Wilder / Fire Lake Trip
from Lake One
- Skill Level
- Entry Point
- #30 Lake One
- Portage Rods
- Longest Portage
Many visitors to Lake One and its neighbors like to take a well-worn route all the way through Lake Four and on to Hudson Lake and Lake Insula. The portages are easy and the scenery unbeatable. However, just off this busy route is a great detour loop down into Horseshoe Lake, North Wilder Lake, and up to Fire and Bridge Lakes, that is just as beautiful but relatively rarely traveled.
Detailed Route Info
Enter Lake One, paddle and portage 6.5 miles, including portages of 30 rods and 40 rods to Lake Two and Lake Three. The portage from Lake Three down into Horseshoe Lake is flat with few obstructions other than a few small protruding rocks.
Paddle and portage two miles from Horseshoe Lake to North Wilder Lake, including a portage of 75 rods from Horseshoe into Brewis Lake. From the pieces that are scattered in the woods it is clear that this big tree came down in a bang. Brewis Lake is low-lying with a few rocky outcroppings. It has one campsite on its spruce-lined shores. On the east side of Brewis is a 52-rod portage to Harbor Lake, and this trail begins with a gradual uphill for most of the distance, and then descends down into Harbor Lake. Finally, the 105-rod portage from Harbor Lake to North Wilder Lake is reasonably flat.
Take the 45-rod portage from North Wilder to the south arm of Hudson Lake, and three short portages from Hudson Lake into Lake Four. You can now paddle west back into the main body of Lake Four and then on to Lake Three, Lake Two, and your starting point on Lake One.
Looking for another excursion off the beaten path? Loop north from Lake Four into Fire Lake and then west and south through Hudson Lake. Take a 30-rod portage along the right-hand side of a small creek. Next, a 20-rod portage continues at a second narrows along this same creek. This trail appears to be frequently used and is fairly open. Finally, a 10-rod portage found on the south side of a small bay is bordered on the west side by a small tamarack swamp and on the east side by a large, exposed, bedrock face.
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Watch out for a mile+ of mud
The entire Horseshoe/Brewis/Harbor/North Wilder area was part of the 2011 Pagami Creek wildfire. Campsites and portages are not actively maintained. North Wilder to Hudson is nearly impassible in recent years due to low water and is over a mile of thigh-deep mud; this may be traversable early in a season with high water but I would recommend avoiding the North Wilder part of this loop and instead doing the Four/Fire/Hudson series of lakes instead.
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