6/16/22 – This summer we are fortunate to have former Sawbill crewmember Jesse Bergeson living in the area. He’ll be spending the summer exploring the BWCA and surrounding forest, and entertaining the rest of us with his stories in between trips. He’s also been writing up some trip reports and we thought they might be of interest to folks headed to similar areas this summer. The following is Jesse’s report from a trip he did out of Brule last week with his partner Mira.
“The parking lot was less than half full and we didn’t paddle half the lake but we only saw maybe 6 occupied sites on Brule. The ones we peeked a look at were as widely reported on entry lakes very picked over for firewood. In just a minute or two walk past the latrine or anywhere outside of an established camp there was tons of down dry wood.
From Brule we paddled North from Cone bay into South Cone Lake. Some maps show the portage beginning at the nearby campsite but that is just a faint user trail and the portage landing is about 100 yards past the camp. At current water levels most of the portage is under a foot of water, you can also paddle the creek it bypasses easily. Once the water drops about a foot it might be a tight paddle.
Heading North the portages into Middle and North Cone lakes are easy to find and travel.
The portage to Cliff lake is a bit long but really nice and seems well maintained.
Once you leave North Cone to portage into Davis lake you start to see less maintenance. The portage is easy to follow and find but has some down trees and could use some brushing.
Davis into Kiskadinna is pretty difficult right now. Again, easy to find and mostly easy to follow but it is long and has all the features. Uphill, downhill, muddy areas, tight turns and rock hopping.
There is a beaver dam across a creek approx 100 rods into it that is a bit tricky. The subsequent flooding makes it hard to find the trail for a second, but it clearly continues on the other side and you can walk across the dam right now. The water behind the dam is about hip deep at the moment.
I saw at least one map that showed the portage split into 2 separate portages with a paddle across the little unnamed pond. This is no longer the case, it is definitely one 300+ rod portage not 2 separate ones.
Kiskadinna to Omega is short but surprisingly steep up and down.
From Omega down through Winchell, Wanihigan, unnamed (on my map at least), Mulligan, Lily, and back into Brule are all maintained, easy to find and follow, nothing special to report. Same with Wanihigan into the other side of Cliff.
We also walked the portage from the north bay on Brule over to Echo and had nothing to report.
We could not find the campsite on the very NE corner of the north bay on Brule by the creek. If anyone has been there or knows anything about it I would like to hear it. Maybe we just missed it somehow.
Mira caught a bass in the North bay of Brule and we saw a lot of beaver action.”