Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Best Friends and The Big Jump: Lake One to Insula
by Jazzywine

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 07/23/2018
Entry & Exit Point: Lake One (EP 30)
Number of Days: 7
Group Size: 4
Trip Introduction:
My favorite trip to the BWCA so far and one the best weeks of my life. Our group included me, my girlfriend, two of our best friends, and our two dogs. We swam and sunbathed, fished and frolicked, got engaged and jumped off cliffs! This report was written in two sittings; the first nearly two years after this wonderful week. In fact, I was on a plane back to Minnesota (having moved to CA) for another trip during a global pandemic and amid social upheaval in Minneapolis (my old home) and across America. The second sitting was yet another whole year later, as COVID vaccines were more ubiquitous and I was planning a cross country drive for my next BWCA visit. I’ve done my best to recall the magic of this week but let me extend this prologue to set the scene (as much for myself as for you). I was a graduate student. My girlfriend was a nurse at a children’s hospital. We had been together for 8 years and had just been through the hardest winter of our relationship. But by the time of this trip we were happy in our first house (rental) with a backyard and as dog-parents of a newly adopted pup. We had previously shared three BWCA adventures together. This was our first with these two friends and their dog. If they weren’t already, we became best friends that week and started an annual BWCA tradition.
Day 1 of 7
Sunday, July 22, 2018 (Pre-Entry)

We packed the cars and drove from Minneapolis to a cabin outside Ely, to which we had a tenuous family connection. No dogs allowed in the cabin so we set up our tents on the wooden deck. WE ate our defrosting veggie burgers as dusk fell and we had the worst mosquitos of the whole trip.

Monday, July 23, 2018

We woke early and made our way to Kawishiwi Outfitters to collect our permit and get on the water. We were soon paddling on the popular waters of Lake One and a good thing two because our plan was to push all the way through to Insula. We were hoping to snag Williamson island for our week-long base camp.

As we got our bearings we quickly learned how each of our pups (new to canoe tripping) would effect our travel. Kaya, our friend’s 70lb German wirehaired pointer, mostly just slept at her people’s feet. My dog Riley, a 38lb hound mix, needed to watch everything go by. To do this she need a good vantage point; she decided that on top of the gear worked for her, no matter how precarious that seemed to us. From her perch she could let us know whenever she wanted us to be going in some direction other than our current course. Whenever we approached a peninsula, she wanted to get out and explore and she would let us know her desire with whimpers and whines. When we pulled up to a portage, if she didn’t see an easy way to dry shore she would wait, not wanted to get unnecessarily wet (little princess that she is). As we passed by other canoes, she wanted to go over and say hello and would let us know with her hound vocals. If she ever saw our friends’ canoe ahead of us and she saw her friend Kaya, she would persistently insist that we catch up and overtake them. She just had to be the leader of the pack, I suppose.

With all these new quirks that came with our dogs – and some less than pleasant portages with pups pulling – we made our way from Lake One to Two, to Three, to Four, then on to Hudson, and finally to Insula. On Insula, our campsite of choice was taken but we happily landed at 1327, which was quite nice with both some sandy shallows and a rocky drop off for wading and swimming.

~Lake One, Lake Two, Lake Three, Lake Four, Hudson Lake, Lake Insula