Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Alton base camp
by SteveF

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 07/26/2015
Entry & Exit Point: Sawbill Lake (EP 38)
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
Wanted to go to the blueberry Festival in Ely for the first time. Left the Chicago area Saturday around noon and camped in upper Wisconsin Saturday night. Went to the blueberry Festival Sunday and arrived at the Sawbill outfitters around 4:00pm.
My wife and I always go to the boundary waters in September. So I was a little nervous about going in July with 90° temperatures and bugs. We checked out about six campsites on Alton lake. All the ones that didn't have much shade were really bad with flies. We finally settled on campsite 845, It was set back in the woods so we had no flies. Since it's been dry in the BWCA the last few days,we hardly so any mosquitoes for five days.

My wife and I don't like sitting around camp so every day we take sidetrips. Monday morning we canoed up to north side of Kelso lake, Down the Kelso river into Sawbill lake,back to our campsite on Alton lake.

Tuesday we explored the southern part of Alton Lake and Wonder lake. The portage between Alton lake and Wonder lake was filled with blueberries.

Wednesday we decided to break camp and head into Sawbill lake. We stayed at the first campsite closest to the Sawbill entry point. Officially it's not in the BWCA but it's a great site. It's up off the water and with the wind we had no bugs. It was pretty windy in the morning and early afternoon so we just stayed at camp relaxed and play Yahtzee. 4:00pm we decided to take dinner with us and head and explore the north side of Sawbill lake. We were going to find a campsite on the northside of Sawbill and eat dinner,but all the sites were full. So we decided to head up the river to Handle lake. Beautiful area with a giant beaver dam.

Thursday morning we packed up early headed to Sawbill outfitters and the long drive back to Chicago. Overall had a great trip few bugs,saw several Eagles. Listening to the Loons outside our campsite every night. We even had a hummingbird visit us. Now I get to plan my more adventurous solo trip in September.