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03/01/2021 10:54AM  
My group of 5/6 is going in at Cross Bay EP late July.

A couple questions...

Does anyone know which specific site on Ham Lake was the one the fella stayed at when he started the "Ham Lake fire"? Or is it closed? Just thought it would be an interesting little thing to check out, even if it's just a normal campsite. I've read the book "Gunflint Burning," so clearly I'm interested in the event and thought it might be fun to put into context.

Other than that, just looking for any other first-hand experience/tips about the area. We will most likely basecamp 3 or 4 nights at one spot. So we'll push for a while on our entry day then set up shop. I kind of have it in my head that we'll head toward Karl/Long Island, stopping if we find a great campsite, but probably going all the way down to LI. How long does that take?

We could also head west from Cross Bay toward Snipe...does anyone have a recommended (or "avoid at all costs") campsite there for a group of 5/6 that like a nice site? I know there are reviews/ratings on this site, but literally all 4 are rated "3".

Any other tips about the route/fishing/sights to see around there are greatly appreciated...thanks!
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distinguished member (122)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/01/2021 11:17AM  
Read my trip report from last September. It was my 11 yo daughter and me first trip with just the 2 of us. We made it to the far east island site on Long Island in about 6 hours. We were not rushing, and I had to triple portage most of the portages. The low water on the river sections meant I had to get out and push a few times too, slowing us down.

Ham Lake was a pretty lake,but it's outside of the park. Cross Bay and Rib seemed to be shallow, swampy river lakes. I would not make them a destination. LI is too beautiful and isn't that much farther to not go all the way. You have good day trip options from LI as well - Cherokee, Frost and Omega.
03/01/2021 12:36PM  
As you enter Ham through the narrow channel, it is the site on the left(east). Not much burned at jumped the channel quick and headed west. You can see it had not fanned out much when it crossed Round Lake road, missing most of Tuscarora Outfitters and just south of the Cross Bay ep.
03/01/2021 01:09PM  
LI isn't too far, maybe 4 hours. There aren't too many sites between the Boundary and Karl/LI. I like Snipe - it's a nice lake, worth a visit, but no great campsites for a group. Yeah, they're all a 3 on average, but is it a 2 or a 4 . . . ? I've stayed on the island site a couple of times. I'm usually solo and don't basecamp, so not too picky about sites, other than a decent pad for 1 tent. I've heard some people like the southern site on Cross Bay, but have no experience with either one. I stayed at Rib Lake one time - it was fine for me for a night, but doubt you'd be happy there, especially not for several days. I usually go to Karl/LI the first day and just stay @ the first Karl site if it's open. There are some nice sites on Long Island I think, but I've only stayed at the one close to Muskeg, and that was ~10 years ago. It was OK for me is about all I really remember. You do have some nice day trip options from there. I did go through Snipe to Copper and the Howl Swamp to Tuscarora one time.
distinguished member(850)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/01/2021 01:15PM  
Long Island should definitely be your destination if you are going to base camp. Great day trips from there. The Cross River toward Cherokee is very nice with easy portages.

It ought to be pretty busy in late July. I recommend an early start and keep moving if you want to have some campsite choices.

Cross Bay is not often a destination lake, but there is one great campsite on the east side at the south end of the lake. If you want to break up your trip out, it is a good stopping place. Cross Bay ought to be moose central, but I have missing them the last two trips through.
distinguished member(1265)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/01/2021 02:40PM  
We have stayed at 5 sites in the Long Island/Karl/Snipe area.

Snipe - most sites are smaller. The one furthest east on the bay toward Missing Link seemed to be the largest. We stayed on the one on the island way southwest. Really only one tent pad, but, out of the way with a nice porch and nice kitchen.

Karl - We have stayed at the site next to the portage to the west end of LIL. It was a nice site. Good tent pads and (sort of) nice view to the north which we wanted as we were anticipating auroras.

Long Island
1. Island in west end. Great site. Lots of tent pads and good kitchen.
2. Very furthest east campsite. We have been here at least twice. Very nice site. Kitchen is up over the water so would be good if there is a breeze to keep bugs away. Tent pad is very large and can handle 2-3 tents. Nice landing and good swimming area.
3. Island site just west of #2. Very nice site. Up above water. Good views to the south. View is of a recovering burn area, but is mostly green now. We had turtles come up and attempt to lay eggs while we were there. Good tent pads and nice kitchen area.

Day trip ideas:

Frost Lake - Nice sand beaches and a chance to see moose.
Cherokee Lake - Beautiful scenery. Many islands.
Winchell Lake - Climb the path to the top of the cliffs and/or find the water fall on the south shore.

Have a great trip!
03/01/2021 11:13PM  
The only site on LI to avoid is #566, way to small. All the others can be made to work except maybe #571,again too small but doable. I stayed at or was able to check out all the sites on LI on 2 base camping trips but as of last Aug. had not been abused beyond the usual heavy use.
03/02/2021 10:55AM  
Thanks everybody for all the guys are awesome and gave me exactly the info I was hoping for!
03/02/2021 11:02AM  
merlyn: "The only site on LI to avoid is #566, way to small. All the others can be made to work except maybe #571,again too small but doable. I stayed at or was able to check out all the sites on LI on 2 base camping trips but as of last Aug. had not been abused beyond the usual heavy use." I stayed at 571 it was fair at best and not much room for a tent
distinguished member (122)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/11/2021 11:00AM  
My son and I arrived on Long Island Lake on day one from Cross Bay EP, base camped on Long Island for a few nights, and took a day trip to Frost from there. We found Long Island to be very scenic, and interesting to explore. We took the route through Snipe on the way back, camped on the island site there a couple of nights, and ended the trip at Round.
distinguished member(768)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/13/2021 07:03AM  
Tumblehome podcast just did an express episode about the Cross Bay entry. Click here.
senior member (75)senior membersenior member
03/17/2021 08:05PM  
The Long Island campsite that is to the east of the “shortcut” portage is wonderful.
On a point with a great sunset view. There’s another site just west of the portage that looked nice too. Then there’s the island site in the same area, any of these 3 would be a nice base camp.
On a line from the island site heading directly towards the portage on the north shore, there’s some deep weeds that harbor many many Northern Pike. I caught over 30 nice ones in the course of a few hours on 2 afternoons in August just trolling back and forth with a deep diving crank bait. Non stop action and all nice quality fish
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