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

BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

June 14 2024

Entry Point 49 - Skipper & Portage Lakes

Skipper and Portage 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 is a 320-rod portage from Poplar Lake or a 230-rod portage from Iron Lake. This area was affected by blowdown in 1999.

Number of Permits per Day: 2
Elevation: 1865 feet
Latitude: 48.0517
Longitude: -90.5366
Skipper & Portage Lakes - 49

Entry 50 Cross Bay Lake

by jaalspa
Trip Report

Entry Date: August 22, 2023
Entry Point: Cross Bay Lake
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 4

Trip Introduction:
This year's Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, BWCAW, trip had special meanings. Last year we were not able to make our annual trek into the Wilderness and this year is the 20th anniversary of our foursome.

Day 1 of 4


Wednesday, August 23, 2023 - we got up early to drive up the Gunflint trail to Tuscarora Lodge and Canoe Outfitters. Our two canoes were dropped off at Cross River which is where are journey started. You don't actually enter the BWCA until reaching Cross Bay Lake. I believe we had 7 portages (land between bodies of water) to get through. The weather was overcast and cool, perfect for paddling.

Things went fairly smoothly though we did have trouble finding the portage into Cross Bay Lake and ended up on an old, non-maintained portage (oops). Our destination was Long Island Lake.

We had stayed on Long Island Lake before (2005) but had entered via a different route and with 5 campers instead of the usual 4.

It took us 7 hours to get to Long Island Lake. Whether it was lack of paddle practice or age or directions, that was a LONG paddle. Add that I had a big arthritis flare up as we got to Long Island Lake. We had been given heads up to some available campsites. The first site on the lake was already occupied and didn't really meet our requirements (western facing with a swimmable area). The next one was available, and I had to confess that I could not continue paddling as my arthritis made it nearly impossible to continue.

Turned out the campsite was great, and we proceeded to setup our gear. I wasn't much help due to the previously mentioned arthritis. My flare up also meant that we were destined to have stormy weather...and it proved to be true.

The camp site got set up in no time as usual. To our amazement, there were nearly no bugs! So, we were able to have a campfire and stay up after sundown. This is usually not the case. From this point, the video really shows how the camping went.  

We did have rain that first night (Wednesday) but it was not bad and sounded soothing on the tent.

 



Day 2 of 4


Thursday, August 24, 2023 - Thursday, August 24, 2023 - Thursday night was another story. We had a severe thunder and lightning storm and very, very heavy rain. So much rain that the base of the tent got soaked and so did pretty much everything on our camp site.

 



Day 3 of 4


Friday, August 25, 2023 - Friday had been forecast to be rainy but another piece of luck, it was sunny and warm. We were able to dry out pretty much everything and most importantly the tent and tarps. We re-assembled the site in time for another rain shower. We retreated to the tent to play cards and let the rest of our gear get all wet again.

 



Day 4 of 4


Saturday, August 26, 2023 - We paddled out on Saturday expecting another 7-hour trip. Somehow the paddle out only took 4 hours...we shaved 3 hours off! We really don't know how. The weather conditions were the same and we were never really off course going in or out. We certainly didn't complain that we were more efficient.

 


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