Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness-Sept '17

12:54 p.m. on September 19, 2017 (EDT)
MODERATOR TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
11,271 reviewer rep
1,341 forum posts

Last week, I did my second trip to the BWCA. The first trip was 3 years ago, and I've been itching to return. 

This time my 13yo son, Anton, went with me. He had a great time and told me he was really happy we went (but he was disappointed we didn't see any bears). 

I drowned my good digital camera in a cave last spring. So my pics are not very good. I had to heavily edit shadows. So some of the pictures are pixeled or over-saturated in color. But here they are...


21742990_10154852851426129_8424859249908Our group of 8 getting ready to put in at Moose Lake, entry point #25.


21586620_10154852853956129_2031125518415Loading at Moose Lake. We paddled 15 miles, with 7 portages on day 1.


21731289_10154852863526129_5883660678524Loading at Moose Lake. By the end of the trip, Anton was carrying 50# packs on the portages. I was impressed!


21742841_10154852862031129_3939863746814Finishing a portage onto Birch Lake.


21765203_10154852850591129_4466328608904Bald eagle over Birch Lake. We saw about a dozen eagles on our first day, but that was it. We never saw another  eagle the rest of the 5 1/2 days we were out. 


21740705_10154852860941129_5233185213580The portage to Knife Lake runs along the border. The wall will go right along this path. 


21458186_10154852851961129_7678364464264
We visited many of these lakes. Red dots are where we camped. The campsite on Knife was beautiful. Ensign sucked (especially since there was a 3/4 mile & 1/2 mile portage to get to it).

21544031_10154852856946129_1765343075593We always use a canoe for the camp kitchen at each site. 


21544217_10154852856201129_5144613983071View from our campsite on Robbin Island in Knife Lake. The far shore is Canada.


21462757_10154852862951129_7594314570118Resting in my hammock. Anton's hammock is right there. He's using the Therm-a-rest Hammock House and a JRB Greylock 3.


21741111_10154852858011129_1210837392483The weather was unseasonably warm. This made for lousy fishing, but we swam every day. Canada starts in the middle of this channel.


21544208_10154852852911129_3987205607878I'm about to go skinny dipping in Canada! (Much to my son's horror!)

21762700_10154852858151129_8393547551685



21753250_10154852854796129_6470090697013Ribbon Rock (aka Bacon Rock) is pretty famous in the BWCA. As far as I know this is the rock's natural color. It's not painted. 



21743264_10154852862361129_8786788557719We practically starved on this trip. Here is our day 2 dinner. All we had was 16oz ribeyes, potatoes, carrots, and firebaked cornbread. It was like this all week. Somehow, despite the lack of food, I still managed to gain weight on this trip. 


21551720_10154852852781129_2156032859638Anton discovers lakes have leeches. We pulled 2 of them off him before taking this pic. He caught a 3rd one another day.


21740159_10154852850671129_3359835272446Looking at stars in the sky and crayfish in the water.


21457735_10154852855176129_2470239565261Day 3 we paddle to Thunderpoint on Knife Island. The overlook is about 150' above the lake. 


21552092_10154852855891129_1024983584302View from Thunderpoint on Knife Lake.


21552105_10154852854691129_2009637709610Thunderpoint view


18449571_10154852854991129_5238059032417Look how clear that water is! On Knife Lake you could see 10' down when the water was calm.


21586613_10154852853731129_6523810604647It was only overcast on our last day. Ensign Lake was not clear!


21741211_10154852857491129_2063941870596Our last night was rough. It rained for hours. Storms brought high winds and nickle-sized hail (Those white dots.).


21462937_10154852861311129_7857226018449Waiting for our outfitter to pick us up back at Moose Lake.

Great trip. No bears. Lousy fishing. Nice swimming. 

1:13 p.m. on September 19, 2017 (EDT)
REVIEW CORPS
1,963 reviewer rep
2,035 forum posts

Cool report, looks like a blast was had by all.

Wow, 15 miles and 7 portages on day 1? 15 miles is major paddling on flat water. You needed those steaks!

1:22 p.m. on September 19, 2017 (EDT)
REVIEW CORPS
1,679 reviewer rep
694 forum posts

Nice trip Goose...I need to get me one of those mini lake-sherpas next time I have a lot of portaging to do...what's the upkeep on something like that?

I assume you always use an aluminum canoe for your camp kitchen?...that doesn't seem like something I should do with my Kevlar canoe without a welding blanket :P

2:04 p.m. on September 19, 2017 (EDT)
MODERATOR TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
11,271 reviewer rep
1,341 forum posts

Patman said:

Cool report, looks like a blast was had by all.

Wow, 15 miles and 7 portages on day 1? 15 miles is major paddling on flat water. You needed those steaks!

 We were exhausted, and I discovered arthritis in my right hand--which is still swollen and painful 5 days after pulling out. 

The portages were really easy on this day. All were pretty flat. We were able to float a couple of them upstream without unloading anything. A couple were under 5 rods (82 feet).

It was the day 4 portages of 3/4 mile & 1/2 mile that were miserable. The longer portage was so steep & slick, I had to have Anton plant his foot next to mine so I could get the footing I needed take the next step with the 70# canoe. Afterwards, I was soooo glad we hadn't come from the other direction, where I would have had to descend that route. 

2:07 p.m. on September 19, 2017 (EDT)
MODERATOR TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
11,271 reviewer rep
1,341 forum posts

jrenow said:

Nice trip Goose...I need to get me one of those mini lake-sherpas next time I have a lot of portaging to do...what's the upkeep on something like that?

I assume you always use an aluminum canoe for your camp kitchen?...that doesn't seem like something I should do with my Kevlar canoe without a welding blanket :P

 Mini lake-sherpas require constant feeding and housing. Plus, they talk back a lot. :P

Yes, we only use aluminum for the camp kitchen. And even though our outfitter primarily provides plastic paddles, we always take one wooden paddle to filet fish on. 

6:08 p.m. on September 19, 2017 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,337 reviewer rep
872 forum posts

Great trip and photos despite your camera loss this year! I didn't see Anton's passport in hand when he crossed the border? Also, I assume the hail was US nickel size not some Canadian metric version...

9:32 p.m. on September 19, 2017 (EDT)
MODERATOR TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
11,271 reviewer rep
1,341 forum posts

Phil, the question is when a bald eagle is in Canada is it still an American bald eagle? What about a Canada Goose in the U.S.?

7:50 a.m. on September 20, 2017 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,337 reviewer rep
872 forum posts

All good questions to consider while floating in a canoe near some loons (birds - not the other paddlers necessarily) on a Boundary Waters lake.  I remember the clear water on some of the lakes where you could see a fish hit your lure 10 or more feet down...still one of my favorite places.  I have kept this on my desk since my first trip there in the early 90s - after two weeks out on the water it seemed like the funniest thing I had seen:
20170920_074426.jpg
20170920_074438.jpg
20170920_074451.jpg

11:16 p.m. on September 20, 2017 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
1 forum posts

G00SE,

I enjoyed meeting you on the 200 rod portage from Knife to Vera and talking gear for a little while. I agree that portage was a good endurance test, at least for me.

I base camped on Vera for several days and spent time exploring the lake and reading some good books. There is nothing like a week in the Boundary Waters even though I was on a freeze dried "diet". Nothing like the fine looking chow you guys enjoyed.

Best,

John

 

9:06 a.m. on September 21, 2017 (EDT)
MODERATOR TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
11,271 reviewer rep
1,341 forum posts

kuhjoh said:

G00SE,

I enjoyed meeting you on the 200 rod portage from Knife to Vera and talking gear for a little while. I agree that portage was a good endurance test, at least for me.

I base camped on Vera for several days and spent time exploring the lake and reading some good books. There is nothing like a week in the Boundary Waters even though I was on a freeze dried "diet". Nothing like the fine looking chow you guys enjoyed.

Best,

John

 

 John,

Yes, it was nice meeting you, and I'm thrilled you found Trailspace. 

You, sir, are an inspiration. My group talked about you the rest of the day--how we all hope to be enjoying the outdoors into our post-retirement years. 

Vera was a pretty lake. Ensign was crowded and noisy. Plus the lake water was green, and the scenery lacking. After all that portaging, we were disappointed with the outcome. 

Safe adventures,

Jeffery

11:31 a.m. on September 21, 2017 (EDT)
21 reviewer rep
2,959 forum posts

BWCA is a great place. Thanks for the photos. 

It is a rigorous style of travel. I always planned to get back there, but now it seems like too much work.  Fifteen miles on the flats is a lot in the wind. Forty miles on a river is no big deal. 

8:31 p.m. on September 21, 2017 (EDT)
TRAILSPACE STAFF
848 reviewer rep
3,835 forum posts

Nice trip report and pictures, Goose!

It looks like you had a great father-son trip together, and I'm sure you'll both have great memories of it.

November 21, 2017
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply

 
More Topics
This forum: Older: Showing Off Yosemite to the kids Newer: Pecos Wilderness, Santa Fe National Forest
All forums: Older: Merrell Wilderness Hikers (M13) Newer: WTB: moss little dipper or Encore