BWCA Conditions for S. Kawishiwi Entry? Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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05/17/2022 03:23PM  
Does anyone have any information about the Kawishiwi Triangle area. Just talked to a ranger in the Kawishiwi office and she said it was really, really high.
Our plan is to go in on Friday, May 20... anyone with first-hand knowledge?
Thanks!
 
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CoachBigD
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05/17/2022 04:27PM  
I wonder if we talked to the same person. I called as well. Entering Lake One and head to the triangle the 28th. She mentioned to consider a different route.
nooneuno
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05/17/2022 06:27PM  
I have an entry planned for the 28th for the triangle area I think we’re still a long ways out to make a decision. Smaller rivers like this can rise and fall feet in a day
cyclones30
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05/17/2022 07:48PM  
Nearly all lakes, streams, and rivers are high. In some cases that makes things easier (no portage and just paddle through) and more dangerous in some cases.
Speckled
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05/18/2022 10:19AM  
We had planned on South Kawish for a day trip the morning of opener. I paddle a fair amount of rivers, but wasn't comfortable with the flow at the time and we ultimately didn't go. That was right after the big rains - my guess is it has subsided significantly since then.
technically_rugged
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05/18/2022 11:10AM  
SNF posted a photo from a campsite near South Kawishiwi River this morning. It's underwater.

https://www.facebook.com/SuperiorNF/posts/379199360915515

straighthairedcurly
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05/18/2022 06:16PM  
Following...we head up to S. Kawishiwi Memorial Day weekend. Glad we all have big river and whitewater experience.
CoachBigD
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05/18/2022 08:15PM  
Amazingly there is a usgs water gauge on the north kawishiwi. Looks like it has plateaued. Hopefully it starts going down
05/19/2022 05:02AM  
Thanks everyone for your thoughts. We are heading north in a few minutes... will give a report when I get back in 10 days.
CoachBigD
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05/19/2022 05:06AM  
ghamer: "Thanks everyone for your thoughts. We are heading north in a few minutes... will give a report when I get back in 10 days."

Here's to a safe trip.
RedLakePaddler
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05/19/2022 07:37AM  
I am on Lake Four now. We had planned on going down the triangle but decided to go out the number chain. We talked to a group that just returned. They said the portages were tricky and it would have been easy to get sweep down.
The gage at at the south Kawishiwi has been staying a round 11’ very close to the record high. Even the portage at the east end of Lake Four has a fair amount of current at it and the rapid by it is roaring.
I am glad we changed our plans.
Wishing everyone a safe enjoyable trip!

Carl
05/20/2022 04:37PM  
I’m currently at the campsite just east of the 210 rod portage on the north kawishiwi. The river is high and fast. We were going to do the triangle but instead are hanging gear then headed back. That 5 rod portage by the water gauge is completely underwater. We had to bushwhack a path. Several of the portages you’ve got to be VERY careful coming into to not get sucked into the current.
CoachBigD
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05/20/2022 04:51PM  
AceAceAce: That 5 rod portage by the water gauge is completely underwater." The east of the portage from Triangle around the small waterfall?
05/20/2022 07:07PM  
CoachBigD: "AceAceAce: That 5 rod portage by the water gauge is completely underwater." The east of the portage from Triangle around the small waterfall? "

Yes, it’s a raging rapids right now. I have a video of it I’ll post when I get back in a few days.
05/29/2022 08:06PM  
I just got back. We entered on May 20. The landing was fine though water was high.
We paddled to the first 8 rod portage and the water was to fast for us, so we made camp at one of the previous sites (#1698). I was paddling solo, so was a bit more hesitant to tackle the faster water than I would have been in a tandem.
When we rechecked the 8 rod portage 4 days later, it was fine and we portaged like normal.
Occupancy rates in the area was way less than 50%... it was never hard to find a camp site. After leaving site #1698 we spent a couple night at site #1132.
We then moved to site #1131, aka the Hilton. The water to the west of the site was really smoking but we saw 2 canoes fight their way upstream, barely making it. I suppose an alternative would be to portage through the campsite, if ok with the occupants, if any.
Overall I'd say water level has dropped by a foot or 2 making travel easier. But it is still challenging in some of the narrow points Kawishiwi flowage.
CoachBigD
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05/30/2022 06:36PM  
We just got back as well. We entered from Lake One and camped at #1139 for a couple nights. This is before the split to north and south. We had wanted 1138 but it was taken the first night. We did bushwhack around the falls. There is no longer a stream going down the actual portage. We saw folks take the actual port headed down stream. We decided to bushwhack the way back as well. We probably we would have been fine but I saw no reason to chance it and the bushwhack is not bad at all. The sun appeared just long enough for me to get a decent sunburn. Maybe a couple hours. We didn't get skunked fishing but we also didn't exactly light it up. A dozen eater size walleyes and a chucky 32" pike. All in all a great trip.
straighthairedcurly
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05/31/2022 06:16AM  
We entered at S. Kawishiwi on the 28th. We had a report from some exiting folks that the first little 5 rod portage was a raging torrent, so they had gone down the vee, but they didn't know how we would get up it. However, they were wrong. They apparently had trouble finding the portage as they were going downstream and mistook the side channel of the river for the portage. The portage is just fine, but we use the upstream landing that was more protected from the current flow. We camped at the bottom of the triangle (site 1131, I think...no map handy). We have experience in current and paddled up that swiftwater to the better campsite landing without issue (just a bit winded). The campsite was in good shape, but clearly the whole upstream landing had been underwater earlier in May.

On Sunday, we did a day trip clockwise around the whole triangle. No issues to report. Some portage entrances and exits still require awareness and planning in regards to the current, but nothing was dangerous. If you have zero experience in burbling, bubbling current in a canoe just don't over react and keep paddling forward. The 210 rod portage on the north Kawishiwi was fine and the falls were fun to go see...absolute torrent! The upstream landing was so different looking than when we were there in Sept. 2016...the shrubs our son hid in on that trip had water lapping through them. When we left the North Kawishiwi and entered the South Kawishiwi, we realized that we could have skipped the 2nd 15 rod portage and easily run down the swiftwater, but also no big deal to just portage. That portage is still slightly flooded, but did not have any moving water on the portage anymore...but plenty of evidence it had not long ago.

On the way back to the entry point Monday, we skipped the 5 rod portage and ran thru the swiftwater. Other than that and the stuff mentioned above, we didn't feel it wise with the boat we had to attempt running any other rapids despite our experience.

Have fun and be safe.
CoachBigD
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05/31/2022 06:40AM  
Glad to hear ghamer and straighthairedcurly had good trips. I was hoping to run across you guys. As it was, we saw next to no one. We met a couple headed out when we were on our way in that were wide-eyed and clearly ready to leave. There was a couple with a dog camping at 1145 as we passed and we also saw them fishing below the falls. We also saw a group of five with two canoes pass through. Other than that, no one. I was expecting people everywhere. Granted, we did not venture onto the north or south rivers (Stayed upstream) so there certainly could have been folks just around the point on the north kawishiwi and we didn't know it. We didn't see smoke coming from that direction and if people were there, they didn't venture towards us that we saw. It really gave us a vibe of being deeper in the wilderness than we were despite being in clear line of sight to a cell tower and having the ability to send and receive text messages and receive screenshots of the weather forecast.
straighthairedcurly
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05/31/2022 01:21PM  
Coach, I was shocked at how few people we saw as well. We saw as many people exiting on Saturday morning as we saw the next 3 days. Most people we saw were very, very overpacked and were struggling to manage the muddy portages because of disorganized gear, poor footwear choices, or not knowing how to portage a canoe. Hardly saw anyone actually on the water. I agree that it was a great wilderness experience given how close to multiple entry points we were the whole time.

Bugs were present but not bad yet.
 
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