Routes in the Boundary Waters

Adventure Without Boundaries™

BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

October 25 2014

Entry Point 24 - Fall Lake

Fall Lake entry point allows overnight paddle or motor (25 HP max). This entry point is supported by Kawishiwi Ranger Station near the city of Ely, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 7 miles. "Access is a boat landing at Fall Lake. Several trip options to Newton, Basswood, & Mud Lakes with additionalportages." This area was affected by blowdown in 1999.

Number of Permits per Day: 14
Elevation: 1324 feet
Latitude: 47.9527
Longitude: -91.7213
"This trip will be taking off from Fall Lake up through Newton Falls portage onto Pipestone Bay campsites. 3 day, 2 night trip into the wilderness.

 

1985 Fall Lake--Beartrap River--Crooked Lake--Basswood Lake

Trip Report

Entry Date: August 13, 1985
Entry Point: Fall Lake
Number of Days: 9
Group Size: 2

Trip Introduction:
This is a canoe trip that we took when we were 40 years old. It was an enjoyable trip, although we would have preferred to have better weather.

Part 1 of 11


Background:

1985 was a year of landmark birthdays for everyone in our family. That summer Spartan1 and I both turned 40. It had been a very tumultuous spring and summer for me as I had done my student teaching in public school music K-12 during the fall and winter and then had had no luck in finding a teaching job. Money was tight. Spartan1 had a good job with the power company, but my extra college to complete teacher certification and student teaching had put a strain on the budget. We had an old Ford Galaxie 500 sedan that we had purchased used from Spartan1’s parents when they bought a new car. I was hoping that I could get a job and get a better second car because mine was a “beater” and not dependable.

Our daughter turned sixteen that September and she was about to get her driver’s license. She had her first boyfriend. She was very talented, an honor student, participated in many school activities, and was an all-round great kid, but she was beginning to spread her wings and become an independent young person. Life with her was changing.

Our son turned into a teenager that April and was about to start eighth grade. Those of you who have an eighth grader don’t need any explanation about who he was becoming. It didn’t help that he was a “little” guy, and needed activities that he could participate in with a very small body that was going to mature late in adolescence. Fortunately, he was getting into cross-country running. . . . .and band, and jazz band, and choir, and debate, and forensics, and drama, and academic games, and. . . .

But life was also good for us on the hobby farm between Jackson and Parma, Michigan. We raised a big garden and a small flock of sheep. We had church and school activities and good neighbors and friends. And we were especially thankful for our friends in Minneapolis who had always kept our children while we tried to take time away in the canoe country. They had started this when our two were only very small (our son was fifteen months old the first time we left them there for a four-day trip out of Lake One). They have a daughter the same age as ours, and a son the same age as ours, as well as two younger children. Our kids, being raised in a rural environment, were always thrilled to spend a week or so in the big city with their friends, and it gave us the time to be "Spartan1 and Spartan2 in the wilderness”, time to recharge our own relationship and to explore the BWCA, occasionally even Quetico.

So, on Spartan1’s 40th birthday we left Michigan and traveled to Minnesota. We dropped our children off at Prospect Park in Minneapolis, feeling confident that they would be well cared-for, would have their own vacation adventures, and would not really miss us all that much! Our two are the ones on the left in the back row. They don’t look all that sad to see us go, do they?

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/Kids1985.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/FordGalaxie500.jpg[/IMG]

And we headed off for Ely, where we would meet up with more friends, a couple who had a cabin on Camp Lake, a little private lake west of Ely off highway 169. Ray was a fellow counselor with Spartan1 at Camp Easton in the ‘60’s and was a participant in his very first canoe trip. He was a college professor and he and his wife were fortunate to have a summer cabin in the Ely area for many years. This little cabin on Camp Lake was their first.

I wish I had a photo of their guest cabin, as it was charming.

In fact, I wish many of the photos in this trip report were different. As I read the narrative I am struck with how differently I would have photographed this trip NOW! But I didn’t have a good camera, and it was 1985. I haven’t doctored these photos (much—just enough in a few cases to make them visible) and I realize that the quality is pretty poor. I ran out of film!! I don’t ever remember running out of film on another trip, so I assume that I learned my lesson. The weather was crappy for quite a few days, but even so. . . .now with a 7D and the skill level I have attained, I could do a pretty neat shot of Curtain Falls on a rainy day!

Ah, well.

And I guess the only other thing to add is that when we returned to Michigan after this trip I got a call in early September (after school had started) to come for a job interview at a small rural school a few miles from our home. I ended up with a very enjoyable career teaching music K-12 at Springport Schools. And we got a better car. :-)

 



Part 2 of 11


Prologue:

We arrived at Ely early in the afternoon of August 12, 1985 and did our preliminary shopping in the rain. It is always good to get back and to see how little Ely changes in the years since the last visit. For us, in this case, it had been three years. We picked up the few things we still needed for the trip and I tentatively looked for the “perfect” souvenir.

There is a new restaurant called the “Chocolate Moose” where the old Ely Hotel used to be. It is a log building and looks very pleasant. They are advertising evening bar-be-ques on weekend nights. Sounds like fun! There is also a lovely gift shop across from Canadian Waters, which has nice things, but nice prices as well. Everything this year seems to have loons on it.

After checking all of the outfitters for bargains, purchasing our maps, picking up our permit at the Voyageur Center, and generally just absorbing the “Ely feeling”, we head back out to our friends’ place at Camp Lake.

It is good to see Ray and Sue again and we have a delightful dinner with them, talking of old times, discussing the possibility of a Camp Easton Alumni Club, and hearing about the bear situation. It seems that the blueberry crop wasn’t good this year and bears are a particular nuisance to canoe trippers. That isn’t very reassuring to me.

As we want to get an early start, we go to the guest cabin early. It is still looking like rain and rather cool. I love the guest cabin! It is a “real” log cabin that Ray and Sue made themselves out of logs on their property, and has a charming feeling that makes me want to stay longer and pretend to be an early settler in the wilderness. It occurs to me that the real pioneers would be thrilled to see what I consider “roughing it”—Sue even keeps her rubber raft in the cabin since the bear took a bite out of it!

We spend a comfortable night and awake refreshed and ready to begin our trip.

 



Part 3 of 11


Day One

Miles traveled: 7.7 Portages: 2 (120 rods)

We awake and gather up our things, arriving at Ray and Sue’s cabin door about 8:10, the appointed hour for breakfast. Sue prepares a fantastic feast to send us off: bacon and eggs and wonderful blueberry muffins, and a really unique orange-flavored coffee.

We get everything packed up and start off for Ely again. For awhile I think we will just be spending our vacation at Camp Lake a few miles west of Ely, as it takes us three tries to get the big old Ford and trailer up one of the interesting slopes on the gravel road. Finally we make it out to the highway, and after a quick stop at Zup’s for our steak and oranges we are on our way to Fall Lake.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/1985Maprelg.jpg[/IMG] [Pink outlining is for 1985 trip, blue lines are for other canoe trips.]

There is a new Forest Service campground at Fall Lake that seems to be very nice. We park the car, portage the gear and the canoe to the landing, take advantage of the opportunity for a “flushie” (the last for nine days!) and push off at 10:30 A. M. After a beautiful sunrise the sky is clouding up and looks threatening, and there is quite a wind. We encounter very heavy chop as we try to go around the point of the big island and I am scared! Unreasonable as it might seem (we have certainly been in worse!) I like to have at least a few minutes of nice calm canoeing to get my “sea legs” before the wild stuff starts! Neil calms me down by mentioning that we are really making some progress in spite of what it looks like to me. We ferry on the waves and round the point, making a tricky turn to begin heading downwind, and in awhile I am feeling more comfortable.

The portage around the man-made dam into Newton Lake is “improved” to be accessible for powerboats. It is a super-highway!

We have much wind assist as we paddle up Newton Lake and also in Pipestone Bay. The portage into Pipestone is at Pipestone Falls. They aren’t all that impressive.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/PipestoneFalls.jpg[/IMG]

We camp about 2:30 on Pipestone, at the point west of the entrance to the small pond which leads to the portage to Jackfish Bay. It is windy and cool. This is a very open campsite, with lots of “widow-makers” to creak and groan. It isn’t a particularly pretty one, but I am tired enough and glad we stopped.

Supper is early this afternoon. It is our traditional one: steak, hash browns, fresh oranges and hot chocolate. We have also brought a few marshmallows to roast and they taste good. There are some boys from a nearby campsite out in the woods knocking down dead trees and Neil goes out to investigate.

We have decided to boil our water on the more heavily traveled lakes this time (or when there is a lot of evidence of beavers) so we start getting into the routine of boiling and cooling it. We have two water bottles and one canteen, can easily carry enough until tomorrow’s camp.

I had an unfortunate accident during the car trip to Minnesota when I spilled some boiling hot coffee on my leg (upper thigh, wearing polyester stretch pants) and I now have a fairly large burned area that is of some concern. It has a rather nasty open sore and is painful. I will keep it covered all of the time and try to keep it very clean. It wouldn’t do it get an infection out here! The extra-large Band-Aids that I searched all over Ely to find are obviously old—the glue melts and makes a mess I cannot peel off. Thank goodness for the trusty B-D alcohol swabs! Sometimes it is convenient to be traveling with an insulin-dependent diabetic, I guess.

[2011 NOTE: Unlike our trips these days, we had very little medication with us. No antibiotics, no pain medicine other than a handful of aspirin, no muscle relaxer tablets. Spartan1 had insulin and syringes, and tested his urine sporadically—this was before blood sugar monitoring. Basically figuring out the balance of calories/activity/insulin was guesswork. We had a 17 foot Grumman aluminum canoe, two canvas Duluth packs, a lightweight (orange) nylon external frame backpack that was our food pack. No water filter, and I don’t think we had a stove along. We had a small folding reflector oven, two flashlights, and a candle lantern. My camera was a Yashica Electro35 and I believe this was the first trip that I ever tried 400 speed film. Now back to 1985:]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/1stcampsitePipestone.jpg[/IMG]

The weather is cool; the sky looks alternatively threatening and blue. It is very windy on Pipestone Bay!

 



Part 4 of 11


Day Two

0.5 miles 2 portages (120 rods)

We awoke at 5:30, went back to sleep and later wished we had stayed up. Up and going about 7:30. There is a nice sunrise. The wind is still blowing. We have eggs for breakfast (I am still not ready to give up on real eggs!) and also potato pancakes.

On the lake (Pipestone Bay) by 10 A. M., and it is choppy. We paddle across the pond and make the portage to Jackfish, with the sun out and the sky looking lovely. The wind blowing down Jackfish is unbelievable! Whitecaps and really dangerous looking water! We decide not to chance it, and go back over the portage to the campsite which is right at the portage. It isn’t a great campsite, but is OK, and if you are windbound you are just thankful for a place to make camp. I take advantage of the opportunity to shampoo, and wash out a few unmentionables. We nap and read and kill the time. For supper we have the rice and peas combination, and unplanned scrambled eggs (I dropped the egg box!) and chocolate cake. There is a piece missing on the reflector oven, so the cake is done over the fire, but it still is good.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/NEC2ndcampsitePipestone.jpg[/IMG]

There are big bee-like bugs here that are eating the numerous flies which have been buzzing around. It is interesting to watch—they sometimes can even grab them in mid-air! The weather is much calmer and nice. I really hope it lasts. We plan to rise early tomorrow and will decide then whether to change our itinerary or just try to make up for the lost day.

A leech attaches himself to the pot as I am rinsing it out. NOT one of my favorite creatures. We see a large turtle and also a beaver swimming in the lake.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/2ndcampsitePipestone.jpg[/IMG]

It is a cold night for sleeping. I am glad for the wool socks and my warm mummy bag. Everything feels damp.

 



Part 5 of 11


Day Three

10.7 miles 7 portages (457 rods)

Up at 5:37. It is misty and still. Temperature 39 degrees. DAMP! We have last night’s planned Mountain House beef stew for breakfast, with the one surviving egg. Of course we have the usual Tang, too! The sky is clear and we hurry to make the portage to Jackfish Bay (again.) We are on the water at 8:13. I really enjoy this morning paddling across Jackfish in calm waters. At 9:00 we enter the Range River.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/RangeRiverreflectionsHz.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/RangeRiververtical.jpg[/IMG]

The stream narrows down and winds around. We stop at what looks like the portage, but it is an old logging road. There are boats stored there and a small docking area. Another couple arrives as we are deciding that it isn’t the portage and getting ready to leave. Back on the river, to wind around a few more bends and here is the portage! There is a group of nine ducks who don’t appear at all disturbed by our presence.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/DucksRangeRPtg.jpg[/IMG]

We portage, then paddle down more stream, over a few beaver dams, etc., then make the long portage (not a bad one) to Tin Can Lake past Sandpit Lake. There are some large parties of people on the portage. One girl makes her companion (who is gasping for breath) pose with the canoe on the plank bridge. I found her OBNOXIOUS! She has clean white DRY tennies and long polished nails and is wearing a bathing suit—keeping beautiful while her companions do all of the work! Neil thought it was funny that I hoped she would fall into the lake! [Actually, I wanted to push her myself, but that wouldn’t have been nice.]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/ButterflyPtgtoTinCan.jpg[/IMG] [Butterfly at the portage to Tin Can Mike Lake.]

Paddled from Tin Can Lake to the portage into Horse Lake, then portaged into Fourtown Lake. There was another large group of people at the first portage: 9 people, 6 Duluth packs, 9 duffles, 4 5-gallon pails, 2 coolers (!) and assorted fishing equipment. One lady remarked that we have learned to travel light!

Saw a nice family of loons on Fourtown Lake. Mother and Dad and two chicks; the father leads us away and acts as a “decoy” to get our attention. There are lots of turtles sunning themselves, also we see ducks, herons, otters and/or minks. The last campsite as you leave Fourtown looks super-nice and I wonder as we make the portage if we will find anything as nice when we want to camp. The 30- rod portage to Boot Lake is easy and I am glad as I am getting really tired.

We check out the first campsite on Boot Lake and are not impressed. Now I am really wishing we had stopped. The second campsite has 15 resident ducks, but we don’t decide to stay. The third campsite is over-used but is very large and exceptionally pretty. It takes up the whole point, with both a sunset and sunrise view, which is nice. We decide to camp, in breezy and sunny weather. Tired—lots of portages and enough paddling for today.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/1985BootLake2.jpg[/IMG]

There is thunder and a sprinkle about 5:15. We have turkey tetrazzini, noodles Alfredo, dried fruit and marshmallows for our supper. There is a chipmunk messing around our pack.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/1985BootLake-1.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/1985BootLake3.jpg[/IMG]

I sit on the point until sunset enjoying the colors of the sun in the water. There are nice reflections and I hope to have gotten some effective photos. A pair of fishermen in a canoe is out on the lake, so we aren’t alone tonight.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/Sunset2Boot.jpg[/IMG]

 



Part 6 of 11


Day Four

4.7 miles 6 portages (204 rods)

We are up at 6:30, and breaking camp about 8 A. M. when the fisherman calls up and asks us if we would like fish for our breakfast. I hate to refuse, but with the dishes washed up and our breakfast eaten, we don’t’ want to take time to build up the fire, clean and fry fish. Regular canoe-trip breakfast: pancakes with bacon bits in the batter, and tang. It was delicious until I knew I had missed fresh fish!

We see our fisherman as we pass their campsite further on in Boot Lake. He tells us we missed some good walleye fillets. That doesn’t make me feel any better!

Portage to Fairy Lake. This is really a pretty lake, after a muddy portage the lake is clean and clear and picturesque. We meet a party of Outward Bound girls on the portage. The water on Fairy is still and there are great reflections. I took almost no pictures this day and don’t really know why. We go from Fairy to Gun Lake, and then to Gull Lake. See total of 15 Outward Bound canoes—we are obviously on one of their routes! We have to wait for four canoes at the pond at the portage to Thunder Lake. They chat with us some. It appears that some of them have had a good time and some aren’t so enthusiastic. They warn us of the muddy portages to come.

We make an early camp about noon, as we don’t want to enter the Beartrap River late in the day. Have a lovely campsite on Beartrap Lake, we are the only ones on the lake. (It is the only site.) Finally, some solitude!

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/DucksBeartrapLake.jpg[/IMG]

We bathe, do laundry, loaf around and enjoy the peace and quiet. There are five resident ducks which I try unsuccessfully to feed, and am only successful in skinning up my knee. The loons are very noisy here for some reason, and there are other calling birds also. Another pesky, bold chipmunk!

Supper is Beef Bourgignon (so-so), freeze dried peas, and yellow cake. Neil has rigged up the oven to work and the cake is good. The laundry is dry and we will probably be glad for this quiet, peaceful afternoon in the nice weather. There is an old bog-type clearing in back of the site; it looks like at one time there was another lake back there. Neil found DRY cedar and it burned really good. I go to sleep dreading the long muddy portage!

 



Part 7 of 11


Day Five

10.7 miles 5 portages (372 rods)

It rained hard all night and is a really ugly wet morning. We are on the water at 7:53, with the weather looking very threatening indeed. We have discovered at breakfast that the chipmunk has eaten into several containers in the orange pack and even chewed a hole in the waterproof bag around the food box. Hot cereal for breakfast was quick and good, when in a hurry to start a long day.

Portaged 200 rods to the Beartrap River. Muddy but not otherwise a bad portage. The mosquitoes are awful! The Beartrap River looks marshy, brushy, and quite unpleasant as I stand on the portage and wait to begin. (The photo doesn’t do this feeling justice).

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/1985BeartrapRiver.jpg[/IMG]

We wind around, go over some beaver dams, and keep in a narrow track. This would be really pretty if the sun were shining! Portage 60 rods, and it is raining as we get under way again. Another short portage into Sunday Lake. The sky is really black now and it is raining. Sunday Lake is very remote and pretty, with only one campsite.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/SundayLakerain.jpg[/IMG] [Pretty, don’t you agree? But that is really what I said.]

After Sunday Lake the river is all lilies and weeds and there is almost no trail to follow for a long time. It is hard to paddle through as we keep losing the path. It is pretty in its own way, but not my preference for canoeing. There are more portages and beaver dams (lift-overs) and finally the river widens and there are big rocks again. The area looks like it was once a lake or a large river and the area has filled in with the brush. There are typical banks and rocky outcroppings and forest far away from the banks which we are paddling through. I would really be interested in a geological history of this particular section of river.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/LunchportagefallsBTRiv.jpg[/IMG]

We eat our lunch at a 10-rod portage with a nice waterfall. These falls far exceed Pipestone in my opinion, and should have a name! The sun peeks out briefly. I take too many pictures as always, and we get back on the river once again.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/FallsonBeartrapRfar.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/FallsonBeartrapRClose.jpg[/IMG]

After a 110-rod portage to Iron Lake we meet a party of people, the first seen today. They have a wood canoe, are not very talkative or friendly. They are heading for Sunday Lake and we don’t envy them this late in the day! The end of this portage is really odd—just a slanting rock. It would be very hard to see coming the other way, unless you noticed one of the few remaining portage markers. Guess that is why no one has used this marker for firewood. [2011 note: I wish I had photographed that portage sign from close up! Can you see it--there on the tree?]

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At the beginning of this portage the falls looked like a manmade dam. It reminded me of the Jackson Cascades. [a local hometown water “attraction”, which is made of concrete]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/Cascades.jpg[/IMG]

I am starting to tire at Peterson Bay on Iron Lake. The wind is picking up, too. It is partly cloudy and sometimes bright sun. We stop at the campsite at the west end of the island and are ready to camp when I look up and see a pack hanging in the tree. Darn! We paddle to the east end of the island and make camp. It is terribly windy—too windy for a fire in the unprotected location where the grate has been placed. So we eat lunch-type food for our supper. There is a rain squall and Neil spills trail mix in the tent, which we clean up very, very carefully.

I’m cold tonight, having trouble getting warm. There is a really awful wind and stormy sky tonight.

 



Part 8 of 11


Day Six

15.5 miles 1 portage (140 rods)

We were up early and on the water by 7:00. It is raining and cold and windy, we are wet, and we have had a cold breakfast. This isn’t much fun right now! We paddle to the portage at Curtain Falls. The falls are large and powerful and sound like a railroad train. I hadn’t remembered them as impressive as they are. [We had been here in 1980 on another trip] It is a gorgeous spot, but I would like to see it on a nice day; both times I have been here it has been drizzly and with a gray sky. It’s a good portage, too, 140 rods, no mud even in bad weather.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/CurtainFallslong.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/1985CurtainFalls.jpg[/IMG]

It is really raining now, and I am cold and wet and depressed. We paddle the length of Crooked Lake: Sunday Bay, Saturday Bay, Friday Bay, Thursday Bay—windy, choppy, sometimes heavy waves and whitecaps. At the narrows out of Thursday Bay my teeth are chattering and I am chilled to the bone. When we round the point and see a nice campsite we decide to stop and warm up. It is lovely here, sheltered and pretty, and someone has left dry driftwood for the fire—bless them! Neil makes a great fire and we cook pancakes, Mountain House sausage patties [2011 note: I really wish they still made these, as they were very good], and have lots of coffee and hot chocolate. I take off my slacks and dry them over the fire and that helps me warm up considerably. This may end up being the greatest feeling of the trip—getting warm again! [2011 note: I believe to this day that this is the closest to true hypothermia I have ever experienced, and it was a very good move that we stopped to build that fire when we did. I had a raincoat-style of rain gear that didn’t come down far enough to protect all of my pants, and they had wicked up to make my entire bottom wet and cold. Soon after this trip I bought my first real rain suit with pants.]

On Crooked Lake we saw 2 eagles soaring overhead (or one eagle twice.) There were about four other canoes out today, one had pair of older men whom we saw several times. It wasn’t too bad going, as we rode with the wind and waves. Just the rain and cold made it uncomfortable. It appears to be fall here, the maples are turning red and some of the birches are lightening up towards their fall gold color.

We camped at Table Rock, which is a very old campsite dating back to the Indians and the Voyageurs. It is large, open, and is a nice place. Table Rock is just as its name implies, an enormous table right on the flat rock at the shore. I can just picture the Voyageurs sitting on the warm rock in the evening after a hard day of paddling. Tonight the rock isn’t warm; in fact, there haven’t been any warm rocks for quite awhile!

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There is a nice family of ducks who paddle by, also several parties of canoeists wanting to see the rock. I discover that the stupid, bold chipmunk (well. . .maybe it isn’t really so stupid) has eaten into our German’s Sweet Chocolate. This may be war!!

Someone has painted the old birch trees with white paint. Would the Forest Service do that?

The Salisbury steak in the “soft can” is good. We have it with Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. We warmed by the fire for a while after supper, then Neil hung the packs in the rain. It just keeps coming! I am feeling the need of a bath and a shampoo desperately and the zipper in the tent isn’t working at all well in the moisture. We are DAMP, DAMP, DAMP!

 



Part 9 of 11


Day Seven

12.5 miles 4 portages (454 rods)

Another chilly morning, more mist and cold gray weather. We are up at 6:30, have pancakes and cheese omelet for our breakfast and watch the eagle soar overhead. On the water by 9 A. M., paddling up the Basswood River.

The cliffs and the pictographs on this stretch are really impressive.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/1985PictographsSundayBay.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/Pictos2.jpg[/IMG]

Lower Basswood Falls is pretty, there are three places where the water falls, a campsite right at the one side, and a good portage. We see lots of people here. I wonder what “Crooked Lake Cabin” is, but we don’t stop and check it out.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/LowerBasswood1.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/LowerBasswoodFalls2.jpg[/IMG]

Wheelbarrow Falls comes around the island on two sides and is also scenic.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/WheelbarrowCanadian.jpg[/IMG] [Wheelbarrow Falls, Canadian Side]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/WheelbarrowUS.jpg[/IMG] [Wheelbarrow Falls, U. S. Side]

There is a long portage at [Upper] Basswood Falls, about a mile in length. It isn’t that difficult, just long, and the weather is still cold and unpleasant. These are nice falls, but I liked the lower ones better, I think.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/UpperBasswood.jpg[/IMG]

We paddle to Pipestone Bay and check out two campsites again, before stopping at a third. It is still very windy and seems colder tonight. I finally wash my hair out of necessity, but it is a chilling experience.

Our supper of Mountain House Chicken a la King and rice is warming. We sit up awhile with the fire, and go to bed early. I am getting really discouraged about the weather, and would plan to come here in July another time, I think. [IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/CpstPipestone-Jackfish.jpg[/IMG]

 



Part 10 of 11


Day Eight

7.1 miles 1 portage (40 rods)

The morning is still gray and bleak, but no rain today. We are up at 5:45. I think it is a bit warmer this morning, and there is less wind. We have hash browns and the bacon bar to eat. I have to clean out the lunch bag as a critter (probably piney squirrel) has been in the orange pack and helped himself! This must have happened while the pack was tied in the tree. Amazing!

This is a well-used site, but pleasant. There is a lovely view of the islands in the lake.

Today will be a short day, just a paddle down Pipestone Bay. Neil let me use the Therma-Rest last night and my back feels a lot better today. [2100 note: we can’t remember what kind of pad I was sleeping on, but I got a Therma-Rest pad for myself the following Christmas.] The cold and damp has been making the mornings painful at first.

We are on the water at 8:19. We portage Pipestone Falls about 10:20. We camp at the second campsite, the southern campsite on Newton Lake. We can hear the falls slightly. The site is very messy and has lots of trash: beer cans, a Coleman fuel can, and someone has thrown the fire rocks all around. Neil makes things neat again and builds a great fireplace. There is a big meadow out back, but the mosquitoes are so bad we don’t explore it much.

The forest here is all birch and aspen. It makes for nice fires, but I still prefer the looks of the conifers. The water here in Pipestone is very brown and has lots of swimmy things. No question about boiling this stuff!

We make camp early, dry things out some, and relax. It is cloudy, but brighter than it has been.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%201985%20%20Fall%20Lake-Basswood%20Lake/ViewofNewtonLboringre.jpg[/IMG] [I was running out of film. Why did I take this boring photo?? This is the last photo of the trip. Puzzling!]

Later on we can bathe, (tricky with the canoes coming and going). [In 1985 we were still bathing with a bar of Ivory soap in the lake. Sorry. But we were. We know better now.]

We have a hot lunch today after the new fireplace is built. There are lots of canoes coming by here, and more than a few power boats, too.

There is a shower just as we are cooking supper. Ugh! Enough, already!

We stay up with the fire and watch a nice sunset, with lots of pink in the clouds. I am sorry I am out of film!

It is cool, and may (?) be clearing off in the west. In the night something walked over the top of the tent! The people at the other campsite fired guns, and that alarmed me.

 



Part 11 of 11


Day Nine

3.1 miles 1 portage (80 rods)

It is still cloudy for the “wake-up”. We are up at 5:30, and admire great reflections in the water. Up again at 6:30 and the sky is clearing. It looks like a nice day! Still cold temperatures.

We leave camp in pleasant weather at 8:43. The water is still and lovely. Paddle to the portage at the dam quickly. As always at this point, I feel good and hate for it all to end. (Most of it, anyway!) After I carry my pack on the portage I explore some of the trails in the woods and go down to look at the dam. The sun is coming through the trees and the woods are beautiful and warm. There are lots of ducks around here!

We arrive at Fall Lake Landing at about 10:00. It is sunny and pleasant. The car and trailer are secure, and we load up quickly to head back for Minneapolis to pick up our children and continue the trip home. Another BWCA adventure is in the books!

Canoe Trip 1985

Miles traveled: 72.6

Portages: 29

Rods portaged: 1987 (6.2 miles) double portaging

Lakes: 17

Rivers/streams: 3

Nice trip with a good variety of conditions. It would be better to do in good weather!

Notes from 1985:

Take: 2 pair wool socks, 2 Therma-rest pads, fingernail clippers, more aspirin than 12.

 





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