Pow Wow East Loop Hiking Trip Plan -- October 2001

Who, Where, When...

After a great trip in October of 2000, I really wanted to return to the Pow Wow Hiking Trail area and explore some of the old logging roads in depth. Can you make it to Insula? Is there a campsite on Arrow that people still use? Where exactly was I when I got lost and camped at what I've been calling the shore of Ahmoo Creek back in October of 1989?

Pow Wow Planning

Over the winter my plan for a Pow Wow solo hike changes slightly. Instead of strictly a exploration of the area I got lost in back in 1989 and some other exploring up in the area, I start thinking about the Pow Wow East Loop. I know the USFS considers it closed, but I can hike where ever I want in the BWCA. I have excellent trail finding skills and if I'm not mistaken much of the trail runs along old logging roads (like much of the open West Loop). I camped along the Isabella/Perent River back in 1998 with my son and a friend right where the trail crosses the river. The bridge (which wasn't necessary in the summer of 1998) was still in place. Because my 4 year old son was along, I never did explore the trail, but it really intregued me then, as it does now. What I'm hungry for, more than anything else, is to explore new territory. While I might explore some more north of the trails like last fall, my first goal is to try to follow the old Pow Wow East Loop trail. I figure if it's just too difficult (this would require lots of deep standing water with no apparent way around), then I'll modify my plans to explore north of Ahmoo Creek again.

Closet KTC Member

For the last 4 years or so, I've been an "online" member of the Kekekabic Trail Club. Don't bother to look it up, that classification of membership doesn't exist, I made it up. I'd love to join, but the logistics of doing anything from central Indiana are too burdonsome to a family man. It's not the trail clearing, it's the manditory training session in the spring, followed by a late spring clearing trip. Just too many 11-15 hour drives to Minnesota during baseball and soccer season. I do, however, read the Hungry Beaver, the KTC newsletter. In the past couple years there has been a lot written about opening up closed BWCA trails. I must admit, while I've always known about the East Loop, it was the KTC that prompted me think more seriously about trying to hike it.

I don't know the politics, but it looks like the KTC has split with its founder, Martin Kubik, forming a new organization called the Kelso Mountain Trail Club (KMTC). Actually, I think these are two separate entities, that share some common goals and will probably work together quite a bit, but are legally different entities working to maintain (KTC) and restore (KMTC) BWCA hiking trails.

Pow Wow East Loop Planning

So where do you start? As someone who loves maps and has quite a collection of new and old BWCA maps, I started looking thru all of them for traces of the old East Loop. Here's a list of the maps I have of the area and what they contained relative to the East Loop:

Mapping Results

While I still want to do some more verification, I feel I've done a fairly accurate job of mapping out the East Loop. Here are my results:

October 2001 Planning Update

I've updated my map slightly (not the online version). The eastern tip of the trail, after leaving the area south of Tomahawk Lake extends a little further east toward Chickadee Lake and then runs along the trail shown NW for a ways and then I believe it follows the western shore of the swamp south of Fungus Lake and Fungus Lake up to the old campsite. While not 100% sure of these changes, I'm thinking this is more accurate.

I have been lucky enough to use a copy of Delorme Topo USA 3.0 recently. I was using the national version, non-USGS topo based maps. While the accuracy is just not there for any serious duty, I did use it to calculate some waypoints. I'll be using these waypoints in conjunction with a Garmin II+ GPS unit to potentially aid in my navigation. I figure if I loose the trail I can punch in my next waypoint and cut cross-country for it, hoping to find the trail once again when I get there. It's a nice theory, we'll just have to see how it works in real life.

October 2001 Pow Wow East Loop Hiking Trip Site
Ahmoo Creek Home

Posted: 07-May-2001
Updated: 30-Apr-2007