Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Moose River North to Iron
by Wables

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 06/13/2012
Entry & Exit Point: Moose/Portage River (north) (EP 16)
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 6
Trip Introduction:
Two of us started planning this trip in August of 2011 after a successful trip. The original plan was to go from Moose River North to Iron and back through the Stuart River EP but the long portages of the Stuart Route and allure of Lake Trout in Oyster made us re-think our route at the last minute. We had an interesting group of 6 where only one person knew everyone in the group before we got to Ely, and the group ranged from three 10 plus trip veterans to a newbie. Sorry about the lack of pictures. The rain got to my camera by day 2. :(
Day 1 of 5
Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The group met up in Ely at TGO at 7:00 am. I had picked up the permit the day before in Duluth. Three of us drove up from Duluth, two from the Cities, and one an Ely resident. Several of us met each other for the first time at TGO. We got off to the EP, and after a quick gear check and weeding out of redundant gear, we were on the portage by 8:30. It was an interesting experience getting an unfamiliar group pared down enough to single portage through emails and text messages, but we managed it. In the end we had about 2 extra days of granola bars and 3 saws, but the gear worked out pretty well. It was a quick trip north as we had a 15 MPH south wind. One interesting thing to note was that there is an extra portage on Moose River between the two short ones on the map due to a series of large beaver dams. The portage is short, but extremely muddy and slippery after rain. It appeared to be a well used beaver trail, and I do not believe it was there when I traveled through there 2 years ago.

One of the group members needed to check the NE bay on Agnes for invasive species, so we opted for the longer portage to Boulder River on the NE side of Agnes. We were there for lunch by noon, and we broke up the rest when another group came through from the north. We continued leisurely up the Boulder River, taking the portage south of the bottle portage instead of paddling around Tiger Bay due to the increasing south winds. We got on to Iron by 3:30, and claimed the second site on the west end by 4:00. Due to high winds, we were shore bound for the rest of the evening. We had a dinner of Adolf's brats with mac and cheese, and baked fish caught from shore for a midnight snack.

At about 8:30 we watched a group of 7 in 3 aluminum canoes complete the back-breaker portage to the SW of our site and paddle leisurely while singing into the whitecaps. We wondered if they were too inexperienced or intoxicated to understand the trouble they were in. I believe the question was answered on Friday.