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January 21 2022

Entry Point 34 - Island River

Island River entry point allows overnight paddle only. This entry point is supported by Tofte Ranger Station near the city of Grand Marais, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 19 miles. Two small portages leading to Isabella River. No portages on Island River.

Number of Permits per Day: 1
Elevation: 1564 feet
Latitude: 47.7912
Longitude: -91.3332
Island River - 34

Island River to Isabella - Kid Friendly Base Camping Trip

by shoreviewswede
Trip Report

Entry Date: June 24, 2009
Entry Point: Island River
Exit Point: Isabella Lake (35)
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 5

Trip Introduction:
An easy trip with a little bit of everything for kids and a 1st-time adult.

Day 1 of 5

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 ********** -We leave the cities at 730a. -Pick up permit at Isabella Ranger Station; nice lady there. -3 adults, 2 kids and 2 canoes put in at 34-Island River at mid-day. Picturesque locale; placid river… lily pads. -The river paddled easily; water was high enough, but flow was reasonable. -Gorgeous weather; blue sky, hot… but not too hot. -Run the 1st two (gentle) rapids. Portage the next 2 rapids; now everyone knows what its like to portage & to paddle up a wonderful river.

-Find campsite on Isabella; on west-end peninsula (island was taken); has plenty of room, cedar trees; eastward facing. -Wind is mild and out of west; bugs are bad. -My new Taj 3 sets up lickety-split. -Supper is ham and Asian noodles; so far, they like the cook.

-Hang my new Byer Amazon hammock; it is awesome! -Catch a largemouth and a pike; Skip catches pike; I let my pike go; other pike & largemouth escapes thru weaknesses in the fish pen (that Skip warned me about) that the kids completed. -Kids name resident chipmunk “Chippie”; we never feed him, but he must think he’ll find something; he’s there dawn & dusk. -Hang the bear ropes and the food; using 5-gal bucket for the food works SWEET! -Short campfire; too warm for long one. -Go to sleep giving Isaiah (my son) a long backrub; he can’t fall asleep.


Day 2 of 5

Thursday, June 25, 2009********** -I’m awake @ about dawn, but lay in tent for long time, looking out at lake; I just like the calm… & the birds. -Out of tent; calm morning… already sorta warm… & bugs are already out. -“Smashed Potatoes” (bacon bits in mashed potatoes), bagels, oatmeal for breakfast. Isaiah makes fun of my “Smashed Potatoes” moniker. Whatever. :) -Day trips aren’t far from camp today; we just explore nearby shorelines; a lot of paddling and fishing time today. -Forest Service dudes paddle up, ask for permit… then quiz us; nice enough fellas; they put in at Hog Creek yesterday.

-Am in the canoe with the 2 boys (Isaiah and Skip); catch a (northern) pike… start to remove hook… pike shakes and drives xtra treble hook thru my thumb. -Ummm… OK. I can’t get it out. -Calmly paddle back to camp; boys are awful quiet. -Sit on log with Leatherman; can’t get it out myself; now what? -I’ve been OK up ‘til now, but now feel like passing out; lay on hammock. -Scott manages to file off the barb, then pull hook backwards thru thumb. -Becky bandages it; all better; time for a nap.

-Awaken from nap… and remove remaining front treble hooks from favorite 2-hook lures :) . -Scott catches eater walleye. -I catch 2 eater pike and 1 eater walleye… all while trolling shorelines; bobber w/ baits ain’t workin’. Small floating diver plugs (Shad Rap or Berkley Frenzy Shad) are workin'. Scott caught his walleye trolling a spoon. -Gonna walk on small island, but Isaiah notices a loon on her nest (good eyes, boy); we observe from afar & don’t walk on island). -Isaiah notices Seagull sitting on nest on different shore. -Supper is pasta, bread dipped in spiced olive oil.

-Scott filets the fish; (he says) to “keep him from getting voted off the island.” :) -After dinner snack is fried fish! -All 5 work as team to quickly wash dishes back in the woods; skeeters are harsh back there; hurry. -Short campfire… and g’nite. -Isaiah gets his backrub, but falls asleep very quickly tonight.


Day 3 of 5

Friday, June 26, 2009********** -Beautiful day… even calmer and warmer than yesterday. -Learn new card game from Skip… “President Scum”; a VERY kid-minded game.

-We plan day trip to other end of lake & up Perent River; set out in late morning. -Isaiah doesn’t feel so well; is “tired”. Doesn’t paddle much as we cross Isabella. -After portaging to Boca, Sai says he’d like to go back; Scott, Becky and Skip continue on… I paddle Isaiah back to camp. -My son and I take long nap in side-by-side hammocks; divine.

-S-B-S return from trip, happy, hungry & THIRSTY; I had the water filter. :( -Isaiah feels better. -I paddle alone to fish; catch nothing. -Kids learn how to hang in hammocks… upside down. -Supper is chicken wild rice soup… and side dish of buttered rice; they still like the cook.

-Very calm evening; at dusk, bugs are everywhere. Not biting bad… damselflies by the thousands, dragonflies, etc, etc. -After dusk… bugs gone… calm; nice… very nice. -In the tent, I think to myself “could there BE any more sand in a tent? Sheesh! Perhaps I should buy an innie.”


Day 4 of 5

Saturday, June 27, 2009********** -I’m up real early… and so is Skip. -Nice morning; cooler, breeze is blowing, bugs are missing, overcast skies. -Rain threatens; spent all of day in or near camp. -Tarp shelter (roof and 1 wall) over hammocks and stools works well.

-All 5 play President Scum card game. -Each hand bestows title upon each player… winner = “President”, 2nd place = “Vice President”, 3rd place = “Vice Scum”, 4th place = “Scum”. -We need a 5th place title; we choose “Dick Cheney”. -Then we replace President/ Vice-President/ Vice-Scum/ Scum/Dick Cheney with “Kirk/ Spock/ Checkov/ O’Hura/ Unnamed-landing-party-member-who-dies-first”. -Then… “Calypso/ Davy Jones/ Jack Sparrow/ Pirate with a fork stuck in his wooden eye/ drunken blacksmith”. -Then other movies… you get the idea.

-Scott & Isaiah carve wood… whittling; Scott cuts end of finger open. Nice. What next? -Downed cedar log is nearby; Scott and I carry it to fire grate; it’s the new bench. -All go on long walk for firewood; at campsite we cut up and leave enough for the next campers. -Becky is pummeled by boy humor. -Saw loon with baby on her back, just off shore. -Cold, lethargic dragonflies everywhere; they like to sit on our palms.

-Scott and I troll & cast for a while; he hooks nice pike, but it cuts his line.

-Supper is Red Beans & Rice with pepperoni-n-chicken… along with tortillas; they still like me (the cook). -Had a (small) fire going most of the day; evening campfire is GREAT! Cool enough and breezy enough to appreciate it! -A little wine… a little cheese… some crackers… trivia… jokes… yep, all the good stuff. -Bear pack is easy to hang tonight.


Day 5 of 5

Sunday, June 28th, 2009********** -We’re breaking camp today. -It’s windy & drizzly. -Breakfast is odds-n-ends. -Everyone focuses and packing everything; we’re deliberate, but not urgent. -Sweep of the campsite finds no trash & nothing left behind. -It’s raining. -We say a prayer of thanks, then push off in loaded canoes to cross windy lake. -Now they all know what it’s like to paddle loaded canoes into the wind on choppy lake. -Exit at 35-Isabella.

-It was not a hard trip, but a little trip with a variety of conditions and activities; a good trip for kids, newbies... and even those of us who are only slightly more experienced with BWCA stuff. I may be ready for a more arduous trip next time.

-The drive home includes stops at Beaver Bay (Agate City) and Duluth (Perkins).

-At home, unload the van immediately… then do weightlifting routines I missed while gone; life is good!

MON: -I’m at work. Ugh.


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