Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Tuscacora to Big Sag
by RT

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 08/27/2010
Entry Point: Missing Link Lake (EP 51)
Exit Point: Saganaga Lake (EP 55)  
Number of Days: 8
Group Size: 3
Trip Introduction:
For a few years my friends and I have been going into the BWCA via EP55 (Saganaga Lake) off of the end of the Gunflint Trail. This year, in an effort to change things up a bit and to see some new territory, we decided to take the "Tuscacora Challenge" and go in via the huge 366 (or 420, depending on which map you use) portage from Missing Link Lake to Tuscacora lake. It was a fantastic trip!
Day 1 of 8
Friday, August 27, 2010

Round Lake, Missing Link Lake, Tuscarora Lake

Another year, another “big trip” for Matt, Gopher and I (RT). We headed to Grand Marais from Duluth at 0530 on Friday, which is pretty standard routine for us; leave early to get on the water early. The drive up was great. There is something about that drive up 61 into Grand Marais (and the drive up the Gunflint Trail) that really gets me (and us) into the BW Vacation mode. Especially early in the morning.

We hit GM at a little past 0800 so we decided to hit up the Holiday station for some last minute supplies (some beef jerky and Mtn Dew) before heading over to the Beaver House to pick up some Buzz Bait lures and some other fishing supplies before heading to the outfitter (Seagull Outfitters) at the end of the Gunflint.

The drive up the Gunflint went quickly. We were scheduled to put in on Round Lake (Missing Link Lake EP#51) and, since it was on the way to the outfitters (where our permits were waiting) we decided to drop off all of our gear, canoe, kayak, and Matt, at Round Lake, near the EP while Gopher and I went on to Seagull Outfitters and got all of the paperwork in order.

We got underway at a bit past 1000 and quickly made our way across Round Lake and Missing Link Lake. Then... the 366 rod portage into Tuscacora. What a bitch! I know that a lot of people think it is pretty easy, and I guess, compared to other portages it is, but... what a pain in the ass. We are the double portage type so we got to do the damn thing three times (once with packs, then the walk back, then again with the boats). If you ever consider going in this way with a kayak (which Gopher did) then here is a hint; DON'T!

With the portage done we hit Tuscacora. We grabbed the first site we could find (first on the right as you face the lake) and decided to stay. That evening, while gorgeous warm and cloudless, was very windy. We cooked up some grub, smoked some cigars, drank some booze and just relaxed for the night. It was a hard day, but well worth it.