BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
January 20 2021
Number of Permits per Day: 14
Elevation: 1802 feet
Sawbill Lake - 38
Sawbill - Cherokee loop. Beavers and rain!
August 12, 2017
Sawbill Lake (38)
Number of Days:
Alarm at 3:10 AM. Coffee at 3:15. Because we pack the day before, we were off around 3:30 to Sawbill for our 5 hour drive from our cabin in Northwester WI. A stop for gas and bathroom, we were in the canoe and on the water by 10 AM. Consulted the map with the goal of making it to Cherokee by mid afternoon. Nothing like those first paddle strokes. 15 years ago, we were still fairly concerned about pack weight. Not anymore. Two Duluth packs, a gunny sack, and our rod holder held about 250 pounds of food, gear, and creature comforts we no longer are interesting in sacrificing. Why not? We are both 6'5" and 220 pounds and can mule just about anything through a portage. And don't forget about our mule....Ellie is my sons girlfriend and she certainly demonstrated how to portage a 20'5" Kevlar with ease as well as carry an 80 pound pack when called upon. "It feels like the pack is trying to rip my shoulders out backward," says Ellie. Toughed it out nonetheless.
We scooted north toward Ada Creek. The energy flowed as we hit the portage in about an hour. Ada lake wasn't too difficult either. By the time we headed to Skoop lake, we ran into plenty of beaver infested surroundings. The 12 rod portage became 100 with mud and rocks. Ellie stayed in the canoe and paddled as far as the water would allow.
We made it through beaver dam central and found our way along Cherokee Creek into the big lake. Just as we found big water, storm clouds appeared so James quickly found an awesome site just north of the portage to Sitka Lake. We decided to give it a 4.5 star rating due to the landing being a large rock immediately dropping into fairly deep water.
Set up our rainfly - which would become our most common sitting place for the week. As always, we ate our ceremonial summer sausage and block of cheese!
Ellie likes cheese and sausage a lot!
Early night. Tired!
Ate a monster breakfast of eggs, hash browns, and bacon in a wrap. Fished a bit. Gathered wood. Good day to hang out and reminisce about many past trips.
We planned to day trip to the Temperance lakes for walleye but awoke to rain until early afternoon. All afternoon, we listened to the dull roar of distant thunderstorms. Of course it was right on top of us later. Pretty much a rain out. We planned to pack up camp the next morning and camp of South Temperance lake - far northwest sight.
Ellie likes bugs.
Broke camp and headed south. The 180 into Sitka lake was not as bad as advertised. The 100 into North Temperance was even better. The 55 into South Temperance was a breeze. We had our choice on campsites and followed our original plan. The site had the right amount to hanging trees and dry tent pads. Set up camp and headed out for some walleye. Fished between every island we could find and got shut out. We believe the weather had a lot to do with it.
A long storm was forecast - but never arrived until about 6 PM. We fished, gathered firewood, and made campfire pizzas!
And then the rain........the next 24 hours of rain!
Drank 8 pots of coffee under the tarp. We originally planned on heading toward Burnt and Smoke lakes, but did not feel like carrying an extra 30 pounds of water thru muddy portages. New plan - long travel day on Friday.
Whoever left the fresh lemon on the South Temperance portage, thank you. Worked well in hot water for a fresh treat!
Packed up and headed back to Sawbill by way of Jack, Kelly, Burnt, and Smoke lakes. Ellie took over the reigns for canoe portaging. We couldn't believe how many larger beaver lodges were on Jack and Kelly lakes. Long day, lots of mud, but rather rewarding.
Did I mention that it rained?