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May 17 2022

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

kicking the fledglings out of the nest...

by dogwoodgirl
Trip Report

Entry Date: July 17, 2018
Entry Point: Kawishiwi Lake
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 4

Trip Introduction:
As I've gotten older, I realized that my son and god-daughter have NEVER camped without me. They love to camp and canoe.....but they've lacked the motivation or guts or something to just get out there without me. It's started to bother me.....what will they do when I'm gone? Will they just stop? And who do I give all my gear too? You know, existential questions like that. So I threatened to kick them out of the nest, so to say...paddle out there with them, spend one night, and return without them....all in the guise of training a puppy to canoe camp. I wasn't sure she would be good in the canoe, good in the tent, any of it. They kinda panicked and the deal making began....what if we did ALL the work, and you just sat around in your camp chair and offered advice when we had questions? They admitted finally that they were nervous to do it alone, and I admitted that I'd been a control freak in camp up til now, and we had a deal!

Day 1 of 5

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

We drove up to The Cliff Dweller for the night, after stuffing ourselves silly at the Rustic Inn on the way up. Some day I will save enough room for a piece of pie, I swear! My new pup, Amelia, rode in the truck with me, with the Prism on top and our packs in the bed. My son Jesse, god daughter Alex, and her son Nick (age 10), drove up as a group...getting used to traveling as a team! We had an early night, and slept well.


Day 2 of 5

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The morning was clear and cool, and we had coffee and a quick breakfast at the motel and headed for Sawbill to pick up the rental canoe. Soon we were loading up our gear and on the water!

I really love that part of a trip, when you push off and the lake opens up before you, it's so full of possibilities. How far will you go? Base camp or travel? What new sights await you? I'd been on this route once before- it's the first trip in the BWCA that I took my kids on.....only 25 years ago. Nope, did not remember any of it.

Nick only balked briefly when I helped him on with the lightest Duluth pack at the first portage, and then he did great!

There might have been some bickering as the human pups got the hang of navigating a twisty stream, and I confess that after the first little portage I pulled ahead in the prism and just let them do it. The 5 rod portage into kawasachong has moved downstream quite a ways now, beaver busy at work I assume.

We had decided that if one of the kawasachong sites was open, we'd take it......and the second one was free, so we had our new home for the night. The rest of the group caught up with me eventually, and they set up camp with ol' mom as straw boss. They fried up steaks and made mashed potatoes, and Nick elected smores as dessert. It was a warm night, and you could hear this noise from the woods as dusk approached....and then the swarm was upon us! We drove for the tents, and maybe a hundred mosquitoes made it in with us. After killing the little varmints, and inflating my new solar lantern, we read until bedtime and then slept like babies.

~Kawishiwi Lake, Square Lake, Kawasachong Lake


Day 3 of 5

Thursday, July 19, 2018 Today dawned cool and cloudy, with rain threatening to the west. Still warm, but the crew elected to lay around the camp. Alex made hashbrowns and eggs and coffee (cocoa for Nick), a goodly supply of wood was brought in and cut by Jesse with formidable assistance from Nick, who found his stride sawing after some practice. He loves to saw wood....yay!

The rain came, and the rain went, and the crew decided to putz around the lake and explore.....nope, you can't really get down/up any of the streams, but we stopped in the burn area across the lake for lunch and BINGO! Nick named it Blueberrytopia. We picked and ate and picked some more. Amelia figured out the hang of it, and what a blueberry plant looked like, and we brought back at least a quart of berries for later. The eagles that live nearby spent lots of time in the few remaining jackpine and birch skeletons there, looking for small things to wander through the blueberries, I imagine.

It's been 7 years since the Pagami Creek fire, and the burn area is a wealth of life- blueberries, raspberries, shoulder high lush jackpines, fireweed. You can tell that there's a lot going on there.

Alex made chicken wild rice soup and biscuits for dinner, and got the hang of the jello mold oven pretty quickly. This time when we heard the mysterious noise from the woods we hit the tent before our company arrived!



Day 4 of 5

Friday, July 20, 2018

Morning was gorgeous, partly cloudy and warm. We had blueberry pancakes and drank our coffee and gazed out at the water...heaven. The crew elected a day trip into Polly, so we loaded up, secured the camp, and headed out.

Without gear to portage, the trip into Polly was a breeze.....and what a lovely lake! We paddled around all the little bays, admired the campsites, and found an empty one to have our lunch.


Back in camp, for our last night before heading home....never long enough. Nick helped cut more wood, and we explained about "pay it forward". He thought it was a good idea, and cut wood with vigor!

Jesse braved the mosquitoes long enough to get some sunset pictures, and joined me in the tent, looking somewhat shaken. It's possible that the tent walls were bouncing a little as our friends tried to join us.

~Kawasachong Lake, Townline Lake, Polly, Lake


Day 5 of 5

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Our last morning, just oatmeal and hot beverages and packing up. What is there to's sad but also happy, because....showers! steaks! salads! ice cream! Yay! We left you lots of wood, whoever you are, so you're welcome.

The paddle out was uneventful- I forged ahead in the prism with Amelia, and the "kids" came on behind. We paddled across Kawishiwi together, me straining mightily against the wind but ultimately successful. Not too bad for a old lady. Amelia was wise and lay down in the canoe when the wind got bad. What a good girl she is- gonna be a great canoe partner!

Alex discovered a flat tire in the parking lot. Sigh. She changed her tire and we headed off to civilization again.....another great one under our belts.

Next year, they do all the planning and packing too!



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