There is one route that has been described as the “most popular day-trip” in the BWCAW, and for good reason. That route often begins with entry on West Bearskin Lake, then a portage to Duncan, and then the climactic portage to Rose Lake. I had heard many rave reviews about this destination-driven paddling experience. With my sister up for her first visit, I knew it would be the perfect way to introduce her to the beauty of this place.
(see http://bearskinoutfitters.com/rose-falls-trip/ for more details)
I have to say, this trip met and exceeded our expectations. This was evident in the way our plans changed as the day went on. We intended to complete the stairway portage, followed by an afternoon paddle on Rose Lake. With this in mind, I portaged the Quetico 18.5 three-person canoe. Instead, we spent over two hours exploring the falls and taking in the view of Rose Lake while having a picnic lunch. The quality time and peaceful setting were well worth the extra energy spent in the portage.
This experience gets at one of my favorite parts of living and working up here. There is such easy access to the most beautiful spaces, if you are just willing to do a little bit of work. Being able to share this beauty with a first time visitor like my sister was a real treat. We all shared in the work and thus shared in the reward.
(Quality Time with Sister)
I think this is why people come back here year after year: the beautiful spaces, the exploration of new places, and the slow pace that allows for quality human connection.