Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Fall exploration of the Kawishiwi triangle
by TuscaroraBorealis

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 09/30/2016
Entry & Exit Point: Farm Lake (EP 31)
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 3
Trip Introduction:
Fall is our favorite time to visit canoe country. With Aurora starting school, we were going to forego our annual trip altogether but, thought better of it and threw this trip together at the last minute. Of course had we waited just one more day we could've avoided the permit fees but, this was the window of opportunity afforded us & besides the fees have never been considered a detriment. We hoped to base camp on Clear Lake & explore the Kawishiwi River Triangle from there.
Day 1 of 4
Friday, September 30, 2016

Since we didn't figure this would be an aggressive trip, we are in no particular hurry this morning and enjoy a hot breakfast at Grandma & Grandpa's before driving up to Spirit of the Wilderness outfitters in Ely to grab some last second items and grab our permit (I hadn't reserved one). By this time the sun had taken the edge of a brisk fall morning, peaking our enthusiasm as we prepare to embark.

There is a slight breeze as were paddle across Farm Lake. Aurora is fascinated with her new binoculars and scans the horizon, pointing out various colorful trees etc. There are a couple of motorboats out on the lake but, they are far enough off in the distance as to not be a serious distraction. We soon pass by the last cabins and cross into the wilderness.

A silver canoe is spotted on the far horizon & the occupants appear to have claimed the site on the northern shore. Pressing on, we paddle into the narrows and decide to pull off at an inviting tiny island to stretch out. Aurora quickly dubs it mushroom island, due to the many fungii scattered throughout. Sporting several sawed off stumps, it appears this island may have served as a campsite at one time. Refreshed, we push off to continue our journey.

Easily paddling right through the 2 chutes (no portages required) we round the bend and head south to the Clear Lake portage trail. There is a large uprooted tree were we presume the landing is, Vickie hops out & quickly confirms there is a trail. Unfortunately we soon find that this is NOT the portage but, not before having hauled our first load 20+ rods into the woods. As we return to the landing we find another canoe unloading their gear & a third group out in the bay paddling towards us too. Comparing maps, we agree this is the right spot (at least as indicated on the maps). The third party soon confirms that the actual portage is just a little further south, actually at the bottom of the southern finger of this bay; not where our (and every map I've seen since) shows it to be.

Needless to say, both groups now have the drop on us. Considering the time of day, we dishearteningly agree that both groups will be staying on Clear Lake. So, before committing to the portage we decide to check out the site just NE of our present location. We find it unoccupied and acceptable, so we just decide to call this our home.

Located just below the rapids that necessitate a 10 rod portage, it sits high above the river providing nice views of the fall colors. The landing it quite nice and there are good sitting logs around the grate. Although, the kitchen area is sloping towards the river and most of the tent pads are plagued with rocks & roots. A larger group probably wouldn't do well here but, it works out quite nicely for the 3 of us.

Farm Lake