Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Isla’s First BWCA Adventure
by GopherAdventure

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 08/03/2018
Entry & Exit Point: Snake River (EP 84)
Number of Days: 3
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
I needed to go to Tower to pick up a sauna stove, so I planned on squeezing in a 3 day trip while in the area. What a perfect time to do my 4 year old daughter’s first trip. So I grabbed a permit for the Snake River EP and we decided to head to Bald Eagle Lake for a basecamp trip with only 3 portages in and 3 portages out.
Day 1 of 3
Friday, August 03, 2018 We left our house in the north metro around 4:15 in the morning, I thought that would allow my daughter to sleep a good chunk of the drive to Ely and she did just that. We stopped in Virginia for breakfast then at Lamppa Manufacturing in Tower so I could pick up a sauna stove for the sauna I’m building and then we headed on to Ely for our permit. We hit Highway 1 and pulled into the EP 84 lot at around 10:15. Plenty early. The first portage is much longer then maps indicate, luckily I knew this ahead of time so I had Isla mentally prepared. Isla did well on the portage, but had to ditch her packpack about halfway (around 130 rods or so into this 240+ rod portage). We still made it in one trip so we were on the water before 11:30 and the paddle and portages down the Snake river were fun! The river is narrow, but plenty deep and aptly named as it winds all over the place. We lined through one portage and shortly after, the river widened considerably as it meets up with the Isabella River. From there we headed north for Bald Eagle Lake and we passed a river campsite that was vacant, good sign. Then we got to Bald Eagle and paddled the eastern shoreline to the first campsite, vacant and nice looking, but we wanted to see what some other camps looked like first. We past the 2nd campsite on the eastern shore without even noticing it as there is only a very small gap in the treeline and I missed it. We paddled on and Isla spotted our home for the weekend, the third site up the eastern shoreline. It was perfect for us with a sunset view, ample breeze to keep bugs away (on a small point), decent kitchen and awesome gravel landing. We set up camp and by 2:30 we were all done and ate a late lunch. Up until this moment, we had sunny skies, but the forecast was rain and wind all weekend and it moved in quickly. We headed out to fish, but the wind had picked up and it was hard to keep our baits near the bottom because we were drifting so fast (should have brought the anchor bag on this trip). We still caught a couple of walleye and Isla snagged a big crappie to highlight the fishing. We headed back to camp around 5 as it started to rain. We cooked pork chops on the fire with some garlic mashed potatoes for dinner and it was delish! After a few snack size Butterfinger’s for dessert we watched the fire until the light rain snuffed it out and then Isla turned in around 8:30. I was so impressed with her, minimal griping out of her on portages and in the canoe even though I know it was challenging for her. I stayed up a little while and tossed a rapala out looking for a Pike, but no takers. I turned in around 10, tuckered out.