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 Ogish to Saganaga or Saj-koa-jesak-kl-koss
June 12, 1999
Seagull Lake Only
Saganaga Lake Only (55A)
Number of Days:
Lakes Traveled: Seagull Lake, Alpine Lake, Jasper Lake, Kingfisher Lake, Ogishkemuncie Lake, Annie Lake, Lake Jean, Eddy Lake, South Arm of Knife Lake, Knife Lake, Little Knife Lake, Ottertrack Lake, Swamp Lake and Saganaga Lake.
Total Miles: 46 miles
06-11-99 at 2040 hours
This is a non-paddling day.
I’m at the End of the Trail Campground – Site #33
I could hear the rain all night long while I was at home. I woke up at 0600 hours and it was still raining. I had some breakfast and continued to do some more packing as I wasn’t finished yet.
I left the house at 0850 hours and began my journey north. I drove the 159 miles to Duluth and arrived there about 1120 hours. I stopped at the Duluth Pack Store and looked around for 45 minutes or so. I left Duluth around1215 hours and made it up to Grand Marais Ranger Station around 1445 hrs. (Mileage 267 miles).
I brought food from home for lunch so I sat an ate in my truck in the parking lot of the ranger station. Afterwards, I went and checked out a couple stores in town. My first impression was, I think I like Ely better, but maybe it’s because I’ve spent more time in Ely. They both appear to be very different from each other. I would have liked to stay in town a little longer to check out some more shops, but I still had to drive up the Gunflint Trail. It took me about an hour to drive the 55 miles up to the, End of the Trail Campground, where I planned to camp before paddling in the morning. It stopped raining 10 miles before I got to the campground. The sky is still pretty gray, but it appears it’s trying to clear up. The temperature feels like it’s in the high 50’s.
There is some noise in the campground. I can hear the campground host running their generator a few sites down from me. There has been someone chopping wood for the past 15 minutes, hopefully that’ll stop shortly. I don’t think the host will be turning off the generator as soon as I would like for it to be off.
My truck ran well after getting it fixed a couple months ago.
Well, it’s 2105 hours. I’ll end here so I can get my stuff into the tent for the night. It should be nice weather for sleeping in a tent tonight.
Home to Duluth: 159 miles / 1.5 hours
Duluth to Grand Marais Ranger Station: 107 miles / 2.5 hours
Grand Marais to End of the Trail Campground: 55 miles / 1 hour
DAY TWO (first day of paddling)
Lakes Traveled: Seagull Lake, Alpine Lake, Jasper Lake, Kingfisher Lake, Ogishkemuncie Lake
Distance: 10 miles (12 miles including my leisure 50 minute evening paddle)
06-12-99 1800 hours
I’m on Ogishkemuncie Lake at the second campsite west of the portage from Kingfisher to Ogish.
I got up this morning at 0545 hours and it didn’t seem like I slept at all last night. I must have had too much coffee. I checked out the Big Dipper when I got out of the tent last night.
I was on the water at 0750 hours this morning. I talked briefly with a guy from Madison Wisconsin who was just putting in before me. He was by himself and he was paddling a Bell Merlin. He told me he was going to Jap Lake and then on to Little Saganaga.
It was all ready warm out this morning, I had my shirt off right from the start. Nothing, but blue skies and light winds. I took some pictures as I paddled. I took one of the sign on one of the islands on Seagull that signified Non Wilderness in one direction and the other direction, Wilderness. I walked and tracked my canoe up the rapids from Seagull to Alpine Lake.
I only had three portages today and they were short. I didn’t have any problems with my back. (I just killed a tick that was crawling on me). My back was getting a little sore while I was paddling on Ogishkemuncie, but it wasn’t that bad. It was the type of soreness that I have to get used to while sitting in a canoe for long periods of time.
I stopped early today at 1345 hours. I didn’t want to keep going west, because I didn’t know how busy the lake was and I didn’t want to travel to any other lakes today. I also didn’t want to over do it today with my back.
It has been really hot out. I did go for a brief “swim” after I set up camp. The water was cold at first, but then it was very refreshing.
For supper I had some dehydrated hamburger mixed in a Rice-a-Roni mix. It was pretty good.
I’m waiting for the sun to go down so it will cool off. My campsite faces directly to the south. I’ve been sitting in my Therm-a-rest chair with my pillow behind my lower back giving me some support.
Once I got to the campsite, I walked around for about an hour and took several pictures. I took some pictures of some moose dropping, wild roses, some Columbine and other general scenic pictures. Just about every time I see Moose droppings I think back to my days with the US Forest Service back at Christmas time in 1980. I was living with several people who worked for the Forest Service at the Section House in Isabella. I was introduced to stringing moose droppings for the Christmas tree. The only time we had to be careful was when eating popcorn while working on the decorations.
The next hour I set up camp and I ate early, around 1700 hours. I brought a Java press for coffee. I sure do like it. It sure is nice to have some good tasting coffee instead of the instant stuff I’ve been bringing in my earlier trips.
I’ll have to measure my distance again later but I think I went about 9 miles today. (I checked later and it was actually 10 miles)
There was a nice sunset tonight. I got some pictures of the reddish orange color from the sun reflecting off the clouds onto the lakes glass-like surface.
It’s now 1840 hours, I’ve hung up the food pack and now I’m going to paddle for a bit and take some more pictures.
2012 hours- I paddled around for about 50 minutes. When I got back I made some coffee and a hot cocoa.
The sun finally went behind the trees making the campsite a little cooler.
I don’t have much to say, did hear a loon, slap of a beaver tail.
I’m just going sit back and enjoy the sounds of nature before I head to the tent.
DAY TREE (second day of paddling)
Lakes Traveled: Ogishkemuncie Lake, Annie Lake, Lake Jean, Eddy Lake, South Arm of Knife Lake, Knife Lake, Little Knife Lake
Distance: 16 miles
06-13-99 at 1847 hours and I’m on a peninsula on the opposite side of Little Knife portage along the border and the campsite almost faces all west.
I slept much better last night. I got up early this morning, 0450 hours. My back / leg felt good this morning. I was sore and stiff from all the exercise I did yesterday, but nothing acute. I did my lower back exercises and stretches first thing this morning while in the tent.
When I got out of the tent, I saw mostly blue skies with some small puffy clouds. It was somewhat cooler this morning than yesterday morning. The wind has been blowing from the NW. The wind didn’t bother me until I got on the South Arm of Knife Lake.
The portages were few and short today. There were only four. I was able to paddle and drag the canoe over one beaver obstruction instead of doing one portage. I can’t remember if it was from Annie to Jean or if it was Jean into Eddy Lake.
I had a strong headwind paddling east of the South Arm of Knife Lake. I got to Thunder Point around 1130 hours and I decided I would have lunch. Afterwards, I walked up the to the top of Thunder Point. I took several pictures of the surrounding area while standing from this vantage point..
I went further than I thought I was going to go today. I’m guessing it was probably about 15 miles, sixteen if I count the 45 minutes finding a decent campsite, (I checked later and it was sixteen miles).
The wind has been blowing pretty strong and steady all day long. I hope it gets it out of its system before I paddle tomorrow. It looks like it’s about 17 miles to the “End of the Trail Campground” with 2 or 3 portages.
The first portage tomorrow is Monument portage (80 rods) about 5 miles away. The second portage is less than a mile from Monument portage. The third portage is a few miles from the end. I really don’t think I’ll need to do it if the map is marked correctly.
I won’t know if I can make it back to the landing tomorrow night until I get to American Point. It is about seven miles from there, but it’s across some big open water (Saganaga Lake). It’s about 10 miles to the American Point, but I’ll have to see how the wind is tomorrow.
I guess I would like to get back home tomorrow night so I can give a friend a phone call to set up a practice for a canoe race this coming Sunday. I started canoe racing this year and I have been mostly in the bow. This friend is larger (not fat) than I and he wants me to practice with me while I’m in the stern. In marathon canoe racing, the heavier and stronger paddler is usually in the bow because they’re the one who supplies most of the power. The person in the stern has a little bit more to do other than calling, Hut!, when you want the bow paddler to switch sides. The stern paddler sets the course and has to make changes in the course using subtle variations in the stroke. It’s also easier to trim the canoe with the larger person in the bow.
I figure this trip is building up some endurance even though I’m not doing strictly the forward stroke the entire time nor am I going very fast.
Well, more gray clouds moving in and it’s starting to get chilly.
My back seems to be holding up, I’m not experiencing any acute pains. My entire back is sore, but nothing any different than what I’ve experienced before on these trips.
DAY FOUR (third day of paddling)
Lakes Traveled: Little Knife Lake, Ottertrack Lake, Swamp Lake and Saganaga Lake.
Distance: 17 miles
Monday, 06-14-99 (written at home on 06-15-99 at 2058 hours)
Last night, I was really tired, but I slept well. I got up early around 0500 hours and did my lower back exercises prior to getting out of the tent. I could hear it start to sprinkle prior to me getting up, but it did stop. I thought I better get going before it really started to rain.
It looked like it could start really raining at any moment, but all it did was sprinkle on and off. That’s ok I would rather have a light rain than a constant heavy rain.
I got my rain gear on, loaded the canoe with my gear and I began my day paddling by 0725 hours. I got about one mile from my campsite, by marker 918, and I talked to two guys who have been canoeing since April 17th. They were coming from Edmonton and continuing on to Prince Edward Island.
I continued on to Monument Portage after speaking with them. I made one trip across the portage and when I got back to the beginning these same two guys paddled up. We talked some more. The guy in the stern, his last name was similar to Jeffers or Jeffries. He told me he has done long canoe trips in the past. The guy in the bow who was doing most of the talking told me hasn’t done that much canoeing before. I can’t remember his name.
I took some pictures of the portage markers designating the boundary and which side was where, as well as a Ruff Grouse that was walking by at the time..
A strong wind has been blowing hard ever since I left my last campsite. I kept wondering what the waves were going to be like on the big water of Saganaga Lake. The wind has been blowing very strongly out of the north –northeast.
When I got to the open water of Lake Saganaga the waves were pretty rough, but not as bad as they were last year on Brule Lake. The toughest part was from marker 960 to the northern most point, Rocky Point, of American Point. It was at this point where the lake began to open up and I started to get the full force of the NE wind.
Once I got around the point, I paddled about 1 ½ miles to the south following the shoreline before I turned to go east along the south part of the islands, making my way toward the Saganaga corridor. I stopped briefly for about 10 minutes, to eat a power bar, some cheese and a pear while staying in my canoe. I ate my food while I was in my canoe when I was SW of Munker Island, there I was out of most of the wind. I made my way south along the Saganaga Corridor and I got back to the landing at 1420 hours
While back at the landing I talked to a girl who worked for, Way of the Wilderness. She told me her name and that she moved up north from Brooklyn Park a couple years earlier. I told her I was familiar with Brooklyn Park and that I work there, also. She told me her parents are still living in Brooklyn Park.
I finished putting my canoe on the truck and I got everything stowed away before heading up to have a hamburger and fries at the Way of the Wilderness. I left there about 1537 hours making my way back to the cities. I stopped in Grand Marais to get my thermos filled with coffee for the trip home. I arrived back home at 2145 hours.
I woke up today tired and sore but my back/ leg felt fine. It was nice to get my first canoe trip under my belt after the injury to my lower back.
Now, it’s time to start planning the next trip in July. I’m going out of Lake One, but I don’t have a route planned yet. (I never made the trip in July, but I did plan a solo Quetico trip in August that I did do)