Little Indian Sioux through Lac La Croix


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Dates:June 10-15, 2015
Entry Point:14 - Little Indian Sioux River North (BWCA)
Type:Canoeing
Lakes:Ge-be-on-equat, Green, Lac La Croix, Loon, Lower Pauness, Nina Moose, Oyster, Rocky, Upper Pauness

Having been to BWCA when I was a teenager, I'd looked forward to my son being old enough to make the trip. After he turned 14, we asked his friend Cameron and his dad Corky to join us, and we started planning. We went through Voyageur North, John and Lynn were great in helping us plan. They steered us toward the west, and Lac La Croix.

After the long drive from Colorado, we started out Wednesday morning at 14, Little Indian Sioux. After the short portage, we loaded up and started north. We immediately saw beaver and a moose, then a bald eagle and some deer. No trouble through Paunesses, but the portage at Devils Cascade was partially flooded, which took some work to get through. As we made our way north up the river, the wind became more strong. We had hoped to get past Beatty Portage the first day, but by the time we reached Loon Lake, the wind made crossing the lake impossible, so we camped for the night. Quite a few motor boats through here, plus we heard the float planes from Lac La Croix as well. Once we were in Lac La Croix, we didn't see any other canoes.

Next morning, we woke to a glassy calm, so we got packed up and moving early to make up for lost time. As we paddled up Loon toward Beatty, the water was so calm that you couldn't tell where the lake ended and the shore began. We made great time up to Beatty and crossed quickly without taking advantage of the railway! Pushing north, we stopped near Sandbar island for a break and a snack, then pressed on. I'd been worried about navigating all the small islands in Lac La Croix, but we had no trouble telling where we were. We made 18 miles that day, and camped at a great campsite where Lac La Croix starts to bend south. Our campsite had a sandy beach where we caught a bunch of bass. We were positioned perfectly to watch the sun set that evening.

Friday morning, we woke up early as usual, but took our time getting a good breakfast and breaking camp. We moved south through Lac La Croix before turning west into Pocket Creek, then south into Ge-be-on-equat Creek and finally the lake itself. John had marked our map with one campsite that had great furniture - it definitely did, but the tent pads were not good, so we moved southeast to another site that worked well. Caught more fish here, and had a pleasant evening.

Saturday, we moved south, with two portages into Green and Rocky Lakes. Both were really buggy, bad enough to get the head nets out while we moved our gear. We looked for the petroglyphs in Rocky Lake, but never did see them. We did see a lovely pair of swans in Green Lake. We moved into Oyster Lake, and made our way around the peninsula to a good campsite facing southeast. The breeze was great, kept the bugs away, took the chance to do some laundry and get washed up.

Sunday, in order to avoid the 160 rod portage in Agnes, we went down the Oyster River, hoping to get all the way through to Nina Moose. There were a bunch of dams to get past, but we managed, and negotiated the marsh to Nina Moose. Then the two portages past rapids and falls into Nina Moose Lake. Bit more crowded this close to 16, but we got a good campsite. Saw weather blowing in - only bad weather we had - so we got the tarp up before the front passed through. Rained and the wind howled for a while, then settled down to a light rain most of the night, but that was it.

Monday was take out day. We headed up Nina Moose River, seeing more and more people as we went, but everyone was good about making room at the portages for everyone else. We made the long portage to the 16 parking lot in good time, and we were loaded up by noon, heading back to Ely. Great trip, great experience!