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

BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

February 28 2024

Entry Point 33 - Little Gabbro Lake

Little Gabbro Lake 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 23 miles. Access is a 200-rod portage from the parking lot to Little Gabbro Lake.

Number of Permits per Day: 1.5
Elevation: 1235 feet
Latitude: 47.8481
Longitude: -91.6357
Little Gabbro Lake - 33

September 2015 BWCA EP 33

by drewbsd
Trip Report

Entry Date: September 10, 2015
Entry Point: Little Gabbro Lake
Exit Point: South Kawishiwi River (32)
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 2

Trip Introduction:
This was my first trip in 18 years to the Boundary Waters. My previous two trips were when I was in Boy Scouts at ages of 12 and 16. This was my wife's first time to the BWCA. We left Rapid City, SD on the morning of 9/8 and made our way to Minneapolis. We went to REI and picked up a few last minute items and then off to the Mall of America for dinner and some shopping. We arrived at River Point Resort on 9/9 and met with Jane. She was wonderful. We then went through all the gear and planned our route. We stayed the night at one of their beautiful Chalets before departing the following morning. You can also watch a you tube video of our trip. here is the link

Day 1 of 5

Thursday, September 10, 2015 We woke up after eagerly setting our alarm for 6:30. After a short breakfast and out last warm showers we loaded our bags and enjoyed a cup of coffee on the porch of the Chalet waiting for our transport to EP 33. At 8am we met with the outfitter and loaded into the van and off we went. It was a short 1/2hr drive to the EP 33 at Little Gabbro Lake. The real trip began with our first portage. It was 250+ rods with a canoe, 3 packs (we packed heavy), fishing gear, paddles and a canister of worms. It was a long but nice portage. It took three trips (two with gear) and about on hour. After a short break we were on the water by 9:45 and headed to find our camp site. I had done some research and wanted to base camp at camp number 2135 but it was taken. I had three other camps in mind that all faced west so we could enjoy sunsets together. After discovering the next two camps were taken we found a unoccupied camp (1715). When we arrived we seen trash littered around the camp and the fire grate had been removed from the pit. After picking up the trash we contemplated moving on or staying and cleaning up the camp site. We decided to say. We unpacked and set up camp for the next three nights. I rebuilt and fixed the fire grate and pit. We can't have a fire without wood so we paddled to an island across from camp and gathered enough fire wood for a couple day (so we thought!). I wanted to do all cooking over the fire and not use the camp stove for the entire trip. So we went through more wood than we thought we would. First nights dinner was steak, mashed potatoes and corn accompanied with a nice cup of Boto Box red wine.


Day 2 of 5

Friday, September 11, 2015 It got a little chilly last night. Luckily we decided to grab fleece liners for our sleeping bags from the outfitter at the last second. It got down into the 30s. We had scrambled eggs, sausage ad English muffins for breakfast. We also had coffee from the new coffee percolator we purchased in Ely before the trip. The coffee was fantastic. We just barely had enough wood for breakfast. We hit the water around 9:30am headed towards Bald Eagle Lake. The weather was cloudy but calm and beautiful. At the portage between Gabbro and Bald Eagle we met a father and son. They mentioned that at the portage to Turtle Lake, there were signs up about trapping wolves. We had not planned on going to Turtle Lake but we decided to head that way in hopes of seeing the biologists and possibly a wolf. Turns out the portage to Turtle Lake sucks. It was about the same length as our entry point but this one was basically string up a rocky hill then straight down a rocky hill. We were a little tired when we reached Turtle Lake and sadly we did not see either biologist or wolves. We wondered around Turtle Lake for a bit then decided to head back to Bald Eagle. On our way back to the portage to Gabbro the wind decided to pick up and we ended up fighting it all the way back to camp. Once back at camp we headed back out and gathered some more fire wood. Becky caught the only fish of the day, a nice walleye. I brought some dried potato soup with extra dehydrated hash browns added to it on this trip. The idea was to add chunks of fish to the soup the last 5 minutes of cooking. This was the best meal of the trip by far!!! Luckily I brought enough for two dinners.


Day 3 of 5

Saturday, September 12, 2015 Today we decided to take it easy and relax. We slept in until 7:30 despite the camp squirrels and chipmunks becoming more aggressive throughout the night. They started getting closer and closer to the tent during the night. When we woke up it was really foggy out and we had a nice time watching the fog lift from the lake. After the fog cleared the lake became like glass. It was a beautiful morning. We headed out to tour the bay we were camped in. I caught a nice northern and decided to keep it so we could have our potato fish chowder the following night. We had a fun time exploring the bay and found some cool shallow areas at the back of the bay. We then headed back to camp and set up the hammocks. I took a nap while my wife read her book. After the nap we went back to the island across from us and gathered some more fire wood. Dinner was not to our liking (we were spoiled from the night before) and we ended up having peanut butter and cheese ups. Don't hate on them, they were good. We left a nice bunch of fire wood for the next people who stay at this camp site. The sunset was amazing this night!


Day 4 of 5

Sunday, September 13, 2015 We woke up early to howling winds. We spent a long time lying in the tent trying to decide if we wanted to break camp and head to Kawishiwi River or not. The wind was a strong deterrent, but we finally decided to brave it and move on. All in all by the end of the day we were happy with the decision. We fought the wind across Gabbro and Little Gabbro but once we reached Kawishiwi River it seemed to die down. The longer portage between Little Gabbro and Kawishiwi was our favorite this whole trip. My wife documented the portage and can be seen in the you tube video documenting this trip. My goal for the day was to reach the 5 star camp site number 1131 and see if it was available, it was! Even though it was still early in the day we decided to set up camp and stay the night. The campsite overlooked the river where it was split by a small island and some rapids. Whoever was there last left a nice pile of wood. We really enjoyed this camp site. After camp was set up we enjoyed some time fishing and drinking some Boto Box wine. While hanging out we saw a group of grumpy older men (probably wanting our camp site) come upon the rapids. We told them a few times they could portage through camp. They insisted on walking through the rapids. It was some free entertainment. They were the last people we seen for 24hrs. I caught a nice sized small mouth. For dinner we made Potato Fish Chowder again. It was just as good if not better than before. It was a peaceful and wonderful evening and sunset.


Day 5 of 5

Monday, September 14, 2015 The wind continued to howl last night and basically until we got off the water. We broke down camp and left at 9:30. The first hour was nice. We seen our only loon of the trip. We also watched a bald eagle fly from tree to tree in front of us as we paddled west on the Kawishiwi. We made it to EP 32 at 11:30 and waited for the outfitter to pick us up. As we waited we both agreed that we wished the trip was longer. Once back at River Point Resort we could not wait to take a nice hot shower. The poor little soap bar didn't make it through our showers. We then headed into Ely for a couple beers and bloody mary's.

Highlights and Future Trip Suggestions 1. Potato Fish Chowder is a must 2. Boxed wine is a must 3. Empty bladders from boxed wine make great pillows when you inflate them. 4. NO, you have not collected enough firewood 5. Every afternoon was windy 6. Slow Down and Enjoy! Try not to rush 7. Sunsets are always amazing 8. The only fuel we used this trip was wood. All cooking done over the fire 9. Even the best pictures do not do the beauty of the BWCA justice 10. Next trip, pack our own meals 11. The coffee percolator we purchased before the trip was the best purchase 12. Even though it was a little chilly we had too much clothing along 13. Take time each morning to enjoy the sunrise and calmness. 14. Turns out peanut butter and cheese roll ups are tasty!