BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
September 24 2020
Number of Permits per Day: 4
Elevation: 1864 feet
Lizz & Swamp Lakes - 47
Poplar Lake Loop 2013
June 14, 2013
Lizz and Swamp Lakes
Number of Days:
We drove up to the Nor'wester Lodge the night before from the Cities and camped there for easy entry into the BWCA the next day via the Lizz Lake entry point. A swarm of mosquitoes greeted us right when we got out of the car, and plans for no fire quickly changed in order to keep those bugs away! We stood around the fire for awhile after setting up camp until the bugs and a desire to get an early start drove us to our tents.
On Friday we packed up, ate a decidedly unhealthy but very delicious breakfast of doughnuts, and picked up our permits and canoes. Since we were going to travel each day, we went with Kevlar canoes, and I can't imagine going on a portage again with anything else. We put in at Poplar, and spent the day paddling our way to Winchell Lake. The weather was beautiful, with a slight wind from the West. This wind of course picked up as soon as we got onto Winchell. We decided to forego lunch in favor of getting to our campsite, which took a long time in that wind! We were pointed to the campsite across from the Cliff Lake portage by some kayakers we met on the lake, and were glad for their recommendation as that was a nice site. We could tell it was a popular one as dry firewood was hard to find. Dinner was steak and potatoes over the fire - doesn't get much better than that!
Since Friday was a long day of padding, we took it easier today and traveled into Kiskadinna. We decided to make this the far end of our loop and spend the next two days making our way back to Poplar. We took the westernmost site on the lake and were treated to a beautiful evening and sunset. Dinner was hot dogs and brats. This site had a small bog to the north, and at night we heard lots of critter activity in that direction, but being bone tired helped ensure we slept. Bug activity throughout the trip has been heavy on the mosquitoes.
We journeyed from Kiskadinna to Meeds today. The day dawned beautiful, which gave no indication of the weather to come! We made it to Meeds in the early afternoon and set up camp on the easternmost island.
NB: the F-13 map has the portage from Pillsbery into Swallow in the wrong location. You need to go through the narrow stretch of water where it looks like the portage and into small bay to the north, and you'll find the portage. It took us 30 min. to figure this out!
I think we would have appreciated this site more if it wouldn't have started raining 2 hours after we got there. We could see the thunderheads building all day, and got our tarp up just in time for the first storm, which came with very strong winds. The storm blew over quickly, but we spent the rest of the day and evening in the rain. We were able to get a fire going and made pizzas over it (delicious!) and retired early.
We were ready to get out of the BWCA this morning! It was quite chilly during the night, and just as soon as we packed up camp (sopping wet) and hit the lake, the rain started again and didn't quit until just after we got back to the outfitters on Poplar! The wind had blown a tree down over the portage from Lizz into Poplar, but we made it over with little trouble. We were glad we had dry clothes in the car! We turned in the canoes and headed back down the North Shore and back to the real world, glad to be out of the rain, but missing the simplicity of being out in the wilderness and looking forward to the next time we come back to the BWCA!