BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
May 14 2021
Number of Permits per Day: 3
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.
July 16, 2014
Number of Days:
I was almost to Jack when my elbow said that enough was enough, so I turned around. On the way back downstream, I ran into this beauty on the shore. She stood there and calmly ate and glanced at me every once in a while. She showed no signs of being nervous, but I also didn't attempt to get very close. Didn't see if she had a calf, again, didn't want to get too nosy.
After putzing around camp , this mainly entailed killing the many and varied types of winged insects that were trying their best to suck me dry, I decided to try my hand at fishing. The smallmouths were biting, one that I caught was a hog. It actually hurt my elbow to haul him in, but it was worth it. The following morning I decided that it was time to lick my wounds and head home. Took it easy and slow. Took a few pictures. Stopped a Sawbill were, as always, I was treated well. Had my wonderfully hot shower, a snack, and headed for home. The trip didn't go as planned, but little has lately. I had some time to reflect, caught some fish, and saw a moose. Could have been a lot worse.