Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Jack lake wildlife adventure
by stok0099

Trip Type: Paddling Kayak
Entry Date: 09/20/2021
Entry & Exit Point: Baker Lake (EP 39)
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
Wildlife galore! Except for walleye.... This is an annual trip for us, but different lakes every year!
Day 1 of 4
Monday, September 20, 2021

Our annual trip started out significantly different than most. We had favorable tail winds, and our kayaks effortlessly floated us from portage to portage, and low stream to low stream. We are more seasoned with battling head winds and using significant effort to move our vessels through white capping waves.

The couple portages were not bad, some ankle biters throughout the trails, some scrapes and scratches causing bloodied ankles (which a leech found) and some of the largest downed trees I have ever seen. Note: Likely they’d been laying for a decade, but the winds that took these down must have been pretty impressive.

We found the small streams within Peterson and Kelly Lake to be very low. There were the remains of many of travelers scrapped against the rocks below, though it wasn’t a significant amount- this was a testament to the lower than average water levels. We did have to get out of our kayaks and push/pull them over a few spots.

The winds helped the paddle, but behind them some cool air and rain that followed. And it came down quick. Right when we felt like bragging about the favorable conditions, the rain started. Rain, winds and storms do not break our morale, we embraced it.

As the paddling started to became a little more aggressive we came around a bend on Jack Lake and there he was - standing tall, and stoic a huge (especially from a kayak vantage point) bull moose. He looked at us, and confidently knew we intended him no harm - more likely he sized us up and dismissed us as a threat. After a few minutes of gazing he disappeared into the woods, and our paddling picked up. After that, the rain wasn’t even a real thought (for a while). With adrenaline and excitement of being 2 hours in and seeing a moose pumping, rain wasn’t going to deter us.

We found the exact site we had planned on, on the main east point of Jack lake. It was an elevated site, and after online reviews and some cross talk with other adventurers this was “the site to have.” We thought it was an okay site. The view wasn’t great (maybe late fall it’s better), and the tent pads were okay, but had standing water from the rains. Little things like good placement for tarps ect were lacking. It’s tough though to critique anything while in such a great place.

We managed to get a tarp up run the rain and waited until dark when the rain died down to set up camp. We ran into a couple small bunnies as we were setting up too! After getting a pathetic fire going, we grilled up a steak had a drink or two and went to bed.