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May 24 2024

Entry Point 36 - Hog Creek

Hog Creek entry point allows overnight paddle only. This entry point is supported by Tofte Ranger Station near the city of Isabella; Tofte, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 30 miles. Access is a 15-rod portage to Hog Creek leading into Perent Lake.

Number of Permits per Day: 4
Elevation: 1664 feet
Latitude: 47.8104
Longitude: -91.0864
Hog Creek - 36

Hog creek to Isabella

by chrisstratton
Trip Report

Entry Date: August 03, 2021
Entry Point: Hog Creek
Exit Point: Isabella Lake (35)
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 1

Trip Introduction:
After watching a series by Chris Prouse on YouTube, I really wanted to see the Algonquin by canoe. But with Covid, Canada was a no go to me this year. Not to be stopped, I came across the boundary waters. I called the outfitter who recommended little Indian Sioux up to Lynx Lake. I specifically asked for minimal number of portages, thinking to have one or two base camps. But the Canadian fires resulted in a cancellation of my little Indian Sue entry point. The outfitter snagged a permit for Hog Creek, thinking I might possibly to go through to Little Gabbro.


I’m a 67-year-old, recently recovering from the neck surgery (fused vertebrae) some six weeks ago, and I’ve had hips replaced and continue to have moderate to severe lumbar stenosis.. For that reason and just a general preference I wanted minimal portaging in a planned solo trip. Despite that, I’m in reasonably good health.The last time that I wilderness camped was for three days in Kejimkujik National Park in 1975. Really haven’t camped very much since then, canoe or otherwise.

I traveled Hog Creek to Isabella, August 3rd to August 7th,  and now am back in SWFL. Another person here on BWCA named "Jaywalker" provided me with cautions which were very appropriate. Sadly - I missed or did not pay close enough attention to one very important note. My travel was EP #36 Hog Creek to exit #35 - Isabella Lake. Hog Creek was a genuine pain with a number of beaver dams, mud based "liftovers", and lots of twists and couple of false left turns. It was doable. Still, I and another couple ahead of me weren't onto Perent Lake until about 3pm. I spent two days at an excellent island campsite (#991) due west of the Hog Creek entrance to the lake.

The third morning, I packed up early and had planned/hoped to push thru to Isabella Lake.  Two areas of the Perent River enroute to Isabella were what I would refer to as moderately hazardous for a solo canoeist, given the low traffic and low water levels. On the route, I only saw 4 humans, and not much evidence of landings or footprints. The four people made up a single group of 4 healthy young men who had apparently given up and reported that they were returning to Perent Lake. They labelled theroute as "slogging", with little chance to get through in one day. 

Between Portage #224 and #807 (I think) there existed a rice paddy about 1000 feet long which was not "paddle-able". The location is southeast of Snusbox. I had to get out and push a great part of it, trying not to lose my boots in the muck or to fall on my face. This area is, I believe, east of "campsite 1995" as marked on the map. Campsite 1995 was not found.  Also, I could not find campsite #990. While in the rice, clouds built up and thunder was heard. It was raining hard when I made it to a patch of open water and then to shore. I spent about 50 minutes under the canoe, off and on as I would flip the canoe to catch rain water to drink from the hard plastic seat where it would quickly accumulate.

The sun came back out and I made it to portage #225 at around 9pm. There, the bivouac (well, I did use the tent, so was not technically a bivouac) was with the tent straddling the trail onto a tiny area not too hilly or rocky for my tent. A 6ft alder located about 30 yards away from my tent was what I could manage for a "bear hang".

The next morning, I proceeded south of Snusbox along the Perent River. There was a large area of boulder strewn river. This is one which Jaywalker labelled as "50 rods", I note after the fact, that Jaywlker reported the portage as being "south of the river and little used/overgrown".  I believe this to be portage #676. Despite looking at both ends of the "portage" on the north end, and scanning the south sides, I found no evidence of any trail. I hauled my two packs and canoe across the boulders. The note about the portage being on the south of the river, had I paid closer attention, or had I actually discovered a trail to the south, might have saved me a couple of hours of very risky work.

Bottom line - it was not until about 6pm on the 4rth day that I did make it to EP #35 portage @ Isabella Lake, where I made camp for the last night. Joel (Jaywalker) did a great thing in cautioning me, and I thank him.


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