A BWCAW Awakening

Here at Rockwood, the BWCAW is coming to life again. Halfway through May, we’ve already outfitted a number of wilderness explorers. Quota entry permits for up to nine people in a group and four canoes/kayaks have been in effect since the first of the month.

With below-normal snowfall and relatively warm temperatures, Spring arrived early this year, beckoning adventurers to the BWCAW. May is a thrilling time for a BWCAW expedition as the wilderness stirs with a symphony of sights and sounds, inviting you to explore its hidden treasures.

The most captivating sound of spring is the chorus of returning birds. Loons, an icon of the BWCAW, announce their arrival with mournful, haunting cries echoing across the lakes. Songbirds fill the air with a cacophony of melodies. 

Beneath the layer of fallen leaves on portages and campsites, a burst of green pushes through. 

The most striking transformation in the BWCAW during spring is the dramatic awakening of the boreal forest. The dormant buds of pine trees and birches swell and then burst forth with tender new needles and leaves. 

Spring is a time of renewed energy. Animals emerge from their winter dens, eager to forage and raise their young. 

bwcaw outfitters rockwood lodge beach on poplar lake

Fish spawn and become more active, delighting the anglers. 

Paddlers find the waterways open once more, with campsites more available. The sense of solitude in exploring the wilderness in May is unmatched. 

Go early enough, and you’ll miss the swarming black flies and mosquitoes that will be upon us in a couple of weeks. When they arrive, however, insect repellent, head nets, and a healthy dose of patience are just part of your wilderness adventure.

As always, be prepared for the fickle weather of Spring. Some days can be radiantly sunny and warm, perfect for paddling on relatively flat water. Nights can still hold winter’s chill. Layered clothing, a good rain jacket, and warm base layers are essential. 

With these challenges, springtime in the BWCAW offers a unique and rewarding wilderness experience. 

Advantage: Rockwood

There are several advantages to using Rockwood to outfit your BWCAW adventure, especially if it’s your first time. Here’s why we are a valuable asset to your trip:

BWCAW Gear and Knowledge:

  • Convenience: We rent the best canoes, paddles, life jackets, and camping gear to save you the hassle of buying or transporting your own.
  • Expertise: We are local experts on the BWCAW. If desired, we recommend routes based on your experience, interests, and trip duration. We know the appropriate gear and packing strategies for your adventure.
  • Permit Assistance: Our staff can help you navigate the permitting process and secure your entry point.

BWCAW Planning and Logistics:

  • Trip Planning: We can help you craft an itinerary considering difficulty, portaging distances, and potential campsites.
  • Shuttle Service: Getting to and from entry points can take time and effort. We can arrange shuttle services to drop you off and pick you up. And we provide parking while you are exploring.
  • Food Planning: Eating is essential. We offer pre-packaged meals designed explicitly for backcountry trips, saving you some effort on meal planning.

BWCAW Safety and Support:

  • Safety Knowledge: Rockwood provides essential safety briefings on topics like paddling techniques, navigating weather conditions, and handling emergencies.
  • Rules and regulations: We are up-to-date on the latest food packing regulations from the United States Forest Service, including new rules to protect your food supplies from wandering bears. 
  • Local Knowledge: With firsthand experience in the BWCAW, we can offer valuable insights on potential hazards, wildlife encounters, and best practices for minimizing your impact on the wilderness.
  • Peace of Mind: We are your reliable local contact in case of unforeseen circumstances, adding peace of mind during your trip.

While planning a BWCAW trip independently is possible, especially for seasoned outdoors people, canoe outfitters offer a significant advantage, particularly for first-timers or those seeking a more hassle-free wilderness experience.

We’ve been busy preparing for the soft water season all winter. We’ve focused on maintaining and updating our equipment, building up supplies, and gaining knowledge to help you.

We inspect and clean our canoes, looking for leaks or damage. We repair paddles, life jackets, and other essential gear and replace them if needed. We make sure we have plenty of safety gear to meet your needs. 

We gather sufficient paddles, life jackets, tents, sleeping bags, and cooking equipment to anticipate the demand for the coming season. To help make your adventure enjoyable, we have maps and satellite devices to provide peace of mind.

Because of our years of experience, we spend time during the off-season brushing up on safety protocols and best practices for canoeing. We also stay updated on local water conditions, regulations, and popular paddling routes.

By preparing our equipment, supplies, and knowledge, Rockwood Lodge and Outfitters ensures a smooth and safe paddling experience for our customers throughout the season.