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Cherokee Loop Trip Report

6/24/24 – Last week, crew member Feliks did a solo trip on the Cherokee Loop and wrote up a trip report which is a great resource, along with our route guides on our website, for anyone who might be thinking of doing this loop! The report is below! – Anna

Day 1) 

I had packed up and triple checked all of my gear before setting off from the landing on Sawbill Lake. It was a blue bird day with little to no wind which increased my excitement for the trip. It was a relatively smooth process up through north Sawbill and over my first few portages into Ada and Skoop. On the 180 rod portage over to Cherokee Creek however, I was attacked by a grouse which shook things up a bit. I was strolling along the portage when I heard a hissing noise coming from up ahead of the trail. I quickly looked up and saw what seemed to be a mother grouse charging towards me to protect its chicks. After fending it off with my paddle and narrowly escaping, I continued on into Cherokee Creek and soon made my way to Cherokee Lake. I decided to stop at the site slightly north east of the mouth of the creek entering into the lake as it had a nice set up and a large rock gradually descending into the lake. I shared the site with a family of black-backed woodpeckers which were interesting to observe. I set up camp, ate some lunch, and relaxed after some tiresome paddling and portaging. After dinnertime, I was laying in my hammock when I heard some splashing nearby. I didn’t think much at first, but then I heard it again which prompted me to investigate. I made my way onto the large rock where I spotted a moose and its calf swimming out from my campsite. At first, I was quite shocked and sat still until they moved a bit further away as I didn’t want to take any chances. Once they were far enough, I captured a video and a few photos of the two. Soon after, I went for a swim and enjoyed the sunset while sitting and reading on the large rock. It took a while for the stars to come out, but I was able to see some before dozing off.

Day 2)

At about 8am, I woke up and began packing. The bugs were quite brutal in the morning, so I made an effort to get to paddling as soon as possible. The sky was cloudy, but it was a bit warmer than the day before. I got over to the Sitka Lake portage and started my day off with a nice shoulder exercise carrying my pack and canoe. Going through the Temperences was calm, and I was mentally preparing myself for the longer 240 rod portage. After what seemed like forever, I made it to Weird Lake and was steadily making progress. After the 12 rod portage into Jack Lake I spotted another moose off the opposite shore bathing in the lake. Though less frightening than the previous encounter, I did have to slowly paddle past quite close to it since the lake narrowed. I made it down to Kelly and took the site right off to the left exiting the portage. It was a large site with an open area for the campfire and two tent spaces; one near the landing and then another tucked further back into the woods. There were plenty of turtles burying their eggs on shore which was a special thing to witness. I would’ve enjoyed the site more if there weren’t swarms of mosquitoes that prevented me from doing much outside my tent. Regardless, I napped, read my book, went for a swim, ate dinner, read some more, then went to bed.

Day 3)

There was some rain around 4am, but it was very calming. I slept on and waited until it stopped around 8:30am, then packed up to make the final stretch back to Sawbill. It was a foggy day with a bit more wind blowing at me which made it slightly more difficult to paddle. Regardless, the fog made for a peaceful aura. After a couple longer portages, I made it to Smoke Lake where I ran into a group looking to fish for the weekend. Although human interaction was strange after not speaking to any in a few days, I wished them luck and started the home stretch. I took the time on the portage to Sawbill and the paddle back to the landing to reflect on what I was feeling and what I took away from the trip. The solitude out there was nice, but it was a relief to arrive back with my Sawbill family.  As everyone who has taken trips in the boundary waters knows, they are incredibly special and regardless of the experience, they always leave you with fond memories to look back on. There were countless times where I took a moment to watch in awe the beautiful nature I was engulfed in. The peace and serenity I experienced on this trip makes me look forward to more later this season.