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

First Guide Trip

By Riley Smith Print Icon Print Report View/Leave Comments (0)
Dates:June 17, 2018 - June 22, 2019
Entry Point:24 - Fall Lake (BWCA)
Lakes:Basswood, Basswood River, Bullet, Crooked, Fairy, Fall, Fourtown, Gun, Horse, Moosecamp, Mudro, Newton

This was a really fun trip. I coguided the trip and our clients hand't been to the BWCA before, making it really fun.

Day one was out of fall lake. We worked our way up Pipestone Bay and towards the Basswood River. There was a very strong headwind this day that beat us up once we made it to the upper portion of Basswood. We found full campsite after closed campsite and ended up going much farther than we had anticipated. We looked at a site near the mile long portage around the falls and it was pretty awful. So we took a risk. We started the portage. We ended up camping at the first portage campsite right next to the main falls. It was incredible! Our clients were truly spoiled the first night as this was one of the coolest campsites I have ever been to. The only downside/oddity is the biff on the other side of the portage (you can watch people on the portage from the biff.) The stars were incredible the first night as well. So far, so good on the first guiding trip.

Tough Day is Worth Every Second with These Stars

Day two was definitely a tough start as we finished the rest of the long portage. We worked our way down the river and found a gorgeous campsite overlooking lower falls (#1548.) We set up camp and then took a little trip up to the Pictographs on Crooked. We were sure our clients would never be content with another campsite again. Two nights, two waterfall campsites. Even by BWCA standards, they are really getting their money's worth. On our way back to our site we had to stop and help the boyscouts. One of them collapsed in front of us with WAY too heavy a load. We also took the opportunity once back in camp to carry a bunch of garbage out with us. Best to leave things better than we found them.

View from Our Lower Basswood Falls Site

Day three was a paddle on the Horse River. With spring water levels it wasn't all that bad. A couple tough moments in the rapids, but not too bad. However, the Horse River is really good at eating up time! By the time we made it to Fourtown, most of the sites were gone. We kept working our way down the lake until we found one. #1099 on the Paddle Planner maps was home for the night. It was a really nice site for us. The group was tired. I set off alone and left my group to have some alone time. There is a nice cliff to the West that lets you see all the way down the lake. It drops quickly, nearly 60 ft, down into the water. I climbed up there for some alone time which is often hard to get as a guide. Unfortunately, something gave way and I took about a 10 ft slide towards the precipace. Glad I caught something cause a dead guide isn't of much value! Later that evening, I and my coguide got to take a little adventure to the other side of the lake while our clients slept. We climbed a promising looking cliff there that gave us a wonderfull view of the sunset. The BWCA is sure a nice place to spend the summer.

Fourtown Overlook

Day four was a little dose of panic. Our clients had gotten a taste of lots of full sites and didn't want any more of that! Our day's destination was a small lake without a lot of sites so we had to make good time. We worked our way up Boot, Fairy, and Gun when we ran into a group that was heading to the same lake as us. They were moving slow though, so we knew we could beat them! We hauled it across Bullet and into Moosecamp, getting the site we most wanted on the East end of the lake (#1090.) It was an incredible site. All the artifacts were amazing also. After a break to set up camp, we took a hike back into the PMA and found Tick Lake (a shallow, swampy lake that is likely not visited very often.) It was a feeling of triumph. We made dinner, fished a bit, and even were invaded by turtles! Apparantly it was egg laying season at Moosecamp Lake because no less than 6 turtles climbed up into camp. Another wonderful sunset sent us to bed happy.

Moosecamp Sunset

The next morning we began working our way down the Moosecamp River (a narrow creek that made us glad this was a spring trip!) After dragging over a series of beaver dams, we found ourselves back in Fourtown. We spent the night at the "Model T" site (though we were unable to find the car.) We did find the bed frams and a few of the garbage piles. We also ended up finding one of the other guided groups from our camp. It is a lot of fun running into friends on trail. That night we got wallopped by a massive thunderstorm with lightning, thunder, tons of rain, and some heavy hail. It was a rough night.

We finished the trip the next morning. We made it to a pick up at Mudro to close the trip. Our clients were exhausted, but happy. Great trip as a whole.

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