DescriptionGabimichigami, usually refered to simply as Gabi, is a large, open lake 7½ miles southwest of Gunflint Trail's End and 38½ miles ENE of Ely. Covering some 1200 acres, it stretches over 3 miles from northeast to southwest and more than a mile across. Well north on the eastern shore, a 110 rod portage runs up to Howard. Farther down the shore, in an open bay, a 39 rod portage connects with Peter, and through it the Gillis/Crooked area. Still farther south, the island studded bay on Gabi's eastern side holds the 25 rod portage to Rattle and Little Saganaga beyond.
A 20 rod portage out of its southern end links Gabi to little Leg and Rapture lakes, as well as to the little traveled chain of lakes through Horsefish down to Hoe, on the Boulder/Kawishiwi Loop. Midway up Gabi's western shore, a 15 rod portage connects with shallow, twisting Agamok and beyond to Ogishkemuncie and the northern border lakes.
The forests stretching off the west end of Gabimichigami, as well as those between Gabi and Little Saganaga to the south, date from the big 1854 fire, with a small area in the southeast which burned or re-burned 10 years later. The forest running north from Gabi to Ogishkemuncie grew up in the wake of the later fire of 1875, which burned a broad swath of land to the south and west as far as Fraser.
CampsitesGabi supports nine campsites, five on or near the islands in the eastern bay, between the portages to Peter and Rattle. The north end holds three more, including one in the sheltered bay at the northern tip which does double duty as a campsite for the Kekekabic hiking trail. The south end holds a single site, on a penninsula reaching in from the eastern shore.
Planning ConsiderationsThe great majority of the traffic on Gabi is paddling southeast/northwest, between the Peter and Rattle portages on the east and Agamok on the west. This calls for a mile long crossing of open water, with a mile of lake surface to either side, open to the southwest from whence come the prevailing winds. In early morning Gabi can be smooth as glass, turning later in the day to a choppy surface with a vigorous crosswind, all of which can make for an exhausting crossing. Nuff said.
WildlifeGabimichigami appears to support a good, self-sustaining population of Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush) as well as Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens), White Sucker (Catostomus commersoni), Burbot (Lota lota), and some trophy size Northerns (Esox lucius).
Notes and CommentsThe open waters of Gabi provide a great opportunity to test your navigational skills, not to mention the ability of the stern paddler to hold to a line. Try setting a compass bearing to guide you (a useful skill in the fog as well). Here is one place where sloppy navigation and wayward paddling can easily turn a one mile crossing into a two mile paddle.
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