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

2020 Trips - Two Nighter Through E Bearskin

By Riley Smith Print Icon Print Report View/Leave Comments (0)
Dates:June 16-18, 2020
Entry Point:64 - East Bearskin Lake (BWCA)
Lakes:Alder, Bearskin, Canoe, Caribou, Clearwater, Crystal, Duncan, East Bearskin, Little Caribou, Mountain, Pine, Rose, Rove, Spaulding, Watap

We put in on East Bearskin in the evening, making decent time with the three of us. We took the usual portage into Alder, marveling at the magnificent pines along the way. The late afternoon sun peaked through the clouds as we headed down Alder. We noted numerous full campsites as it was a fairly busy day in the BW. We decided to chance it and portage into Canoe despite there being only a few campsites there. After crossing the portage, it was evident that the two nice sites were full, leaving only the rough site near the Johnson Falls Portage. With still some time before sundown, we figured we could check out Crystal since one portage should be enough to reduce traffic that way. As we paddled east on Crystal, the first campsite was obviously taken. Heading further east, we saw the portage trail to Spalding before we heard voices around the corner. Sigh.... Crystal is occupied too. We walked the trail into Spalding to see it before retreating to Canoe. The rough campsite it is for the night!

The next day, we started with the portage to Pine. It's a long, scenic trail, and this was everyone's first time across it. At the Pine landing, we set down the canoes and hiked the brushy, overgrown extension trail to the Johnson Falls landing. We spent a good amount of time exploring the many trails around the falls and enjoying this BWCA treasure.

Johnson Falls

We also stopped by the old closed campsite by the portage to satisfy my curiosity before taking the portage into Little Caribou. Then we traveled up to Clearwater over the hill from Caribou. At the Mountain Portage, we made the obligatory hike to the Mountain Lake overlook. I haven’t been back since the tornado, only paddling past on Mountain, and am intrigued and slightly saddened by the thought of hiking back up to see the change from the top. We took the monument-filled Watap portage back into my favorite pair of lakes; Rove ever holds a special place in my heart. The Long Portage was very wet that day. The beavers hadn’t yet built the dam directly on the portage but had added knee-deep water to it. Rose was a tad choppy, and we took a nice campsite on the south shore. It was a wonderful evening.

Mountain Overlook

The next morning brought the most splendid sunrise on Rose, one worthy of the name. We spent a good amount of time at the falls and the overlooks and made it back out to the car in time, well before our lunchtime due back. It was a wonderful trip east of the Gunflint. It’s one of my all-time favorite sections of wilderness water, and sharing it with friends made it all the more special.

Rose Sunrise

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