Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Sawbill/Cherokee/Brule/Temperance/Fire Loop -- Solo
by Ottertailvoyageur

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 07/17/2014
Entry & Exit Point: Sawbill Lake (EP 38)
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 1
Trip Introduction:
Third time as a soloist -- Can't get enough!
Day 1 of 4
Thursday, July 17, 2014   6:00 am start time, as has become my custom, proved to be well worth it as I found Sawbill to be like glass. Just a beautiful morning to set out on a trip that would prove to be equally challenging and rewarding. I paddled North up the length of the lake, taking my time to breathe in all of that good canoe country air.     The first two portages, 78 rods in to Ada Creek and 76 rods in to Ada lake proved to be relatively uneventful. The second portage was a little difficult to find, as I had been warned it would be by Bill at Sawbill. He had told me that most people were skipping the portage and going around to the West where they needed to unload and pull over a beaver dam. I was able to find the portage by hugging the east side of the creek. No problem. Yet.    The third portage gave me a solid introduction to the adverse portaging conditions one may encounter in the wilderness, and it was very pleasing to get this one behind me. I handled the portage at the same time as a group of thirteen year olds on a church trip, and several of them got their money's worth on this one. One unfortunate lad found himself up to his armpits in loon crap. The problem with this portage is the fact that the water isn't deep enough to float a canoe, but very tricky to walk through or around. I stuck to my standard portaging mantra, "watch every step".     I should also note here the fact that this was my first year of double portaging. I'm just not getting any younger and one of my knees is a little iffy. I quickly discovered the joys of doubling: a more relaxed pace, and a leisurely walk in the woods in between loads. Definitely worked well and will be incorporated in to future trips.    The 180 rod portage in to Cherokee Creek proved to be not too difficult, other than being about as long as a guy cares for. The footing was pretty good and the trail not too steep. A tad muddy, but that's to be expected.     What a glorious paddle the Cherokee Creek is in to Cherokee Lake! Emerging in to Cherokee after floating that pretty little creek was truly one of the highlights of the trip. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to procure the 5-star campsite on the island near the center of the lake, but I found one that I would rate 3-plus, maybe 4 on the island in the northeast part of the lake.  I actually had a ranger paddle up to my campsite and spend about twenty minutes chatting with me and looking things over. Nice fella.     Set up a nice camp and enjoyed a peaceful evening on gorgeous Cherokee.