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   Group Forum: Solo Tripping
      First Solo Kawishiwi Lake     



member (27)member
03/31/2016 05:38AM   (Thread Older Than 3 Years)
I'm finally doing it. Bought a Northstar Magic at Canoecopia and planning a last week of September solo into Kawishiwi Lake EP37. Looking like 9 days 8 nights. I plan on a counter clockwise loop including Malberg, Makwa, Fraser, Alice, Fishdance, Beaver or Trapline, and Polly. Route is flexible depending on weather and what I feel like doing, something that really appeals to me about a solo. I have done family trips in this area of the BWCA in the past and will enjoy the memories. I've also never been this late in the year, very excited about the fall colors. I'm looking for any suggestions for campsites, fishing, or places of interest to visit. Looking to really travel and explore. I've been more than impressed with the wealth knowledge on this forum and think you in advance for your time. Sean
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03/31/2016 06:08AM  
Awesome and congrats on the new ride! Soloing is very addicting. I did my second solo last year and did Kawishiwi to Malberg and back. I loved the area especially past Polly.
03/31/2016 07:12AM  
Kawishiwi is were I did my first solo. No planning, I just threw my stuff in the truck and drove to Ely. I got whatever permit that was available, and went to IGA to buy some food...One of my favorite solos because of the spontaneous approach.
Have fun!
03/31/2016 07:23AM  
First solos are always an adventure and a learning experience. I'm sure you'll enjoy yours.

Some thoughts and information for you:

You should see plenty of fall color the last week of Sept., but days are short - about 12 hours - and the weather is highly variable. You'll need to be prepared for quite a wide range of temperatures. Wind can impact travel plans.

You'll be the only one to carry the load and do camp chores. The more solos I do, the more I try to lighten the load and simplify the chores.

As far as the route goes, I've been on part of it. If you haven't been up to Makwa, there's some information about a flooded portage in the trip reports that inspector13 and I did about our trip from Kawishiwi to Sawbill a couple of years ago that you'll find useful.

In your list of lakes, if Beaver/Trapline was a thought about where to camp, I stopped at the site on Trapline on my way to Adams a few years ago. It is not much of a site - you'd almost certainly be better off to stay on Beaver although I did not stop at any of them.

I may do parts of your route a couple of weeks before you in Sept. If you post shortly before you go, I may after additional information. I should be home by the 17th - what day are you leaving?
distinguished member(520)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/31/2016 07:37AM  
This is a great area of the BWCA, especially for a solo. some real nice day adventures and a circle loop once past Malberg based upon your traveling speed.

If you have time and the water is high enough, head up the Louse River and fish Boze, east side where the river enters the lake. Pretty day trip too. Pictographs are very cool on Fishdance. I have heard that the campsite across from the pictographs is haunted.

Just an FYI. If you bring your dog, be aware that DNR wolf trapping/radio placement does take place in the fall on the very edges of the portages from Polly to Malberg, maybe farther north too. The traps are right on the edge so have your hound leashed before entering the portage.


03/31/2016 08:06AM  
Welcome to the solo thread and, lots of great info here and a great group of people, enjoy your first solo and congrats on the new canoe.
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03/31/2016 11:55AM  
quote MacCamper: "

Pictographs are very cool on Fishdance. I have heard that the campsite across from the pictographs is haunted.


Hehe: nothing like that info before a first solo!
member (27)member
03/31/2016 12:40PM  
Thanks for all the help. Ducks, How was the Pagami burn area south of Polly? From your photos, it looks to have a lot of growth. I'm excited to see the regrowth of that area. I guess the haunted campsite must be what Jerry Vandiver referred to as the spirit of Fishdance Lake. Normally wouldn't bother me, but who knows after a week out there. Lol. I'll have to look for the pictographs.
03/31/2016 02:58PM  
Pictos are on the big cliff....can't miss it. We ate lunch at the haunted casualties. The Trapline site is not good, but the site on the point on Beaver is very nice. Some nice sites on the islands in the Kawishiwi river itself (aka River Lake). Nice beach site in Amber. There are some nice sites on Malberg and some crappy ones. I wasn't impressed with any sites on Koma except the mid-lake site on the peninsula. Polly has a lot of good sites. A good summer site is not always a good October site. I choose more guarded, less wind affected sites in October. The area south of Polly may be green (it wasn't yet last May), but it is just ground cover green.
03/31/2016 07:21PM  

Here's a link to my pictures on Shutterfly. The 2013 and 2014 albums are trips in Kawishiwi. There are quite a few pictures of what you will see through the burn and these were both Sept trips, so they match your time frame well. I was surprised by the color there at that time. There should be even more growth now.
03/31/2016 07:55PM  
quote hamillsc: "Thanks for all the help. Ducks, How was the Pagami burn area south of Polly? From your photos, it looks to have a lot of growth. I'm excited to see the regrowth of that area.. "

Yes. there was a lot of green (all of it short but getting taller) during my trip. There are a lot of black tree trunks also. But, it's amazing how much green there is and how much growth there is compared to when I did a day trip to Square the summer after the fire. That 1st summer everything was black, even the forest floor. It was neat to see how the regrowth is coming, but I don't think I'd want to camp on Kawasachong though.

If my memory works......... you start seeing some burn in between Kawishiwi and Square, the far shore of Square is burnt, then the river to Kawasachong, Kawasachong, and a lot of Townline is burnt. The southern shoreline of Polly where the portage from Townline is is also burnt. As you paddle north into Polly you no longer see any burn.
03/31/2016 08:19PM  
quote muddyfeet: "quote MacCamper: "

Pictographs are very cool on Fishdance. I have heard that the campsite across from the pictographs is haunted.


Hehe: nothing like that info before a first solo!"

I don't think haunted is the right word....I'd say "enchanted"is more accurate. Searching the forum for that lake will show what I mean. I love that site!

Great boat hamillsc, and welcome to the forum. Weather can be wildly odd at that time of year, but thats probably my favorite time to go.
03/31/2016 09:36PM  
A wonderful area, north of Malberg anyway. Was there a few years ago. Sounds like a great adventure solo. I'd want to head up and past Makwa as well. Have read a lot about that area.

We went up Adams and Boulder into Frasier. The portage from Beaver to Adams is incredible. If you don't portage into Adams, just take a walk up and back. Well worth it. Saw no one from Malberg until Frasier mid-may. Wish we had more time to explore Adams. Very remote.

Also visited Raven for a night. Super remote, worth the side trip for a night.

Alice is a great lake, but angry if the wind is up. A few well protected sites if that is the case, and some very wind blown but beautiful beaches and campsites on the east shore. Portage from Thomas to Cacacabic is long, but not hard.

Fishdance pictos are great. Whack your paddle on the water and check out the echo.

Camped on Polly last night to prep for exit. The island site was real nice, but is over-used.
member (27)member
04/01/2016 03:52AM  
Lots of great ideas here, I think it'll be a long summer of waiting. Boonie, I've read some of your trip reports before and enjoyed them. I'll be entering September 26th, so I will have to touch base with you after your trip.
Mac, a day trip to Boze, water levels permitting will be on the agenda. I'm assuming walleye on the east end of Boze? I've read reports of the DNR wolf studies in the area, but my dogs are staying home, so no worries there. I would love to hear wolves, I think it was in the Makwa area that I first heard wolves as a kid, must be over 20 years ago now. I sure hope the cliff site is free on Makwa. It may be wind exposed, but I had some of my fondest childhood memories on that site, catching a huge lake trout, 28 inches if I recall right.
Sounds like the consensus is that the Trapline site is a last resort. I'll have to head up further into Beaver, Adams area as Cowdoc and Exo suggest. Raven as well. Looks like an interesting area.
Has anyone tried passing south from Smite Lake into the west end of Beaver? On my map it looks passable for a loop, but water levels may determine that.
distinguished member(520)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/01/2016 11:04AM  
If you are willing to share your email I will share a "secret" fishing spot on your loop ... and I can honestly say "secret" as the only ones who fish there likely didn't do it intentionally and are not likely to divulge the info.
member (27)member
04/01/2016 06:21PM  
Sent you a pm Mac
04/01/2016 07:31PM  
I will concur that Adams is a very nice lake and the Beaver to Adams portage is very cool. There are several pictures of it in my 2013 photo album. The Beaver side is a very rocky landing in front of a rock cliff that the portage runs alongside. You'll notice a difference in the amount of color in the burn area between the 2 years. First, it was year later and second, it was late Sept in 2014 vs. early Sept. in 2013. Amber Lake is nice side trip; I also camped there on my trip.
member (27)member
09/24/2016 06:46PM  
All set to drive north tomorrow! Was trying to get gear down to a single portage weight, but ultimately deciding on double for safety.
Boonie, how was your trip? Anything I should be aware of in the area?
09/24/2016 09:37PM  
Trip was good, unusual ending (see my post in Listening Point).

I entered on 31st August for 12 days, 11 nights (turned out to be 11 days, 10 nights - see Listening Point post). Route was #37 entry to Malberg, River to Fishdance pictos, Alice, Thomas, Fraser, Sagus, Roe, Cap, Boulder, Adams, Beaver, Trapline, River, Malberg and back out.

One nice thing about solo trips is that just about any campsite is OK for a night. I stayed on Polly (#11072, NW site) first night and last nights. Not my first pick, but OK. Stayed on site #1177 (last on River before Alice) the 2nd night - OK for a solo for a night. Stayed at site #1169 on Alice (S-facing site on NE point before entry to Cacabic). I stayed there because the wind blew me in there; discovered that it is very exposed to wind from southerly direction and no place to hide. Otherwise OK site if you like sand. The 4th night I planned to stay at the last site on Fraser or one of the 2 sites on Sagus that seemed useable according to reviews. All three were taken and I hadn't seen anybody since the 2nd afternoon on Kawishiwi River. Backtracked to Shepo, used that one for a night - OK for a solo night, but I wouldn't rate it a 3-star. Stayed at camp #979 on Boulder the next 2 nights - the first one coming from N and was lucky to get to it with the wind that afternoon. The next site was #1042, the NW site on Malberg. It is OK, but has seen lots of use and beaten down a little. If it rains all the water is channeled right through the fireplace area. I like the narrows site better. Spent the rest of nights on the same Polly site as first night.

If you decide to reverse route and go clockwise like I did, the portage out of Malberg to Record Creek and Kawishiwi River is a little extended due to low water, but no big problem either direction. There are some new beaver dams on the way to Malberg from #37, but only one is a short bushwhack portage - not too long or hard, just a tad awkward. The portage on Kawishiwi River before Alice Lake and the Fishdance pictos:

Don't take the first landing you see on the left - there must be another further down. That one leads into a tunnel through the woods to a mucky put-in in a small bay. Paddling out and looking back there was a very nice landing up river there was a very nice landing.

The Roe to Cap portage is several hundred yards up the creek on the left. It is not 140 rods - no more than half that and not too difficult. From the Cap direction it is directly west from the Cap campsite. If you go to Boulder from the Cap-Ledge portage, it is easy to find the turn. Part way there the trail descends steeply before crossing a creek. Easiest way is just to go ahead and wade across - it's knee to mid-thigh deep.

There are several beaver dams between Boulder and Adams - couple pullovers, one short portage ( maybe 1 rod :)).

Adams is a beautiful lake if you get there. I have stayed one night at site #1045 (the island site was occupied). I liked it although it has tough sloping granite landing, long steep climb to small site with great views. I like elevated sites.

Nothing else real noteworthy to say, but if you have any questions just ask. You should see some nice color, even in the burn area, although that is mostly in the flowers, grasses, ferns, leaves of shrubs/bushes, but still quite nice.

I'll be interested to hear about your trip and your impressions. Have a nice time.

member (27)member
10/07/2016 01:08AM  

I'm back and had an amazing trip. Had great weather for the majority of the trip and made it even further than I had originally planned. With the great weather and calm winds, I was able to extend my loop through Little Sag, Ogi, and up to Knife Lake. I'm sure glad I did as there is some beautiful scenery on the border lakes. Overall, a very successful trip, and I'm hooked on soloing! Once I get a full trip report together, I'll share it.
10/07/2016 06:13AM  
Glad to hear you had a great trip. I'm looking forward to the report. It sounds like you had good luck with the weather, especially the wind. We went through Little Sag a couple of years ago and I thought it was a beautiful lake. We stayed there an extra day and were the only ones there. I hope you got some good pictures of those other lakes I haven't seen. I did my first solo because I couldn't work out schedules for anybody to go with me. I found out I liked soloing! :)
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10/07/2016 03:47PM  
Fancy lightweight boat, no wind, anyone can do that! ;) Glad to hear you had a nice trip. I am envious. Will watch for trip report.
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