Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Bog Lake weekend
by QuietSolo

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 07/07/2018
Entry & Exit Point: Bog Lake (EP 67)
Number of Days: 3
Group Size: 1
Trip Introduction:
This was planned as a short solo weekend trip in search of solitude and paddling a new boat.
If you want a “tough mudder” course for a third of the cost and none of the glory that comes with being cheered on by a crowd, this portage is for you. Complete with mud, swamp, bugs, a hill and eight obstacles in the form of trees down over the portage trail it is sure to provide a physical and mental test. Over, under, around or some combination thereof. I named all eight. If it weren’t for the eight trees down, I wouldn’t even be talking about the portage other than the fact that it is longer than 250 rods. There’s a portion of the portage before you hit BW land, so maybe that .25 mile or so stretch isn’t included in the 250 rods we see on the map. All in all it’s probably a mile. Most of the trail terrain itself isn’t bad as portages go. The day I put in there were also three trees down over the .9 mile road to Bog Lake. For better or worse I drove my Jeep over all three. I’m thankful I didn’t get stuck out there with more than one flat tire. Speaking of roads, be sure to have directions/map with you that include/s the road numbers (e.g., 172, 369, 373) rather than just names of roads (e.g., Trapper’s Lake Rd.). With snowmobile trails, logging roads, and other unsigned roads, a person could get lost or at least turned around. The McKenzie map shows three campsites on the north shore of the lake, the portion burned by the Pagami Creek fire. I headed in the direction of the middle site. The good news is that there was a narrow sandy “beach” with a nice clean sandy slope into the lake. By this point I needed to filter water and refill water bottles. Would be nice to have for a landing and for swimming. But no campsite. Landscape is a mangled mess in process of regrowth. So I headed east figuring I just missed it or that I would take the eastern most site. No site. At this point I assumed the map hadn’t been updated since the fire and that indeed all three sites on the north side were wiped out. Then I headed to the southwest, non-burned part of the lake where I had seen a pink-dot campsite marked on paddle planner. Sure enough there was a decent landing, fire grate, and nearly full latrine. One mediocre tent pad in a bit of a depression. I didn’t have a fire b/c of 25 mph wind gusts, but certainly could have given the availability of dead and downed trees. I talked with a ranger from the Tofte station after I got back home. He thanked me for the report on the trees over the road and said that a site or two on the north shore had recently been reopened. Must be the NW site, which I did not paddle by. Is Bog Lake the apex of BW lakes? No. Will you find unparalleled beauty? Probably not. But if your priority is solitude, and you only have a weekend to jaunt to BW, Bog Lake will provide.