Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Baker Lake Solo
by SevenofNine

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 04/22/2010
Entry & Exit Point: Baker Lake (EP 39)
Number of Days: 3
Group Size: 1
Trip Introduction:
With the early ice out on the lakes up north I was itching to do a canoe trip with my new Bell Magic canoe. My friend decided that a bike trip on Sunday would keep him from coming along so it was solo all the way for me.
Day 1 of 3
Thursday, April 22, 2010

After a long day of work, driving and getting lost and paddling I am at my first night’s campsite on Kelly Lake. I had quite a day with getting out of work early and driving up alone. Passing the Baker Lake campground because I thought it was just the campground and not the lake put me in a predicament about whether to turn around or not but I’m sure glad I did.

My portage through Baker was easy enough but the water level leading into Peterson Lake is so low that I had to maneuver around two areas before I could get into the main channel of the lake. My canoe has some new battle scars to attest to the low water levels.

Once I was in I was greeted by a fly over of 5-6 ducks (not sure which species) but one flew directly over head only about 20 feet in the air and it was a nice treat. Naturally I didn’t have my camera out. I saw a wood duck too but same problem.

I mistook the 3 rod portage in Peterson to be simply low water levels. I tried paddling as far west as I could and gave up. Paddled east past the massive boulder field to an area I could do a simple pull over. And that’s what I did. A little tricky walking through the faster running water but I made it.

Not happy I left my kayak paddle at home. I think I could be making much better time with it versus the canoe paddle. I just don’t have the J stroke down and I am fighting just to keep the canoe in a straight line. Thankfully it is a mild tailwind so it’s not all bad. But, I was absent minded and left the kayak paddle at home so the canoe paddle it is.

Paddling through Kelly I notice the blow down area on the eastern shore. Figure I would like a picture but I’m past the area before I can get a decent shot.

I kept looking for campsites but couldn’t seem to find them. I think I spotted the peninsula site but I was not in the mood to stop so soon.

I got to the north end of Kelly Lake and decided to take the northern most camp site by around 6:15. I’m not sure my clock on the camera is set properly so I’m going to guess it is an hour slow and call it 7:15. It was getting towards dark and I thought it would take too much time to portage onto Jack and paddle it. I had wanted to camp at the northern most camp site on Jack!

I probably had the time but I’m not fond of landing a canoe in the dark. I found that out after a late night paddle on the crow river this year almost turned disastrous and setting up a tent in the dark is not a lot of fun either.

I really don’t care for this site as it is poorly maintained by previous visitors and there is really nothing nice about the site. The view isn’t really that great. People have cut down trees all around. The tent area is small and too close to the fire grate. However, it will have to do for tonight.

The tent setup really easy even though it’s been a while since I last used it. Hardest part is finding a flat spot. Second hardest part is getting the stakes in the ground. At least I found a relatively level site for the tent. Really wish I could spend the money on the hammock tent I would like. No more worries about a flat spot after that. >