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June 23 2024

Entry Point 41 - Brule Lake

Brule 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 35 miles. Access is a boat landing at Brule Lake. Large lake with several campsites. This area was affected by blowdown in 1999.

Number of Permits per Day: 7
Elevation: 1847 feet
Latitude: 47.9261
Longitude: -90.6448
Brule Lake - 41

Corona / Brule / Wifes first trip.

by okinaw55
Trip Report

Entry Date: October 20, 2020
Entry Point: Brule Lake
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 2

Trip Introduction:
I've been meaning to get this out there for people but I'm a few days late on posting. This was my wife's first trip ever to the BWCA. I wanted to be sure that she had a good time and would want to go back so our trip was non-aggressive to say the least. She had purchased a MN II for me on my birthday and so we wanted to put it to use. Timing worked out, PTO worked out, so lets go!

Day 1 of 4

Sunday, October 20, 2020

We woke up on the 20th at 3am. We live in southern MN and knew it was going to be a drive. We had packed everything the night before minus some perishables and so we were on the road by 4:15 am.

The trip up to Sawbill trail was uneventful and we made it to Brule by 12:30pm. We had originally planned to pick up our permit at Sawbill but with the Covid thing, realized we could print out our permit online and change our pickup location to Tofte. Thanks guys for helping me out with that advice. That probably saved us at least an hour+.

There is something special about owning your own boat and driving straight to the EP. So much quicker and easier than going through an outfitter.

We had stopped at the gas station in Tofte before heading up and they were out of leeches and minnows. We paid a kings ransom for some "rainbow minnows" and some crawlers. I think it came to 25 bucks or so. Hysterically, all of the minnows were dead before reaching camp. Luckily as we were getting underway a nice couple in a beautiful cedar stripped canoe asked us if we wanted any leeches. YES I said, we couldn't get any in Tofte! Nice folks.

We were planning to head to one of the Cone bay sites and we started working our way there. The wind initially wasn't too bad but once we hit the open water heading north to the cones, she kicked up and scared the **** out of me.

At this point I was thinking we were in trouble. My wife has about 2 hours of paddling under her belt and I'm a novice at best myself. When we hit the island just south of cone bay, all I wanted to do was get behind it and out of the wind. As luck would have it, the campsite was open so we got the hell off the water.

The rest of the day we made camp and relaxed a bit. We were in 2 hammocks and the site had a few good spots for those (although the tent sites sucked). I saw an opportunity for us to lay close enough to combine our tarps into one bigger hammock dual site so that's what we did and we liked it.

Steak on the grate and mashed potatoes for dinner. Was fabulous and we were tired, full, and ready for bed.


Day 2 of 4

Monday, October 21, 2020

We decided that after that hair raising entry here, we would take a break day. The wind had howled through the night and was still pretty active. We talked, cooked, ate, gathered firewood, and went for a walk. On this island with a lot of traffic there is a pretty well defined path heading out of camp on the north end of the island heading west. We hiked it for exploration and we were rewarded with a fairly high view of the terrain looking west. It was beautiful.



Dinner was stove top stuffing, chicken from a bag, and brown gravy. By far our best meal of the trip and I must go into the recipe forum here and thank whoever that was that listed it.

Campfire night 2, bliss.


Day 3 of 4

Tuesday, October 22, 2020

This day was nice and calm and offered a stunning sunrise! Our plan was to investigate the cones on a day trip and do some fishing. We struck out on fish on every inch of cone bay we fished and I was a bit disappointed. I had heard that this was decent walleye fishing. Not for us.

We then planned to head up the cones and we were ready to do it until it took us a good 30 minutes to find the portage. There is a campsite for the most part, right on top of the portage. I portaged the canoe to the fire pit, the latrine, and other random trails before we found it. Short and rocky but not horrible is how I would describe that one.

In the end, we just walked it to see what was what. My main goal was to show my wife what a portage is like on any given lake. With the rocky path, I think she got that anything can happen. Sweet, lesson understood.

Back to camp that evening for some fishing from shore and relaxation. It turns out that we caught a nice walleye to eat for dinner so it was shortening, "Shore Lunch", and Knor's rice packets for dinner.

I had also found a beautiful birch beaver cut that was about 8 inches thick and dry. I sawed it into 1 foot pieces and split it battonning with my knife into some superb campfire wood.

Our intention was to


Day 4 of 4

Wednesday, October 23, 2020

I woke up early this morning as the wife slept in. It was a nice cool morning and the weather was perfect. Not long before I had gotten up we were visited by two gals from the US Forest Service. They checked the latrine, permits, site etc then asked me about my food situation and how I was protecting it from bears.

I told them that my first trip into the bwca was when I was 14 years old and with Cliff Jacobson as the leader of the kids. We learned then to mask scent and move food away from camp. That's the way I have done it my whole life. I have never run a bear rope and hung food.

She went on to say they were having issues on the gunflint and may be requiring bear barrels or hanging next year. Maybe she's full of it but to me, that is overstepping the boundaries of our rights to survive as we see fit. My rant. Sorry.

When done with our business, I informed them that I had heard hatchet chopping coming from a site nearby the night before followed by literally enough smoke to fill the void between us. Obviously green wood. I was glad that they had showed up because I wasn't really looking forward to making that visit myself although I would have.      

So this morning was beautiful with hardly any wind and before we had headed up north, the weather report had said rain for this day. I decided that today was the best day weather wise to leave and that the predicted bad weather might be a day late. Man was I right. We stayed in a hotel in Duluth on this night and saw the storms up north. 

At the top of the list of items to buy, a weather radio.

We had a calm absolutely beautiful paddle out and along the way my wife said the following. "Dave, thank you for bringing me here, I never understood why you were so talkative about this place until I saw it. Now I understand and I want to come back."

F*** Yeah right?


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