Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Last BWCA Trip?
by dring

Trip Type: Paddling Kayak
Entry Date: 06/16/2021
Entry & Exit Point: Moose Lake (EP 25)
Number of Days: 3
Group Size: 1
Trip Introduction:
The travel for this trip started on Monday the 14th of June. Drove to my son's house and stayed there. Tuesday the 15th of June got the permit and then set up camp at the Fall Lake campsite. June 16th is the entry day.
Last BWCA Trip? People are fun to be around.  People can be tough to be around.  Recently a three day BWCA kayaking trip was taken.  This was a solo trip. Day 1 Didn’t sleep much the night before at the Fall Lake Campground.  This is an amazing campground. Nicely updated and good people.  Sleeping was hard to come by with children crying at the campsite next door.  It was not anyone’s fault, but that is not a sound heard at our house anymore.  Didn’t hear the alarm and started later than planned. 6:30AM Paddled away from entry point 25, Moose Lake.  20 minutes of paddling to the first portage. 190 rod portage was an eye opener.  Not a bad portage just it was a portage.  Paddled across Wind Lake in 40 minutes, and the portage takeout was interesting.  Very muddy and because of the low water levels the first of the apparently three portage takeout has to be taken. In fact there are sticks in the water by places were people have taken out before the first takeout because their canoes wouldn’t float in the low water.  With the kayak the first portage spot was a little interesting.  Got the kayak going fast to get as far up the muck as possible, then climbed over the front of the kayak to get on a log.  It worked. The portage has a steam with large rocks to cross over and the other end has a nice landing, with rocks.  Paddled north on Wind Bay and then went too far northeast and got lost. End up in Big Miriam Bay in Canada.  Thankfully the map was large and the land formations helped me find the English Channel which went back to the boundary route. After a 75 minute 5 mile detour was back on track. Continued to Upper Basswood Falls. This is a 1.5 mile portage.  There where people fishing the falls and they said fishing was going well at the falls.  The portage is long but not bad. Rested once after 20 minutes and then finished it off.  Did the next 60 rod portage, a 50 rods portage (that seems longer) and a 35 rod portage around Lower Basswood Falls.  Continued paddling Crooked Lake, saw the pictographs and made it to a campsite that is the send site south of Table Rock campsite. The site was nice and after about 24 miles of paddling and 3 miles of portaging this old man was tired.  This was all done single portaging.  3:30PM was the time that kayak made it to campsite.  Weird thing happened that night.  Was in the tent sleeping, when a person says knock, knock.  They came up to the tent pad area and asked if there was a license or any money around the campsite anywhere.  The site was clean upon arrival, but they might not have believed that. Weird. Day 2 The next day was on the water at 5:45 and it was beautiful.  Calm water, awesome morning.  Noticed that the wind was starting early that day.  Put that in memory and continued.  Paddled about 4 miles when a person said hi.  He was soloing also and warned of higher winds in the coming day.  Thanked him for the report and squeezed through a cool opening onto Thursday Bay.  Pulled over there and sent a Spot signal to my wife.  Also noticed a substantial wind for 7AM.  Thought about a promise that I make to people that when on solo journeys that I will be safe.  Wanted to make it to Lac LaCroix but decided to be safe and paddle another day.  Turned around and started heading back to Moose Lake. On the way back after Upper Basswood Falls a large crossing has to be made. The waves were 1.5 to 2 feet white caps.  The sea kayak handled it but quartering the waves made for a tough paddle. Made it all the way back to Wind Lake.  About 25 miles of kayaking and 2.5 miles of portaging. Met a cool bunch of people before the portage into Wind Lake.  They said that they normally go into Quetico because there are less people and less trash and less trashed sites.  Put that in my mind.  The campsite that was found on Wind Lake was rated as a 4 on The site is in the southern middle of Wind Lake on an island. What makes a campsite a 4 out of 5. Thoughts are a boat landing, nice tent pads, nice kitchen, and other. Went back to the thought from the group at the last portage. This site had trash in it, had many trees cut down, and someone had made a live well when the water is at higher levels. Is this the last time in the BWCA? There are other places with less people and that are cool and not as well known.  No less than 20 canoes were seen every day.  What is the next trip. Day 3 A 20 minute paddle, 15 minute portage, and a 20 minute paddle put me at the entry point. Took the kayak up to the parking lot and then drove the truck up to it and started unloading the kayak and putting stuff in the truck. Here is where stupid happens.  The Honda Ridgeline has a trunk in the bed of the truck. Mine needs a key to open it.  Used the key got something out and then close the tail gate door.  Yes forgot to take out the key and the tail gate broke the plastic to pieces.  Still had the metal key and it working to turn the truck over but it would not start without the plastic fob working.  Wen back to the back of the truck and started looking for pieces.  Found most of them and MacGyvered it back together. It worked!   Summary People are nice to be around and share experiences.  Nice to be alone and think and pray. Does it matter where a person goes? Are the BWCA a cool place because of the PR about them? All of these are just thoughts because the BWCA are beautiful.  What is next? About 50 miles of paddling and 6 miles of portaging.  Much wildlife was seen but not bear, wolves, or moose.  Fishing was not the goal on this trip so none was done. Food was good.  Brought Mountain House Beef Stew, Mountain House Chicken and Rice, Lara bars, trail mix, and Green Belly bars. Green Belly bars are 660 calories and don’t weigh much.  Cold soaked the Mountain House meals and that worked out well.  Tried to go light weight.  Kayak weighs about 40 pounds and all the gear and food and portage yoke and everything weighed about 35 pounds. So all of the weight was carried on shoulders.