Paddle - BWCA, Quetico, Sylvania, and other paddling places

7 lakes with 5 newbies- Baker to Brule Lakes

By MSykes Print Icon Print Report View/Leave Comments (0)
Dates:September 1-4, 2017
Entry Point:39 - Baker Lake (BWCA)
Lakes:Baker, Brule, Jack, Kelly, Peterson, South Temperance, Weird

Baker Lake- Peterson Lake- Kelly Lake- Jack Lake- Weird Lake- South Temperance Lake- Brule Lake

To fulfill a "bucket list" item on mom's list, we got her and other family members out to the BWCA over the Labor day weekend. Myself and my guy, being the only two to have previously visited the BWCA, took care of kitchen needs, food planning, offered advice on packing and what to pack, secured permits and planned the route.

Friday- Baker Lake to Peterson to Kelly- night one:

We arrived at Baker lake by midafternoon and staged a car at our exit at Brule Lake. Three canoes, 7 people (including a 4-yr old) and a dog disembarked. The short distance to the first portage is almost comically, taking as long as it took to pack the canoes it seemed.

*most landings along this route were rocky and a little difficult to manuever- waterproof shoes or water sandals were an essential part of getting in and out of the canoes

Our goal was to potentially secure a well-rated site on Jack Lake, but as even got closer we decided to take the open site near the portage to Jack- the last on Kelly lake. We liked the site for it's privacy and ability to fish right from the shore and the nearby rapids. The latrine was a little full, but adequate. Kitchen area was good as well.

Hard to find enough wood in the area- we scavenged on the nearby portage and surrounding areas.

Mealtime: pre-pattied burgers, deluxe mac n cheese, instant mashed potatoes and red wine: delicious!

Rained as soon as we hit our tents for the night- through the entire night. Items against the tent walls got a little wet.

Saturday- Baker Lake- night two:

Woke up in the morning- rain done with fog. Relatively warm.

Mealtime: Coffee and dehydrated breakfast, a combination of eggs, bacon, and potatoes- rave reviews!

Went fishing in the lake near the site- got one nice northern pike to keep for Sunday dinner.

Portaged to Jack lake for more fishing- no luck. Too small or not biting. Got rained on briefly.

Headed back to site for lunch- took the rapids to the east of the portage and safely got to camp.

Mealtime: brats, dehydrated bacon baked beans- yum!

Naptime- more showers- downtime- hamomocked. Some of the party went out to fish more close to campsite or fish off-shore near rapids. One more pike for dinner on Sunday.

Scavenged more wood.

Mealtime: dehydrated cheesy chicken soup with crescent rolls over the fire and crackers and wine- favorite meal!

Wind down for the night- clear skies with stars- and s'mores

Sunday- Portaging- night three:

It was decided the night before to push through Sunday to Brule lake to assist in some of the group getting home at decent time on Monday- as some had traveled from North Dakota.

Mealtime: Coffee and bagels with cream cheese

Repacked camp- a little wet. Loaded up to make portages from Kelly to Jack again.

Traveled through Jack- heard two bald eagles calling to one another. To portage to Weird, snack time. Traversed a beaver dam into Weird Lake. Two portages in Weird- got to the longest portage to South Temperance.

Mealtime on the portage: chicken salad tortillas, crackers, summer sausage

Hard portage- long, about 17-20 minutes one way carrying heavy packs or canoe. Many, many trips. *Spots of the portages were very muddy- ankle-deep water on Weird to South Temperance portage

South temperance was busy with canoeists as it is a very short portage from Brule. We paddled through, got through the short portage and looked for a campsite.

The campsite we wanted was a little hard to find on Brule- it was closest to the portage we had just left, but maps showed it more west than it's actually positioned. Eventually, we found it and were surprised by how nice it was. Fishing was not good- lost lots of lures on the rocky shoreline. Tent pads were great- three or four good ones. Nice kitchen area. Site was located on an island, private, fun to explore.

Started a fire- some of us went for a quick swim to rinse off.

Mealtime: breaded pike dinner with dehydrated beef stroganoff: everybody full and happy!

S'mores for dessert! Finished much of the food!

Early bedtime after a long, hard day. Thunderstorm rolled in as we crawled into bed.

To landing of Brule for home:

Mealtime: coffee and leftover bagels with cream cheese and pb and babybel cheeses

Packed up- out of camp by 9am. Long paddle to our exit- about 2 hours. Wind picked up, most tail-wind, some cross wind. No rain on us, but temps were getting cold.

Left Brule by noon after photos near the BWCA sign. :) All appreciated the well-rounded, fun, tough trip.


Food menu worked out really well- I've been doing more with dehydrating my own meals. I was nervous over new recipes, but all loved them and I changed some minds on how good a dehydrated meal can be. We ate almost everything too without letting anyone go hungry and the meals were able to satisfy a 4-yr old.

Weather was ok- rain wasn't too unexpected or too cumbersome. A little more sun would have been appreciated.

The third day of portaging was tough- five lake in one day with no fishing since we were on the move. The fishing itself was not great.

When taking newbies- we will probably be better at reiterating what to pack and how much. We had too much gear in too many bags and that made portages long.

OVERALL Great trip- happy to fulfill goals and show our family the awesome hard work it takes to visit the BWCA.

New Messages