Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Kids First
by jswamp

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 06/27/2016
Entry & Exit Point: East Bearskin Lake (EP 64)
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 4
Trip Introduction:
Best Trip I have ever had
Well we loaded up the Van on the 20th and had a long night as the kids could not sleep. Hard to get upset as they were just excited. We left the St. Louis area early on the 21st and drove to Rice Lake WI. Stayed at a place on the lake where the kids enjoyed swimming and took them for a paddle.

Woke up on the 22nd and stopped at GooseBerry Falls. Had a great little hike and enjoyed the falls. We arrived in Grand Marais roughly at Noon and had lunch. We played on the shoreline behind the coast guard station. Each kid found an agate on a nice stretch of beach about a half mile past Devils Track River. Kids loved the North shore and lake. Made our way to Bearskin Lodge and got the key for our camper cabin(Aspen) Wife loved Grand Marais and the drive up the trail. We unpacked the necessities and drove the Trails End and had a amazing dinner. Kids enjoyed their great search and find. What a great place. We made our way back to cabin, and fished off of a dock (with permission from Bearskin) Kids and wife had a blast catching smallmouth and perch.

Woke on the 23rd and made a nice breakfast had then hiked the honeymoon bluffs trail. Great trail and experience (thanks for the advice found on this site) We checked into our cabin and I took the boys to Elbow Lake – the wife had a massage, sauna, and hot tube all to herself. She also had a private chef Make her a fantastic meal.. Kids caught plenty of perch and walleye. Easy lake to fish with lots of small eyes but each boy was able to catch plenty of nice eyes, perch, and big bluegills. Great lake to introduce kids to North Country fishing. Made our way back to cabin and brother and nephews were there. Made a nice meal and fished off our dock.

Woke early on the 24th and made all a nice breakfast. Took kids out fishing and found some walleyes and easily caught smallmouth. Fishing was easier do to advice from this site. Spent the rest of the day swimming, paddling and playing in the water. Bearskin Lodge is an amazing family lodge with a great sand beach. Great staff and accommodations. Made a nice dinner, and fished some more. Made s’mores and enjoyed a fire. Great day in the north woods.

25th of June was cool and Rainey. We played board games until it cleared and then hiked the Caribou Rock Trail. Fantastic trail but not the best for a 5 two 7, and one 9 year old. Many nice overlooks and overall great trail. Very rocky, lots of up and downs, and way too many blow downs. Brought plenty of water and a watermelon. Did not make the Stair Case Falls. Wife and 5 year old needed to turn around mad it close to Duncan lake. Returned to cabin, eat dinner, fished, and enjoyed a fire. The 26th came to quick but we enjoyed another fantastic day of fishing, swimming, and hiked the moose viewing trail and then some of one of the snowmobile trail. Kids love their hikes. This was a very easy hike but also enjoyable. Returned to cabin eat, fished in the rain, and packed up for the BWCA part of our trip.

On the 27th we woke to breakfast in the lodge, said our goodbyes to brother and cousins and loaded the Canoe. Quinn the owner of Bearskin Wilderness outfitters was supper good with our kids spent plenty of time teaching them the equipment, and answering their questions. Have used other outfitters but none as nice as Bearskins outfitters. A+ on equipment and helpfulness. We had a windy but short paddle to Croc. Portage was wet and mosquito infested – but kids and wife were champs. Kids had their own little packs, and also carried paddles, and other small items. Once on the lake we checked out all the campsites but the one next to portage. I liked the first one on the east end of lake however the kids selected the the 1st one we checked out. We made camp. Kids helped set camp, collect firewood, and purify water. We made dinner and fished off the big rock they liked and named the beast. They caught plenty of small eyes. And we enjoyed sunset. Made s’mores and hit the tent.

Got up early on the 28th and let the kids sleep. Wife and I enjoyed the stillness and beauty. Kids were treated to hot chocolate and ate breakfast on the beast. We loaded up the canoe and headed out. The kids started trolling and it did not take long to start picking up fish. The oldest picked up his largest eye of the trip and had to keep it. Hard to have a 7 year old toss back is first real nice walleye. Each kid proceeded to catch many fish and some nice ones mixed in with the little ones. I would be hard to go hungry on this lake. We ate lunch and then paddled the river. Youngest hooked in to a largemouth looked to be about 5 or 6 lbs as it is getting closer to the boat he calmly said he needed a break from this feisty fish and hit the button and let all the line go. I watched in awe as the bass swam off peeling lose line the time he reengaged the real and started reeling no more bass. He looked up and said “that’s ok dad I will catch him again” Paddled back to camp, made dinner, played on the beats, and fished from shore.

The 29th was the same as the 28th minus paddling the river. Kids wanted to play. They swam at the landing which is sandy, shallow, but also has weeds, and sticks, and mud. Water shore recommended. Not rock and ok for kids to play in. Wife and I enjoyed lounging and watching our boys play like they never have before. Highlights of play were their pets. Youngest one made a pet out of a leech – poor leechy did not make it! Older one caught a crayfish and attached a rubber band to his fishing line and the attached the rubber bad to the crayfish. He walked it, let it swim, and just played with it. They had adventures on that rock. Made boats they sailed, and were very creative. The older boy also funds a nice garden spade in the woods. Had a hard time understanding it was a poop shovel. Lots of this would not have been possible if I picked a site on the East side of lake. I like the narrow end of the lake more, but boys liked their campsite the best. Caught larger fish in wider part of lake, but more numbers in Narrow part. A black and silver reef runner produced the largest fish, and an RC Stick in blue, black and bone was a close second. Narrow part of lake also had largest perch. Had a good storm on our last day and played cards in the tent. Don’t like breaking down a wet camp but have no control over weather. Portage is wet, and mosquito infested. Starts step but levels off. Not a bad portage. We never saw or heard another person for the 4 days on corc. Lots of Eagles, loons, and Beaver. Heard wolves one night but no other wildlife observed except small game and virds.

For some reason pics of BWCA part of trip are dispersed throughout 10 years worth of pics. Will take quite some time to sort out. best I could do without going nuts.