Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Meeds, Misquah, Lizz Loop
by Stoicprimate

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 07/02/2021
Entry Point: Meeds Lake (EP 48)
Exit Point: Lizz and Swamp Lakes (EP 47)  
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
This is my first trip report, so bear with me please. This was my wife's first BWCA experience. As someone who grew up in MN going up North, with many BWCA trips under my belt (mostly as a kid and young adult), it was truly amazing to see the experience through my wife's eyes and perspective. This trip has reminded me of what I have known to be true from the start; the BWCA is truly a special place in this world. I will be forever grateful that I have grown up knowing the hardship presented, and the simplicity of life; this amazing dichotomy that exists in the day in the life of a paddler there allows for so much personal growth it simply makes this place magical.
Long time paddler, first time trip reporter; so bear with me please.

This is my first trip in well over 12 years, and my wife's first trip. It was a fantastic loop to get my feet wet, sort of speak, and a great trip for my wife's first time.

The trip went as follows:

Day 1

Poplar to Meeds direct (197 Rod Portage) Meeds to Swallow (105 Rod Portage) Swallow to Pillsbery (90 Rod Portage) Pillsbery to Henson (52 rod Portage)

We stayed at the campsite on the North Shore of Henson, directly West of the portage. Admittedly we got a later start than planned or expected, coupled with the heat of the trip being north of 90 degrees through the day with a low of a measly 80 degrees. These temperatures were really the thing that made us have to leave a night early, sleeping in a tent when air temp is around 80 degrees even at night is not.. I repeat.. it is not fun.

Day 2 Henson to Omega (31 Rod portage) Omega to Winchell (46 Rod Portage)

At this point we were pretty well burned from the sun, along with the long paddle from West to East on Winchell we decided to make it a short day and set up camp on the third from the East site on Winchell.

Note: It was quite busy on Winchell. We saw no less than 18 people in half as many vessels (including paddle boarders, which was a first for me). I'm not sure if Winchell is simply a pass through lake these days, or if COVID is pushing people to get outside more; but it seems Winchell is a busy lake these days.

Day 3

Winchell to Gaskin (52 Rod Portage) Gaskin to Horseshoe (98 Rod portage) Horseshoe to Vista (23 Rod Portage) Vista to Misquah (56 Rod Portage) Misquah to Vista (56 Rod Portage) Vista to Horseshoe (23 Rod Portage)

As you have probably guessed, we had to turn around as the single campsite on Misquah was taken. We turned back around to camp on Horseshoe. By this day the wind was picking up so we were paddling against the wind heading North on Vista.

Day 4 (exiting a day early)

Horseshoe to Caribou (Portage Not Listed, See Note) Caribou to Lizz (68 Rod Portage) Lizz to Poplar (48 Rod Portage)

The biggest issue on this day was the wind, it had been steadily picking up since day 2.

Notable items:

o There is, in fact, a portage from Horseshoe to Caribou. I may have an outdated map, but everything that I saw online and on map made me question the existence of that portage. But as of 07/06/2021 there is, in fact, a pretty nice portage there. It's probably something around 60 Rods(ish), it's a bit rocky, but it's not bad and it's fairly easy.

I will add more information as I remember it, and as anyone asks for information.