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BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

July 21 2024

Entry Point 39 - Baker Lake

Baker Lake entry point allows overnight paddle only. This entry point is supported by Tofte Ranger Station near the city of Tofte, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 26 miles. Access is a boat landing at Baker Lake with a 10-rod portage into Peterson Lake to reach first campsite. This area was affected by blowdown in 1999.

Number of Permits per Day: 2
Elevation: 1497 feet
Latitude: 47.8452
Longitude: -90.8169
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.

Memories of BWCA

by bradcrc
Trip Report

Entry Date: May 12, 1989
Entry Point: Sawbill Lake
Number of Days: 7
Group Size: 8

Trip Introduction:
While cleaning my office, I found a hand-written journal from my first BWCA trip as a teenager in 1989. I thought it'd be fun to post it here. It's obviously written by a kid, but I decided to resist the strong urge to "clean it up" and instead post it just as written. I seem to have left out a lot of really good stuff, and the photos appear to be in no particular order, but I included them on the pages they were taped. I definitely enjoyed the trip much more than it sounds like from reading this, this is the trip that got me hooked on BWCA. Without it, I wouldn't be on this site today.

Day 1 of 7


Pre Trip

After finding out Pat was sick so I could go on the trip, I went to my job at Brinks, where they were less than thrilled about my needing six days off with 2 days notice, but some of my teachers seemed to feel the same way about missing more school. It's nice to feel so needed.

I went to a meeting where they discussed equipment and things, but I was kind of lost because I missed the other meetings.

 



Day 2 of 7


Wednesday, May 10, 1989

I had to run around to make final purchases of stuff I couldn't find. The group got everything together quickly, so that we could leave ahead of schedule.

The first stop was a rest area south of Duluth. Stretching out felt good after sitting for the long ride. After reaching Duluth and getting gas, we went to eat at Mac and Don's where I managed to spill pop on the counter. We reached Finland Park in the evening. It was very cold, everyone was a little disappointed that there was snow on the ground but were to (sic) excited about the trip to let it bother them. Geno said that he thought someone should be whistling the Andy Griffith song as he walked through the woods with his fishin pole over his shoulder Andy Griffith style. Quote for the day: "Gene lost his Rapala"

 



Day 3 of 7


Thursday, May 11, 1989

Brrrr! 31 degrees during the night. I was fortunate enough to be on breakfast crew so I could get up in the ice, wash in the water, which was very near "Absolute Zero" as Wobig put it, and help cook breakfast. Our first camp food was blackened eggs and bacon.

Put tent away wet and washed the dishes. A gas station (which was for sale like everything else seemed to be up there) gave directions to Carlton Peak via a road with a less than smooth surface. We ate lunch on top of Carlton peak then went climbing. The climbs were hard but I enjoyed them. I never thought I would like rock climbing. Sawbill had a store, but I could only afford a can of pop and a thermometer that permanently says 80 degrees. We took pH readings of the lake, then Butler, Finch, Shlameel, and me went to the next lake to "play on the ice" and get ready for the next day. Quote for the day: "Big Hole... Water."

 



Day 4 of 7


Friday, May 12, 1989

Entry into BWCA

(Page missing from journal.)

 



Day 5 of 7


Saturday, May 13, 1989

We took more portages to get to Phoebe Lake. Great lunch, jelly and sausage. We fished all day, and I caught one, yipee! It was a sucker, but I was still happy about it.

I jumped in the lake again, and it felt good. Gene bashed a poor little squirrel over the head with a stick and killed the thing. I lost my rappala and caught no more fish. Then I walked on rocks in the middle of the lake. Cleaned and ate fish, they were good. Quote for the day: "We lost one Gene"

 



Day 6 of 7


Sunday, May 14, 1989

Breakfast was pancakes, they were gross nobody liked them, but they still managed to disappear.

We went to a lake to fish. I watched because I lost my lure and was sick of fishing. Butler, Wobiger and TK caught about 10 northerns. Cmiel lost his rapala. I took a canoe in to help him get it, but when I got there everyone was gone. We made all the portages in one trip. I saw a huge northern in Alton lake, the only fish in the entire lake. Found tackle, glasses, rope, and map at camp. We had flat brownies and popcorn.

 



Day 7 of 7


Monday, May 15, 1989

Morning consisted of an oatmeal breakfast topped by talk of the bear scare from the previous night. Taking down camp was interesting because tempers were beginning to grow short due to the tiredness of everyone in the group. All of the canoes and equipment were packed quickly because of the incentive hot showers provided. By the time I got to the showers they were freezing, but felt good anyway. Our trip was concluded by tours of Split-Rock lighthouse, a big cliff, Gooseberry falls and a 500 mile hike to WeeKeeWachie or HoochieKoochie or whatever the Indians used to call Lake Superior.

 


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