Cortes Lake
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Nearest Entry Point: Gabbro Lake Fishing: Unknown
Maps: Fisher F-4 or F-31; McKenzie #18 Lake Depth: Unknown
Bushwhack Rating: Lake Size: 29 acres
Campsites: None Wildlife Seen on Visit: Never visited
Last Visited: Never Lake Elevation: 1460 feet
Water Clarity: MN DNR Fire History: 1894

Cortes Lake

Weasel Lake PMA

In Spain and Portugal, Cortes is the name of the two houses constituting the national legislative body. Cortes could also refer to Hernando Cortes, the Spanish conqueror of Mexico. Not sure why either of those two possibilities would pertain to a remote BWCA lake though. Probably don't pertain, but it was interesting researching the origin of the name.

In 1894 a fire affected this area. This fire started somewhere near Gabbro Lake and burned from Gabbro Lake up to Lake One, Lake Two and Lake Three.

There is an old trail that begins at Gabbro Lake and passes not far south of Cortes Lake. This old trail shows up on the 1952 Fisher No. 113 map. Doubt it would have any value on the bushwhack from Gabbro Lake to Cortes Lake, but may be worth seeing if any vestiges of this old trail still exist.

Approach to Cortes Lake

Proceed to the very northern tip of Gabbro Lake and head up the creek that enters into this narrow and swamp back bay.

Bushwhack to Cortes Lake

You can paddle up a fairly wide creek for about the first half mile (160 rods) of this route leading toward Cortes Lake. The creek slowly narrows as you paddle along its course. Eventually you will have to unload your canoe and follow the creek on foot. Stay with the creek heading to the northeast until it reaches the north end of a large peat bog. At this point, you have reached a large rocky outcropping. Go around this to the right (east). You may have to bushwhack through a short section of forest here. You will come out into another peat bog that covers a valley with forest on both sides. Continue up this peat bog for perhaps 150 rods (nobody said this was going to be easy) and you should come to more boggy ground and an area of open water. Cross the open water (in a canoe most likely) and follow the creek flowing out of its north side. You are still in the valley heading northeast with forest on each side, but now you have a creek to follow (and maybe even float along upon). Follow the creek for about a quarter mile (80 rods) still heading northeast. You will eventually come to more open water (this is actually the final remnants of an old lake that used to be here). From here, you want to follow the south edge of the peat bog toward the east keeping the forests edge on your right (south). Roughly 30 rods will get you to the eastern end of this part of the peat bog. From here, a foray south through about 20 feet of forest should have you on the north shore of a swampy unnamed pond. Paddle south across this pond and then through the short channel that connects it to Cortes Lake. Total distance is about 400 to 450 rods of fairly serious bushwhacking.

Exploring Cortes Lake

Cortes Lake has many rocky points sticking out along its shoreline which could offer a place to pitch a tent. You will probably need a rest day anyway, after the ordeal you went through to get here. There is no information to be found on this lake, so explore it thoroughly and report back what you see here. This is good moose country. A large peat bog extending from the southwest end of Cortes Lake provides nice habitat for those big critters.

PMA #1: Weeny PMA #4: Tick PMA #7: Pitfall PMA #10: Hairy
PMA #2: Canthook PMA #5: Spider PMA #8: Mugwump PMA #11: Weasel
PMA #3: Sundial PMA #6: Drag PMA #9: Humpback PMA #12: Fungus
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