Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

First Fall Trip
by wrestlencanoe

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 10/09/2015
Entry & Exit Point: North Kawishiwi River (EP 29)
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
My first Fall trip to the BWCA, how did it begin? Well, last spring I made the commitment to get a used outfitter canoe which gave me a perfect reason to make it up to Ely in October. Buying a Kevlar canoe wasn’t an easy decision. Sure I would love to have one but would I get my moneys worth out it. I have been tripping for the last 4 years with my 2 sons, the oldest now at 20 and attending Iowa State and the youngest 15 and a freshman in high school. We have been renting an SR Q18.5 and really liked them but should I buy one? How much longer will the boys be able to trip with me? With school, activities, new careers, boys just growing up, would they become too busy? Should I just wait and get a tandem? Well last summer Mcsweem (friend that I haven’t tripped with forever) offered to let me use his canoe instead of renting and so rationalizing in my mind that now was the time to pull the trigger and use the money that I saved from renting for buying.
Thursday, October 8. Vehicle all packed up and ready me and my youngest son Ryan pull out of our driveway at 3:45. For the record my oldest son wanted to go but I didn’t invite him because I didn’t want him to miss classes at ISU. The plan was to make it to at least Cloquet and sleep in the back of the Traverse at the campground. The drive went smooth through the cities and made it to Cloquet by 10:15. We both weren’t tired yet so I decided to keep going on stop at our alternate place which would be the Park and Ride on 169 just north of Virginia. It was probably around 11:30 when we made it there, put all the packs in the front seats and laid out our pads and bags in the back, again trying to save a little money for the new to me canoe. We slept until 7 the next morning. Friday, October 9. Before arriving in Ely we had to make a stop at Tim Horton’s outside of Tower. For many people Tim Horton’s is just another coffee and donut shop but for a family who are fans of the show How I Met Your Mother it represents all that is Canada. Coffee, chocolate milk and a 40 pack of Timbits and we were back on the road. We arrived in Ely at 8:15 and wouldn’t you know it Piragis didn’t open until 9. We thought we would get bait first so stopped at TGO’s and he wasn’t open. Voyageur North was out of minnows so we finally picked some up at Babe’s. Back to Piragis and picked up our canoe and down the Fernberg Road to Ojibway/Triangle.

It was great to finally be paddling again on a northern Minnesota lake. It was a quick paddle across Ojibway to the roller portage to Triangle. Triangle Lake is outside the BWCA but does have 2 island campsites maintained by the forest service, a handful of private cabins, and a few undesignated campsites. Both of the forest service sites are nice and we opted to take the one on the bigger island. We spent the day setting up camp, getting wood, and exploring the lake. That night we spent some time around the fire, made smores, played cribbage and went to sleep early which is easy to do when it gets dark by 7pm.
Saturday, October 10. Another beautiful day! Slept in until around 8:30 and decided today we would go explore the North Kawishiwi River. We found the portage to be well maintained and not difficult. It took us 17 minutes to travel the 190 rod portage. The wind was blowing more on the Kawish than Triangle as we attempted to fish and travel upstream to a small set of falls. I did manage to catch a decent pike and having lunch by the small falls was very relaxing. Ryan managed to catch a respectable walleye once we got back on Triangle. These would be the only 2 fish we caught on the trip and the walleye was delicious. Saturday night was a repeat of Friday night except we listened to the UMD/Bemidji State hockey game
Sunday, October 11. It was very warm for October, felt like it could have been in the 80’s. It was a relaxing day paddling around trying to catch fish. We did encounter the first and only 2 canoes we would see on the trip. The first was a man in a solo going to fish the Kawish. The 2nd was a group of three going to their cabin back in a bay. We met this canoe when we were taking a break and having a snack. The gentleman pointed out that we were on private property. I had no idea and apologized. He seemed to understand and I thank him for that. He said something about firing up his sauna and left. We went back to camp since fishing was slow and listened to the packers and played some more cribbage.

Monday, October 12. We got up early, packed up and were on the water at 7:15. We had a long drive back home and Ryan was to begin Drivers Ed. that night. I’m glad we got going early because the winds really picked up during the day. Overall I would say we had an excellent trip. I personally would not choose a trip like this in the summer but in the off season it was great. Triangle lake is beautiful and we saw nobody Friday and Saturday and only 2 boats on Sunday.
a slide show can be found here