Kawishiwi River Over Memorial Day


By Ben Strege Print Icon Print Report View/Leave Comments (1)
Dates:May 25-29, 2011
Entry Point:37 - Kawishiwi Lake (BWCA)
Type:Canoeing
Lakes:Amber, Kawasachong, Kawishiwi, Kawishiwi River (Malberg), Kivaniva, Koma, Malberg, Polly, River, Square, Townline

Ever since I took a trip with her brothers to Amber Lake, Auralee had wanted to go to that spot and see for herself why we liked it so much. We planned to go in the Wednesday before Memorial Day, paddle to Amber, and base camp there until we came out on Monday.

Wednesday, May 25
The day started cool, but not cold, and overcast - perfect for paddling. We started out on Kawishiwi Lake at sunrise. As always, I had the exhilaration of starting out on another canoe trip. We were also planning on going to one of my favorite spots - Amber Lake. It had taken Auralee's brothers and me 8 hours to get to Amber, so we were expecting a long paddling day.

Kawishiwi Entry Point
Kawishiwi Entry Point

We went through Kawishiwi, Square, and Kawasachong. At the end of Kawasachong right by the portage, we were greeted with quite a treat - a bald eagle. The eagle let us get right below it and all around it taking pictures. The reason it didn't fly was it was protecting its spot from another eagle that was nearby. I took two trips across the portage, and it was still there when I came back to get the second load. We were also fortunate to see some wildlife on the portage - this time a spruce grouse.

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle

 

Spruce Grouse on Portage
Spruce Grouse on Portage
 

We didn't see anyone at all until we got to Polly. A group was leaving. I talked to them for a little bit. They had stayed on Malberg fishing the entire week. We asked them if they had seen anyone else, and they hadn't. This made us excited since we would probably be able to get the campsite we wanted. They also gave us some fishing tips for Malberg.

At the end of the portage into Malberg, I snapped a photo of the rapids. It certainly looked like a good fishing hole, but we didn't want to take the time to try. We agreed to think about returning a different day. For now, we just wanted to get to camp and set up.

 

Malberg Rapids
Malberg Rapids
 

The portage out of Malberg on the northwest end of the lake was interesting. There was a beaver pond in the middle that we had to wade through. By the time we finished with that last portage, we were pretty tired. We only had about a 45-minute paddle left, though, so we were in good spirits. We still hadn't seen anyone except for the group on Polly.

We were excited to get to the campsite on Amber. When we came around the corner, though, we were disappointed to see that it was taken. We hadn't seen anyone at any other campsite, but the one we wanted was taken! We were, by this time, exhausted, but we had to keep moving. We had been traveling for a little over 6 hours (2 hours less than it took her brothers and me a 2 years ago). We stopped at a campsite on the Kawishiwi River to eat lunch and decide where to go.

We decided to head east past the short portage to the section of the Kawishiwi directly north of Malberg. I had never been to that area, so it was an adventure for both of us. The portage didn't look very maintained. A few trees had fallen over the trail, so getting to the other side of the short portage was still a lot of work. Since we were tired, we just stopped at the first campsite after the portage.

The campsite was small. The most prominent "feature" of the site was the latrine. It sat up on top of a hill. The view from the latrine was spectacular. However, the campsite also had a nice view of the latrine. No privacy at this campsite... Good thing we are married and don't have anything (or at least much) to hide from each other. After setting up camp, we made dinner and relaxed that evening. The next day we decided to try our hand at fishing.

 

Kawishiwi Camp
Kawishiwi Camp

 

Kawishiwi Camp
Kawishiwi Camp
Kawishiwi Camp Tent Pad
Kawishiwi Camp Tent Pad
Kawishiwi Camp
Kawishiwi Camp