvous with the other crew and meet friends at the Kawishiwi Lake rustic campground. Everyone arrived as planned and the rendezvous coordinators had a nice campsite picked out for us. We spent the afternoon drying gear, re-supplying with food and fuel, swapping stories and relaxing into the evening.
This portage was developed by North Shore trappers Tom Parent and Bill Pembles (Tame Tom and Wild Bill) sometime around 1901 or so. The Forest Service maintained it until the late ‘60s or early ‘70s. The Kawishiwi Lake end was located in fall, 2019. Scouting work was completed in summer 2020. Amazingly after 60 years or so of no-use, the path was still there pretty much as mapped on the 1960 USGS Quad map. The portage is two miles long which is longer than the old canoe maps show. Avenza Maps was invaluable for this effort. [paragraph break] After a hearty Paddlers Breakfast, the crews headed for Perent Lake. All gear, canoes and people were at Perent Lake in 3 1/2 hours. Zoom in in the map. Notice the actual alignment (gps) vs the quad map location.
The Perent River portages are examples of the excellent work done in the 1930´s by the CCC. The circle tour was once a very popular route and the significant investment shows how important the route was back then.[paragraph break]. The water level is low during this time of year, especially at the end of an extended summer drought. We used some advanced canoeing techniques. Some of the largest trees seen on the trip were along the Perent River.
We camped on the east shore of Isabella Lake. As darkness fell we noticed a lot of glow from towns of Aurora/Hoyt Lakes, Babbit, Ely. We also noticed the whirling Ely airport light and the ARMER radio tower. Although this was disappointing, I’m confident that future management using Dark Skies will curtail future growth in the effects of artificial lights on the night sky.
The experience of paddling the Kawishiwi Watershed, two legs of it was instructive in letting us see how quickly water accumulates into the system and the role that beaver have in regulating the flow. Upper reaches of the Watershed are well stocked with beaver. Due to the young age class of the forests in the Pagami fire, beaver will be around for a long time.[paragraph break] Amazingly on the entire Circle Tour, we did not see a single moose track, pellet group or antler rub. They are gone. We only spotted 3 wolf scats on the 51 portages of the trip. For all intents, they are gone too. No bear sign either.
Update for 2021 Circle Tour. Trip was repeated with four people starting June 16 and ending June 24.