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Canoe Trips

Boundary Waters:

Boundary Waters Campsites

Bois Brule River

Flambeau River

Kickapoo and Mecan Rivers

Menonomee River

Sylvania Wilderness

Wisconsin's Flowages

Wolf and Peshtigo Rivers


Boats & Gear

Boundary Waters Gear List

Bell Wildfire (Royalex)

Blackhawk Ariel

Mad River Independence (sold)

Wenonah Prism (sold)
-cane seat installation
-thwart replacement

Custom portage pads

Seat-mounted portage yoke

Outside canoe shelter

Inside canoe storage



Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Short Loop out of Moose Lake

May 20-28, 2012


Page 1: Overview

The Plan

My original intention for this trip is a 10- to 14-day solo to view the effects of last year's Pagami Creek fire, as well as visit some new territory. My son is able to join me so that makes it a tandem trip, which suits me just fine; it'll be nice to spend some time with him. The plan is to enter at Moose Lake, travel east and loop through the Kek Ponds through Kekekabic Lake, then travel south and west through Thomas, Insula, and the Numbered Lakes, exiting at Kawishiwi Lodge just before the Lake One entry point. Like so many things in life it doesn't turn out quite this way.

The Gear

  • Boat: Wenonah Sundowner (18’, kevlar with red gelcoat and aluminum trim), weighing in at about 52 lbs.
  • Paddles: Sawyer Kai 10-degree bent; Bell Voodoo 10-degree bent; Bending Branches Espresso straight; Bending Branches Sun Shadow (spare).
  • Shelters: Sierra Designs Zeta 2 tent (6lbs.), REI Taj 3 tent (7 lbs.), CCS 10x12 tarp (3 lbs.), 6x8 lightweight poly tarp.
  • Packs: Knudsen Knu-Pac II pack mounted on an NRS Paragon Pack (4,800 cu. in., around 45 lbs.); Kondos Outfitter Personal Canoe Pack (5,000 cu. in., around 50 lbs.), Cabela’s Boundary Waters dry bag (~40 lbs); two day pack (20 lbs. total).
  • Water filter: Platypus CleanStream.
  • Cameras: Olympus 720SW (waterproof) and Canon 40D in Witz Sport Locker, 6 lbs.

The Food

Meals are pretty straightforward (* indicates dehydrated item):

  • Breakfast: granola with dried blueberries and a half-and-half mix of instant nonfat dry milk and Nido Milk; Honeyville scrambled eggs* with mixed bell peppers*, mushrooms*, onion*, and some light and fluffy Cache Lake fry bread.
  • Lunch and snacks: bannock, beef jerky and trail mix.
  • Dinners: Several Hawk Vittles and Mountain House dehydrated meals as well as a few homemade meals using freeze-dried chicken and a variety of other ingredients such as ground beef*, couscous, mushrooms*, peppers*, and tomatoes*. Several dinners are accompanied by Cache Lake fry breads, a few others with cheese and onion bannock. Desserts are chocolate pudding, dark sherry and Chambord.

We use a BearVault 500 because of the beef jerky and trail mix, which are aromatic no matter how well they're sealed. I bring one roll of TP per person per week, which leaves a little in reserve.

The Map

The bow and stern map cases are hung from thwarts so they're always visible when paddling and don't have to be carried separately on portages. Click here to see the map for this trip (opens in a new window).

Trip Statistics (you really want to know this):

Total distance 28 mi.
Traveling time 23:55
Portages 9 (520 rods)
Portaging time 4:20
Portages avoided 1 for 11 rods

Note: Campsite numbers are the ones painted on the latrines.  The figures in parentheses indicate the site numbers from this commonly-used file: bwca-camp+port-wpt.gdb, located at this site:

Day 0 – Sunday, May 20 – Through the Portal Partly

Arnie arrives Saturday afternoon. We go through the food and gear, pack, unpack, repack, re-unpack, re-repack, load up, and take my dog to a friend's house. We take two tents in case the need for privacy overrides our natural family attraction; this proves to be a good decision. On Sunday the trip from Stoughton takes the usual 7-1/2 hours with minimal stops and eating lunch while driving. We check in to Voyageur North Outfitters, do a bit of shopping at Piragis, and have dinner at The Chocolate Moose.

We won't be through the portal completely until we're paddling, but Arnie says we won't be through until the first portage is behind us. He has a good point.


Trip report by day

Days 1-4: May 21-24 - Moose Lake to Melon (Carp) Lake

Days 5-7: May 25-28 - Melon Lake to Aushigan Lake to Moose Lake


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Last updated August 13, 2016
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