Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Wandering to West Pike Lake
by bottomtothetap

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 09/04/2016
Entry & Exit Point: Clearwater Lake (EP 62)
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 6
Trip Introduction:
Our 2016 trip took place off of the Gunflint Trail out of Clearwater Lodge, traveling down Clearwater Lake to West Pike Lake and returning through Caribou Lake. Our awesome crew consisted of six guys: previous tripping partners of mine, Craig and Kirby, Dave and Chuck (who each were also experienced BWCA campers) and Greg, our newbie on this trip. NOTE: A video for this trip report is linked to the first reply in the thread.
Day 1 of 5
Saturday, September 03, 2016

We left St. Cloud, MN about mid morning with our gear and three canoes. Other than a couple of stops to adjust the load, our trip was smooth all of the way to Grand Marais where we stopped for some delicious Sven and Ole's pizza. After also picking up some bait and some beverages for the bunkhouse that night, we proceeded down the Gunflint Trail to Clearwater road and our base for the evening--the Charlie Boostrom-built lodge at the end of Clearwater Lake. Once we got checked in and settled into our bunkhouse for that night, we took the canoes out for a quick paddle to the palisades that overlook Clearwater. Finding the trail-head to the first palisade was a bit tricky and the climb to the top is nearly 400 feet but the view was well worth the effort. We got up there just in time to watch the sun set, enjoy a gentle breeze and take in the expansive vista up and down Clearwater Lake. What a great way to start the trip! The return paddle to the lodge had us pulling up on their beach right at dusk. We stowed the canoes for the night and after enjoying those beverages, swapping a few stories and conducting some final organization of gear and food, we all turned in for a restful evening before the adventure started in earnest.