Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Fine Wine north of Sawbill
by TuscaroraBorealis

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 05/15/2010
Entry & Exit Point: Sawbill Lake (EP 38)
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
This was initially going to be a solo trip. I did'nt think any of my usual paddling buddies would be up for a mid May trip. My trips the past few years in mid May (BWCAW & otherwise) had all experienced some very brutal weather. Including snow & freezing rain last year. Add to that the mile & a half portage from Lujenida to Zenith....... I was shocked when my buddy Kelly accepted the challenge. Kelly is not a fisherman at all, so although I still brought my rod. Fishing was definitely not going to be a big part of this trip. The plan was to make it to Wine lake the first day. Spend a couple evenings there. Then push towards Mesaba and spend a couple of evenings there as well. Then back out the way we came. Only a couple of months previous to my trip did I stumble upon this web-site. The information learned here really added to the trip, and made me aware of many things I otherwise would have likely missed.
Day 1 of 5
Saturday, May 15, 2010

I met Kelly in Rice at about 1:30. We drove up separately since I would be spending the whole week up north. Kelly had to head back home on Wednesday morning. A few buddies from work would meet me at the Baker lake campground on Wednesday to do some fishing. But that's another story.

It was the Friday before the fishing opener. We hoped to avoid Duluth and the massive road construction project on I-35. We decided to get well off the beaten track. Taking highway 13 north just before Proctor. Then took hwy 9 east til hwy 37 north then NE on hwy 44 all the way to Rollins. Then east on 55 (which turns into 14 at the Lake county line). Hwy 2 north to 15 then 402 (Lax lake road). From there we headed to Finland and came down 6 to Little Marais on 61. I bet we only seen a handful of cars after hitting 37! Better yet. We figured we only lost about 20 minutes off our normal time to get to Tofte.

We stopped at the Holiday in Tofte to fuel up and grab some food for that evening. And since we wanted to get an early start in the morning, we also grabbed some pop-tarts and sandwiches for a quick easy breakfast.[paragraph break]

It rained a little off and on as we headed up the Sawbill trail. Arriving at Sawbill Outfitters to pick up our permit and get a campsite for the evening we were told that the fire ban had been lifted as of noon that day. We were keyed up already, but that was some welcome good news as well. We ate our supper and enjoyed a cool evening with a nice fire and a few beers.