Basswood to Crooked

Boundary Waters portage
Posted by: Springer
Season/Year: Spring 05
Water Level: high
Length: 360+ rods
Rating: average
Additional Perspectives:

Portage Description:
From Back Bay to Lower Basswood Falls, including the 70-rod Back Bay portage, takes us about 6 hours in good weather, from Upper to Lower about 4 hours. We paddle and portage the river instead of using the Horse Portage because a member of our group has some old injuries to legs and feet from a car accident and paddles better than he walks. If you are all experienced paddlers and use caution landing and launching around the rapids you will be OK. After putting in below the Upper Falls do not bear north with the current, hug the south shore which takes you into a dead-end bay for the first portage (which actually hooks up with the Horse Portage for a ways--keep right when you come to the fork in the trail). When you put in you will be at the head of a rapids and you need to paddle directly across the river to the Canadian side for the next portage. This crossing can be tricky because you're right at the top of the rapids--paddle upstream to cross, then float down, hugging the Canadian side to the take out. The next stretch is very pretty and looks like good fishing. The final rapids is a pretty wicked-looking. The takeout is on the US side and the put in can be tricky because of the turbulence below the rapids. My experience has been that the most treacherous place on the river is below Wheelbarrow Falls which is beyond the Horse Portage. I have seen two dumpings there myself--the turbulence is treacherous near the portage landings and if you get sideways and panic, or get hung up one of the many submerged rock you'll swim. The approach to Lower Bass. Falls also requires caution due to the strong current. Wear your PFD's!!! If all the campsites are taken near Lower Falls try the campsite on the US side about 1/2 mile past the pictographs. It's better than it looks from the river. If the weather's good get up before sunrise and paddle up to the pictographs. There's nothing else in the world like sitting in your canoe at sunrise under the pictograph cliffs!!!

Lake after portage: Crooked
Known campsites: 8+
Lake Description:

Big, famous fishing lake divided down the middle by the US-Canada border. Tea-colored water in main lake, Gardner Bay somewhat clearer. All species of fish. Big, convoluted with many islands--keep compass and map in hand. Current runs through lake to Curtain Falls, noticeable in narrows.

Portage from Crooked into:
Middle Roland
Little Roland

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