Boundary Waters Trip Reports, Blog, BWCA, BWCAW, Quetico Park

BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

June 20 2024

Entry Point 40 - Homer Lake

Homer 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 33 miles. Access is a boat landing at Homer Lake. This area was affected by blowdown in 1999.

Number of Permits per Day: 2
Elevation: 1825 feet
Latitude: 47.9043
Longitude: -90.6605
Homer Lake - 40

Brule Lake to South Temperance or is that Brutal Lake

by paddelingruth
Trip Report

Entry Date: August 24, 2015
Entry Point: Brule Lake
Exit Point: Brule Lake (41)
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 2

Trip Introduction:
This would be Dan and myself 2nd trip to the BWCA. The first one was in 2013 and Dan had been dreaming of canoeing the BWCA for 40 years, He approached me about taking another trip and I was excited to go again. Dan and I left from Lincoln Nebraska bound for the BWCA by way of Fargo North Dakota first. We stopped at family in Fargo to help make 4 crocks of Sour kraut with my husband’s mom. Then off on Sunday to drive to Sawbill Lake to camp and get our canoe. We stopped along the drive at Lake Superior and found the blueberries we love to take with us in the BWCA. Sunday night we stayed at Sawbill Campground, it was rainy and cool. We decided after we got our canoe to eat some supper while the rain let up. We thought it would be a good idea to air up our mattress and sleep in the back of Tahoe instead of setting up the tent in the rain. We really wanted to get an early start in the am. We were driving from Sawbill Lake over to Brule Lake put in at area 41, it is about 1 hour drive. We both decided that was a bad idea to try and sleep in the Tahoe with all our gear etc., neither one of us slept very good.

Day 1 of 5


Monday, August 24, 2015 When we got up Monday morning it was raining and the wind was blowing, we decided to go back to sleep until 7:30. We arrived at Brule lake by 8:30 am. We were unloaded and putting in the lake by 9:00 a.m. very windy 25 mile per hour winds.Two other groups were taking out while we were putting in. The one group were Thanking God as they put their feet on the solid ground because they made it across the Lake. It was very windy and drizzling rain. I was beginning to think twice about this trip. I was already very nervous about going across such a big lake and from what we had read it could get really bad if it was windy. We had studied the map prior to going and checked out campsites on the BWCA website, so we had a few marked that we preferred. We decided to try for the closer campsite to the put in, however we were turned around a little on the map. Most of the campsites were occupied. We paddled around for 1 1/2 hours. We met 2 other canoes on the lake looking for spots. The people in the other canoes looked like they were in their 70’s. Even in the crazy wind and rain we had a pair of loons greeting us. We finally found an empty campsite, I was just sitting in the canoe praying no one was already there as my husband went up to check the camp out. According to the BWCA map it is campsite #953. I was so happy that we made it as far as we did, we were paddling for all we could to make it across the opening of the lake, with the wind blowing every time we dug in with our paddles we weren't getting anywhere and water coming over the top of our canoe. We got our tent set up and the food bag hung up by 11:00 a.m. We both needed to get out of the rain and wind and retired to the tent to get a well-deserved nap. The first night we had our traditional Steak and Baked Potatoes supper, our steaks were still frozen when we got them out. We had gathered sticks and pine cones before we laid down for our nap and placed the wood we found under a tarp. We wondered if we would get a fire going to cook our steaks on the grate since it was raining or misting all day and evening. Dan had prepared Vaseline petroleum jelly on cotton we carried in a pill bottle and with some dry sticks and pine cones it worked great. The steak & potatoes were fabulous and hit the spot after a stressful day. Even though it was stressful there is something about the air here and the atmosphere that makes you want to come back, there is no where else I have ever been that made me feel this way. Even in the unknown area and not sure about getting a campsite, I still want to be here. I joke sort of about the Lake being Brutal, it is a big lake and when your canoe is loaded and it is raining and the wind is blowing your not crazy about the size of this lake. But it is a beauty.
 



Day 2 of 5


Tuesday, August 25, 2015 Tuesday: Woke to a rainy dreary sky. We stayed in bed until 9:00. We made pancakes today with blueberries we found around Lake Superior, they were delicious. We cleaned up dishes and headed out to fish. I have always been nervous or afraid of getting in and out of the canoe when it is in an awkward place, such as the landing. Today I wasn't to graceful, I cried for a good while, then we went on fishing. My husband is so patient, no fish but we did have two hits. Our bay was pretty shallow and a lot of rocks so we headed out deeper to pump water into our bottles. We headed to the tent for a nap. We had original planned to head to the South Temperance today but with the weather we decided to stay put. We slept until 4:45. Up and got a fire going, tonight freeze dried meal Lasagna with meat sauce and Sweet and sour pork, Hot tea with honey, and a special drink of flavored cherry water & whiskey. Tonight, we see just a hint of blue sky. We saw two canoes today with a family while we were fishing, then later another canoe with 3 people. We could hear the loons but not see them. Tonight, we can hear some kids playing across the way. Today when Dan was getting the food bag down a squirrel came over and started cussing at him. It is so quiet you notice everything. Gods creation is so awesome and we are both so happy to be here. align="left" >

 



Day 3 of 5


Wednesday, August 26, 2015 Wednesday: Sunshine and blue sky we got up at 7:00 am. We ate oatmeal and had hot chocolate for breakfast. We decided to load up and head to South Temperance by 10:00a.m. We were at the first portage by 12:15, it was a very easy portage, we generally make two trips to carry our 4 backpacks and the canoe and the canoe paddles , it was a hard paddle across this big lake, and at times I wondered if we were going to make it across this big bad lake. We wire our fishing poles in the canoe and our life jackets we hook to our seats when we portage. My husband has that job of carry the canoe. We found the first camp by 2:00 it was the last camp on the lake but didn’t like so we canoed back 1 mile to the first camp on Temperance but another family beat us to that camp by just strokes of the paddle. We really wanted that camp on the big rock. We headed back to the first camp #907 on BWCA map and got unloaded. I was just happy to be getting settled. I get very nervous about changing camp sites. We headed out fishing. Dan caught Northern and small mouth. We headed in for supper we had Beef stroganoff and spaghetti and meat sauce, turned in by 8:30. Beat from the morning of canoeing on the big lake. Dan even took Tylenol. We have been reading an old book “the call of the Canyon” by Zane Gregg. I read a few chapters and we were fast asleep, well not really I am always listening. We had a awesome day, it is such a new adventure everyday.

 



Day 4 of 5


Thursday, August 27, 2015 Thursday South Temperance woke up at 7:30, got up for pancakes & blueberries. Wonderful! We were out fishing by 10:00. The water is so clean and clear you just find yourself looking around and around at the beauty of the place. Dan caught a large mouth bass & wonderful walleye. We continued to fish back & forth trying to troll our self’s& letting the wind blow us drifting. No more hits. We saw the people who had took our spot head for North Temperance for a day trip at 2:00 p.m. We continued to fish more of the lake. We headed toward North temperance portage. A couple of people came from the portage they had been camping on South Temperance. They said they had no luck fishing on North Temperance. We headed back to our camp by 4:00. Dan cleaned the the walleye & we cooked mash potatoes and fresh walleye. Yummy with a view. We saw lot of loons today & a eagle. Our camp seems to have a lot mice & ground squirrels. They hang around while we cook. We headed back out before sunset to fish, around where Dan caught the walleye. No luck. Back to camp by 8:00 p.m. almost a full moon. Beautiful Sunset. There was a lot of mosquito's tonight. It was a beautiful day. Sunshine & blue sky not much wind. We could have this day over and over again, it is what we dream about and miss when we are back in Nebraska. You see in Nebraska most of our lakes our mud bottom, not clear at all.

 



Day 2 of 3


Saturday, May 26, 2012

The morning started cool, high 30's. The weather back in Ohio this holiday weekend was to be in the mid 90's, so this was actually quite refreshing. I was up early, just before 6 AM. Luckily enough, the cool air was still rolling off the land over the relatively warm water. That beautiful low morning fog just over the water was forming with a bright blue sky overhead.

After a breakfast of pancakes and a quick camp breakdown, we were on our way. Our first task for the day was a portage to Phantom lake. This presented the only navigational error of the trip. Finding the portage, and even Phantom was easy enough, the portage was flat, dry and short. But, we could have skipped Phantom all together and simply gone to Sprite Lake straight away. All we had to do was explore the fork in the portage. Having found ourselves back on essentially the same path we just took, we made our way to Sprite. After yesterday's encounters with debris strewn portages we decided to make an effort to make things easier for those who would follow us. The short portage to Sprite would be the start of that. Two trees, one relatively large, blocked the path substantially. Jon and Aaron made quick work of them with the saw provided by VNO while the rest of us staged the gear and canoes.

Once the portage clearing was done the group was onto Sprite. A handsome little lake really. The water was almost like a well steeped black tea, the concentration of tannins being higher in the lower volume lake. A very quick journey across its small surface brought us to the Meat Lake Portage. The portage itself was nothing spectacular, a relatively clear, rolling ordeal through more mature pines. What lay to the side however would foretell what Meat Lake had to offer.

Beavers, loons, and one deer had been the only wildlife we had actually put our eyes on during the trip. Our groups size no doubt played a role in that. It was the beavers that made themselves most obvious though. Not just the gnawed stumps and piled wood, but what that tedium can do to a body of water. Arriving at the end of the portage to meat lake one passes a series of small beaver ponds and dams, capped by one large dam. This work of civil engineering had reduced Meat's inflow to nearly a trickle, and its water level showed the consequences. Depths had dropped 6 to 10 feet from what appeared to be the normal levels. This is quite significant in a lake whose max depth was 20 feet previously. A small carry over portage had been created by the low water levels leading into the the last lobe of the lake (normally 5 feet).

After finding our way across what was left of meat lake we were presented with the short (48 rod) portage to Clark Lake. We made the trek with relative ease despite the weight of packs and canoes beginning to have their effect on us. We paddled a short distance and took advantage of the campsite landing for a lunch of PB&J. The end of lunch brought a quick exploration of Clark lake by Erika, Brittany, Aaron, and Kyle. Jon and I took some time to relax on shore for a few minutes. Slightly rejuvenated we made the paddle directly across the lake to the days longest portage; back to Crab.

Despite having been in and out of the boats all day with the smaller lakes traversed, we decided to single trip the 130 rods. Though not terribly rocky this would be our most technical portage of the day. Once out of the water we were greeted quickly and harshly by a steep climb. My tanks were empty immediately. Luckily Kyle was in a good rythm and could keep me going. We stopped a couple times to rearrange packs, affording enough time to regain some mojo. Finally, with one last awkward steep decent we were back at Crab, not much more than a stone's throw from where we exited the same lake a day before.

Back on a larger body of water the long paddle to little Crab provided some time for recovery and reflection. Two families had made it out onto the lake for the weekend, the only people we would see the whole trip. It was refreshing to take in the fact that we were indeed 1000 miles from our normal day to day. Be it farming, nursing, running, or simply going to class, this was break for all of us, despite its strenuous nature.

In good time we made the very short, very groomed portage to Little Crab. A couple paces and we were on the water again. We paddled long and steady, with the occasional stop just to look and be quiet. At last we reached the short and wet portage from Korb to Cummings. We had been told of wolf activity in this area before we set out, we would see our only evidence of such in the form of fresh scat at the portage terminus.

Back on expansive water our 3 vessels spread out. Gazelle and her light load found herself well ahead, Rhino was better than a quarter mile afield to the west, and Water Buffalo chugged up the rear, fully laden.

Finally, tired from a day of paddling and portaging we reached our campsite at the northeast end of Cummings. We had landed the prime real estate with a 5 star campsite. Aaron and Kyle took some time to fish, somewhat successfully, while the rest of us set up camp and got to work on dinner (lasagna and berry cobbler this night). As light grew dim and the fire found itself extinguished we were quickly asleep. Light rain started to fall.

 


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