BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
February 08 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.
Jack Frost Loop
July 24, 2009
Number of Days:
After getting everything ready in the morning and making the drive to Entry point 39 (Baker Lake) from the cities. Which seemed like forever I was so excited. We were finally there! The wait was over. After checking the truck for anything we may have forgotten it was time to head out on the adventure we seeked. So we make our way across Baker, Peterson, and Kelly Lakes. Taking our time. Taking in all the beauty. Portages were not bad at all. At this point the mosquito's were starting to get really bad. Once into Jack Lake we had gone the wrong way and ended up in mosquito hell! It was at this point that we had realized that we had forgot the mosquito spray in the truck! Nothing like them blood suckers getting a hold of you every second that they get. After smacking, itching, scratching and pretty much going insane! We made it to Weird Lake. Our goal for the day so we would be rested for the 240 rod portage into South Temperance Lake in the morning. Little while after we arrived at our campsite we spotted a moose across the lake. We paddled over and took a picture which didn't turn good at all. We were very disappointed. But it made up for the mosquitoes being so bad and not having any bug spray. After that the morning came quick as we pretty much made some food and went to sleep. Mosquito's were unbearable!!!
(EP)Baker Lake, Peterson Lake, Kelly Lake, Jack Lake, Weird Lake
After it had rained all night we came outta the tent hoping that the mosquito's weren't that bad out. But are hopes were shut down very shortly after that. But had to deal with to pack up camp and set out on our 2nd day. We did a 80 rod portage into a small part of the Temperance River. Now the Dreaded 240 rod portage from the Temperance River into South Temperance Lake. With everything being wet from the rain including our gear. Once again the Mosquito's were attacking in full force! It was getting to the point where I literally was going crazy!. I have never experienced mosquitoes that bad in my entire life and probably never will again. After getting that portage done as quickly as possible.. I was so glad it was over with. We rested up for a bit and ate a snack. As were getting in the canoe to head off across South Temperance Lake my buddy Josh fell in the water and got both of his shoes wet. Not being prepared neither of us brought spares. Once we got across the lake to the next portage into North Temperance Lake. I fell in the water and got my shoes wet. As we were doing that same portage I found a a pair of sandals! Saved me. Then when we got the end there was another pair. It was like someone was looking out for us...lol! Thanks to whoever dropped them. Truly saved our feet on this trip! As we paddled across North Temperance Lake we figured we would try to find a site there. Rain was coming in so we didnt wanna get stuck out on the lakes in a down poor. We found a spot. Did some fishing for a bit. Then it started raining pretty hard so it was an early night!
Temperance River Lake, North Temperance Lake, South Temperance Lake
After waking up in the morning. Nicer day out. We decided that we didnt wanna continue on the route we had chosen. With the rain and bugs and pretty much not being prepared as we thought. We decided to go across Brule Lake to some other side lakes to go around the 240 rod portage from South Temperance Lake to a small part of the Temperance River. Once we got to Brule Lake. It started to get pretty windy out as we paddled out of the cove that the portage was in. We tried to stay as close to shore as possible as the wind was making for some pretty rough paddling. Not to mention the white caps and rollers. We got threw Brule after paddling what seemed like forever fighting the wind. We portaged into Juno Lake. We came across some others paddling and asked them if it was possible to get up the Vern River into Weird Lake to bypass the 240 rod portage. They said the river might be to low and filled with beaver dams so we just decided to turn around. Which was tough cause we paddled all the way across Brule and now had to go back. Was till pretty windy. But atleast we were going with the wind this time. Found a site on the east side of Brule. Nice campsite. Fished off shore and in the canoe for a bit. Made dinner. Hung around the fire and called it a night. Exhausted...
North Temperance Lake, South Temperance Lake, Brule Lake, Juno Lake
Another night of rain. Were we ever gonna get some nice weather. We packed up camp and head out to the portage back into South Temperance Lake. Once there we took our time paddling tot he 240 rod portage. Doing some fishing and taking in the sites as neither of us wanted to do that portage again and deal with the mosquitoes from hell. But we gotta do what we gotta do. This time around seemed rougher that the first. Everything was wet from the rain and mosquitoes seemed like the multiplied by the millions. I got half way threw the portage. I couldnt take it anymore I ripped all my gear off and screamed at the top of my lungs "#@$!". The mosquitoes drove me over the edge. After breathing for a minute I relaxed and continued on getting that portage done at record speed. We portaged back into Weird Lake thinking about trying to make it all the way back to the entry point. But we decided to stay at the same site we stayed on day 1. Mosquitoes were so bad we spent the night in the tent.
Brule Lake, South Temperance Lake, Weird Lake
We woke up and packed camp quickly as leaving today was the goal. Mosquitoes still driving us insane. we portaged all the way back the the entry point. Baker Lake. We were so glad to be Mosquito free. We had checked the truck to see where we had left the bug spray. It was behind the topper in the bed of my truck! "How could we have missed that??? We check it 2 or 3 times". We had rain everyday except the day we left. Mosquitoes were insane. But with that said. All in all it made out for a trip that I will never forget. I will always tell this story to people. I still look back and wish that we would have continued on and finished the Jack Frost Loop. I will one day. Later that week after being back I was reading up in my Robert Bymer book about the route we choose. It stated that it was the most rugged according to difficulty. Hmm maybe I am glad we didn't continue on...
Weird Lake, Jack Lake, Kelly Lake, Peterson Lake, Baker Lake, Brule Lake, North Temperance Lake, South Temperance Lake, Temperance River Lake, Juno Lake