Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Lady Chain Louse River Loop
by mkematt

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 07/21/2014
Entry & Exit Point: Sawbill Lake (EP 38)
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
I told my nephew that I would take him to the Boundary Waters for his high school graduation. This was his first BWCA trip, but he has been back packing in the Porkies with me, so I knew he would be good in the back country. I picked the Sawbill entry because I knew we could plan a number of different routes. After looking at a map and doing some on-line research, Nick told me he wanted to try this loop. I was trilled as I have also wanted to try this route. We driving up from Milwaukee, so we stayed at the Sawbill campground the day before we went in and the night after we finished the trip.
Day 1 of 5
Monday, July 21, 2014

Up early, on the water by 6:30. Sawbill to Alton, Beth, Grace, the river and camped on Phoebe. We were packed light and were able to single portage the entire trip. The portages in this section were well maintained and presented no real problems. The 285 rd portage from Beth to Grace was long, but very manageable. The hills were not too steep and there was minimal mud. We were at Phoebe by noon and stayed on the campsite on the south end of the lake facing east. This site is on a hillside, up a ways from the lake and the landing is a little tricky in that the rocks are somewhat slippery. The kitchen / fire pit is a large slab of rock. What I liked was that the tent pads were level and grass covered. The weather forecast called for a storm on Monday night, so I was looking for good drainage and having the hill behind us offered at least some protection from the wind. One more thing - one of the tent pads had quite a pile of Moose scat near it.  We spent the afternoon preparing firewood and fishing. My nephew caught a 20" Walleye (green jig and leach drifting over deep water just east of the islands), so dinner was fish taco's. We had a small campfire and spent the rest of the evening preparing camp for the storm. As it turned out, the weather forecast was right - it was a strong storm on Monday night - more about that on the Tuesday section of this trip report. Lots of lightning and it rained buckets. As I suspected, the tent pad was well drained and the hillside did help block the wind. The worst of the storm passed before morning.