Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

2023 LIS North (14) - Moose River North (16)
by starz1994

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 07/07/2023
Entry Point: Little Indian Sioux River (north) (EP 14)
Exit Point: Moose/Portage River (north) (EP 16)  
Number of Days: 9
Group Size: 8
Trip Introduction:
Our group enjoyed paddling Basswood for several days last year, so this year we decide to paddle Lac la Croix for a few days. We hope to find some solitude, great campsites, and catch a few fish while we enjoy everything the wilderness has to offer. This year our group consists of 8, with 7 having prior BWCA experience, and 1 first timer. Dad, Noah, Joel, Levi, Christopher, Angelina, and I are looking forward to introducing Dakota to the BWCA this year.
Day 1 of 9
Friday, July 07, 2023 - Little Indian Sioux North - Upper Pauness - Lower Pauness - Little Indian Sioux River - Loon.

Everyone is excited to begin our trek into the great north wilderness this year, so our crew is up early to make the drive from Ely out to EP 14, Little Indian Sioux North. The alarms begin going off at 4:30 am. Our stay at the VNO bunkhouse was perfect. We leave the bunkhouse before daylight, and make our way northwest. Once at the EP 14 parking area, we unload our gear and part of our group begins to portage, while Noah and Christopher shuttle one of our vehicles over to the EP 16 parking area, since we plan to exit there in a few days. We watch the sunrise as we portaged our gear down to the LIS River. Now that we have the vehicles shuttled and our gear portaged, we begin paddling at about 6 am.
The 40 rod portage from Upper Pauness to Lower Pauness has a small uphill at the beginnning, then downhill at the Lower Pauness end. It's a very easy well used portage.

After a quick paddle across Lower Pauness, we decide to take an early break for a lunch snack at Devil's Cascade.

Angelina and Dakota decide to swim, while the rest of us relax and enjoy listening to the water rush through the canyon. The water level is lower than I remember in the past, but the cascade is still very impressive! The portage from Lower Pauness to LIS River has a few elevation changes, but isn't difficult. It is a pretty well used, and well maintained portage.

Once we begin paddling on the LIS River, the boys begin fishing. Joel catches the first fish of the trip on a floating weedless frog. Of course it's a small mouth bass.

Not to be out done by his big brother, Levi catches a northern pike on a black/white stripe spoon.

The overcast skies decide to rain off and on most of the morning into the afternoon. We decide to put on our rain gear and stop at campsite 26 at the south end of Loon Lake for a break from paddling in the rain. The site suites us well, and we decide to stay for the night. This site is large enough for our large group, and offers a great view of Loon lake to the north. After camp is set up, Joel and I decide to go fishing to try and catch the ever elusive walleye. We didn't have any luck catching walleye, but we did catch several northern pike and a few small mouth bass. Levi decided to spend the afternoon taking a nap in his hammock, while the rest of our group relax and enjoy the wilderness.
After fishing, I spend some time looking at the map, documenting our route for today, and looking ahead for our plan of attack tomorrow.
Christopher and I decide to go for a paddle to check out other nearby campsites. Site #28 seemed smaller than #26, and we agreed that we liked #26 better. Then we paddled over to Site #25. Of the 3 sites (25, 26, and 28) our opinion is #25 is by far the nicest. It was the largest of the three and had nice tent pads and hammock hangs. If we hadn't already set up camp at site #26, we would have moved to #25 for the night. Joel wanted to check out site #25, and I wanted to get some photos of it so Joel and I paddle back over.
After fish and rice for dinner, and washing dishes, it's time to get some sleep. As I write in my journel I hear the drumming of a ruffed grouse in the distance, the buzzing of mosquito's outside the bug net of my hammock, and the snoring of Christopher in his hammock a couple of trees away... What a great day!