Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

2019 Long Island Lake Basecamp Solo
by petzval

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 09/23/2019
Entry & Exit Point: Cross Bay Lake (EP 50)
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 1
Trip Introduction:
This was my third trip to the Boundary Waters and my first solo. My previous trips were in 2010 and 2011 – both out of the Ely area. I’ve been excited about the trip since I first conceived it in November of 2018. I planned for a base camp trip, and I lucked out with absolutely amazing weather and an equally-amazing moose sighting. I'm really grateful for all of the contributors to this site who have provided insight, information, and inspiration. Hopefully, something written in this report will be useful to someone, somewhere!
Part 1 of 6
Day 0: Sunday, September 22, 2019

I departed my house in the east Twin Cities metro as planned at around 9 AM. I stopped at Panera to get a tuna sandwich for when I was ready to stop and eat which I did just before I got to Duluth at around 11 AM. I stopped at the Thompson Hill rest stop off of I35 to hit the head, stretch the legs, and admire the view of Duluth and Superior as I enjoyed my lunch. I then made my way up to Grand Marais where I made another stop to get gas before heading up the Gunflint Trail.

Though I had spent a few days this past July in Grand Marais with my family, I had never been up the Gunflint Trail, and it proved to be every bit as pretty a drive as I had imagined. My heart raced a few times at the scenery of low-lying ponds, lakes, and creeks amongst the rugged forest. By the time I got to the turn for my outfitter and entry point, I was fit to be tied. I stopped at the parking lot of the Cross Bay Lake entry point and got out to see where I would be putting in on the Cross River. It was a stunning view, and I was super-excited.

I then made my way over to meet Andy at Tuscarora, and he had me watch the video before we went over all of the equipment that he was outfitting me with. He sent me to the bunkhouse with my equipment pack and told me I could pick up the food pack the next morning after breakfast (to maximize time in the refrigerator for some items). I began adding my equipment and luxury items (camp chair, tarp, whiskey, etc.) to the pack and had a few items remaining for the food pack the next morning.

After a walk to admire the entry point again, I set back out in my truck for dinner at Trail Center. The burger and beer were delicious, and the service was friendly and speedy. I drove back to Tuscarora and fell asleep shortly after 9 PM or so.

"The Gate" sculpture at the Thompson Hill rest stop overlooking Duluth, MN and Superior, WI

My accommodations at Tuscarora the night before the trip.