Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Moose to Basswood, 1 nighter
by DrBeabout

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 07/05/2022
Entry & Exit Point: Moose Lake (EP 25)
Number of Days: 2
Group Size: 3
Trip Introduction:
Overnight trip through Moose, Wind, and Lower Basswood. Dad with two kids (15 & 13) in a 3-man canoe.
We did a post-4th of July 1-nighter from our family cabin on Moose Lake. We are coming from Louisiana so it was helpful to work with Williams and Hall outfitters for cooking stuff and canoe rental. Our 4th person dropped out shortly before the trip, so we switched to a single 3-person canoe, and they were able to accommodate us. We got a 17 foot Wenonah kevlar (60 Lbs.- not bad for a longer boat). Picked up our gear from Dave at Williams and Hall on a rainy July 4th and then set out early to cloudy but dry skies early on the 5th.

Paddled 45-minutes from our cabin on Moose to the Wind Lake portage. Calm waters at 6:30 AM. A few towboats on the east side of the lake, so we mostly stayed on the West side. Lots of early morning wildlife, .About a dozen bald eagles, two beavers, what we thought were a few golden ducks in the reeds (?), and a bunch of broken animal eggs at the Wind-Moose portage. Also saw these at a camp site landing on Basswood. Turtles we were guessing?

We took 45-minutes on the Moose-Wind portage. Really awful mosquitos, but no black flies. It had rained overnight and was pretty gray, so they were hungry. We fed them. Portage was in good shape given the overnight rain. Not too muddy.

45-minute paddle across wind lake, very quiet and still water at about 8 AM. Lots of swans. Only saw two on our trip here 2 years ago- but probably saw 8-10 this time. They look very out of place with their bright white feathers. Campsites looked mostly full on the main body of the lake- didn't go back into the northern bay where most of them are. As we approached the outflow creek at the Western end towards the Basswood portage, there were lots of downed logs, so had to go a little slower. Started raining pretty good as we crawled through here. We saw a moose here two years ago- but not today. Paddled slowly through the lily pads with their gorgeous yellow blooms for about 15-20 minutes before arriving at the easy portage landing on the right hand side of the creek. During low water on this trip 2 years ago we hit soupy mud close to the entrance of the creek, and were bottoming out and not prepared to bushwhack. So we turned back. Felt good to see the higher water and make the portage this time.

This portage was shorter, and mostly downhill towards Basswood, Mosquitos were again ridiculous. No black flies. My younger son put a foot in the creek at the crossing, and was a little grumpy after that- but those are the breaks. The Wind Bay-Moose portage landing on Basswood was pretty muddy, but we managed to muck our way through. Some ominous clouds were rolling in as we started paddling in Wind Bay, so we went to the first island camp site just in front of the portage and had lunch. Was pretty buggy, But we felt good being off the water while the stiff wind came in the bay out of the north. The wind slowed after about an hour, so we paddled north into the main part of the lake. That pesky stiff wind out of the north reappeared and there were some waves to contend with. A little tricky as we wanted to paddle west to get a campsite on Lincoln Island. Ended up paddling north into the waves and then cutting back west along the shoreline to avoid getting broadsided.

Pulled into campsite #1641, which was just gorgeous on the south side of Lincoln Island. Total travel time from our cabin on the South end of Moose to Lincoln Island was probably 5 1/2 hours. Which included about an hour stop in wind bay to wait out some rain. Anyways, beautiful campsite. Room for 4 tents, very dry, easy pebble beach landing, tall pines and a ground cover of dried pine needles. North wind coming off Basswood was pretty steady- so no bug problems at all in the immediate fire pit area. Spent the afternoon exploring little trails on both sides of the campsite... hoping to find one all the way around the island- no luck. The weather was stormy looking (and windy) which kept us off the water for the afternoon. Near constant motor boat traffic in this area with people headed to the southwestern bays of Basswood. Some people wouldn't like this. Didn't bother us much.

In the morning, the boys wanted to paddle to Canada- and the weather was much improved, other than some remaining Northern wind. Paddled up the protected western side of the island- passed the other nice-looking campsite over there (occupied). There was a neat little point on the northwest of the island that had a beach landing and we thought might have a border marker. But no dice. So, we made a mad dash into the wind and across the border and touched some Canadian rocks before heading back to camp the way we came. Fixed a big breakfast when we got back to camp, and headed back towards home around 11 AM. Much warmer and full sun on the return. The overwhelming mosquitos on both portages were all but gone. A nice surprise. Had to wait awhile at the Wind-Moose portage for a few groups coming through. Some guys with a fully loaded Alumacraft and some homemade portage wheels. Looked like they were having fun.

Back to our dock on Moose about 4 PM.