Quetico - Lake Saganagons
by bwells113

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 07/07/2006
Entry & Exit Point: Saganaga Lake (EP 55)
Number of Days: 10
Group Size: 4
Trip Introduction:
The trips that I have embarked on into the BWCA over the past eleven years have exposed me to the likes of seagull lake, alpine, saganaga, northern lights, rose, north, south, and the granite river. This trip would be different. This year would mark the 50th anniversary of the first time my dad had come up to the boundary waters as a boy scout with Justine Kerfoot. This year we would be going to a place that even he had never been to before….the Quetico! I would like to share with you the accounts of the best canoe camping trip I have ever been on and hope that you all enjoy reading this report as much as I enjoy reading what other people have shared of their own experiences in the Boundary Waters and Quetico. I apologize ahead of time for the length, but what can I say, I like details.
Day 1 of 10
Friday, July 07, 2006



The majority of most trips that my family and I have taken in my lifetime have always seemed to be planned at the last minute, resulting in such things as delayed departure times and negotiations with bureaucratic types at odd hours of the day. This year would prove no different. Let’s just say that we liked to keep things “interesting” on our quests, to wherever they may be. Due to the fact that we didn’t know the exact date we would be leaving until a week before, we were unable to obtain Remote Area Border Crossing Permits online which take 6 weeks to process. “No problem, we’ll just pick them up in Pigeon River at the Canadian customs office in Canada.” As it turns out you are required to show both a primary and secondary form of identification in order to obtain such a permit. After digging through the documents at 12:30 in the morning we find everyone’s official birth certificate except mine of course, bummer. After searching the internet for ways to replace the birth certificate we see that the state office of vital documents is located outside of Pittsburg, 6 hours away on our route towards the BWCA and opens at 8:00am. Perfect!


At 1:15am we’re off, the four of us piled inside the Saturn ion, the canoe with two # 4 Duluths under it on top of the car, and the rest of our gear and food packs in the trunk. At 8:00am, after a McDonald’s breakfast with the locals of New Castle, we arrive at the government office where we are told after filling out the necessary paper work that it will take about an hour to process. 30 seconds later the office worker returns with my official birth certificate. Quickest hour of my life. We thanked the two ladies whole-heartedly and continued on the road. Not even the toughest of Border Patrol agents on the most vicious power-trip could spoil our trip to the Quetico now. 13 hours later after sitting in 3 hours of traffic through Chicago, we pulled into Tomah, Wisconsin in which the only place we could get a bite to eat at 10:30pm was the Ground Round. After quick deliberation we came to the conclusion that it must have been Karaoke Night. Oh boy! We thought, nothing like a bunch of drunken Wisconsiners singing Prince’s greatest hits to serve as motivation to finish your dinner. (No offense to you Wisconsin natives reading this, it was quite entertaining). After the concert we took full advantage of the Econo Lodges Whirlpool with a cold case from outside Wis dells and called it a night. A good travel day overall.