Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Entry 50 Cross Bay Lake
by jaalspa

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 08/22/2023
Entry & Exit Point: Cross Bay Lake (EP 50)
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 4
Trip Introduction:
This year's Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, BWCAW, trip had special meanings. Last year we were not able to make our annual trek into the Wilderness and this year is the 20th anniversary of our foursome.
Day 1 of 4
Wednesday, August 23, 2023 - we got up early to drive up the Gunflint trail to Tuscarora Lodge and Canoe Outfitters. Our two canoes were dropped off at Cross River which is where are journey started. You don't actually enter the BWCA until reaching Cross Bay Lake. I believe we had 7 portages (land between bodies of water) to get through. The weather was overcast and cool, perfect for paddling.

Things went fairly smoothly though we did have trouble finding the portage into Cross Bay Lake and ended up on an old, non-maintained portage (oops). Our destination was Long Island Lake.

We had stayed on Long Island Lake before (2005) but had entered via a different route and with 5 campers instead of the usual 4.

It took us 7 hours to get to Long Island Lake. Whether it was lack of paddle practice or age or directions, that was a LONG paddle. Add that I had a big arthritis flare up as we got to Long Island Lake. We had been given heads up to some available campsites. The first site on the lake was already occupied and didn't really meet our requirements (western facing with a swimmable area). The next one was available, and I had to confess that I could not continue paddling as my arthritis made it nearly impossible to continue.

Turned out the campsite was great, and we proceeded to setup our gear. I wasn't much help due to the previously mentioned arthritis. My flare up also meant that we were destined to have stormy weather...and it proved to be true.

The camp site got set up in no time as usual. To our amazement, there were nearly no bugs! So, we were able to have a campfire and stay up after sundown. This is usually not the case. From this point, the video really shows how the camping went.  

We did have rain that first night (Wednesday) but it was not bad and sounded soothing on the tent.