BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
April 21 2021
Number of Permits per Day: 4
Elevation: 1500 feet
Brant to Tuscarora via Little Sag Route:
Bat - Mud
Gillis - burn area is evident:
Peter - first lake trout:
Little Sag - green trees again!
Mora - gorgeous divide of burn and green
Tuscarora - second lake trout!
Missing Link - with lighter food pack, the portage is OK
Seagull to Round and trouble on Kekakabic
August 13, 2008
Missing Link Lake (51)
Number of Days:
On Monday bright and early, the four of us left Western Maryland with our sights set on being in Grand Marais by Tuesday evening. We had flown into Duluth and Minneapolis on previous trips but this time decided on taking the "adventure" of driving 2 consecutive 12 hour days. After a night spent outside of Chicago, we made it to Minnesota and stopped at Sven's for a pre-trip meal (they wouldn't be open on our way out). Bellies now full, we arrived at Hungry Jack Outfitters sometime around sundown. We settled into our bunks and crawled into bed, falling asleep to the sweet calls of the loons nearby.
Lakes: Seagull, Rog, Alpine
We awoke around 6, got everything organized, and then our fresh breakfast was brought to our bunkhouse. Afterwards, we met with Dave and Nancy, owners and operators of the outfitters, to go over all travel plans and get any last minute suggestions. Then we loaded up the van and headed for Seagull Lake at the western end of Gunflint Trail. The drive really opened our eyes to the amazing devastation the recent fires had done. Our goal was camping on Alpine so we basically paddled straight through, one portage onto Rog and then on to Alpine. We chose a sight that had no living trees still standing but were not concerned because the weather was supposed to remain sunny and clear. With camp set up, my Dad and I hit the water for some fishing and have decent luck and brought a couple of smallies back for "surf and turf" to accompany our steaks. Perfect! For the first time in three years we are not under a fire ban so we started a small one for marshmellow roasting. Watched the sunset and off to the tent.
Lakes: Red Rock
With no set plans for the trip, we decided to take a day trip to the southern end Red Rock Lake today. We paddled casually so I decided to try trolling for the first time in a canoe. We weren't across the first bay before I was pulling in a large Northern Pike. Boring way to fish but it got the job done. The temperature starts to climb and by lunchime it is almost HOT! We eat lunch on Red Rock Lake and watch a couple of Bald Eagles perched nearby so we decide to see just how close we can get. The answer is pretty close. Guess we are not scary looking. We head back to Alpine close to dinner time, take a quick dip to refresh ourselves then eat Brats for dinner. Dad and I convince the ladies that it is a good evening to fish so we head out. We paddle into a cove that does not look like Small Mouth territory but I was wrong. I barely get to fish because my wife sets a personal record by bringing in a dozen or so in less than an hour. I'm so proud of her and my mother for learning to fish. They get so excited when they have one on the line. Paddled back to camp by moonlight. It was peaceful.
Lakes: Jasper, Kingfisher, Ogishkemuncie, Spice
Dad and I woke up early for some pre-dawn fishing. We both had pretty good luck with some smallies and a few very nice pike. While paddling back towards camp, we heard wolves howling in the direction of our campsite. We figured our women could be a bit rattled so we picked up our pace a bit. Upon arriving at camp, we were shocked to learn they never heard them. We figured the bees, birds, and them talking might have drowned out the howls. Destination today was Ogishkemuncie. A couple portages through some very burned out areas and we arrived on Ogish. We decided to get somewhere close to the middle of the lake to make day tripping easier. Another very warm day so after arriving at camp, we go for a swim. My mother who is not very fond of water even decided to join in after some coaxing. We prepared dinner then went for an evening paddle to Spice lake where Jes caught a huge smallie. Paddled back under a beautiful sunset and sat by the fire enjoying the company.
Another day, another early morning paddle for some pre-dawn fishing. I think Dad and I both enjoy the time together as a good father/son bonding time. Whether we catch fish or not is not really the important thing (although it keeps it more interesting). We return to camp only to be in some serious trouble with the women for not bringing in any fish. They were supposed to be breakfast on bagels with tarter sauce. OOPS, we forgot! An easy day is planned so there is no hurry. We head to Skindance Lake just to paddle around and see if there are any fish in it. We catch some 10-12 inch bass but nothing big. We see nobody so that is a success in itself. Really just a lazy, floating around kind of afternoon. Besides dinner and a beautiful sunset not an eventful day. We had a big trip planned for the next day so we hit the tents early.
Lakes: Annie, Jenny, Eddy, Kekakabic ponds, Kekakabic Lake
Our very ambitious day circuit trip through Kekakabic was destined to be a long day of paddling, especially considering my parents are both in their early 60's. We easily paddled through a series of small lakes and ponds in order to get to Kekakabic and our plan was to continue about half way down Kek, head north and then back east to finish our circuit. Upon entering Kek, the winds dramatically increased and we were in for a long, headwind battle. We were on the lake for a long time and all of us were ready for lunch so we stopped on an island. Refreshed, we were ready to head back into the wind to continue our journey. Then, THE ACCIDENT happened. Getting into the canoe, my dad slipped and swamped their canoe, causing my mom to reach out for a branch to stabilize and in the process severely injuring her shoulder. She was in great pain and I have seen her in great pain (she had double hip replacement surgery). Now we had a problem. The wind was ferocious, she could be of no help and we had to get all the way back to Ogish, 8 portages away. After a great deal of work we finally made it back and decided to look for help on Ogish. Splitting up, my wife and I found a boy scout troop who offered some advice on how to stabilize her shoulder. We thanked them and continued on. I spotted my parents on the far side of the lake and they were talking to a party there so we pressed on. We arrived at our site and saw two canoes headed towards us, one with boyscouts, the other my parents. The scouts offered to take the WHOLE next day to help us portage out for help (a very long distance)and I was dumbfounded. The next event was a miracle. The father of the group that my parents found was on orthopedic surgeon and with one swift pop had relocated my mom's shoulder, thus saving our trip. I gave the scouts some of my favorite lures that they needed just for their amazing generosity. And to the good Dr, we say thank you and thank you again. We felt God put him there for my mother!
Lakes: Mueller, Agamok, Gabimichigami, Rattle, Little Saganaga
Before shoving off for Little Sag, Dad and I redeemed ourselves by bringing in one pike and one bass for breakfast. At least then we were out of the "doghouse". Mother was pretty sore but as she said, "I'm a tough old mother". The scouts and the Doctors family both paddled by to check up on her and make sure we were okay to continue our trip. All was well. We were a little worried about the wind on Gabi and the fact the my mother only had one and a half arms to paddle with but upon arriving were quite surprised, dead still. So we headed directly across from one shore to the other with no problems. Arriving at Little Sag, we found a really nice island campsite and take a swim after setting up camp. After dinner the four of us head out for unsuccessful fishing but we were startled by a loud, crashing noise in the woods. We hadn't seen a moose since our first trip and unfortunately we missed seeing this one as well. Oh well, gives us another reason to return.
Lakes: Mora, Tarry, Crooked
Because our itinerary was flexible, we decide that we are "small lake sort of people" and decide to move on to Crooked Lake for the next night. The portage to Mora lake was very pretty, like a peaceful walk in the woods with the river flowing right next to it. Knowing we would be at camp by lunch, we decide to catch a few pike and have a fish fry lunch. Dad catches a nice one on Tarry but we wanted another one for the meal. We hit Crooked and I tell my wife that we have a better chance if she fishes too. I put a big Mepps spinner on for her and first cast, wham, she has a winner. Me, not even in the canoe yet am trying to help her land her first large pike when, wham, I slip, fall in and tip our second canoe of the trip. Of course, I took my wife and all our stuff in with me. To her credit she manages to hold onto the fish while standing in chest deep water and proclaimed "we are going to eat this fish!!!" We are not deterred and head for the first campsite to dry everything out. Dad fillets, I catch another nice one and we decide to have a fish only meal. They were excellent.
The campsite on Crooked is wonderful with a great rock from which to jump into the water. My wife who was never fond of lake water because she can't see the bottom is jumping over and over again having a blast. There was much fun to be had here.
Lakes: Owl, Tuscarora
Although we wanted to stay two nights on Crooked, we decide because of Mom's shoulder that a loooong last day of portaging would be tough so we decide to move on to Tuscarora. Before leaving Crooked however, I do manage to catch the biggest pike I've landed in the three trips to canoe country. I could leave a happy man! We all agree that Tuscarora is a beautiful lake for out last night. We get a great site and head out to scout around the lake. No fish but the paddling is relaxing. The sunset is beautiful and the waves lapping against the shore lead to a peaceful night sleep.
Lakes: Missing Link, Round
Because we are in no hurry, we take our time just enjoying our last morning in the wilderness. Maybe we were just getting mentally prepared for the 428 rod portage to Missing Link. Thankfully, we did this when our food packs were empty because that is a hull. Mom is stubborn and even though her shoulder had been dislocated just 4 days earlier she insisted on carrying her own gear. That one portage took over and hour and a half. By the time we reached Round Lake we were ready for showers and a nice meal. We called Hungry Jack Outfitters, and they came and picked us up.