Snowbank Loop 2015(Through Frasier, Adams, Alice, and Ima)
Mon, June 22, 2015 Left Manchester, Iowa at 6am drove the 510 miles to Ely, Mn arriving at Voyager North Outfitters at 3pm. Picked up our permit and 2 pounds of leaches and we were off to the Forest Service office. I had some questions about the non-bwca campsites on Snowbank Lake. I believe it was Tom at the forest service who confirmed that there were a few non reservable boat/canoe in sites outside of the BWCA boundary. He also mentioned that since it is in the national forest that dispersed camping is also allowed. With that information, we were off to the Ely DQ to have an early supper and discussed where we would be spending the night. We decided that we would either camp at the Fall Lake campground or put in at Snowbank and possibly get one of the forest service sites outside of the BWCA. Well, we drove through the Fall Lake campground and then we drove up to the Snowbank landing. The lake was calm looking to the south and so we unloaded the gear and would attempt to get to one of the sites outside of the BWCA. These sites are to the north and west of the canoe launch and getting to them became hazardous as the winds picked up from the north and whitecaps developed. We searched and were successful at finding a dispersed site just big enough for our tent in the southern and protected area of the lake. We were asleep by 10 knowing that we were planning a long day tomorrow.
Tue, June 23, 2015 Today would be our biggest travel day of the trip. I guess I like to push hard on the first day to get away from the crowds. We were up at 5:15 and on the water by 6. I do like to get an early start because most of the time you have the lakes and portages to yourself. We made it through Disappointment, Ahsub, Jitterbug, Adventure, Cattyman, Jordan, and were on Ima by 10:30. We stopped at the north campsite on the island to take a break and have a snack. It’s really a great site so I asked the boys if they wanted to stop for the day but they chose to keep moving. We paddles our way down to the portage to hatchet just as the wind started to pick up. We found this portage to be pretty cool as it cuts through some steep terrain on the Ima side. We made 3 more portages on Hatchet creek and were on Thomas. From Thomas we made our way through the narrows and made it to Frasier. It was about 3pm when we hit Frasier and 3:45 when we made it to campsite 1400 in the north bay by Sagus. We set up camp, ate, relaxed, did some camp chores and were in the tent by 9pm. Thunderstorms moved in overnight and it rained until midmorning the next day.
Fri, June 26, 2015 Today I think we slept in until about 8 and were on the water at 9:30 with the goal of making it to Adams Lake. We made back to Roe Lake but then had difficulty finding the Cap Lake portage. After about an hour of searching we finally found it. I don’t know why we had such difficulty as it is right there. Cap is a small lake and you can see the 2 portages out of it when you first reach the lake. We decided to take the old portage that goes from Cap to a pond and then paddle down the pond and pick up the portage to Boulder.
Saturday, Jun 27, 2015 We spent the day fishing and exploring Adams.
Monday, Jun 29, 2015 We were on the water again this morning at 7 am. We made it over the short portage to Cacabic and then the much longer one to Thomas. Thomas is a lake that I would like to spend some time at but we decided we would paddle up to Ima to the nice island site that we saw when we began the trip. Around 10:30 we got to the island site (1195) and set up camp. The wind picked up to a pretty good breeze and we had not a desire to get in the canoe and fish.
Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 After a relaxing day at Ima we decided we move a bit closer to our take out and head over to Ahsub. Ahsub is a small lake but the DNR report says it has been stocked with brookies. We didn’t catch any brookies but we did catch some of the smallest bass of the trip.
Wednesday, Jul 1, 2015 The last day and we had to paddle out and drive the 500 miles back to Iowa. I think it got in the 40’s over night so it was cooler than normal and the fog was out as we were up and paddling at the crack of dawn. We made our way over to a quiet Disappointment Lake and then over to Parent lake just so we could cross one more lake off our list. I was amazed that no one was camping on the 2 sites on Parent this close to a holiday weekend. We met no one on the portages and didn’t see anyone out paddling until we neared the Snowbank landing. We had everything in the Traverse and the canoe tied down and then made it to Ely by 9 am. We stopped at Voyager North for showers and then on to Tower for some pastries at Tim Horton’s. The traffic through the cities was smooth and we made it back home by 7pm. It was another great trip in the books.