Fall is Hiking Season

Last weekend we hiked the Angleworm Trail. It’s a 12 mile loop that takes you into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. There are several campsites for campers that are backpacking. Canoers also use the lake as an entry point into the BWCAW, although there is a 2 mile portage to reach the lake. Even so, we saw 3 different canoe parties – they are some hardy souls. We just carry all the camping gear and food that we need on our backs and hoof it around the lake.

This year we got a new recruit, she had never been backpacking before, so we knew we were going to have a hoot!

The weather forecasts were bad and it sounded like the weekend might be a washout. But as usual, the forecast must be taken with a grain of salt – no one really knows what Mother Nature might do.

Angleworm Lake

Angleworm Lake

Angleworm Lake winds its way through the rock ravine, maybe that is how the lake got its name. The lake is narrow and there are cliffs and steep hills all around it. And that kind of defines the trail.

Angleworm Lake Portage Trail

Angleworm Lake Portage Trail

The 2 mile portage into Angleworm Lake is well traveled by canoeists, it’s relatively easy going. The first night we camped on the west side of the lake about ½ way down the length of the lake. The campsite was in the woods a little bit and that came in handy when the few showers that we received that weekend came through.

Angleworm Lake Campsite

Angleworm Lake Campsite

The next day, after a hearty breakfast of oatmeal and dried fruit, we set out on the second leg of the trip. The trail takes you up on a ridge where there are nice views of the ravine and the steep hill on the other side of the valley.

Angleworm Trail Vista

Angleworm Trail Vista

The woods are moist and there are lots of lichens and mushrooms and neat plants to look at.

Butter Fungus

Butter Fungus

For the lack of the correct name, we called this Butter Fungus because it looked so soft and yellow.

Angleworm Trail rock face

Angleworm Trail rock face

You’re pretty much up on top of the ridge until you reach the end of the lake. Then you come down to lake level and there is an easy beaver pond crossing. We stopped and had lunch on the rock at Hom Lake.

After lunch we only needed to hike about 2 miles to our next campsite on Whiskey Jack Lake. I love that name! It’s named after one of my favorite birds, the Gray Jay.

Whiskey Jack Lake at dawn

Whiskey Jack Lake at dawn

It was a beautiful day and we reached our destination with ease. We had the whole lake to ourselves and it was great for swimming. Yes! Swimming on September 12th – who would have thought it with the cool summer we had. Boy, were the weather forecasts totally off – the temperatures were in the 80’s and the skies were blue!

Axe Blaze

Axe Blaze marks the trail

The last day was by far the most challenging. The terrain goes up and down and you’re constantly either climbing a hill at a snail’s pace, or going down quickly. It always seemed like the downhill side was steeper –  especially treacherous with a 25 pound back on your back. But, the woods are beautiful. There are many old Red and White Pines and the mosses that grow there are thick and lush.
Champ, the pack dog

Champ, the pack dog

The ridge top affords a bird’s eye view of the beaver ponds that exist in the deep ravines.

Angleworm Trail Beaver Pond

Angleworm Trail Beaver Pond

Finally we are nearing the end of the trail. But first we must cross over a beaver dam and then there’s another sharp climb up a hill and then a descent down into a bog. Here the Forest Service has built a sturdy boardwalk that looks like it will last a long time.

All in all this is a great trail. There are no deadfalls to climb over and the trail is readily defined. Some people make it a day hike. Permits are required for this backcountry trail.

 

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2 Responses to Fall is Hiking Season

  1. Richard Davidian says:

    You were fortunate to have great weather. Be thankful the weatherman was wrong. A case of appreciation for failure.

    How’d the newbie do? Was it a hoot as you anticipated?

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