Memorial Weekend Trip to Bog Lake EP#67
We picked up our Canoe from the Outfitter (Minnesota 4) because there were 4 of us. Nice Canoe by the way. Not much more weight and lots of room and lots easier to carry than two canoes. I had heard the drive from Downtown Ely to the EP was going to take an hour. We did it in about 30-40 mins, it was 18 miles on paved roads and then about 7-10ish on dirt. When we arrived we were the only car in the parking lot. I had heard and saw on several maps that there were 3 sites on Bog. I had also heard that the fire had swept through the area and that only one site still existed according to what I read on BWCA.com. In preparation I called our outfitter and asked to see if all three sites were still open and they said that they 100% there. So we went into the portage knowing that we could take our time and take the anxiety out of finding a site. The map says that its 252 rods, I didn't measure it but it seemed longer than that to me. To give you an idea I am of regular build, don't walk super slow or super fast and it took me 35 minutes to walk from the parking lot to the lake with the canoe and pack on my back. There was one log you had to left over but other than that nothing crazy. The portage is definitely easier for the first 1/3 although its a little marshy but then it gets rockier and hiller. We got to the lake and the winds were out of the north west about 8-10mph. We headed straight toward site #2 (middle), because as I understood that was supposed to be the best of the three. The waves started picking up as we got across the lake and by the time we got to the campsite we were getting white caps and we were on edge. We looked and looked for the #2 site but everything was a decimated. Complete burnout of the site, fallen trees no cleared spaces. Even if the site was there you wouldn't have wanted to camp there. Just tons of dead trees all over the place. We decided to head to site #3 which was down wind from were we were. We didn't see it from the water initially and went passed it by quite a bit. The winds at this point were really beating on us so we went into the beach area at the end of the lake. We gathered ourselves on the beach and everyone was miserable. Everyone was at high stress because of the waves, what we had seen so far was ugly and we were a little lost. We gathered ourselves and said adventure is good and started to head back north along the shore to see if we could find site #3. I have spent enough time in BWCA that I can identify what a site looks like from across the lake but because everything was dead and knocked over it was much more difficult to identify sites. We found the 3rd site but It was decimated as well. Dead tress everywhere so much so that the "site" really only allowed you to walk about 20 yards deep and then there was a thick line of the dead trees. We decided to grab lunch on the site and wait out the wind. Once the wind slowed we paddle up to see if some how we missed site #2. When got up to where we thought the site was we didn't even get out of the canoe because all the trees were laying across the shore. So even if it was a site was there you wouldn't have wanted to stay there. The next game plan was continue to head north and check out site #1. It was back in a little bay. Found the site, and it was the best of the three but still decimated by the fire and nothing worth staying at. But we had already invested so much time and effort I didn't want to go home, so we camped there for the night. It wasn't terrible but it certainly wasn't worth the effort. On all the sites we saw there was zero p places to hang the hammocks everything was dead fallen or dead standing.
Sunday:The next morning was nice and I took my wife and younger son for a paddle. As we were exploring the lake what did we find? But a beautiful campsite tucked into the woods on the south western part of the shore undamaged from the wild fire but not on my new map. It was complete with a grate and a toilet. I can't lie I was pretty upset. The site you could tell had been there quite a long time, I have no idea why it wasn't on my map that I purchased from the outfitter that morning. My map had the Isabella sites crossed off that were affected by the fire so it was fairly new. By this point my wife had had enough with all of this and so did my older son. I had told them before we went to explore that morning that we would just go home after we explored because no one wanted to stay on that site another night. My oldest son was packing everything up as were were exploring. So when we found this nice site everybody had already made up there minds that they wanted to be done. Anyway my recap is that I wouldn't waste your time on the lake except to go to the site we found that wasn't on the map.