BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
July 12 2020
Number of Permits per Day: 3
Elevation: 1673 feet
Clearwater Lake - 62
EP 62 and Johnson Falls
June 07, 2016
Number of Days:
Cold northern winds and intermittent sprinkles. My wife and I made the turn from Clearwater Lodge toward the portage to Caribou. We were greeted by mud - as the first 3rd of the 220 rod portage was underwater. Rather than try and negotiate the edges, we decided to walk our way through the middle. Only hit a couple of deeper muddy spots. My wife carried the lighter duluth pack (around 60 pounds) while I delivered the aluminum canoe to Caribrou. We doubled back to get the heavy duluth pack (almost 100 pounds), paddles, and fishing rods. Pretty chilly conditions helped keep the bugs away and reduced the need to hydrate. Took us around 3 hours to get to campsite #4 - the last one available on Caribou. Nice site - as it was wide open and allowed plenty of sun from the north shore - which also gave some protection from the chilly north winds. Set up camp and headed out to find those walleyes. The wind caused us to give up fishing after around an hour - and the cold front shut down the fish. We gathered wood and discussed our next fishing attempt for early evening. We grabbed two northerns - but Leslie thought they were too gross to eat. Tossed 'em back. No walleyes, but fun fishing. Prepared to hunker down for a cold night sleep as rain shortened our fire.
Awoke to full fog as we speculated how cold it was. Hot coffee was awesome on such a morning. Sunlight broke the fog early as we needed every degree to help warm up our hands and feet. Planned our day trip to Johnson Falls. The falls were flowing strongly - so no swimming. However, the portages were much better than our first one. We spent a couple of hours taking photos and exploring. Johnson Falls is definitely worth the trip. Afterward, we tried a couple of more fishing expeditions for those elusive walleyes. Still shocked from the rainy and cold weather - but Leslie caught another northern. After looking at those teeth - back in the water it went. We had a nice fire and watched the sun set. Prepared ourselves for another cold night - as we layered most of our clothes and hit our sleeping bags. We could tell tomorrow was going to be much warmer and hoped those walleyes would be more active. For some strange reason, we saw a few people bivouac on various portages and shorelines. EP 62's quota is 3 daily - so we speculated more people came from the east to add the camping pressure. We were happy to have our campsite as turtles, red squirrels, loons, and eagles provided plenty of entertainment.
Spent the day gathering wood and fishing. We wanted a nice fire - so we headed along the shorelines via canoe with saw in hand. Cut some downed cedar trees that looked very dry and seasoned. No walleyes still, however Leslie picked up a bass and agreed to eat it. She had angler's remorse upon watching me fillet - so she only wanted a small piece for dinner. The evening fire was awesome! We left a stash of dry wood for the next campers. Last night - and much warmer conditions prevailed. Slept like a rock. Planned our exit strategy for the morning hoping the portage was drier.
Awoke at 6 - hoping rain would hold off as clouds were on the horizon. Packed up camp - tent was dry! Paddled west - with the wind at our backs. Portage was a bit drier - but still pretty muddy. Plodded through as the thunder began to set off in the distance. Once on Clearwater, we still had the wind at our back. Arrived at 10:30 - and not a minute too soon. Thunderstorms began - but we were already in the shower. Made it back safely and DRY! If you've never rented a canoe from Clearwater Lodge, I highly recommend them. Nice people and a first class outfitter. Lovely trip and awesome falls. Wished we'd caught some walleyes, but we'll get them next time.