according to google it's 11 miles, 22 minutes
I don't know how far it is, but you can google it up; I've done it with other ones. I'm sure Sawbill Outfitters could tell you too.
lindylair: "I have entered at Baker and Kawishiwi a few times but not done the trip you mention. If you go you will see some nice area and lakes. Based on my experience I would suggest this - put in at Baker and make your way to South Temperance which is a beautiful island studded lake with good fishing. Head up to Cherokee and back down to Sawbill, over to Alton and through the Lady Chain over to Polly. From there it is a 4 hour paddle out to Kawishiwi. But moving every day this is a fairly moderate 4 day trip, not a 5 day trip. Unless you are willing to layover a day (which I highly recommend) somewhere along the way, you will run out of water. Plus you will be heading up to a nice area and then returning to a pretty busy area on Sawbill and Alton. You could spread it out with short paddling days and stretch it out to 5 days paddling if you wanted to. Stay on Kelly or Jack the first night, Cherokee the second night, one of the lady lakes the third night, Polly the 4th night and an easy out the last day.
What's your guess/experience for the drive time to drop off a vehicle at Baker and one at Sawbill? Is it long/short?
Now I have a lot to noodle before 1/26!
It sounds like a Sawbill entry would make more sense--to Kawishiwi through Louse (maybe via little Sag if we are in the mood).
This trip is my "let's see how it feels trip" each year. Normally I do 3 trips a year. A full 7 days in May before memorial day where we fish-fish-fish. Then this trip of about 4-6 days in July or August where we paddle and trip. (Except if we didn't wet a line everyday my son would tip the boat and let me float into eternity!) Then I try and hit a shorter solo trip in late September or October where I park it and relax for a few days. (or freeze).
This is one of those trips where if I have an EP to start and a place to finish--we are more than fine making some things up as we go, but we want to at least have a basic plan.
Appreciate the input and thoughts--this is what makes this community great!
wxce1260: "This is all good stuff. I get the point of staying too close to the other EP. Was noodling the idea of heading north through Temperance to Cherokee, then south bound through Frost, Mesaba, then head through Louse and Malberg through Koma and down south.
The problem with 5 days is that you can go north or west but not both north and west from Baker to Kawishiwi.
Through Frost and Louse is very ambitious in 5 days. Day 1 Baker to N/S Temperance. Day 2 N/S Temperance to Frost Lake. Day 3 Frost Lake to Mesaba Lake (This would be grueling. After doing the Frost River, the portage from Fente to Hub Lake goes straight up for 1/4 of a mile off of Fente.). Day 4 Mesaba to Trail. Day 5 Trail to Malberg. Day 6 Malberg to Kawishiwi.
We have done the Sawbill East Route (to or near LIttle Sag.) out of Baker before. We did it in 7 days with one day layover on Mesaba. But here is a possible 5 day itinerary: Day 1 Baker to N/S Temperance. Day 2 N/S. Temperance to Snipe Lake. Day 3 Snipe to Crooked Lake (Through Copper, Hubbub, Howl). Day 4. Crooked Lake to Mesaba Lake. Day 5 Mesaba to Sawbill. Leave very early in the morning to be out by 1-2pm). It will not leave you a lot of fishing time. Day 2 could be long and passes near 2 entry points at Cross Bay and Snipe Lakes. I would pick up the first site you find open from Cross Bay Lake to Snipe. Again, there are some larger lakes in this and a wind bound day could derail your plan. Starting out of Sawbill might gain you some saved distance.
Other trip ideas:
We have also done trip to Little Sag from Kawishiwi ending at Sawbill. That is more likely to be done in 5 days: Day 1 Kawishiwi to Malberg Lake. Day 2 Malberg to Little Sag. Day 3. Little Sag to Mesaba Lake. Day 4 Mesaba Lake to Sawbill. This leaves a day for a layover, fishing, etc. All of these days are pretty long travel days. But it takes you through some pretty remote and less visited parts of the BW. Only Little Sag is big enough to cause wind issues.
Baker Lake 5 Day: Day 1 Baker to N/S Temperance (or east Brule). Day 2. N/S Temperance to Winchell. Day 3 Winchell to Long Island Lake. Day 4 Long Island to N/S. Temperance. Day 5 N/S. Temperance back to Baker OR Day 4 Long Island to Cherokee (side trip to Frost Lake for the sand beaches). Day 5 Cherokee to Sawbill. Several Lakes in this route could present wind delay issues.
Start at Sawbill and do the Louse River: Day 1 Sawbill to Wine Lake. Day 2 Wine to Trail Lake. Day 3 Trail Lake to Malberg Lake. Day 4 Layover to fish or visit the pictographs on Fishdance Lake or both (fish your way to Fishdance and back!). Day 5 Malberg to Kawishiwi. Other than Sawbill to start there are no bigger lakes that would cause wind concerns. You have an extra day built in too. There is another thread near the top of the forum that is discussing Louse River route right now.
What is the possibility of adding a 6th day? That would make many of these Baker to Kawishiwi routes that are just out of reach a possibility.
I do not know whether you single or double portage, what your average travel speed is, how many miles/hours would be reasonable travel for you, etc., but . . .
You may already have seen the report (written for grandchildren), but we did a 2014 trip from Kawishiwi to Sawbill via Little Sag that may be of interest. We were out more than 5 days but did not travel every day; it could conceivably be done in that time. Total mileage (including double portage miles) is about 50 miles. Sawbill to Baker probably adds 6-8 miles.
5 days from 39 to 37 and taking the Louse would be quite a bit of travel and not much fishing. Sawbill to Kawishiwi via the Louse would be more doable and leave some fishing time once you have camp setup type thing. Fish Malberg area too and whatnot.
This is all good stuff. I get the point of staying too close to the other EP. Was noodling the idea of heading north through Temperance to Cherokee, then south bound through Frost, Mesaba, then head through Louse and Malberg through Koma and down south.
That keeps me (while still in some busier sections) a little farther north of the EPs. Not sure of the travel along Louse River or if this is a bit too ambitious.
No real focus-mostly just want to see a part I haven't seen before. Will fish some, paddle lots.
We have 2 vehicles--but the distance between those two seems a bit long.
Not opposed to just doing the northern route and coming out Sawbill either--mostly kicking the idea can right now.
I'm not a huge fan of this route due to likely needing to basically paddle right past another EP mid-trip. And the other routes to stay farther from Sawbill and longer and could be a challenge in that amount of time.
Baker has great routes. Kawishiwi has great routes. But I'm not sure I'd do them point to point in less than 5 days
I have been thinking about this entry point pairing for two days now. I have travelled that area many years and have never thought to combine an in and out at these two spots. Mostly because they are in the middle of nowhere and the shuttles into both spots would be too much money. I either start and end at Sawbill or shuttle out from Sawbill and end back at Sawbill.
There are two other problems with pairing those entries:
1. They are awkward trying to fit paddling days into them.
2. Passing so close to an entry point (Sawbill lake) you don't know what you will be able to find for campsites. South Sawbill, South Kelso, Alton, and Beth are frequently full. Even before the pandemic driven surge of paddlers this was the case.
You don't say what the focus of your trip is. Fishing? Traveling? Little of both?
Here are some scenarios and what makes them work or not:
Lady Lakes: Day 1: Baker Lake to Alton or Kelso (Going all the way to Beth would be nice, but with only 4 campsites, it is often full and then you have to either backtrack to Alton or press on over the 280 rd. portage to Grace.). Start with Kelso Lake from the east river entrance (Maybe even stop on Sawbill if any of the sites in the bay to Kelso are open) and work your way south through Kelso into Alton checking all the sites to the south end of Alton. If nothing then head to Beth. Day 2 Kelson/Alton to Phoebe. Day 3 Phoebe to Polly. Day 4 Layover or Day trip. Day 5 Phoebe to Kawishiwi. You first day has the potential to be the longest as you look for a campsite. The rest are pretty reasonable.
Louse River Route (Very high quality wilderness, but also pretty difficult). The problem with this route is the Louse River takes two days and there is only one stopping spot in the middle - Trail Lake. You have to work back from that for the first 2- 3 days. There are two entry spots into the Louse River - Wine Lake or Mesaba Lake. Both are too far from Baker for one day (imho). Day 1 - Baker to Sawbill or Kelso. (See notes above). Day 2 Kelso to Wine. Long walk today. The 480 rd portage from Lujenida to Zenith will take 2-4 hours to complete. Day 3/4 Wine to Trail and Trail to Malberg. See my notes here . Day 5 Malberg to Kawishiwi. (Long day)
Some may say that Baker to Wine is doable. Perhaps, but what good will it be if you have to take a layover to rest up for the strenuous Louse River route?
See what I mean about awkward distances?
I don't think the Frost River route west is a good option. I think you end up too deep in the wilderness to finish comfortably in 5 days at Kawishiwi. Day 1 Baker to South Temperance. Day 2 South Temperance to Frost Lake, Day 3. Frost Lake to Afton Lake. (Some people can go futher than Afton, but that depends on the water level. So I would not count on being able to further on this route.). Day 4, Afton to Makwa or Pan (A very long day could take you to Malberg, but this would be 2 grueling days in a row. And Malberg to Kawishiwi is no picnic either.). Day 5 This leaves Pan to Kawishiwi. That would be a long grueling day. The problem here is that there are 2 pretty large lake crossings - Cherokee and Little Sag. If for any reason (wind) you could not cross those lakes on the day there, your trip timeline would be off.
Little Sag Loop - Day 1 Baker to South Temperance, Day 2 South Temperance to Long Island Lake. Day 3 Long Island Lake to Tuscarora (via Snipe Lake), Day 4 Tuscarora to Little Sag (you might get as far as Makwa this day). And again (imho), you are too far out to complete your trip in 5 days. Also lots of bigger lake crossings that could delay your trip.
I like the suggestion of making a loop up to Cherokee and back down to Sawbill - Day 1 Baker to South Temperance. Day 2 South Temperance to Cherokee. Day 3 Cherokee to Beth Lake. (you are likely to be crossing a pretty windy Alton Lake in the middle of the afternoon.). Day 4 Beth Lake to Hazel Lake. Day 5 Hazel Lake to Kawishiwi Lake. OR Day 4 Beth Lake to Polly Lake (we have only done this far once) Day 5 Polly to Kawishiwi.
I also like the suggestion of detouring to Malberg Lake and taking in the pictographs on Fishdance Lake.
My suggestion: Start at Kawishiwi and travel back to Sawbill through the Lady Lakes. Once back to Sawbill, day trip from Baker Lake back to Sawbill in a nice relaxing day with a lunch pack and your canoes.
I hope my thinking out loud helps to point out the pitfalls in each route and why you don't encounter trip reports like this. I would read some of the reports that include portions of your requested route. Talk to a couple of outfitters. Can some of these routes be done in 5 days, Yup. The question is do you want to work that hard and push yourselves day after day? The weather factor comes into play on several of these routes also. I don't like to plan a trip where we "have" to travel every day.
lindyair recommended the route I was going to mention. I have been in all those areas, just not on the same trip. If you want to travel further, you could add a bit by going north from the lady chain up to Malberg. From there you can do a day trip to the pictographs on Fishdance Lake.
Here is my trip report for a loop from Sawbill up to Cherokee, back down through the N and S Temperance and back through Burnt/Smoke (and part of our group exited through Baker Lake).
Here is my trip report that started from Sawbill, went through Alton and out to the lady chain then up to Malberg including a daytrip to Fishdance. (The 2nd half wouldn't apply since I looped back via the Louse R.)
All Loused Up
I have entered at Baker and Kawishiwi a few times but not done the trip you mention. If you go you will see some nice area and lakes. Based on my experience I would suggest this - put in at Baker and make your way to South Temperance which is a beautiful island studded lake with good fishing. Head up to Cherokee and back down to Sawbill, over to Alton and through the Lady Chain over to Polly. From there it is a 4 hour paddle out to Kawishiwi. But moving every day this is a fairly moderate 4 day trip, not a 5 day trip. Unless you are willing to layover a day (which I highly recommend) somewhere along the way, you will run out of water. Plus you will be heading up to a nice area and then returning to a pretty busy area on Sawbill and Alton. You could spread it out with short paddling days and stretch it out to 5 days paddling if you wanted to. Stay on Kelly or Jack the first night, Cherokee the second night, one of the lady lakes the third night, Polly the 4th night and an easy out the last day.
If you want an adventure and are strong paddlers/portagers I would suggest heading out of Kawishiwi up to Malberg then NE to Little Sag, back through Beaver, Adams and Boulder to Malberg and back out the way you came. The lakes north of Malberg are in a pretty remote area of the BWCA and you are likely to see less people up there and some nice country.
Either way it would be a good trip, just not 5 days worth of paddling between Baker and Kawishiwi with the original plan. but that's okay too - layovers are awesome for daytrips and fishing.
Either way have a great trip.
I am looking at a 5 day trip in July. Looking at starting at Baker Lake and winding up at Kawishiwi Lake. Been searching on the board-and can't find much info from anyone that may have routed that trip before? Lots in or out at Sawbill but can't find much for a 39 to 37 trip.
Question--anyone out there done that trip? If so, what route did you take between the two and what sort of time involved. No concerns from us on portaging and we will paddle daily.