Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Island River to South Kwishiwi
by docmosi

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 07/20/2014
Entry Point: Island River (EP 34)
Exit Point: South Kawishiwi River (EP 32)  
Number of Days: 7
Group Size: 4
Trip Introduction:
This was my second trip into the BWCA. I went with three of my kids. Son 18, Daughter 17, Daughter 15. We entered on Island River and exited at South Kawishiwi River. We knew we'd be traveling through the Pagami Creek Fire area and were actually excited to see the re-growth there. We might have enjoyed the burned area a bit more, if the days had been a bit cooler, as it was, they were the two hottest days of our trip. I think the area is worth looking at, but wouldn't spend more than one day of my trip in that area. We might have been better served entering on Little Isabella River. Overall the trip was fun, my girls gave mixed reviews. This was a tougher trips, with many small portages, which was new to them. Last time we had three very short portages, this time many short and two that were about 140 rods. So they got to have a very different experience this time. We had three short paddling days, two layover days, and two very long paddling days. I felt it was a nice mix, and three of the four sites we used, were outstanding sites.
Day 1 of 7
Sunday, July 20, 2014

Up at 6am after spending the night in the bunkhouse provided by our outfitter: Jordan's Canoe Outfitting, Ely, MN. Mark Bland is the owner and he does an excellent job of getting things ready and although this is only my second trip, I'm planning a third using Mark again.

Breakfast at 7am, pancakes and sausage. Load up and head to the EP.

We entered on Island River, knowing we would paddle through the area of the Pagami Creek fire, but we were interested in seeing the burned area and it's regrowth.

The day was very sunny and hot, we briefly considered a trip south on the Island River to view some pictographs, but I was overruled by the kids, they just wanted to get going and didn't want to backtrack right away.

We didn't paddle too far the first day. The campsite was just past Rice Lake, but on the Isabella River, this was the first campsite along our route that was not closed due to the Pagami Creek fire. The site would have been fine, except there was NO shade and it was a hot sunny day. By sunset a giant boulder was throwing some shade on our tents. The tent pad was grassy, not much use I'm guessing, and had enough room for two three-man dome tents.

The night was hot, but our New York Strip steaks were great cooked on the fire grates.

The night was very still and hot. Sleeping was not great that first night. The bugs were tolerable, but got worse as it got dark.