Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Northern in Canoe, Dog out of Canoe! Cross Creek to Long Island Lake
by paddelingruth

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 08/20/2017
Entry & Exit Point: Cross Bay Lake (EP 50)
Number of Days: 7
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
Entry Point # 50 to Long Island Lake Cross Creek, 2 portages around rapids, one is 66 rod and one is 38 rod To Ham Lake Ham Lake to Cross Bay Lake 17 Rod Cross Bay Lake to Rib Lake 58 Rod Rib Lake to Lower George 35 Rod Lower George to Karl Lake 28 rod Karl lake to the center of Long Island Lake no portage This trip would be by husband Dan, myself and our 8-year-old Springer Spaniel Lil, she is a rescue dog from North Dakota my husband drove to North Dakota one day, almost two years ago. She is a loving and is 100% devoted to Dan, they pheasant and Quail hunt in Nebraska, but she is a house dog. We had taken her out in our canoe a couple of times since we got her for an evening but never in the BWCA. She does get spooked easily so we werent sure how she would do. She had her own backpack to carry her food in. We would put it on her during portages. My husband worked with her for about two weeks before we went getting her use to it, at first, she would just stand there and no way she would move, when she finally did she would just freeze every time she hit something with the saddle bags. After getting use to the backpack she seemed to enjoy it almost proud of it and it was like she was waiting to put it on. We had 4 backpacks, as well as our fishing gear, life jackets and paddles. We have the canoe chairs with the backs that we leave attached while we portage. One back pack is our food bag, one has our chairs for camp and our sleeping bags, another has rain gear and fishing gear, the last has everything else we need, ropes, saw, camp stove, pot and pan, our bag of clothes, dry shoes. We left Lincoln Ne on Friday August 18th and headed for Moose Lake State Park in Minnesota, we drove through a lot of traffic most the way. We took our time there was a lot of road construction. We got to camp by 8:00 p.m. We were scheduled to stop in Tofte Mn to pick up our canoe later the next day from Sawtooth outfitters. We were up and headed to the BWCA by 9:00 a.m. We stopped and did a lot of sightseeing once we got on the scenic highway between Duluth and Grand Marias. We enjoyed Gooseberry falls, we did some sightseeing at Palisades, a group was rock climbing out over Lake Superior and evidently someone had fallen, that brought the Park rangers, ambulance and paramedic. We never saw them carry anybody out. We found the blueberries we always seem to find and headed out. This is the first trip we didnt go to Sawbill campgrounds or outfitters for our canoe, it seemed kind of strange, since we were going further East we had to locate a different outfitter. We ate supper at a DQ in Grand Marias and walked along the shore line, we sat at the Harbor for a while. Then headed to East Bearskin Lake.
Day 1 of 7
Sunday, August 20, 2017 We camped at East Bearskin Federal Campground, not impressed with the campsite, it was way up a hill from where we parked and our camping spot where the tent was supposed to goes was full of ants. We moved our tent to the picnic area. Quite & we slept ok. We didn’t set an alarm, and woke up at 8:30 am. Got a late start. We got to our entry point Cross Creek put in by 9:00 a.m. and ate our breakfast of zucchini bread and Cinnamon rolls and juice and water. We were kind of questioning if this was our entry point or not, the other areas had a nice sign with the entry point number up. We finally found the number 50 on a piece of wood nailed to the sign where people get day passes. We were more relieved then. By the time we got all our gear unloaded and loaded in canoe it was 11:00. It started out blue sky when we first got started, then the clouds moved in and it was over cast. It didn’t start sprinkling until we got to Ham lake which was several portages away. We did put our rain gear on by the time we got done on Ham Lake, we quickly shed it before we got to the next portage. When we were heading on the portage from Ham Lake to Cross Bay Lake we came across our first group who were portaging out. This group had been on Long Island from last Thursday thru Sunday. They indicated it had poured on them Thursday and it had taken until that day for their stuff to dry out. The group indicated they had left around 8:30 and it was 1:30 now. We decided to stop for lunch at Cross Bay Lake at the campsite closest to the next portage to Rib Lake. It was a great campsite, with a huge rock for sitting up on and lots of things to explore. I kind of wish we had stopped there for the night. The Portages from Cross Bay to Rib and Rib to Lower George and Lower George to Karl were very Muddy at spots. I still don’t how my husband manages the canoe on his head and walking the portages, especially when there is so much mud. We started having another group behind us on pretty much the rest of the portages, and older gentleman and his wife and I think he said 3 grand kids and their son. From Rib Lake portage to Karl Lake. They were headed to either Long island or Cherokee they said. A happy and jolly group. The last time we saw them that day they were taking the portage from Karl lake into Long Island. Dan did a great job of navigating us, we decided to take the route from Karl Lake right into Long Island Lake. We were thinking of taking the campsite on Karl Lake, we were beat. Dan had injured his neck on a job back in the spring and it is still bugging him. Speaking of bugs, they were none so far, we had no biting flies or mosquitos. I know that is one of the things people come to see in the BWCA(ha ha)! We paddled on to Long Island Lake we had done something different this time and decided not to pick out a campsite ahead of time, we have been disappointed when we get there and someone else has it. The map has the campsites marked. We floated around a big Island and Dan said there is supposed to be a campsite here. He then got his GPS out to take a reading as to where we are. While we were sitting there waiting for the GPS to work, I said that looks like a fire pit up there. We were just sitting to the left of campsite #2010. Thankfully it was empty it was 6:00 p.m. at this point we needed to be getting camp set up. It had a nice big rock for setting out on to get those cool breezes in the evening and the warm sun in the mornings. We were ready to be done. Just like everyone else you still have camp to set up. Dan said that it will be hard to find a good tree to hang the food bag in. On our first night in we take t-bone steaks from our brother in laws farm in Nebraska and instant mashed potatoes with sour cream and chives in them. It took a while for the fire to get going since a lot of the wood was wet. The meal was wonderful, we both sat there in disbelief that we were back in the BWCA, yet our bodies told us we had done those 6 wonderful portages. We finally sat down after cleaning up from our supper and then the mosquitos moved in, it was 8:30 so we headed to bed, it was warm that night in the tent, we stayed put until 9:00 the next morning.