Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Brule River Trip report
by scramble4a5

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 07/24/2016
Entry & Exit Point: Morgan Lake (EP 45)
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
Long hard portage but worth the effort!
Day 1 of 5
Sunday, July 24, 2016 After driving up from the suburbs of Chicago on the 23rd we settled in at Clearwater Lake Lodge on the Gunflint Trail. Secured our permit and canoe and were ready to shove off early on Sunday morning. We had pre-ordered breakfast (very good!) and once we were done we headed to entry point 45 - Morgan Lake.

I knew this portage would be long but I wanted to test myself and see what I have left in the tank. The morning was cool but damp, some mist in the air, so the humidity was high. I set off on the 320 rod portage with the canoe and my day pack. Long is not quite an accurate description for this portage. Halfway through I dropped the day pack and asked my trip mate Jim to carry it because my neck was taking a beating from the total weight. I am grateful he obliged. I was sweating so much I laughed at the thought of having taken a shower earlier that morning. That freshness was gone in 20 minutes.

Once I reached the end I gladly set the canoe down - okay I dropped it down. After a brief rest we doubled back to get our portage packs and did the whole crazy thing again. I was so relieved to have that done but glad we were both able to do it.

The breeze we got when padding across Morgan was very welcome. We hit the portage to Jake Lake with no issues and did the same with the portage to Vista. Our first choice of a campsite was the top rated one on Vista. I was bummed when we saw it was taken but we turned right and headed to Horseshoe to scout out our second choice.

The portage in to Horseshoe starts off as a creek but dries out. After Morgan Jim handled the canoe portaging giving me a break.

We paddled up to the mouth of the Brule River and saw that our second choice site was open. We landed and scoped it out and decided it would be home. There were many mounds of moose droppings so we saw that as a sign we may see a moose. Pretty smart huh? All in we took about 4 and a half hours to get there.

We set up camp and enjoyed some Alpine Aire Gumbo with some pork and venison sausage tossed in for flavor. Totally delicious. We hit the tents about 10:00 because we were both pretty wiped out. Gear winners: Granite Gear Quetico Pack, Neos Overshoes, 5.11 Tac lite pants (Love the pockets), REI Flex Lite chair, Emblerit stove with Nesbit stove inserted using denatured alcohol for fuel. Very clean and easy. Gerber Strong Arm fixed blade knife. Gravity filter I rigged from a foldable nylon bucket, a Sawyer mini filter, and some tubing. Worked great! Gear losers: Seattle Sports 40 liter dry bag backpack - attachment point for strap on top came partially off. That's what gorilla tape is for I guess.