BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
May 16 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.
Fishing Trip To The Boundary Waters
September 07, 2020
Number of Days:
Things To Do Differently
Use the hatchet safely.
Holding the round to be split with a stick is the safe way. Another safe way would be to use the hatchet as a splitting maul. Instead of swinging the hatchet, the head is placed on the round to be split. Then the head of the hatchet is struck with a log.
Leave Wool Blanket At Home
We packed in an old USGI surplus wool blanket. These blankets will add extra warmth. However, my sons moved around so much at night that by the morning the blanket was on the floor of the tent next to them instead of covering them. It was not worth its weight to pack in.
No More Wet Footing in September
I wet footed on my previous September trip. I wet footed on this trip. The water temp was fine for wading and wet footing. However, on the second day when the air temp was in the 40s, I found myself trying to keep my feet dry. I would bring muck boots or hip waders if I go in September again.
Things That Went Well
Bagels and Cream Cheese
I brought bagels and cream cheese. This was a nice change of pace from oatmeal. I froze the bagels and packed them in a soft sided cooler. I tried to make block ice out of plastic bottles of 100% juice. However, this ice was the first that melted. Ultimately, I didn’t need to worry about the cream cheese going off though because of the cold temps.
Mac and Cheese
The four cheese variety of Bear Creek mac and cheese worked well. It is a just add water side dish. We had tried it once before our trip. It tasted pretty good and was eaten without leaving any leftovers. I can’t speak to other varieties, they seem to have bad reviews and I haven’t tried them.
Night crawlers are a viable plan B. We were able to catch small mouth bass, walleye and northern pike using night crawlers under a slip bobber.
Removable Portage Yoke
My oldest son was able to portage his own canoe on this trip. The clamp on portage yoke from North Star Canoe did its job.
We brought wool gloves to keep our hands warm. They served us well.
Puffy Throw Blanket
On the two coldest nights, I used a down puffy blanket (from Costco) for added warmth. I think I would have been warm enough in my 20 degree bag but the extra blanket kept me toasty warm.~Homer Lake, Vern Lake