Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

2013 BWCA Solo
by boonie

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 08/31/2013
Entry & Exit Point: Kawishiwi Lake (EP 37)
Number of Days: 15
Group Size: 1
Trip Introduction:
September 2013 BWCA Solo, EP #37
Day 1 of 15

Entry Point: EP #37, Kawishiwi Lake Exit Point: Kawishiwi Lake Entry Date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 Exit Date: Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Route: Kawishiwi Lake, Square Lake, Kawasachong Lake, Townline Lake, Polly Lake, Koma Lake, Malberg Lake NW, Kawishiwi River, Trapline Lake, Beaver Lake, Adams Lake, Beaver Lake, Trapline Lake, Kawishiwi River, Amber Lake, Kawishiwi River, NE Malberg Lake, Koma Lake, Polly lake, Townline Lake, Kawasachong Lake, Square Lake, Kawishiwi Lake. Total miles traveled were about 51 – 37 paddling and 14 double portaging. There were 25 portages totaling close to 1,500 rods (x3 for double portage distance), with the longest being about 190 rods. Several more miles were paddled during circumnavigations and day trips. The route encompassed a variety of lakes, streams, scenery, and topography beginning with shallow lakes and narrow streams through low-lying marshlands, through the edge of the burn area from the Pagami Creek wildfire, to the broader reaches of the Kawishiwi River, deep, island-studded lakes surrounded by dense forest, and the steep rocky shores of Adams Lake and its granite outcrops.

Campsites: Lake Polly #1078 and #1081 (?), Malberg Lake #1042 and #1053, Adams Lake #1045, and Amber Lake #1043. One campsite was NR (not rated) and the others ranged from 1-star to 5-star sites. Note: The McKenzie map, the map on show one campsite on southeastern Lake Polly; Fisher and Voyageur maps show two. There are, in fact, two campsites south of #1078 on the eastern shore of Lake Polly. I stayed at the more northerly of the two, which is north of the peninsula jutting north out of the southwest of the lake. The site review on is actually for the more southern of the two, not the one located on the map, which accounts for the fact that it was “farther south than shown on the map”. It is south of the end of the peninsula in the southwest of the lake.

Weather: The weather was generally good. The first five days were mostly sunny, dry, and warm – even downright hot a few days, with warm and muggy nights. There was a trace of rain on Sunday and Tuesday, with heavy rain on Monday. Winds were mostly light, but were strongest on Tuesday morning. Sawbill Outfitter’s weather history shows daily highs between 62 and 76 and overnight lows from 42 to 57. They measured 1.95” of rainfall on Monday. I noted in my journal that the temperature at the Kawishiwi Lake entry point was 38 degrees at 8:30 AM on Tuesday, September 3rd. I also noted that it was “just plain too hot” on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons. The first two nights were so warm that I left the fly off the tent.

General: This trip was scheduled three weeks earlier than my normal Boundary waters trip due to a wedding on September 28th, at which “my presence was [absolutely] required”, at least according to my wife. It was generally hotter, buggier, and busier than my normal trips and, of course, I was too early for the fall colors. Overall, however, it was an enjoyable trip into a new area.

Afoot and lighthearted I take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before me, The long brown path leading me wherever I choose… From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines, Going where I list, my own master total And absolute… Gently, but with undeniable will, Divesting myself of the holds that would hold me. I inhale great draughts of space, The east and west are mine, and the north and south are mine. Excerpts from “Song of the Open Road” in “Leaves of Grass”, by Walt Whitman


Saturday, August 31, 2013: The arrangements have been made, the packing completed, and I begin the long-awaited journey at 7:00 AM, Saturday, August 31, 2013. I depart Morgantown, WV, under cloudy skies with a temperature of 72 degrees. The traffic is light and The Eagles’ Greatest Hits, Vol. 1, is in the CD player.

“Well I’m a runnin’ down the road tryin’ to loosen my load Got a world of trouble on my mind… Take it easy, take it easy Don’t let the sound of your own wheels make you crazy”

I drive through Pennsylvania and across Ohio on the Turnpike, but my mind remains at home. Sometimes the present is an elusive moment between the past and the future, neither here nor there. I turn north at Toledo, cross into Michigan, and stop at the Michigan Welcome Center for lunch. Traffic is heavy until after Ann Arbor, where Michigan has a mid-afternoon home game, but thins out north of Bay City. Michigan is less populous here and the landscape becomes more prominent.

I arrive in Gaylord, MI, about 5:30 PM, check in at EconoLodge, and have a quick dinner at Big Boy and some ice cream at Cold Stone. I return to EconoLodge and am soon ready for sleep.