BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
December 10 2023
Number of Permits per Day: 2
Elevation: 1865 feet
Skipper & Portage Lakes - 49
Cross Bay, Frost, Little Sag, Bingshack
May 14, 2016
Cross Bay Lake
Brant Lake (52)
Number of Days:
Two portages in and I'm overdressed. Met two seasoned trippers along the way from Ottertail County, MN who'd been traveling this area since the time when you could nearly sink your canoe with moosemeat. They offered me a goosestick and told me stories of living on ducks and grouse for a week. I am excited to be here.
As I'm enjoying my last deep breaths of cold darkness, a light brighter than anything else in the night sky by twice is steadily twinkling it's fire just above the horizon. It's Mars and I say goodnight to night 1.
Late start again today, being zipped in the bag is so much finer when there's ice on the toilet seat. Out to fish for lakers by 10am and when I got back I decide to turn this knuckle-headed fire hazard into this, and then this, while looking out at the spot where a big knuckle-headed fire hazard use to be. I'm happy to be staying on this beautiful lake for another night.
Tomorrow I'll be up at 5:10 and on the Frost River by 7 where I'll get to know Housty9 and KevinL on the trails.
The Frost River is challenging for sure but we all agree that it's beautiful. After slowly chugging away for 9 hours over plenty of beaver dams and more than one tricky landing, I was glad to be walking along the rushing water that dumps into Little Saganaga. Housty and Kevin are back there somewhere and I'm starting to feel a little whipped. Off I troll to find the best campsite I can before I use up all my gas.
Nearly 11 hours after I shoved off this morning I'm alone perched on an island in the middle of Little Saganaga. I enjoy my farro, ring bologna and asparagus with a chunk of Italian bread by a hot fire tonight and give thanks for the peaceful nature of it all. I look forward to exploring the burnt half of this lake in the morning.
I pack up while eating my peanut butter, granola and maple syrup and head toward the burn where I run into Housty, a pleasant surprise as I didn't think we'd cross paths again. He points me to a back bay where he had just spotted a cow with calves so we say our goodbyes again and I paddle in to pick a landing where the fire will allow me to take a quick hike to the highest point for a look around. No moose in sight. Rats.
My camp is elevated and exposed on a point, apparently a property in dispute between a pair of gulls and the bald eagle they bully. There's a pair of loons hanging around as well. The sky is clear tonight and everything is crisp and still as darkness falls. The water below turns black as the bare stone landscape glows in the moonlight and I feel like I'm on the moon.
Heading to Bingshick today to spend my last night fishing brook trout. As I'm trolling out of Peter the lakers are on the hit and spit but I finally managed to keep a snacker on the line. I string up my catch and continue over the portage to French Lake where I use an open site to fry up a trout sandwich.
I know that if I stop to cook that sandwich, the group of six I just passed will get to Bingshick first. There are only two campsites in the area but that trout sandwich is calling my name so I roll the dice.
Just in time. As I was setting up another group paddled in from the other direction and were obviously not happy to find this brook trout lake was full. I've had very good fortune all week, however, the brookies on Bingshack denied all seven of us this evening.
I paddled out through Brant Lake and stopped to thank Andy at Tuscarora for the route advice. In with the snow flying and out with the temps pushing 80, good fishing and great wilderness. I'm hooked.