Basswood river, Late June????

-- Last Updated: Jan-27-06 8:15 PM EST --

We haven't been in the BWCA since our honeymoon in '77. We've decided its time to return. We had reservations for entering at Hegaman in late July but had to give that up. We are now contemplating entering at Mudro, working up to Friday Bay, east to Basswood then down Jackfish Bay etc.
My wife has heard that the Basswood runs prety hard in the spring and wants no part of that. My question is, when does the Basswood settle down from spring rains and high water? Is it fairly stable by late June?
I'm not talking about shooting any of the rapids. We will portage around the bad stuff. She is however concerned about running into high waters that might make the rest of the river more dangerous than usual.
p.s. Yes, I know that if we enter Basswood R. from the west we will be traveling upstreem.

Just have to be prepared
I don’t really feel qualified to answer your question because I don’t have tons of experience in that part of the park, but can offer some generalities. Snowmelt runoff will not be a concern by then. The usual gentle spring rains and drizzle will certainly sustain higher flows than what will be in late summer. But the mid June early July period is about the time weather patterns can be bumpy in this area (fronts and thunderstorms) from warm air and cool air contrasts. This is a time slot that a lot of rain can fall; 2" or maybe even 4" or more events can happen. With this much rain the BW and Quetico rivers will be high. I understand that the Basswood River also has a phenomenon where flows can greatly increase regardless of rainfall when there is periods of sustained easterly winds across Basswood Lake piling up water on the west end which causes higher discharge. In high water conditions I am more at ease on a trip headed upstream rather than downstream when approaching portages around rapids and falls. That will be in your favor. I’d suggest calling or writing the La Croix Ranger Station in Cook. I think this is still where the portage crew for the west end of the BW is located. They should have first hand information on the Basswood River. LA CROlX RANGER DISTRICT, P.O. Box 1085, COOK, MN 55723, Phone (218) 555-5251

no problem
For one thing you will not be shooting any rapids as you will be traveling upstream on the Basswood River.

There are excellent portages around all the falls and rapids and these work at any water level. In 1968 we traveled the Basswood River after 13 days of rain and a dam break at Prairie Portage. The falls were roaring, almost unrecognizable, but we had no trouble traveling upstream through the river.


That’s a great route
We took it in reverse later June 2004, entering at Fall Lake, up through Pipestone Bay, past Upper Basswood Falls and on to Mudro. Water levels are not a problem and you portage around the fast stuff. There is no way my wife would play in rapids, so reassure your wife. If you or your wife are interested, I posted a trip report on , under the title “trip report-June/July 04, Four Falls route, Day -” I posted daily starting March 20,2005. Right now the first day is posted on page 101 (at the bottom if not familar with the site) but that will change as further posts are made today. Have a great trip! I think it is one of the classic trips- large and small lakes and rivers, waterfalls and fantastice pictographs below Lower Basswood Falls. You do have 2 one mile long portages Gun to Wagosh and past upper Basswood Falls but we just took our time.