BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
May 12 2021
Number of Permits per Day: 11
Elevation: 1205 feet
Seagull Lake - 54
Seagull to Ogishkemuncie and back
July 03, 2009
Number of Days:
Two of my sons and my oldest son's friend joined me for a trip to the BWCA over the 4th of July weekend. It was to be my middle son's first trip in the BWCA and our guest's first real trip into the BWCA overnight. [paragraph break] We drove up on Thursday and checked in with Seagull outfitters. We had 2 problems off the bat: a dead battery and a problem with getting the social security number for our guest's fishing license. For the battery, we were able to jump the car at home and hit the road. We got a new battery in Hinckley at the NAPA store and brought it along. Once we stopped at the outfitters the car wouldn't turn over. We left it in the outfitter parking lot until we got back from our BWCA trip. For the social security number, we couldn't use our cell phones since there is no signal so we tried to use the pay phone at Seagull. It took quite a few tries but we finally contacted his parents and they got it for us. Whew! [paragraph break] Anyway, we stayed overnight at the bunkhouse on Thursday night and had the quick breakfast from Seagull Outfitters. We finished packing and hit the lake. It had been raining on and off for the last week and had been unseasonably cold. The forecast was for clearing skies and 70 degrees. It was cloudy when we went in but not too cold. The winds were calm. We started paddling later than we wanted -- 8:30am or so. [paragraph break] Our plan was to paddle along the north shore of Seagull Lake and get to the Alpine Lake portage. We immmediately got lost around Fishhook Island. We missed our right turn and ended up going clockwise around the Island and winding back north. It took and extra half hour to hour to figure out our mistake. We must have been spending too much time watching the new house construction going on along the lake shore and examining the burn area.[paragraph break] We found the portage without too much trouble (100 rods or so depending on the map) and it was fairly easy. The boys took their fair share of the load and it went well (for the first portage for 2 of them). [paragraph break] When we entered Alpine Lake, we met some groups that looked rather haggard. They had a rough time with the weather and seemed to be glad to be heading in. I didn't have the heart to tell them that the forecast was outstanding.[paragraph break] Alpine Lake was like glass and we wound around the islands to the left and found the portage to Jasper Lake. We were impressed with the rock formations that were exposed due to the fire. The Jasper portage followed a stream and there was a waterfall at the far end. When I had passed this way years ago, it was hard to see the waterfall due to the trees and brush. The fire had cleared it out and make it easy to see. It was flowing loud and strong due to the rains earlier.[paragraph break] Jasper Lake was peaceful and an easy paddle. We followed it to the portage on the far side of the lake. The Kingfisher portage was very short and easy. Likewise, Kingfisher is a rather short lake with the portage to Ogishkemuncie at the far end. We made it quickly into Ogish.[paragraph break] Ogishkemuncie Lake is rather long but easy to navigate. We stopped by some campsites and found that all but 1 were vacant. The outfitter recommended the island sites at the west end of the lake so we made our way there. Along the way we stopped at a campsite for lunch. We were starved and couldn't make it all the way without something to eat. After some summer sausage and trail mix, we continued on to the island campsite at the far end of the lake and made camp. We arrived around 3:30pm and set up camp. The kids were exhausted so they went to bed early without much of a fire.
We spent most of our day hanging around camp, eating, reading, and resting. The campsite was rather small but comfortable. We had a nosey field mouse and turtle on the island and they would show up when we least expected it. It was a little tough finding a spot to raise the food pack due to a lack of suitable trees but we made due. It was also tough finding easy to cut firewood so we had to find some larger fallen logs and cut them up with quite a bit of effort. The "box" was a little close to the camp and if the wind was right, we got the idea that it was too close.[paragraph break] It was a beautiful day - around 70 degrees and sunny with a light breeze that died out after dark.[paragraph break] After a nice supper, the kids did some reading and we hit the tents to play some cards - 500 was the game of the night. We went to bed on a calm night with the sound of distant fireworks going off.
This was my birthday. We decided to fish around the south and west side of the lake. We caught a few northern pike and smallmouth bass. We went to the north shore and portaged into Spice Lake. It was a little hard finding the portage and the portage was a little tough with fallen trees and big rocks. The reward was nice fishing in the lake and a great spot for lunch at the only campsite on the lake. We caught some northern and bass there too. The wind picked up after lunch so we headed back to camp. [paragraph break] At camp we took it easy and lounged around. It was warm and clear but the wind got worse as the day went on. We went to bed listening to the wind whistle through the trees.
Since is was still windy, we decided to break the trip back into 2 days. We broke camp and headed back to stay at either Alpine or west Seagull. It was clear and warm but there was a strong, steady breeze. The wind was from the northwest so the paddle back to Kingfisher was long and rough. [paragraph break] Kingfisher was a fairly easy paddle, but Alpine was very rough. There were white-caps and the wind was very hard to handle between the islands. It took at least twice as long to get back as it took to get through the first time.[paragraph break] Seagull didn't look too bad, we would be going mostly with the wind so we set a course roughly straight east from the portage for a couple of islands with campsites. It wasn't too bad at first, but the wind shifted from the west to the northwest and the waves got rougher as we progressed. My son in the other canoe had an especially rough time with the high waves. [paragraph break] We got the the first campsite on a large island and found a beautiful spot. It was a sloping campsite with unburned trees and had burned trees all around it. The tent sites had a few nasty rocks, but it was adequate. There was a nice rock point that gave a great view to the north and west. [paragraph break] The "box" was a little overgrown but decent. We didn't bother setting up the rain fly since the weather was clear. The wind died down as the day progressed. [paragraph break] The trip took a lot of energy and boys were starved. We had 3 meals left and I cooked up all of them and the kids were still hungry. Oh well, less to carry back tomorrow. [paragraph break] The boys stayed up late talking...it was their last night and they wanted to get every drop out of the experience. It was a cool evening - good sleeping weather.
We broke camp early and headed out. We decided to canoe up the east side of Three Mile Island and Fishhook Island. We met a couple motor boats but they kept to themselves. It was an easy paddle and the winds were fairly low. The day was sunny and cool.[paragraph break] We made it back to the outfitters around 9:30am and took a shower. That's always a good part of the trip. Seagull Outfitters sent over a truck and jumped my van battery for me (thanks!). We made it back to Grand Marais before noon and home before 8pm. [paragraph break] This was a fun trip. If it wasn't so windy, it would have been one of the most fun trips that I have taken with my kids.