Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Johnson Falls Weekend Trip
by BlueSkiesWI

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 07/10/2015
Entry & Exit Point: Clearwater Lake (EP 62)
Number of Days: 3
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
This was a very short trip to "get my feet wet" wilderness camping. First trip to the BW in 5 years, first wilderness trip without my parents, and taking a lifelong friend of mine that was also a novice. All in all, the trip could not have gone any better, other than being a few days longer. The weather was absolutely perfect, we got the site we had our eyes on, the bugs were minimal (especially surprising for beginning of July), a few fish were even caught! It was a great experience.
Day 1 of 3
Friday, July 10, 2015

We hit the road from St. Paul early Friday morning for the final few hours of driving up the Gunflint. Got to the outfitter, picked up the permit, loaded up the canoe, and pushed off onto Clearwater Lake early afternoon. It was a beautiful day- mid 70s, gently tailwinds, calm water, only a few clouds. We got to the Clearwater-Caribou portage and trucked through. One thing I learned right away is that while the Bell Eveningstar in royalex is nice on the water, breaking through waves and being stable for novice paddlers, it is a pain to portage!! Weighing in at 68 pounds, those longer portages wear on you a little bit. We came across some moose tracks on the portage, and found a family of loons on the Caribou side of the portage.

We took our time going across Caribou lake, enjoying the weather and beauty. The portage from Caribou to Little Caribou was narrow and rocky, but relatively painless and went smoothly. Coming onto Lil Caribou, I was sure the lone site was going to be taken as it is so popular. However, somehow we lucked out and found it empty (besides a forgotten pair of shorts, a filleted fish on shore, and an unfire 9mm round in camp). I think a group we passed on the way in just came off that site. The site is really nice, up high above the lake with a great view. With the gentle wind up high, the bugs were virtually nonexistant, although we could hear a steady hum coming from the woods around us in the evenings. We set up camp, cooked up a few brats and baked beans for dinner, and enjoyed the evening lounging around.