Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

#16 Moose River Loop
by aarontkennedy

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 09/12/2023
Entry & Exit Point: Moose/Portage River (north) (EP 16)
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 1
Trip Introduction:
Loop starting and ending at #16 Moose River

09/12/2023 ~ 5.5 miles, 595 rods It had rained all night, but fortunately it stopped while driving to the Moose River Entry point. I had been concerned that with the lack of rain we have been having that maybe there would be issues on the Moose River. However, other than the expected portages and a few beaver dams I had no issues with low water. I went up the Moose river to Nina Moose Lake and found the portage to Lamb Lake and had lunch. I then proceeded to cross Lamb Lake and portaged to Ramshead Lake. You always hear about how great the water in the Boundary Waters is, but Ramshead Lake is green... I camped here.

09/13 ~ 6.2 miles, 398 rods I got up and everything was hidden in a thick fog, but it became clear that it was going to be a beautiful day because the sun punched through burned off most of the fog within an hour or two. I set out spend my second evening camped on Oyster Lake. As I paddled on Ramshead to the portage, I got to see three otters wrestling around playing. There is a portage alongside the Ramshead Creek that gets you to Nina Moose river and then on to Lake Agnes. Due to what I have read and the low water, I didn't bother to try taking the Oyster River to Oyster Lake. I paddled to the 190 rod portage that cots off the supposedly more difficult section of Oyster river and puts you on the more navigable section. I camped on the peninsula in the middle of Oyster lake. I chose the campsite that gives you access to both sides of the peninsula. In the mornings and evenings, there is a beaver lodge very close to this site where you can watch the beavers go about their daily business. This lake also had the most loon action on it of the lakes I saw.

09/14 ~ 4.25 miles, 156 rods I decided to build an easy day with no long, heavy portages. I stayed camped at Oyster and did a little day trip over to Rocky lake where there is a small petroglyph on the west side of the lake. It is on the rock face where there is giant black-white-black stripe on it. Look for the little red crosses. I headed back and ended up raining that afternoon/early evening so I turned in early.

09/15 ~ 7.5 miles, 440 rods I made my way back from Oyster to Lake Agnes the way I came. The end of the portage that gets you to Agnes is actually a sandy beach. The first few days of this trip were cold, but this particular afternoon was warm and sunny and a swim felt great. I continued down to Nina Moose Lake where I planned to camp. There were also like a half dozen swans swimming around in the area. This week, the wind and waters were generally calm. However, once or twice a day and usually in the afternoons, the wind would really pick up. This afternoon on Nina Moose Lake was probably the windiest conditions. It was really great to get off the water. I camped at the site between the Portage River and the Moose River mouths. It was really unique of the camp sites that I had seen because as you pull up it has plush grass almost like someone's lawn.

09/16 ~ 3.3 miles, 197 rods It rained a little over night, but it was done by the morning and the water was nice and calm. I headed back on the Moose River. I saw many, many beavers. I also saw a great blue heron fishing the river as well. In all, I think the total loop was about 27 total miles with about 1786 rods of portaging in that(over 5.5 miles). I would recommend the MacKenzie #12 Moose River map. It had almost the entire route (except Rocky Lake) on a single map, unlike the Voyageur maps which would have required multiple maps.