BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
July 20 2019
Number of Permits per Day: 9
Elevation: 1653 feet
Kawishiwi Lake - 37
Kawishiwi Lake Entry
September 06, 2008
Number of Days:
Light rain kept my oldest brother and I company as we left the put in on Kawishiwi Lk at 7:30 AM. The journey to Koma Lk, our camp for the night was uneventful. A beaver dam at the entry to Square Lk, had robbed it of much of it's water, but otherwise there was nothing of note. We camped at a very lightly used site on the north side of the lake, nearest the portage to Malberg, a nice cozy camp for the evening. The rain did have the benefit of providing two very nice rainbows after showers passed.
Today was the day we would solve the mystery. After passing through 3 very lovely, and apparently very infrequently visted lakes, Beaver, Adams and Boulder, we tackled the first part of the portage out of Boulder Lk, which terminates at an unnamed pond about 135 rod later. This pond, only the width of a canoe, has a trail leading directly up the slope across from the terminus of the initial portage out of Boulder. While the Mckenzie maps showed an 85 rod portage coming from Roe Lake to the unnamed pond, we failed to find just where it came in to the pond. We paddled west along the pond hoping to find it, but never did. Since we had origninally bushwacked from this pond to the legititemate portage to Boulder 10 years ago, we figured that it couldn't have been that far west and so turned back to the more obvious trail. From the pond this trail hooked up with another trail going from Roe to Ledge lake. It was about 100 rods to this intersection, and then another 180 rods from this intersection to Roe Lake. McKenzie maps list the Roe/Ledge lake portage at 200 rods. Altogether we felt a full 1 mile of portaging is required to follow the most obvious route from Boulder to Roe. Unfortunately, once we got to Roe, it was too late in the day, and showers had rolled back in, so we proceeded to move on to Sagus lake to spend the night. The sites on Sagus are all 1 or 2 star sites, at best, but it was late, raining, we were tired, so they looked good to us.
From Sagus we moved on north through Kekekabic up to the South Arm of Knife Lake. The weather was improving and the light showers we had been experiencing the first two days we getting less frequent. We encountered a young couple from Seattle on their very first BWCAW adventure. That brought back memories of my first trip, over 30 years ago, and of my first trip with my older brother, over 20 years ago. We wished them many more and moved on down to the east end of SA Knife Lake for our camp for the evening. We found a lovely spot that had an abundance of firewood, and appeared to receive almost no use. The last passing shower of the day produced another full rainbow. After that the sky cleared and we enjoyed a great display of the stars to go with our evening campfire.
The weather finally cleared and we had a picture perfect day for our travels over to Little Sagnaga. There is a very significant gain in elevation from Knife Lake to Little Sag.
We experienced the results of not only the blowdown, but also the Ham Lake fire. It was particularly interesting to see what didn't get burned as the Ham Lake fire did its damage. One question we wondered about was the change in the ecology of the burned over areas. Our camp on Little Sag (which was in the burned area but had almost all of the trees on the actual campsite area spared from the fire) was a perfect example of the changeover from forest to grass, wildflowers and other sun/dryer condition loving vegitation. In those areas now fully exposed to the sun, we wondered would the consequently more arid conditions make it more difficult for the predominant trees species to return. Would some of those areas become more prarie like? When fire was a more natural feature, was there acutually less forest?
We spent a beautiful afternoon relaxing on our Little Sag camp. I even went for a swim. We had only a couple of parties move through our part of Little Sag. All in all it was a perfect BWCAW day.
Clouds were moving back in and the wind picked up as we moved southwest to our destination that day, Koma Lake. At the put in for Makwa lake, another nearby portage would take us to Hoe lake, which would allow us to get to Ledge Lake and thus return to Boulder Lake, allowing us one more attempt to solve the Roe to Boulder lake "mystery". However I was unable to talk my brother into taking this detour as commitments back home were calling. After fighting a strong wind out of the South/Southwest all the way to Koma we stopped there and planned an early start the next day to allow us to get back home to Milwaukee by Thursday evening.
On the water at 6:30 AM we got all the way to the take out on the south end of Lake Polly before the skies opened and it started raining heavily. The rain continued all the way to the take out on Kawishiwi Lake. In a rain that heavy, very little stays dry, no matter how well protected. The temp was dropping and we were more than happy to load up the car and head back home. While we never solved the mystery of the Roe/Boulder Lake portage, we will likely be back in a few years to finally answer that question.