Across the Gunflint- Poplar Lake to Cross River
by Davkumi

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 06/07/2008
Entry Point: Lizz and Swamp Lakes (EP 47)
Exit Point: Cross Bay Lake (EP 50)  
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 4
Trip Introduction:
The parents came all the way from Israel and the daughter and husband came from San Fransisco to have a two week wilderness vacation in the BWCA. The first week was spent day tripping from a cabin on Hungry Jack Lake, and the second week the across country canoe trip.
Day 1 of 5
We had an arrangement with our outfitter, Hungry Jack, that we could do a loop from Entry 47, Lizz Lake on Poplar Lake, or do a cross country trip and exit at 50 on the Cross River.  In either case we would call from phones near both exit points five days later.  The wind was blowing strong from the west that morning, clearing after the torrential rains of the past two days.  We were to be dropped off near the Trail Center restaurant, so we could find our way back after five days in case we did the loop.  I do not think the outfitter thought we could do the cross country trip! After all, our ages were  Ora 70, David, 61, Spencer 32 and Shon 29!  And all the rivers were at flood stage, plus the portages under water too. However, one look at the white caps on Poplar Lake and we told the driver to take us around to the public landing on the west end.  We certainly did not want to start the trip in a strong head wind, and besides, we were not planning on coming back this way!

So we started the trip in the sunshine with a pleasant tail wind down Poplar to the portage at the 47 Lizz Lake entry. This 51 rod portage was easy, not at all a taste of the things to come in days ahead. Lizz is a beautiful boreal forest lake, we are in the North Woods!

From there we continued on the easy and not too muddy portages to Caribou, 73 rods, and Horseshoe,20 rods. Its on Horseshoe that things get a bit tougher.  We make the horseshoe bend, and for the first time we are heading straight west and into the wind. Seeing as we have also done three portages, we are beginning to realize that this is not day tripping with an empty canoe!  So we make the 102 rod portage to Gaskin, which in length and mud was certainly the most difficult of the day.  Little did we know that we would look back upon this as one of the easier portages of the trip!

Gaskin lake is our destination for the night, and with a strong west wind and white caps, we strike out toward a camp site.  We make it about half way down the lake to an open site, a somewhat difficult landing, but at least we are off the water.  We set up camp, catch a walleye on the second cast from the site, and have a beautiful sundown with a clear night, the only one of the trip!'