Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Kawishiwi Triangle
by straighthairedcurly

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 05/28/2022
Entry & Exit Point: South Kawishiwi River (EP 32)
Number of Days: 3
Group Size: 3
Part 2 of 4
Saturday, May 28, 2022

The mist started about 6:30am and I should have listened to my gut whispering I should get everyone up to start packing before it got worse. However, I hate always being the one to say, "Go, go, go!" So instead, we got up as the rain strengthened around 7:30, threw a tarp up and started getting our gear into trail ready form. At this point, we discovered the error in tent assembly last night as the rain started pouring through the peak vents. Stew had put the tent fly on upside down! Too funny! Fortunately, I had already packed my down sleeping bag so only my pad got wet.

After granola for breakfast and coffee for Stew, we were ready for our drive to the South Kawishiwi River put-in. I had never been to this EP before, but it was easy to find using the directions in the Beymer book. His mileages are always spot on.

A quick unload, attached bow and stern lines to the rented MN III canoe, fastened in the spare paddle, fishing gear, and a rescue rope (just in case someone needs help given the high water this spring). People started coming across the portage to the parking lot, starting with a group of 6 who flung their 3 canoes off their shoulders onto the rocky ground. OUCH! It hurts when I see any canoe being treated like that. A bit later another large group and a solo canoeist crossed paths with us on the portage. We didn't see anyone entering, only exiting. Maybe the rainy weather or the high water had so many people exiting on Saturday of a 3-day weekend, or maybe it was just happen stance, but it seemed strange.

We single portaged, so we made short work of the 124 rod portage. We had received a brief scouting report from the 1st group. They had entered at Farm Lake and stayed on Clear Lake. They said the 5 rod portage had more water running THROUGH it than the river channel itself. So they chose to skip the portage and just paddle down the river, but didn't think we would be able to paddle upstream. We took their advice with a grain of salt. Turns out the portage was dry as a bone and quick and easy. To reenter the river, we chose the landing furthest from the main river channel due to the strong current. A group was camped at the site across from the portage, but otherwise we didn't see anyone else at the 8 sites we passed.

We headed to site 1131 near the "bottom" of the Kawishiwi triangle. Delightfully, it was also empty and we paddled up the swift water narrows to pull into the upstream landing area tucked in a little bay. Since the weather forecast is for a showery weekend, we decided we would basecamp. Tomorrow we can paddle around the triangle and end up back at our cozy campsite. Today was mostly misty as the rain only lasted until we got on the river, though it was quite windy in the afternoon.

Stew loved this campsite for the shore fishing. He was able to play with the eddy lines a lot. At one point, he thought he snagged on something downstream and started walking the cliffside. When he got over the top of the lure, he realized he actually had a nice northern on the line. He had multiple ledges below him, but managed to land the fish on the 3rd ledge up. As he was calculating how to get to it asap, it gave a big flop and knocked the hook loose. Stew watched helplessly as it flip flopped its way down from ledge to ledge until it finally slid back into the water. I awoke from my nap very confused as I heard Stew shouting, "Dinner just rolled into the river!!!" I was trying to wrap my brain around how the food bag could've come out of the pack and then rolled off the flat part of the campsite. It did give me a heck of a harsh wake up before he explained. Later, as the "one that got away" tale was retold, we joked that fish will be picking pine needles out of its gills for a week.

Joey and I started cooking dinner on the stove while Stew did some more shore fishing. As Joey went to fetch him for dinner, he watched in horror as Stew slipped and fell into the river. Dry shoes and socks soaked as well as his pants soaked to mid thigh. Fortunately, he was able to just barely catch himself before he ended up in the full current. He came back up and ate. Then Joey set about getting a fire started to help dry stuff. Tough going with the wet wood, but he persisted and succeeded. We used the fire to help dry some additional wood for tomorrow morning's biscuits and gravy.

Break-in trip Reason #1: "Mom, can I borrow your headlamp?" "It's daylight, why do you need it?" "Too dark in my hammock to read." "Where's your headlamp?" "Plugged in at home, charging." "Good thing this isn't your Arctic trip!"

Break-in trip Reason #2: Our new bear ropes are too short. We realized we never measured our old ones. Made it work tonight, but definitely need to remedy before our 2 week trip.

Break-in trip Reason #3: I discovered my solo tent is much better in the rain if I add extra stakes to the fly. Normally, I don't carry extra stakes, but I had brought an extra tarp on this trip and I used those stakes. Before my solo trip, I will invest in some lightweight extras for my tent.

Break-in trip Reason #4: Stew's new used sleeping pad is too big for his hammock.