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BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

May 29 2024

Entry Point 52 - Brant Lake

Brant Lake 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 45 miles. Access is a canoe landing at Round Lake with an 85- and a 35-rod portage to Brant Lake. This area was affected by blowdown in 1999.

Number of Permits per Day: 4
Elevation: 1500 feet
Latitude: 48.0692
Longitude: -90.8455

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

Brant Lake- After the fire

by whiteh20
Trip Report

Entry Date: July 03, 2009
Entry Point: Brant Lake
Number of Days: 3
Group Size: 1

Trip Introduction:
I had the chance to get a short solo trip in over the Forth of July holiday. My destination was Brant Lake off the Gunflint Trail. This area was burned badly in the Ham Lake Fire. I wanted to see what this area looked like. The burn areas are also a great way to avoid the crowds on a holiday weekend.

Day 1 of 3

-Clear, sunny day as I walk onto the porch of the Seagull bunkhouse. What a morning! I go to the office and get my permit from Deb and head to Round Lake to access entry point (52) Brant Lake.

- Temperature is climbing as the car is unloaded and stuff carried down the short trail to the lake. Round Lake is glassy smooth this morning with nary a ripple. The burn from the Ham Lake fire is very evident on the south shore. I will be paddling in the burn area all weekend. Will be nice to see how the forest is coming back to life after the fire.

- Moved my main pack towards the stern get my boat trimmed out correctly. Everything is secured and organized, ready to head off. My “stuff” consists of a portage pack, thwart bag, camera case, water bottles and spare paddle.

- After a short paddle, I am at my first portage. The portage into Ron is an easy 74 rods. I make two trips and then go back to take photos of the wild flowers. The rain during the past week has caused a color explosion of purple, white, yellow and orange wildflowers along the trail.

- Boat is loaded; I paddle the short width of Ron Lake to my next portage. 47 rods into Edith Lake. Easy, flat portage with some boards across the wet areas.

- Load up again and paddle across Edith to my next portage. 33 rods into Brant Lake. At the portage into Brant, the BWCA sign welcomes me to the wilderness.

- Another flat and easy portage and I am on Brant Lake. Brant is a twisty lake with several arms. This must have been a beautiful lake pre-fire. The lake has fire damage on all sides. I paddle thru Brant and arrive at the portage into Gotter Lake.

- The portage from Brant into Gotter is 88 rods of steep winding trail. This portage is straight up hill and straight down hill. Much tougher portage than any other on this trip.

- I get the challenging portage behind me and paddle across this very neat little lake to the Flying Lake portage.

- The map says the portage into Flying Lake is 55 rods long. The water is high enough, so I cut that to 13 rods by paddling thru a channel in the lily pads. I eat my lunch on a big rock at the beginning of shortcut portage. This portage is short and ends with a long set of stairs descending to Flying Lake.

- Flying Lake is a long narrow lake that has several portages going to Bat, Fay and Bingshick. I am heading to Bingshick so I paddle to the northern tip of the lake.

- The portage to Bingshick is thru a marshy area (full of lily pads and moose sign) that leads to a dead end with a very faint portage trail. The portage is a two part mess with a swamp in the middle. The first part of the portage is 15 rods straight down hill on a very rocky trail to the swamp. Load the boat and paddle 75 yards and then portage 13 rods over an exposed rock mound into Bingshick. Not really a very tough portage, but it is hard to find the little used trails. Ticks are out in full force!!

- Once on Bingshick I paddle to both the campsites along the northern shore of the lake. Both campsites are impacted by the fire and have little shade with limited tent sites. The site on the point (#495) is high off the lake, but there are no standing trees for tarps or the hammock. No tent pads either. (Would rate a 1- ) I paddle back down the shore and take the site across from the portage (#494). This site has a couple of small tent pads and a group of unburned pine trees to hang my hammock.

- I unpack and get camp set up then go off on a hike to Mine Lake. After my hike I paddle and portage to Honker Lake. Another small lake hit hard by the fire.

- Time for Supper. Tuna and noodles with M&Ms for dessert.

- The light is great for taking photos of the wildflowers around camp but the mosquito army is out in full force. A few pictures, some reading in the hammock and off to sleep.[paragraph break]


Day 2 of 3

-Awake at 7:30am to another beautiful BWCA morning. Sun is heating up the hammock already. The sun feels good since I did not have enough insulation under me last night. Will have to use the air mat in the hammock, even in the summer.

- Mosquitoes and ticks still around this morning. I pick and swat my way thru a breakfast of pop tarts.

- I get camp packed up and on the water by 9:00am. Short day today as I am just heading back to Brant Lake.

- I have to take some time to fix my portage yoke. It is a piece of shit! Plastic knobs stripped out yesterday on my final portage of the day. Glad I had some extra bolts in the repair kit!

- I paddle off across the lake for the Bingshick to Flying portage. The first stage of this portage goes well (13 rods) and I stop to take some photos of the lily pads floating on the swamp. Moose tracks at the beginning of the second stage of this portage. This part (13 rods) is up hill going this way.

- Paddle across Flying Lake and take the stairs to Gotter Lake (13 rods)

- Paddling across Gotter Lake I cannot help but think how beautiful this was prior to the fire. This is still a pretty little lake with a nice bluff along the south shoreline.

- The steep 88 rod portage into Brant is not fun, but I make fairly quick work of it and paddle into my campsite on Brant Lake.

- This site is up off the water and in some pine trees that were spared from the fire. This is still a nice campsite, but much have been and 5 star site prior to the fire. Two very nice tent pads up on top and a neat fire area with good seating.

- I find a couple of pine trees for my hammock and tarp. Camp is set!

- Getting warm so I take a swim and have some lunch. After lunch a nap is in order. Swim, lunch and a nap, not a bad BWCA afternoon!

- The mosquitoes are back out this afternoon. I head back to the hammock for some reading.

- Supper consists of chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy with peanut M&Ms for dessert. I clean up and wait for some good picture taking light.

- I hike off into the burn area above camp to take some photos. It is amazing how quickly after a forest fire the ferns, wildflowers and trees start to come back. I also see a red fox heading over the ridge towards Mine Lake.

- I spend the rest of 4th of July evening reading in the hammock. The stars in the northern sky are a much better show than any fireworks![paragraph break]


Day 3 of 3

- Nature was awake early today! Birds were out at first light having a party in the tree where my hammock was attached. I crawled out early and had pop tarts with Kool-Aid for breakfast.

- I broke camp and hit the water by 6:00am. Short day, but I was up, so I get an early start.

- I paddle across Brant and portage 33 rods into Edith. What a nice morning! The lakes calm and smooth.

- Short paddle across Edith and a 47 rod portage into Little Round Lake.

-Paddling across Little Round I am heading to my last portage of the trip. I always hate to end a trip and go back home.

- I finish the 77 rod portage into Round Lake and paddle up the shore line to the take out. Another great trip to the BWCA.

- I get the car loaded up and the boat on the racks. I make a quick stop by Tuscarora to drop off a “care package” for LCD before heading south to the cities.[paragraph break]


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