BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
June 19 2013
Number of Permits per Day: 18
Elevation: 1230 feet
My son Remy and I, and my friend Keith and his son Charlie put our canoes into Lake one at 9:30 Monday morning after dropping off a car at the Snowbank Lake landing. Lake One can be tricky to navigate. On our way to Lake Two we turned East too early and ended up paddling about a mile out of our way into a dead-end bay before we realized our mistake. We blamed the fact that Lake One was split between Fisher Maps #10 and #4 for our error. If the entire lake had been visible at once on a single map, we would not have made the wrong turn. Once we got back on course we portaged the 30 rods into a pond and then portaged the 40 rods into Lake Two. The weather was nice, and there was a bit of a tail wind out of the West. We stopped for lunch on the shore of Lake Two. After lunch we canoed through the North end of Lake Three and into Lake Four. We stopped for the night at a campsite on the West shore of Lake Four, just North of the channel heading toward Hudson Lake. We had to battle swarms of mosquitoes as we set up the tents. We then had a nice refreshing swim. Because we had brought steaks along for the first night, we didn't go fishing.
On Tuesday morning we had a bacon and eggs breakfast then packed up camp and headed out in our canoes. As we canoed past our campsite, we realized that Remy & I had left our hammocks pitched between trees. We landed again and quickly packed them up. Once again we had beautiful weather. We paddled East and completed 3 short portages before entering Hudson Lake. The 105 rod portage into Lake Insula was exhausting! Lake Insula is a large gorgeous lake broken up by multiple islands and penninsulas. We had lunch at a campsite on a large island just East of Hudson Lake. It felt like we had a tail wind as we were heading East, and then as we turned North it seemed like the wind shifted and was at our backs once again. We navigated Lake Insula flawlessly and camped for the night on the island just West of Williamson Island. After setting up the tents and a refreshing swim, Remy & I got back into the canoe and tried to catch some fish. We had no luck! At 9PM that night, just as we were going to bed, a thunderstorm rolled through. That night I was awakened several times by the loud croaking of bullfrogs from the shallows around our island. What noisy neighbors!
By Wednesday morning the weather had cleared, but the wind was now coming from the Northwest, pretty much in our faces. We paddled to the North end of Lake Insula and tackled the largest portage of our trip. The 180 rod walk to Kiana Lake actually seemed easier than the 105 rod carry into Lake Insula. We headed onward into Thomas Lake where we really started feeling the headwind. We finally made it to the campsite just Northeast of the portage into Thomas Pond in time for lunch. After lunch we proceeded across Thomas Pond and into Thomas Creek after hiking across the famous Kekekabic Trail. We managed to easily run the rapids in Thomas Creek and avoid the 2 short portages. We camped for the night on Hatchet Lake at the northern campsite. It was cool and windy, so we didn't swim. There was lots of threatening weather going by to the North of us, but we stayed dry. After supper we canoed back to Thomas Creek to fish and look for moose. No luck on either count, but we did see a beaver swimmming.
The weather was nice again Thursday morning, but the wind was out of the West which was the direction we were heading. We portaged into Ima Lake and canoed across it. Before portaging into Jordan Lake, we watched a bald eagle sitting in a tree get harrassed repeatedly by a seagull. The narrow channel leading into Jordan Lake is quite beautiful. It is narrow like a river with big rock outcroppings. We paddled across Jordan, Cattyman, Adventure, and Jitterbug Lakes. We found the Eastern campsite on Ahsub Lake taken, so we camped at the Western campsite which had a great place for swimming in front of it. There was a very brave loon in front of the campsite who didn't seem to mind if we got close to it. We tried our luck at fishing, but only caught 1 smallmouth which was too small to eat. Between 5:00 and 7:30 that evening we saw a number of canoes heading across Ahsub Lake from Disappointment Lake to Jitterbug Lake. We weren't sure where they were planning to camp, but it was getting late.
On Friday we awoke again to good weather. We paddled the length of Disappointment Lake and portaged into to Parent Lake and then on to Snowbank Lake. It was July 4th, and as we entered Snowbank Lake the sounfd of firecrackers reminded us we weren't in the wilderness anaymore. After a brief splash war on our way across Snowbank, we made it to the landing and our car was still there. What a great trip!
Lake One to Insula Again
August 18, 2007
Number of Days:
My sons, Adam and Brian had such a great time at Insula last year, we decided to take the same route this year. A fire ban was issued two days before our entry date. We were renting a Minnesota II Kevlar canoe and three packs from Kawishiwi Lodge and Outfitters. We loaded everything loose into the van and tied the kayak to the top. I have a 17’ sit-on-top Ocean Kayak. It’s great to paddle and fish from, but it weighs 64 pounds and is awkward to portage. It stays home next time.
Day 1 of 6
Saturday, August 18, 2007 Since we had everything packed the night before, we got an early start, 6 AM. It was an 8 hour drive to Ely. We stood in front of the live webcam on Sheridan Street for my wife, Pam and daughter, Amanda to see us before heading out for a week in the wilderness. After picking up our permit at the Wolf Center, we headed out to Kawishiwi Lodge to spend the night in their bunkhouse. It was a great place to stay. We spent the evening getting the gear in the packs.
Day 2 of 6
Sunday, August 19, 2007 We were up early and ready to head out by 6:30. The day started out beautiful, but the wind increased as the day went on. We battled a headwind all the way to Insula. There were at total of six portages. We double portaged at each one. We each took a pack and one loose item the first trip over. Adam carried the canoe and Brian and I took the kayak on the second trip. We met a few people on the portages, but it was pretty quiet on the way in. We paddled through lakes One, Two, Three, Four, Hudson and finally to Insula. As we paddled past the campsite we stayed at last year on Insula, Adam suggested we stay there again. I wanted to take a look at the Williamson Island site, so we paddled on. I should have listened to Adam. When we got to Williamson Island, it was occupied. We set up camp on the island site just west of Williamson Island. The wind was very strong from the east, blowing directly into camp. We decided to move back to the site we stayed at last year. It was a good decision. It was out of the wind and the view was beautiful. It was the site with the big square rock, just southeast of The Rock.
Day 3 of 6
Monday, August 20, 2007 We packed up and moved to last year’s site. Then we did a little fishing for lunch. Adam caught a nice Northern pike. We fired it up for lunch with our steaks that we packed in frozen. We had to pan fry the steaks, since we couldn’t have a fire. It started to rain toward evening, so we played cards under the tarp.
Day 4 of 6
Tuesday, August 21, 2007 After a breakfast of oatmeal and hot chocolate, we headed out to The Rock to fish. Brian caught a nice 30” Northern pike in the same spot as he caught one last year. We caught several Northerns that we released. Also one nice bass that we had for dinner. It rained off and on all day. And it was very windy.
Day 5 of 6
Wednesday, August 22, 2007 Another cloudy day with occasional showers. We fished between showers. The sun finally came out for the first time all week at 6:00. Adam and Brian watched the sunset from the hammocks. I am glad I made the hammocks for the trip. It was very relaxing to lay in them and watch the loons and eagles. We saw several bald eagles, loons, ducks and seagulls. No animals on this trip. The boys went swimming for a while today. The water was very cold.
Day 6 of 6
Thursday, August 23, 2007 We decided we would move our camp to Lake One this morning, so we would be close to the car and be able to get an early start for home on Friday. It was a sunny, and very calm day. It was a perfect day for paddling and portaging. When we got to Lake One, the clouds started rolling in. We decide to paddle all the way back to Kawishiwi Lodge and not set up camp again. It started to rain on our way back to Ely. We had lunch at Pizza Hut in Ely and headed for home. We were home by 11:30 PM. We had a great trip, but we are exhausted. Also glad to be home!