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

BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

June 21 2021

Entry Point 47 - Lizz & Swamp Lakes

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
Latitude: 48.0420
Longitude: -90.4998
Lizz & Swamp Lakes - 47

Poplar-Caribou-Horseshoe-Vista-Gaskin Better late than never. 2020 report

by Canoeinggal
Trip Report

Entry Date: July 04, 2020
Entry Point: Lizz and Swamp Lakes
Number of Days: 14
Group Size: 2

Trip Introduction:
My husband’s family began exploring BWCA and Quetico in 1968! They lived in central Illinois and one of his 4 brothers had attended a Boy Scout trip in BWCA. That’s how he got hooked. I went twice in the 1980s with him.(I actually paddled out to a pay phone on the Gun Flint Trail in 1986. I called Nashville public schools office to check in about a job. This was on a Saturday. They told me to be there in Monday for a fifth grade class!) Anyway, life got hectic.We did a couple trips on Apostle Islands . But we started going back to BWCA with our strong son! He’s been on 5 trips but he couldn't make it this year. So it was our first trip alone! Just the 2 of us! Married for 35 years! We didn’t kill each other!!

Day 1 of 14


Day 1- 2 July 4 is not the ideal day to depart. From experience, fireworks the night before can be annoying. But we had actually had changed our permit last minute due to the heat wave. We weren’t going to drive 16 hours to bake in the heat so we were stuck with leaving on the 4th. Originally , we had Mudro entry point on July 2 but we changed to Poplar Lake because it looked a lot cooler than Mudro. Our paddle across Poplar was uneventful. Lots of day trippers out and about. Had to wait at the portage for a group to leave. Easy portage to Lizz Swamp. Easy portage to Caribou. But it was hot. So we stayed at site directly across from the portage to Horseshoe Lake. We noticed the pattern of people exiting and arriving between 11-2. The campsite wasn’t buggy during the day. We hung out in the woods for shade! The rocks were really hot and felt great! We did have a mishap with our water filter. Somehow, a plastic ring fell off and we couldn't find it so we were creating a solution to the leaking waterbag and we accidentally cut our water bag!! UGGG. But we had duct tape and the problem was solved. It was really hot so we took it easy and stayed at this site for 2 nights. [paragraph break][paragraph break]

 



Day 2 of 14


Days 3-5 Vista Lake Challenging Site Day 3-4-5 Vista Lake-Challenging Site We headed over the short portage from Caribou to Horseshoe Lake with no problem. BUT on the Vista Lake end of things it was another story. It was very difficult to load the boat due to huge boulders. My husband had to carefully balance himself with bags and navigate the slippery rocks. I sat in the boat trying to keep it in one place while he walked in the water and loaded the bags in canoe. The paddle on Horse Lake was lovely-more like a river. Lots of white lilies. We passed a family eating lunch and they told us they hoped we would get the good site on Vista. Well, we didn’t. We ended up at the site that is very high up on the hill on the right side as you head towards Winchell Lake. We had to unload with more large slippery rocks. Then we had to lift the bags up and over a fallen tree and then carry them up a very steep incline. It was very treacherous for us but a good workout. Luckily we had no injuries. The site was very nice once you got to it but it was difficult to get water. Also, we had a vole problem so we ended up hanging all of our packs. There was a cliff that we sat on and overlooked a small island and boulder emerged which was great swimming spot. There was a tremendous thunderstorm as soon as we got our tent up. We had a weather radio that warned us of winds up to 70 mph! We had 2 nights of terrifying thunderstorms. We found a much better place to dock the canoe and unload -after the fact. The spot is not noticeable unless you new what to look for. So as you approach the site keep looking on the right side for a very tiny opening that a canoe could barely fit through. It is lake level-no rocks nearby. It is across from the island. I have posted a youtube video. BWCA Vista Lake Challenging site. LOL.

 



Day 3 of 14


,Days 6-11 Vista Lake Great Site-Ranger Visit Our patience paid off and the good site at the end of Vista opened up. We were startled awake the first morning when we heard rangers asking if it was ok to enter the campsite. They said they were cleaning firepits but we’re pretty sure they were checking permits due to the large number of campers this summer. (COVID) We had luck catching walleye on this lake! We lingered at this site for 5 nights. We rarely saw any travelers-maybe 3 canoes.

 



Day 4 of 14


Days 11-16 On to Gaskin Lake We had a smooth paddle across Vista to the dreaded portage with boulders. At least we knew what we were up against. We unloaded and re-loaded with no injuries. On to Gaskin. The portage from Horseshoe to Gaskin was a healthy work out for us -about a 100 rod with incline about half way. At the end of the portage into Gaskin we did have to get in the water to load our packs. Not too bad though. Gaskin is a popular lake so we knew to take the first site we came to. As we started to unpack the canoe another canoe pulled up . It seemed to come out of nowhere. Sadly, we told the people we were unpacking. I’m pretty sure they had to go on to Horseshoe to find a spot. We had a rough looking mouse at this site so we decided to move to the site we had passed earlier as soon as it opened up. We packed up and moved after 2 nights with the mouse. The new site was across from an island and it was a thoroughfare for travelers. We saw at least 5 groups a day go through between 10:30 and 1:00. The winds whipped up one day and a group of Boy Scouts took refuge at our site as they were trying to get back to their site. They stayed with us for about an hour. We had no firewood at this site so we took our handsaw and paddled around the edges of the lake looking for dead wood. We were successful finding wood but not catching fish. We left a nice pile of sawed logs for the next campers. , July 07, 2020

 



Day 5 of 14


Day 17-Exiting Day 17- Exiting BWCA We left Gaskin and headed back to Poplar Lake. About a 7 hour day of portaging and paddling. Nothing abnormal happened on way out. We had a beautiful day with very low winds. Our trip was pretty mellow this year but mother nature provided the excitement with some pretty terrifying thunderstorms and winds. We are so blessed to have the time available to enjoy connecting with nature and each other. Can’t wait for 2021 trip!

 



Day 6 of 14


Thursday, July 09, 2020

 



Day 7 of 14


Friday, July 10, 2020

 



Day 8 of 14


Saturday, July 11, 2020

 



Day 9 of 14


Sunday, July 12, 2020

 



Day 10 of 14


Monday, July 13, 2020

 



Day 11 of 14


Tuesday, July 14, 2020

 



Day 12 of 14


Wednesday, July 15, 2020

 



Day 13 of 14


Thursday, July 16, 2020

 



Day 14 of 14


Friday, July 17, 2020

 


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