BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
September 19 2019
Number of Permits per Day: 9
Elevation: 1653 feet
Kawishiwi Lake - 37
June 12, 2011
Number of Days:
We loaded the canoes and set off into a light foggy morning. I always enjoy these mornings as it seems to add to the excitement and allure of starting the trip. We made good time through Kawishiwi and Square lakes. The two short portages into Kawasachong were uneventful, although a growing beaver dam presented a minor stumbling block, but was easily enough lifted over.
We made short work of the Malberg portage and setup camp on the 2nd site on the east shore. This was a very nice site just south of the Eastern narrows portion. It had 3 good tent pads, a nice fire grate, and decent food pack hanging trees. We enjoyed steaks and mashed potatoes for dinner.
I started the day early heading out to fish while the others slept in a bit. I had never been out on the water by myself but greatly enjoyed serenity. We did fish the base of the rapids and managed a few smallies, one of which we decided to keep to supplement breakfast. Mitch and Eric paddled across the lake to filet the bass, while Alex and I got started making breakfast (biscuits/gravy/sausage links). Mitch and never fileted a fish, so I gave some quick verbal instructions. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would have the fire started, breakfast cooked AND eaten before they got back with the single fish.
We decided to break camp and head further North. This decision was reinforced as two paddlers stopped by camp to tell us they camped at this site a few nights earlier and had their camp raided by a bear(tent destroyed but fixed well enough to continue). A second group coming by a few minutes later told us they saw a bear swimming South towards our site at Eastern Narrows.
We set out a few minutes later looking to setup camp in the Kawishiwi River area or perhaps the point site on Beaver. Paddling through the Western half of Malberg another gentleman told us the far West site had been raided the night before, and that only a few sites on the Kawishiwi were open.
With that information in hand we paddled on towards Beaver only to find a husband/wife tandem had arrived at the point site 10 minutes before us. Sitting a little depressed, we made the decision to head on into Adams. I had always wanted to stay on Adams since my first trip to the BWCA and this would be the chance. The guys enjoyed the beautiful "stairway to heaven" portage, and that's exactly where we ended up. After paddling across the lake we made it to the island campsite to find it unoccupied...but not for long! This would be our home for the next two nights. We setup camp and cooked brats over the fire.
We fished early in the morning hitting smallies on top water lures. Bass isn't our favorite, but since we had planned for a fish dinner these would do nicely. I accidentally sent my lure through a tree branch and as we paddled to retrieve it a smallie hit the lure. The fish threw the hook before we could get to it. A few minutes later I caught a good size smallie only to have it throw the hook a few feet before we could land it. The fish just stayed a few feet below the surface so I chunked my lure a few feet from it. A few seconds later the fish was on a stringer.
Adams lake is definitely the most scenic lake I've had the pleasure to stay on. The central part of the lake isn't particularly special, but the Northwest arm was very pretty. Definitely worth the wait to get there, can't wait to come back.
Wednesday marked our return southward as we retraced out route from Monday. We hit the "stairway from heaven" portage and quickly made our way to Koma. Much of the traffic on the Kawishiwi had cleared out and we only saw a couple groups on Malberg.
After finishing the portage into Koma, the wind picked up from the South. Our intention was to try for the campsite on the peninsula but found it occupied. We made our way to the South campsite and found it adequate for the night. There is a single good tent pad, with two additional smaller pads with a decent slope. The fire area was well stocked with wood. Camp was setup and guys guys headed out to fish a little. Dinner was foil pack chicken, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, with blueberry muffin mix as a dessert fry bread.
We set out for some early morning fishing knowing this would be a short travel day. Not much action other than smallies and small pike, but fun enough. We headed back to camp for bacon and pancakes which was quickly devoured.
A light mist started on Polly (several sites taken) and ended just after we got to the Southeastern site on Kawasachong. Our plan was to camp on Kawasachong so we could make an early exit on Friday morning. The plan was starting to look doubtful based on the number of groups we saw on the Polly to Kawasachong portage. Thankfully the Southeastern site was open.
The site is fairly open and would accommodate a large group. This site would definitely work especially compared to the site on Koma. We quickly setup camp and...napped. Later Alex and I headed out to fish (smallies again) while Eric and Mitch cooked up Jambalaya with foil pack chicken and summer sausage. Another berry fry bread was used for dessert. Another evening fishing session yielded a few good size smallies and our one and only walleye. Lucky for them it was late and we needed to get an early start the next morning.
We got up around 5:15AM and broke camp. We had a quick breakfast and arrived at the Kawishiwi lake landing around 8AM. We loaded the van and made our way to Sawbill for a shower (was a wolf along the road), Tofte to unload the canoes, and Betty's Pies...well for some pies.
The trip itself was pretty much perfect, with excellent weather, good temps, and great friendship. The guys were flexible and never complained which makes things easy for me. The only downside was a four car pileup South of MSP (we were rear ended on I-35). The State Patrol was there quickly and a plain clothed officer witnessed the incident. Thankfully all involved suffered no obvious injuries, and the van only had a crunched in bumper/liftgate so we were able to continue on home.
Notes: I have a couple CCS hybrid packs that I greatly enjoy. I picked up a few Granite Gear Solo packs to round out the group packs. These were great for holding a couple sleeping bags and clothes/personal items for 2. I have no doubt I could fit everything inside for a solo trip. These packs could alternatively hold two BearVault 700s side by side. Speaking of BearVaults, I really like not having to worry about my food. Last new bit of new gear was an MSR Autoflow gravity filter. We really enjoyed not having to pump, but the flow was noticeably reduced during the trip. Probably should have backflushed the filter more often with more water.
We rented 2 Souris River Q17s. These felt very stable and were pretty easy for Eric/Alex to paddle.