BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
January 31 2023
Number of Permits per Day: 2
Elevation: 1497 feet
Summary: A 5-day loop from Baker up the Temperance lakes to Cherokee, and back through Sawbill and Smoke lakes back to Baker. A fairly difficult trip.
Day 0: We drove up from Stillwater in the morning and camped at one of the 5 walk-in campsites at Baker Lake, and it was nice.
Day 1 (Baker to S. Temperance) - A beautiful day, we decided to paddle all the way to South Temperance the first day which was a great paddle with easy portages except for the last one. We picked the campsite on top of a huge rock that was close to the middle of the lake. Tried fishing some but no luck
Day 2 (Rest) - In the night, we encountered the worst storm of the entire season. While we were there 19 people had to be rescued from the BWCA. We had about 50mph straightline winds, and I'm still surprised that the huge tent we had stood up to it. We slept in and took a rest day because of the intense winds. Amazingly beautiful sunset.
Day 3 (S. Temperance to Cherokee) - We left as early as we could to beat the heat, but it was no good. The lengthy, hilly portages were challenging and by the last portage we were pretty beat. We overpacked and single portaged which led us to speedier exhaustion. Still amazing weather. North Temperance was a beaut- I wish we had stayed there instead of South. We took the southeasterly facing campsite on Cherokee on the southeastern skinny island. Neat little site.
Day 4 (Cherokee to Sawbill) - Left a little later in the day but it was ok. We took our time going down the river letting out of the southwest part of Cherokee and it was a great area. BEWARE: The area between Ada and Skoop Lakes appears to be floatable, but a dam built recently has made the portion impossible to float. Be prepared for a long portage through muck and water. A guy that we saw there said he had been going to the BWCA for 40 years at least once per year and it was the worst portage he had ever seen. By the time we got to Sawbill it was pretty hot. We paddled all the way down to the site next to the portage onto Smoke.
Day 5 (Sawbill to Baker) - Cooler, cloudier weather for the first time on the trip. We were pretty hungry (I underpacked food a little and I felt really bad) and we were taunting each other with vivid descriptions of the burgers we were going to eat ASAP after getting out. We paddled back to Baker and returned our gear to Sawtooth outfitters.
Overall great route.
back in the saddle
October 22, 2008
Number of Days:
left the house at 5 am.
nice drive, no traffic...but alot of deer both dead and alive. three were grazing in the 61 expressway median.
on the water at about 10:45. one other car parked at the access.
immediately see an otter on baker.
jack lake...i think mckenzie needs to update. i couldnt locate the northern most campsite.
weird lake. walked the short portage to see if i can eyeball the one campsite. i can, but i see something odd. binocs reveal a green campchair...damnit! i was planning on camping there. decide to carry the canoe and a paddle over to check it out anyway. it just ends up being someones forgotten gear, tied to a tree, the site is open. nice campsite. 2-3 pad areas. some dead trees around though.[paragraph break]
not sure what time it is (forgot my watch) but its chilly! east winds blows. just put on stocking cap and hooded sweatshirt.
all the leaves are gone...reminds my of my may trip.
saw a pine martin on the kelly to jack portage.
its a south facing campsite. thats a good thing this time of year.
someone left a decent pile of wood for me, no need to search today.
pulled out the little thermometer. no wonder im cold, its 42.
talked to a tandem paddling by. they told me i was the first person they had seen in 3 days. i apologized to them for ruining their wilderness experience. we all chuckled. they were on their way out, via sawbill tomorrow.
i feel back to normal so far.
5 moose jawbones laying around this site.
dont feel like cooking. cheese/sausage/crackers it is.
having a nice fire but still breezy. early rack tonight.
downing some wonderful instant coffee this morning.
collected firewood. took a nice chunk of knuckle out in the process.
not much life up here this time of year. grouse on the latrine trail (typical).one immature bald eagle. ravens. some squirrels chattering from time to time. still hoping for a bull sighting.
putz around on the lake for awhile. mostly swampy shoreline. paddled back into a marsh behind the campsite. it has a small channel with water flowing into weird. the lake itself is very shallow.
with this few people around im happy to stay close to the EP. ill be camping here again tonight.
the sun feels great today.
have seen no one today.
why is it im never hungry on solos? la weightloss....eat your heart out.
once again, im king of the non self-motivators!
did some whittling today. i cut towards myself just to make it more exciting. haha
looking at the fire grate...ill have to find out where the smith foundry is located, just for the heck of it.
some garbage around here. instant heat pack wrapper. v tent peg. broken thermometer. the campchair.
it hit me...im on the temperance river system. the temperance is my favorite north shore river to walk back on.
really cooling off now.
the internal clock is really messed up this time of year. 6pm sunset is easier to handle at home.
now im thinking about next mays group solo. i function and motivate much better with human interaction. im really looking forward to tripping with others again. its been over a year since the last multi trip.
wake up to a very cold rain. totally calm winds though.
decide to paddle out today.
just start paddling on jack and look to my left. finally! a bull moose! hes just staring at me. i think of paddling closer but then realize its very shallow and if i happen to breach his personal space he could just walk out to kick my ass. i paddle on and he just stares, motionless...kinda eerie!
flock of bills takes off about 300 yards infront of me. ducks are jumpy up here.
nice paddling...calm lakes.
car loaded and hit the road at noon.
nice trip. im glad i did it.