Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Quetico 2022, Playing in a New Corner of the Park
by TrailZen

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 08/26/2022
Entry & Exit Point: Quetico
Number of Days: 10
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
We'd never paddled in the northwest corner of Quetico, and planned this route for our August 2021 trip. The park, however, was closed for wildfire when the 2021 trip was scheduled, so we went to Algonquin instead. The Beaverhouse area is beautiful and a wonderful place to paddle when the wind isn't too strong!
Day 1 of 10
Friday, August 26, 2022. Beaverhouse, Quetico, Cirrus Lakes. 3 portages (600, 200, and 400 meters). 16 miles total.

(Note: When I submitted an Remote Area Border Crossing permit request via paper mail on July 8, I used the 2018 application form. When I learned that a new form was required, I submitted a second request via email. Meanwhile, I had a Quetico reservation for Prairie Portage/Carp Lake with an entry date of August 26. I'm 1250 miles from Ely, and with no RABC in hand August 22, I called Canada Border Services Agency to check the status of my RABC request. Turns out there's no way to check the status, and we were starting our drive north the next day, so I spent the afternoon of August 22 changing our Quetico reservation, canceling hotel reservations in Ely, making a hotel reservation in Atikokan, and loading gear into the Outback. Our change of plans made the commute to Canoe Country around 1400 miles, which we divided into three days. And, you guessed it, the RABC landed in my email inbox shortly before we crossed into Canada. Oh, well, it's good until December 31, 2023, so we're set for next year.)

We had breakfast at Robin's in Atikokan--good, but not Ely's Britton's--then headed for the Beaverhouse parking lot. There were more vehicles than we expected, but plenty of parking room. Around 9:00 am we unloaded gear and single-walked the flat, wide, 600 meter portage to Beaverhouse Lake, where we caught up with a four-man crew from Indiana. We paddled across a windy Beaverhouse Lake with them, then took the portage into Quetico Lake. Because we turned north in Quetico Lake and stayed close to the western shore, we were mostly in wind shadow until we portaged into Cirrus Lake. There we fought quartering winds for a mile or so until we turned east, and had the wind at our backs. We were surprised at the remnants of Quetico's logging heritage found along many portages this trip—chains, cables, etc—that we haven't seen in other parts of the park.

We reached our desired campsite at a narrow passage about two-thirds up Cirrus at 3:00, set up camp (wow, we love our gravity filter!) and snacked on hummus and zucchini chips. Checked the day's mileage and understood why we were so tired. Around 4:30 we heard a shout from down the lake, and think the lead canoe (of three) had just spotted our tent in their intended campsite—hope they hadn't paddled all the way from Beaverhouse, too.