52 rods to Henson
F-13, No. Gunflint Trail,
Gunflint, Bearskin Lakes
4, Gunflint Lake
- DNR Lake No.160xxx
- Lake Map No. N/A
- Lake Table No. 10C
Full image approximately 2
Otto Lakes are a cluster of three small
lakes on the high ground between the long east/west lines of Winchell
in the south and Henson in the north. The only
established link is the 52 rod portage north to Henson, one of the roughest,
most rollercoaster like, of the shorter portages in the BWCA.
Otto Lakes have two campsites, both on
the western lake. That on the southern shore sits on a rocky rise
with a great view and would be considered a fine site on any lake.
The other site, at the northwest end is more spectacular, set in a great
grove of old pines, with an open, needle strewn floor.
There are several east/west routes through
this eastern end of the BWCA, following the topography of its long, narrow
lakes. Otto sits just off one of these, from Horseshoe
in the east to Long Island in the west.
Its east end serves as a short link in one of the few north/south routes
through this region, from Meeds in the north south
to Gaskin and Winchell.
Neither of these is a preferred route for most travelers, however, which
makes the Henson route especially appealing. The heavy traffic tends to
stay farther to the south, the highway running from Horseshoe through Gaskin
to Winchell and beyond to Brule.
The burn area which extends up to the
eastern shore of the western Otto should present an excellent opportunity
in the coming years to view the impact of fire on the north woods and the
recovery of the natural ecosystem. Look for the recovery of the fire adapted
herbs and shrubs, like the blueberries, and the wildlife which they attract.
The fire killed timber also attracts insects which, in turn, attract the
woodpeckers, including the relatively rare Northern and Black Back Three
Notes and Comments
While the route through Henson is generally
less popular than the alternative to the south, the short but rugged portage
up to Otto is a big step in the direction of even greater solitude.
Last updated on
11 April, 2004