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

BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

July 15 2024

Entry Point 37 - Kawishiwi Lake

Kawishiwi Lake 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 33 miles. Access is a boat landing at Kawishiwi Lake.

Number of Permits per Day: 7
Elevation: 1653 feet
Latitude: 47.8390
Longitude: -91.1036
Kawishiwi Lake - 37

Drie Maedichen auf der Wasser (Three girls on the water)

by campnscrap
Trip Report

Entry Date: May 28, 2010
Entry Point: Hog Creek
Number of Days: 3
Group Size: 3

Trip Introduction:
Once upon a time there was a young lady from Bernberg, Germany; Charlotte was her name. Charlotte dreamed of visiting America for a very long time. However, her family just couldn't afford the price to send her to study in America. Being the smart, bright student that she is they found a program through their State in Germany where she was able to apply for a political scholarship. This took a lot of work on her part, getting good grades, writing and then meeting with her State Senator for interviews. After months of wondering and waiting she was informed that she was chosen by her Senator to be their German Representative as an exchange student in the United States of America. She and her family were so very excited. Then began the long, anxious wait for a host family in the US to choose her. In the mean time there was another young lady from Mora, MN, Emily, who was working on becoming an exchange student to South Africa. She, too, had to go through a rigourous selection process in order to obtain a scholarship to attend school in a foreign country. During this time there were many meetings with her area representative for the exchange student organization, ASSE. The rep asked Emily's mom, Lisa, if they would be willing to host a student as well. After several family discussions on the matter it was decided that they would, in fact, love to host an exchange student. Thus began the long process of choosing a student that would be the perfect fit for the family. The ASSE representative sent email after email with students from across the globe. There were "dear host family" letters, school transcripts, photo collages and family information. After pouring over the letters they had it down to three choices and once again had a family meeting. It was decided that this Charlotte Rochell from Bernberg, Germany would be a good fit for the family. She didn't come from a wealthy family, she had good grades but not perfect and she enjoyed the same things that the Slyter family enjoyed: camping, drama, theater, outdoors and more. The request was then sent to the ASSE representative for Charlotte and confirmed that she hadn't been chosen yet by another family. The Slyters were so excited! One day in June 2009 Lisa was checking her email and there in her inbox was an email with subject line "I am your exchange student!" WOW!!! Everyone was overjoyed to read the email and get to know her. Emails were sent back and forth weekly and phone calls were made a few times. After getting to know her in that way the Slyters knew that she was the perfect choice for the family. Amanda, the oldest daughter, had a vacation planned to Germany for 5 weeks that same summer. She also had her Grandma joining her about half way through the trip. they were able to meet with Charlotte, her mom Elisabeth and her brother Vincent in Berlin for an afternoon. That meeting was wonderful and put Elisabeth much more at ease sending her girl to live with a "strange" family so far away. Over the summer many emails and phone calls were exchanged. The Slyters frantically got a room ready for Charlotte, finding a bed, bedding and furniture for her. Finding new places for all the "junk" that was in the spare bedroom. By September 3, 2009 the room was ready and they headed for the airport to pick up their "Lottie" as she had come to be called. When she arrived they knew exactly who she was and it was just like greeting another daughter coming home from a long trip. She was a perfect fit for the family. The weekend after Lottie arrived the family took a car camping trip to Savanna Portage State Park where Lottie got her first experience with Minnesota beauty. They canoed on the lake and she just took it all in; she sat in the bow of the canoe while Lisa, in the stern, slowly paddled around the lake. Lottie, sat with her elbows on her knees drinking in the fall colors and beauty of the lake and surrounding forest. They talked of camping and of the beauty of Minnesota all around, but especially the pristine north woods in the BWCA. Lisa had a solo trip planned for the following weekend to BWCA and was very excited about it. Lisa took her solo trip to BWCA and when she returned she had many tales to tell and photos to show the beauty of her trip. It was peaceful and rejuvinating. One evening after Lisa had been home a few days, Lottie sweetly asked, "Lisa, do you think you could take me to Boundary Waters? Will there be time?" To which Lisa answered, "We will make time." And planning began for a route and entry point to use. They poured over the Beymer books, the Boundary Waters Journals and Lisa asked many questions in chat. After much deliberation an entry date of 05/28/2010 at Hog Creek was chosen and the long months of waiting until spring began. They would drive "up North" on May 27th, spend the day in Duluth, pick up their canoe from the outfitter The Canoeist in Two Harbors and spend the night at Temperance River State Park before entering on the 28th. Eleven days before the trip Lisa got sick and was admitted to the hospital. At the time the doctors were calling it acute pancreatitis but as yet were unsure. She spent four days in the hospital being released one week prior to their trip. Two days before the trip was planned she had a follow-up doctor appointment with her physician and it was suggested that she not take the trip. They were worried about the pain and having a set back. They left the decision up to her and advised that if she go, she really listen to her body. Discussion was had with Lottie regarding the risks of the trip. Lisa was concerned with driving while being on pain medication and worried that there would be another bad pain attack that the meds she had wouldn't take care of. There was also the concern of taking a teen with no wilderness experience and one who can't drive to the northern Minnesota Wilderness. They decided to take it by the day. On the 27th, the day scheduled to leave, Lisa just wasn't up to going. In addition to still hurting and taking pain meds, she was feeling weak and tired. Amanda was home for a while that day and the suggestion came up that if she was able to take off work on the 28th that she join them and do the driving. Lisa called the outfitter, Mike, and figured out that the canoe rented was more than capable of handling three girls plus gear even though it was a tandem. One of the girls would have to "princess" it but that was okay with everyone. Around 4pm on the 27th Lisa received a text message from Amanda "we r good to go"! WooooHooo! There was only a small amount of adjustment that needed to be done to the gear and the menu. All was packed, the van was loaded and they planned on leaving at 4 am May 28th.

Day 1 of 3

Day One Friday May 28, 2010

The alarm went off at 3:30 am causing groans all around - no one had gotten much sleep. Excitement, last minute packing and just the thought of "we need to hurry up and sleep" caused everyone to NOT be able to sleep. Last minute items were put into packs, the girls all got in the van and away they went. On the road at exactly 4:00 am as desired. A short stop in Hinckley, a mere 17 miles from home, for fresh water bottles on the drive and doughnuts. No, they didn't stop at Tobies - being from the area, Tobies in their humble opinion is a bit over-rated and they prefer Cassidy's. Got gas in the van and off they went. The drive went very smooth and there wasn't a lot of conversation as everyone was so sleepy tired. Amanda did well driving and it was a good thing to ensure the safety of all. They were hoping to catch the sunrise over Lake Superior as they went North, but the sun beat them and by the time they reached Duluth the sun was already up and shining brightly. As always the drive along the North Shore was pleasant and perfectly picturesque. Amanda and Lisa had made the drive up there countless times, but it was only the second time for Lottie - she still enjoyed the awe and beauty of Lake Superior. No stops were made for any sight-seeing as they were on a mission to get the canoe and be on the water ASAP. They made such good time that they arrived at the outfitters an hour before opening. The van was parked, seats were reclined and all took a nap for an hour. Amazingly, Lisa's internal alarm clock woke her up a few minutes before 7 am and the "open" sign up lit in the window. She woke the girls, who grudgingly crawled out of the van, though a big stretch did feel wonderful after that long ride. A visit with Mike in the shop was great - so great it was an hour long! He was a wonderful help in getting the permit changed to be picked up from him instead of the Tofte Ranger Station and adding another person to it. He went through and showed how to use the cam-straps for the canoe as Lisa had never used them before. They took the gear out of the van, put it in the canoe and confirmed that there wouldn't be any trouble with space. The canoe had a 1200 lb capacity which was way more than adequate. The Canoeist now has a customer for life - Mike is an awesome guy!

After the canoe was loaded on the van it was back on the road again. Turning off onto Sawbill Trail was exciting for all as that meant they were almost there. Everyone was so excited and just couldn't wait to get on the water and do the search for that perfect campsite. It didn't take too long to find the turn to Hog Creek and the excitement grew. BUT, when they reached the parking lot their hearts were dampened a bit as the parking lot was packed full of vehicles. Of course none of them were parked straight at all - if only people would be able to park in a straight line, it would make life so much easier is what they all said. They were able to squeeze the van into a skinny spot between two pickup trucks.

The canoe was unloaded and carried down the steps to the creek along with the gear. Van was parked; last minute potty break at the outhouse and then a shove-off from shore set them on their way down Hog Creek toward Perent Lake. The creek seemed low to Lisa, you could see water lines from previous years on how how it had been. There were turtles sunning themselves in the sun on the rocks and logs sticking out in the water. Some of them were brave enough to ignore the girls silently slipping by and some weren't so brave, making a quick dash into the water to be out of sight. After what seemed like only minutes they came upon an area of rapids and decided that the water was too low to try and "run" them. There were signs that in the past others had done so, aluminum and paint scrapes on several of the rocks. However, this group was going to portage around that. The portage was a short one - 15 Rods at most but it was an ankle breaker with several boulders and rocks to watch out for while carrying gear. Because it was so short, they double portaged and did a two person carry with the canoe. Neither one of the girls had ever portaged a canoe and Lisa wasn't up to it so that just made it easier. It didn't take long and the canoe was re-loaded. Of course the portaging made them all warm so off came layers of clothing and on went the sunscreen. Lisa had been warned that there would potentially be a lot of "bank crashing" due to the many twists and turns in the creek - and she was told correctly. It was difficult steering while going with the current. It didn't look like a fast current, but watching the underwater grasses and water flowing over the beaver dams it was clearly evident that there was a pretty good current. They passed over about 10 beaver dams, some old and some fresh. Some they got stuck on and had to get out and push - others were an easy float over. Lisa was worried about scratching the canoe from those dams, but there really wasn't much they could do about it so onward they went. Fortunately for them they kept to the "no looking at watches" to give them the sense of freedom that was desired. The paddle down Hog Creek was uneventful - no animals except birds and a few fish. Shortly into the paddle they met up with a man going solo. They chatted with him for a bit and asked how busy the lake was. He told them that he knew of one open campsite. Thus the reason for the full parking lot. This gave them all a sense of urgency to get moving a bit more quickly. It was discussed and decided that the first open campsite that was found would be taken - even if it wasn't the "perfect" campsite. On they paddled which seemed like forever now since they were in a hurry.

As they neared the end, the skies clouded up and it became chilly. They were wondering if the creek would ever end. Lisa was second guessing herself in had she navigated it incorrectly and taken a wrong turn somewhere. BUT, finally the creek started to widen and they knew that Perent Lake had to be getting closer. They could tell from that and the call of sea gulls. Lo and behold, around the bend there was the Lake opening - both Amanda and Lisa had "Just around the River Bend" song from Disney's Pocahontas movie running through their minds. They halted the paddling and found that the first two campsites on the lake were taken - bummer. They then had to decide which direction to take. Perent Lake is a big lake riddled with islands. Going north there are many campsites along the shore and on the islands of which Lisa was sure most would already be claimed. After more discussion it was decided that they would follow the south shore and see what they could find. The first campsite they saw was taken by a group of guys that had a HUGE tent and coolers. Newbies? Not sure. Comfort campers? Probably. After only what seemed like a few minutes they found an open campsite directly across from a little island - it was a beautiful view. They pulled up, checked out the site; it wasn't perfect but would suffice for the two days that they planned to stay. Lisa didn't want to risk passing this site up to search for a better one only to not find one and then return to find that one taken. So, the unpacking and set up began.

Both the girls were so excited to check out the campsite and to find the trail to the latrine. Neither had any experience with a latrine in the woods. Lisa was quite amused by their enthusiasm to try this first experience. Amanda was the lucky one to clean all the spider webs off the pot. IIt was obvious that it hadn’t been used since last year other than the two playing cards stuck on the fire grate. There also was a tree that had fallen over the trail to the throne, but they didn't have a sturdy enough saw to cut it up and move it out of the way. It would have been great if they had been able to; would have been nice to cut it up, split it and stack it to dry. Oh well, perhaps the next guest at the site will be able to do that. For now it's too wet of wood to burn anyway as it was a fresh fall - the pine needles were soft and green not even turning brown yet. It didn't take long to get camp set up and everything was on a slant - the whole site. Also in the site were several patches of Lady Slippers but they weren't quite blooming yet; it would be a few days before they would open. Lisa was really disappointed as she had hoped to get some photos of Lady Slippers this year. The Star flowers were up and blooming and some other little white ones down by the lake shore that she couldn't identify. They were like ground cover - similar to phlox that grows in peoples gardens at home. There were iris' growing by the lake as well, but of course it was too early for those to be blooming yet - there were only the leaves, no buds were showing yet. There were a few wild-strawberries and that was about it. Lisa was surprised that she didn't see any trillium. Maybe trillium doesn't grow in BWCA? The girls were careful to not disturb any of the new flowers that were growing in the tent pad but inevitably some of them did get crushed. Once the tent was set up they set about getting the kitchen area organized. It didn't take long to get things in order and then it was time for a rest as all were exhausted from the long day. Amanda retired to the tent for a "short nap", hah, yeah right; she slept for like three hours. Lisa and Lottie sat around outside taking things in, chatting and journaling. After several tries to wake Miss Amanda up they finally succeeded and supper was made - chocolate chip muffin mix pancakes, fruit cups and chips. Not quite the health nut food, but it had the necessary calories that those teen girls needed. Unfortunately the greasy/sugary pancakes made Lisa sick but a couple Percocet and that problem was fixed - for a while anyway. Some previous occupant of the campsite had left a bunch of long, downed braches that only needed to be cut up for firewood. While the girls cut up the branches Lisa got the fire going using the wonderful home made fire starters that Kendra brought to her while in the hospital. That was the best gift - better than flowers or a card - she received. They sat around the fire - mesmerized because fires are just that way. Lisa didn't bring stuff for s'mores so the girls just took turns playing the fire stick, making glowing shapes in the air and smoke squiggles. All afternoon the clouds looked as if they'd be dropping rain, but they held off. Just as everyone was talking about going to bed it started to sprinkle. Last minute trips were made up the trail to the throne room and into the tent everyone went. It was about Eight o'clock - Lottie and Lisa were beat - they didn't have a three hour nap. It was quite snug in the tent. Though it says it's a three person it's only seen solo or tandem use. AND Lottie, being 5' 10" tall was put in the middle. Poor thing, by morning she had slid down the slope and was curled in a ball about two feet from the head of her bag.


Day 2 of 3

Day Two Saturday May 29th The girls woke to a crystal clear sky, screaming gulls and singing birds - it was gorgeous out. Lottie and Lisa were up right away and had some breakfast snackies. They'd wait until Amanda woke up to make their full breakfast. As they sat around the camp journaling and visiting they watched two eagles attack a seagull nest on one of the boulders just out from their campsite. They couldn't quite see if the eagles had stolen the gull babies and were eating them or if they had just stolen the gulls own fish catch. After a while it was obvious that they'd had the gull babies for breakfast - all the while the seagulls were screaming in the air at them - it was eerie and almost human sounding. The gulls didn't return to that nest for the rest of their trip. FINALLY the dead awakened and the girls were able to have a real breakfast - cache lake scrambled eggs, fruit cups and banana muffins. The eggs were okay - not Lisa's favorite but the girls liked them - but they were so hungry they'd have eaten tree bark. After breakfast mess was cleaned up the girls decided that they wanted to take the canoe out exploring. Lisa wasn't feeling well so she went back to the tent for a nap. Lisa was a bit leery of letting those two inexperienced paddlers take off, but they both have good heads on their shoulders and promised that they'd stay in sight of the island in front of their campsite. They had a grand time paddling and exploring around all the different little islands. The pulled up on a larger island and went traipsing around the different trails. They even followed the LNT rule and picked up others nasty garbage that was left. They took many photos and were treated to a lady slipper blooming - that was a first for both of them and they were excited about that. When running around that island they soon realized that it was an island with a campsite as they came upon the latrine. The occupants of the site were gone - fishing probably - so they turned around and go back on the water to head back to camp.

By that time Lisa was up and could hear the girls on the water though she couldn't see them. She spent time journaling an looking at all the tiny fish in the water. Some were brown, some had a blue tinge and some were larger and tiger striped. There were tan ones that were almost iridescent - she could see the "guts" of the fish inside. When she sat still enough there were schools of them that would swarm around the rock she was sitting on. Soon tiring of having her butt on a hard rock she decided that she needed to climb out on the downed cedar tree that was hanging over the lake. She made her way over there, avoiding the water and as many spider webs as she could. The old cedar wasn't as sturdy as she thought and it wiggled a bit when she climbed on it. Once out in the "crook" of it she sat for a few minutes enjoying the sunshine, the view and the silence (the girls weren't talking anymore). Once she climbed down, the girls came paddling from around the west end of the island - they were hungry and out of water. After beaching the canoe - they did it correctly and on their own! - such quick learners - they had lunch of cheese and crackers, more fruit, pudding and any other snackies they could find. The beef jerky was just about gone - of course that's always the first thing to go. They spent the afternoon lying around the campsite chatting and being silly. They drew charcoal tattoos on each other trying to make them look unique and "tribal." However, it wasn't as easy as it seemed. Still it was a fun memory that they made and will always remember. After they finished with that Lottie decided it was time to take her first swim in a Minnesota Boundary Waters Canoe Area lake. She put on her swim suit and water shoes and braved the chilly water - leeches and all! She discovered that the lake directly out from the campsite was quite shallow and she was several yards from shore and the water still was only up to her belly button. She didn't like the "mushy" feeling on the bottomed of the lake - she preferred the rocky area near shore. She did dunk herself completely in the water and swam around for a bit. Lisa and Amanda watched from shore being her cheerleaders encouraging her. It didn't take long for her to be chilled from the early spring waters and she only stayed in the water about 10 minutes. As she came to shore she was covered in . . . . goose bumps . . . . no leaches - she checked very well! Supper that night was pouched chicken with Knorr's Teriyaki noodles for Lottie and Lisa and mashed potatoes for Amanda. Everyone was starved for supper that night and ate quite a bit. They talked about what a fun weekend they had and how sorry they were that it would be ending tomorrow. They got the fire going and cleaned up around camp - took down and packed up the things they could to leave as soon as they go up in the morning. It was decided that instead of cooking breakfast they would pack up, snack and stop at a restaurant on the way home for breakfast. There wasn't much to pack up they'd kept a pretty clean camp site. One more trip to the latrine, water poured over the fire and into the tent they went.


Day 3 of 3

Day Three - Sunday May 30th - Time to go home

Lisa was the first one awake that morning - she awoke to Lottie "snuggled" up against her in their crowded tent. The night before it was decided that the first one awake would wake the others and they'd get moving and on the water before the wind picked up for the day. Paddling on a glass lake is so much easier and so much more peaceful.....but the lake that morning wasn't like glass....however it as still peaceful as only it can be in BWCA. Surprisingly Amanda was the next one awake, and, the easiest one to get up. Both she and Lisa were dressed and had their gear mostly packed up before Lottie got up. They had to shake her a few times to get her moving. They opened the tent to what looked like would be a beautiful sunrise, but being in such a protected spot they didn't see it.

The girls got the canoe loaded, one last latrine call, a last canvassing of the campsite, courtesy pile of firewood left and stacked, Lisa was "princessing," Amanda was stern and Lottie bow. They shoved of and said good bye to their cute little site and all the islands. It was an easy paddle that morning with the wind at their backs; they didn't need Lisa to help much so she was able to take some last photos. As they neared the entrance to Hog Creek they came upon a solo fisherman who pointed out a cow moose and calf on the north shore not too far away. It was too far to get a decent photo, and the girls wanted to paddle closer, but Lisa wouldn't let them. She told them that one of the LNT rules (in Lisa's book anyway) is to leave the wild life alone. And, they don't especially want to piss off a mama moose! After the "oohs" and "ahhhs" of seeing a moose in the wild they headed back up Hog Creek to the parking lot. The paddle back didn't seem to take as long and they didn't have as many "bank crashes." Perhaps because they were paddling upstream instead of downstream they had a bit more control over the canoe. During the paddled the clouds stared to come back a bit - not much but they could tell that it would rain at some point. As they reached the portage around the rapids the girls decided that they wanted to go for a swim. Everything was portaged to the end of the portage, the girls walked the rocks by the rapids, Lisa walked the portage trail and found another trail out to the rocks in order to get fun photos of the girls. Photos were taken and then a swim in the pool was in store. The water was too cold for Lisa, but the girls didn't care a bit - they had a blast swimming and splashing each other just like little kids. They had a lot of fun. Once they decided they were too chilly they headed back to the canoe, loaded back up and finished the short paddle back to the parking lot. Didn't take long to get everything loaded back into the van. Getting the canoe put back on was a bit o a challenge - that took the longest. In the end, the goal of making memories was accomplished and a great time was had by all.

Amanda and Lisa are headed to the Quetico in July. Someday Charlotte will visit again and another trip to BWCA will be in her future.

This isn't the end, it's only the beginning.....


Trip Reports