Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Father Daughter bonding
by bentshaft

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 08/02/2020
Entry & Exit Point: Seagull Lake (EP 54)
Number of Days: 7
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
This trip was just me and my 19 year old daughter Lauren. Lauren has been on many BWCA trips and 1 WCPP trip, but always with a larger group and usually a mix of traveling and layover days. She has been wanting to do a trip focused on moving most days. Original plan was to recreate a trip I did 25 years ago with a buddy in the fall, Kawishiwi Lake to Malberg, up to Little Sag, Ogish, over to Kekekabic, down to thru Boulder back to Malberg and out. With her summer job and other family commitments we were not sure on the timing and so I was watching the permit availability at Kawishiwi. Plenty of permits available for most of August still in early July. Finally nailed down the 1st week of August and Boom, all the permits were taken. In studying the maps realized we could do the same loop with a Sea Gull start and end and permits were available. This also gave me an opportunity to to start a trip from the end of the Gunflint where I have not go out from. We would be double portaging but with relatively light(35lbs) loads. All distances reported are map miles for paddling not taking into account any sides trips for sightseeing, fishing, or oportunities to reorient. Portage’s are reported in in length off the Voyageur maps. Saturday we left southern MN mid morning and headed up to Sea Gull outfitters. Stop at Cascade Lodge for lunch and up to the outfitters to check in. We are staying at Voyageur tonight as SeaGull did not have space. Confirmed our morning tow and they requested us to be there at 6:30 if we could. On to Voyageur to check into the bunkhouse and meet up with a friend of Lauren’s working there for the summer. Headed down to Gunflint lodge for supper.
Day 1 of 7
Sunday, August 02, 2020 Traveled total of 16.35 miles. 15.35 miles paddling and 12 portage’s totaling 320 Rod’s. Lakes traveled: Sea Gull, Alpine, Jasper, Kingfisher, Ogishkemuncie, Annie, Jenny, Eddy, ponds, Kekekabic.

Unloaded at the Sea Gull outfitter dock at 6.30 and we’re on the water shortly after. The tow boat dropped us off near the end of 3 mile Island. Set up the canoes and we were off. Once past the Islands there was a decent breeze from the NE that created just enough waves for us to need to pay attention going parallel with the waves. Quick work of the 1st portage of the trip and on to Alpine. Beautiful lake, can see evidence of the recent burns.

On to the portage to Jasper, where we share the portage with a couple coming out with a couple of beautiful wood Kayaks. Quick paddles through Jasper and Kingfisher. We did meet other groups at each of the portage’s after the 1st one, but never felt crowded or in each other’s way. On to Ogish. Here I made the first navigation error of the trip. I knew I had folded the map through the middle of this lake, but as it is such a straight forward lake I didn’t bother to refold to see it all. I knew we just wanted to head to the end of the lake, stay left of the Islands and the portage should be right there. Came to the end of the lake Very quickly, and things did not line up quite right. A bit of exploring and I saw the channel heading north by a campsite and then remembered the narrow channel that separates Ogish into 2 parts. Back on track we make it to the end of Ogish and on to Annie. Should mention that the day is partly sunny, guessing Temp around 70 and with a light to moderate tail wind. Perfect day to travel! My original goal for today was Keck, but was not sure if that was feasible for us on this first day. As we were getting to the end of Ogish around noon decided not only was that doable but we should maybe head to the west end instead of looking for camps on the east end. Met one group heading on a day trip to SAK and a solo paddler with a dog on the next couple of portages. On thru the ponds with the annoyance of 5 short portages in less than a mile. Waited off one of the portages with a very steep rock landing for 15 minutes or so for a scout troop to clear. Finally got through the last portage and onto beautiful Kekekabic! I’m always in awe entering this lake from the east. Agreed with the nice tail wind to head to the west end of Kek to look for campsites. Checked out site 1421 on the south shore. This site would certainly work in terms of tent pads, hammock trees, etc, but the site did not have much character. Decided to check out a few more. The site on the Island and the site across from it were full so we checked out site 1681 which is close to our portage in the morning. Not a great site in terms of pads or space, but as we needed only one sleeping spot on the ground and Lauren found a good spot to hang, this will work for us. This site is in a nice setting but would not want to camp here with more than 2 if possible. By the time tents, tarps, hammock, etc are set up its time eat. Clean up camp, watch the sunset and various critters move by and call it a day.