Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Mudro - Crooked Lake loop
by Chief Bob

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 09/07/2009
Entry & Exit Point: Mudro Lake (EP 23)
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 1
Trip Introduction:
This was my first solo trip on a loop that I'd done with friends many years ago.
This trip utilized the SPOT messenger to track my progress so my wife could not be so anxious about my being alone up there. Although, as most of you know,there are lots of people up there. I posted my photos to my Google account and pasted some of the photos to a map of the trip. Here is the link: Go to and enter the link. Click on the photo of the Coast Guard ship, and then click on "view map" in lower right hand corner. Click on the first photo and then click on "play" in the photo's window. It will walk you through my trip. You can also just view all of my pictures. (I sure hope this works!)

My first day started out a little depressing - the Chainsaw Sisters Saloon was gone! I'd been there in June of '07 and had my last beer, and posted my last signed dollar bill, there. Five minutes after starting down the little creek to Mudro Lake an eagle skimmed overhead at about 20 feet off the deck! A good welcome back to the BWCA! I made good progress and made Horse Lake by noon, but all of the campsites were occupied, so I pushed on down the Horse River to hopefully get a site near Lower Basswood Falls. This day turned out to be a long one, ~ 7 1/2 hrs, and I was pretty tired when I made camp. Another bald eagle did some fishing off my campsite - swooping down to the same spot about 4 times. Either he was a bad fisherman or he was telling me that I would go for 4 days without catching a fish. I think it was the latter.

Day two saw me going down the Basswood River and I photoed the pictographs. I stopped at Table Rock for a snack and my brand-new cherry wood contoured cane seat cracked. I lashed it up with some cord and it held for the rest of the trip. I hit Thursday Bay ~ 12:30 and the wind was coming up from the south and I had to cross east to west. My Sawyer Autumn Mist performed excellently and I made it across safely to my campsite. Later that afternoon the entire bay was in whitecaps and I saw a couple of tandem canoes start out from the eastern shore and turn back. I made it across just in time.

The morning of day three was overcast and cool - a good day for travel. At breakfast I was greated by two immature bald eagles skimming over the tree tops and calling. Another good omen (?).  The day turned into another long one because I couldn't find an unoccupied campsite and ended the day with the 300 rod portage to Gun Lake. I got the last campsite on the lake - another 7 1/2 hr day. 

Day four was a short day. On Fairy Lake I had a "small world" incident. A fella asked to photograph me in my canoe and when we chatted it turned out that he and I had worked on the same forest, the Nez Perce NF, in Idaho! We agreed to exchange photos and agreed to keep in touch. I grabbed a nice campsite on Boot Lake by noon and had a relaxing day. I put my Pocket Shower to good use! (I recommend the Pocket Shower - it holds 10L and packs down to a package about the size of a television remote control.) I drank the last of my Jamesons - toasting the Good Lord, Good Friends, and the BWCA.

Day five was eventful when I saw a black wolf scamper up from the bank of the creek leading out of Fourtown Lake. I registered my sighting at the International Wolf Center when I got back to Ely. I made the parking lot by noon and some fellas from Oklahoma City greeted me with a warm beer. We all mourned the loss of the Chainsaw Sisters Saloon! 

I was concerned that I might get bored or lonesome, but neither was the case.  I was totally enthralled by the calm and quiet. I plan to go again next year only a little later - maybe the end of September when the colors are more vivid. I hope that you enjoy my photos and I'll be interested in you feedback.