Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

First time in the BWCA- 73 mile solo trip - Frost River, Little Sag, Kawishiwi, Alice, Kek, and more
by nlong

Trip Type: Paddling Kayak
Entry Date: 05/24/2014
Entry Point: Cross Bay Lake (EP 50)
Exit Point: Seagull Lake (EP 54)  
Number of Days: 6
Group Size: 1
Day 2 of 6
Sunday, May 25, 2014

5:30am - Breakfast consists of apple cinnamon oatmeal, dried pineapples, bananas, and apples for breakfast. I enjoy the sunrise over the lake as I packed up camp. Looks to be another sunny day. With all the gear packed and securely loaded in my kayak I leave camp. 7:40am - I notice the guys in the camp to the north are up and about so I paddle over and talk with them briefly. They say they came up from the Frost River which is where I'm headed to. I wish them well on the rest of their trip and then head to my portage. They will be the last people I see for a couple days as I come to find out.

P520 139 rods - 8:00am - The portage is very long, steep at the start and has some very rocky sections that require careful footwork. The morning sun filters through the trees and the rapids roar down below me to my right. The sights make up for it being a long portage. Being a bit sore, I'm relieved to get to the end of the portage with my kayak and shed the weight off my shoulders. 9:00am

Frost River - The Frost river is winding and slow. The map shows a P143, but there is nothing to portage and I continue to paddle my way through to Octopus Lake.
P523 16 rods - A short rocky portage along the river. I snap a picture at the portage. It's a short paddle to the next portage.

P144 23 rods - I pull the kayak into the landing and look at the portage trail. Not far down the trail is a huge 5 foot tall boulder in the middle of the trail that I'd have to lift the kayak onto and over. I walk toward the rapids and scope out if they would be runable or not. No strainers and no big drops. A few rocks to maneuver around, that's all. I head back to the kayak ensure my gear is secured. Carefully maneuvering the kayak in a good line, I punch the rapids. I manage the descent easily but I can tell I scraped a few rocks underneath. That was a rush! I excitedly stop the kayak at the end of the portage use my sponge to extract some the water that splashed in the cockpit, and then take a picture of the rapids I ran.

P142? 10 rods? - This portage appeared about 200 yards sooner than it was on the map. It was short and had a cool waterfall that I snapped a picture of. Also spotted a beaver here.

Large rocks seem to be strewn about most likely by ancient glaciers.

I continue to paddle down the Frost River make it to P138

P138 29 rods - Portage completed to Chase Lake and I stop to eat. I paddle strait across the lake to the next portage.

P133 23 rods - The portage was a bit steep, especially at the end with a smooth slanted rock face.

Pencil lake lives up to the name as it is long and thin. An enjoyable and scenic paddle.

P136 35 rods - Portage is on the southeast side of the river, not northwest as indicated by the map. A bit mucky where I get back in the kayak and the current is moving decent as the river is narrow. I continue paddling down the river.

P141 16 rods - This portage was about 150 yards down from what the map indicated.

P880 5 rods - No portage. Paddled through.

P149 5 rods - This portage was a quarter mile sooner than the map had shown. I pulled the kayak over the rocky dam instead.

P147 14 rods - No portage. Paddled through. P139 12 rods - No portage. Paddled through.

I make it to Afton Lake. Afton Lake is nice, and I contemplate camping here for the night, but it is only 1:30pm and I still have enough energy to travel.

P131 25 rods - Steepest portage ever. Very steep going up and down. It's a bit tricky to keep the tail of the kayak up when heading down. I'm very careful with my footing as a slip here could be disastrous. The photos do not do justice to how steep the trail actually is.

It's about 2:20pm now and the portage is completed. I'm in Fente Lake. It's alamost a mile to the other side of this long and narrow lake.

P125 15 rods - Nice and short portage that takes me to Whipped Lake.

I had originally planned on possibly going left into Time Lake and then to the west end of Mora to skip the portage, but decided against it as there was no portages and it probably wouldn't be able to be paddled through fully. I instead take the portage.

P474 98 rods - Long portage. Glad that one is finished and only one more to make it to Little Saganaga Lake.

I paddle through Mora Lake and snap some pictures before I reach the next portage.

P451 48 rods - 4:00pm - Steep portage but it has amazing views of the roaring rapids below. A great sight. I snap a few pictures and video.

4:30pm - I stick to the left shore as I paddle Little Saganaga Lake. I end up hitting dead end bay. Check my map and head northeast to get around the point. I paddle towards the island that has 2 campsites on it. I pass the eastern campsite and decide check the one on the west side.

5:00pm - I reach C537. It's a beautiful campsite. The area to the north looks to be burn area with dome rock hills visable but all the islands and everything south is untouched and green. I get camp setup and gather some water in my water filter bags and fill my camp shower up and lay it out on the rocks in the sun.

I cook my homemade dehydrated beef stroganoff. It's delicious! I spot a float plane fly over to the north of me. Hopefully nobody is lost or in trouble. It's the only plane I see or hear the whole time in the BWCA. I hang my camp shower in a tree and take a much needed shower. I feel so much better now. The loons start to sing around 7pm and it's still about 83 degrees out. I enjoy the sunset and the island chipmunk comes by to say hi.
I get to bed about 9pm and fall asleep to the singing loons.

I wake up around midnight and peek out of the tent. The stars are out so I grab my Canon S100 point and shoot and take a few shots and then go back to bed.

Day 2 Summary

12.36 miles | 9 lakes | 1 river | 12 portages | 384 rods

Frost Lake, Frost River, Octopus Lake, Chase Lake, Pencil Lake, Afton Lake, Fente Lake, Whipped Lake, Mora Lake, Little Saganaga Lake