BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
January 22 2019
Lizz and Swamp Lakes entry point allows overnight paddle only. This entry point is supported by Gunflint Ranger Station near the city of Grand Marais, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 28 miles. Access from Poplar Lake by 51-rod portage to Lizz Lake and 100-rod portage into Swamp Lake only. This area was affected by blowdown in 1999.
Number of Permits per Day: 4
Elevation: 1864 feet
Lizz & Swamp Lakes - 47
Number of Permits per Day: 4
Elevation: 1864 feet
Lizz & Swamp Lakes - 47
Monsoons and Wind on Horseshoe
July 20, 2011
Lizz and Swamp Lakes
Number of Days:
My wife's parents, aunt and uncle and 17 year old cousin came up from Missouri to join us on our yearly trip to the BWCA.
Day 1 of 4
Wednesday, July 20, 2011 Our group was staying at Rockwood with Mike and Lynn, prior to our departure this morning. We where awaken by a very loud and very close "CLAP" of thunder around 3:30 AM this morning. 6 hours later, around 9:00 AM the rain and wind finally subsided enough for our group to venture out on Popular. The original plan was to be on the water by no later then 8:00 AM. What's that saying about the best laid plans go by the way side when you are dealing with Mother Nature? All said and done Mike informed us that around 6" of rain had fallen in only 4 or 5 hours. Rockwoods' road was washed out in several areas and several small fishing boats where close to being at the bottom of Poplar Lake. After this Monsoon of a rain, around 9:30 AM or so we pushed off from Rockwood. Our trip had started. There was still a pretty substantial wind coming at us so we did not make the best of time crossing Poplar. The first portage into Lizz from Poplar was flooded, due to all the rain. I could tell by water marks on the boulders at this portage that Poplar was at least 2-3 inches higher then it was prior to all the recent rain. Everyone unloaded and we where on our way. The portage from Poplar to Lizz was flat without many rocks or roots to trip you up, with a nice and easy put in on Lizz. Half way through Lizz is where the BWCA Boundary starts. Lizz is a small narrow lake and was paddled very quickly. The take out on Lizz I am sure is easy in normal water levels as it is very flat with little to no boulders. We experienced a very flooded take out on our trip, with water from the lake creeping well up the portage, much further then the natural shore of the lake. We continued on through Caribou with relative ease. The wind was letting up. Once on Horseshoe it was becoming apparent that we where ready to stop and set up camp. We settled on Campsite 673 to call home. It was decided that this trip would be a base camp trip as several members of our group where experiencing aches and pains from muscles they forgot they had. Everyone was fine with this decision, we where in the BDUB! Campsite 673 was large enough to accommodate three tents and suited our needs fairly well. This said, however a good bear bag tree was hard to find, but after about 3 hours we had the pantry rigged up and in place. While the men of the group where figuring the bear bag out, the woman where kind enough to set up camp. At this point we where set up, Now it was time to make dinner. 6:00 PM Shortly after getting the food out and setting up the kitchen, the second wave of monsoons of the day came through. We cooked dinner under the rain fly and retired early.
Day 2 of 4
Thursday, July 21, 2011 It rained on and off most of the night. There is something I really enjoy about sleeping in a tent during a rain storm. The patter of the rain on the rain fly is soothing and very relaxing. I was up with the sun and put the coffee on. Today was going to be a great day! The sky was blue with little to no clouds and the wind had finally died to a mere whisper. Breakfast was breakfast burritos, with real eggs. I was hesitant to bring real eggs with us, but I was told that they don't need to be refrigerated by a friend and several other confirmed this. We had egg's every morning and no one got sick. We thought today being that we are base camping that we would try our had at fishing Horseshoe Lake. Fishing was successful. We caught several small mouths, two northers, and snagged a snapping turtle! The turtle was probably 20 LBS and not very happy with me as I had snagged his front claw with a Rapala. The rest of the day was spent swimming, reading and relaxing. Dinner was campfire Pizza with dehydrated Hamburger, cheese, and mushrooms. A Campfire was in order tonight as we did not have the opportunity to do so the previous night. Great stories and good old fashion family bonding took place over some wine and whiskey.
Day 3 of 4
Friday, July 22, 2011 This morning I was awaken to, what sounded like a boat moving through the water at a fair clip. How could this be? We are in the BDUB on a non motorized lake. The noise I was hearing was coming from two loons chasing one another, in what looked like a fight for territory. We sat and watched is happen for close to an hour or so while we made breakfast. After breakfast we decided that we would day trip to Vista Lake. From our campsite the portage to Vista was very close maybe less then 1/2 mile by water. Upon arriving to the portage we where greeted by a rushing waterfall, falling from Vista to Horseshoe. With all the rain in the area, the water was coming over pretty good. We stopped to admire the sights and sounds of this waterfall and continued to Vista. The portage from Horseshoe to Vista was completely flooded and at times up over the knee. For all practical purposes the portage too was a spillway for the waterfall. Once on Vista we left the protection of the narrow curvy lake of Horseshoe and quickly realized that it was another windy day. Vista Lake is a very pretty lake with low swampy areas on the north side and large hilly terrain on the south side. We paddled around the lake, taking in the natural beauty and fishing a little. Our luck had changed for the worse and we were skunked in the fish catching department, however we did have some bits, as I lost a Rapala to what I believe to be a decent sized northern. We stopped for lunch and some swimming at a small island located on the south east side of the lake. We made our way back to horseshoe past our campsite and into Gaskin as I had heard fishing there was pretty good. While fishing Gaskin we would catch several small northerns, and a rock bass, hardly enough for a shore lunch. We made it back to camp on Horseshoe to make dinner and retire for the night.
Day 4 of 4
Saturday, July 23, 2011 We awoke early this morning, as we wanted to beat the wind if we could while we made our way back to Rockwood and out of the BWCA. We had breakfast and broke camp around 9:00 with little to no wind. We opted to take the same way out as we came in, as the sky's looked like rain. Our trip back was uneventful and we made the Rockwood dock by about 12:00. While unloading our gear the sky's would open up for one last time while on this trip. We sat and talked to Mike and Lynn and wished the both of them the best of luck and thanked them for their hospitality. We had lunch at the Trailside and recalled our trip. Fun was had by all and we started talking about planning the next trip. It is always fun to introduce the BWCA to someone new, and see their faces of excitement when talking about it. We spent the night in Grand Marais and everyone made their way home on Sunday!
discuss this trip report (8 comments) - last post on November 30, 2011