Date July 12th - July 18th 2015
Grade Boys 6 - 9th
Session Fee $625
Grades entering Fall 2021
Two options for submitting payment.
Option One A check mailed to our office
Option Two Using your credit card
$150 required to confirm your registration.
Registration is not open.
Summer Camp registration will begin January 1, 2021. Please call the office at 262-363-6940 if you have any questions.
A trip to the Northwoods where middle school boys will become master fisherman, be blown away by the stars with no city lights, and build courage to jump off 10 foot rocks into deep, crystal clear water. During the day, the trip guides lead the boys from campsite to campsite through lakes and small rivers on canoes. In the evening, there's campfires, stories and s'mores.
The trip guides will tell stories of their relationship with God and share verses from the Bible intended to set middle school boys up for success in school, at home, and where ever the trail leads them. At the end of the week, relive your son's experience with a CD full of photos of their adventure.
All Phantom Ranch staff are screened then trained in our child protection policies.
Session DetailsClick on a title to view session details, click here to view all for printing
Josh Peterson, Adventure Trip Director, oversees this session with the help of summer trip guides.
Each camper will need to repack their gear into camp supplied backpacks for the trip. This will be done on Sunday afternoon upon arrival, and will be supervised by the trip guides. If a camper wants to use their own backpack it will have to be approved by the trip guides upon arrival on Sunday.
The backpacks will hold all the gear and clothes that the camper will have while actually out on the trip. The more that they have, the more they have to carry on the portages.
It is recommended that campers have another small bag/duffel containing some clean clothes they can change into after the 5 days on the on the river. If a camper has more luggage than will fit in their backpack or in their extra duffel (space is limited), then they may keep the extra items at camp for use upon their return.
Stuffable sleeping bag that will be comfortable in temperatures as low as 40 degrees. A good quality sleeping bag can be purchased here at camp for under $50 but must be done by June 1st.
Rain-gear. This should include a water-resistant/water-proof coat, and a rain poncho. The rain poncho is used if there is a heavy rain. The jacket should be unlined and able to dry quickly.
A hat to keep the sun off your head, help keep bugs away, help keep the rain off and also to help keep the head warm if it gets cool.
Light-weight warm clothes. Long underwear, 'Under Armor', and other similar types of clothes that will help keep campers warm even when wet.
Two or three short sleeved shirts and shorts / swim trunks. One pair of nylon pants, NOT jeans. Make all clothing choices based on whether they can get dirty.
Foot gear: Sandal type shoes that secure behind the ankle for use in and around water and a sturdy pair of gym shoes or hiking boots for use around camps sites.
2 Nalgene / Camelbak brand water bottles.
Swimming: small/medium towel, swim trunks that are not see-through when wet and fit snuggly in the waist (no one wants to lose their shorts from jumping into a lake).
Toiletries: toothbrush and toothpaste.
Optional: Fishing gear, Camera, Flashlight, Small Rollable Sleeping Pad/Mat, Warm Socks.
This itinerary discribes the trip as it is currently planned. It is subject to change before the trip begins and even during the trip as the guides account for different scenarios that arrise (i.e. weather).
Check in at camp between 3:30pm and 4:45pm. Upon check in, campers will be directed to go to the Adventure Trip shop to meet the guides and prepare their gear. Dinner will be served in the camp dinning hall at 5:30pm. They will depart camp at 6pm traveling 3 hours to Eau Clare, Wisconsin and camp overnight.
Awake early and finish journey to the Superior National Forest near Ely, Minn. Arrive at Bass Lake parking lot to meet canoe rental company at 1pm. Portage to Bass Lake. Camp on Bass Lake.
Break camp at 8:15am. Eat lunch on Low Lake. Camp on Grassy Lake.
Break camp at 8am. Eat lunch on Little Sletten Lake. Camp on Twin Lake.
Sleep in till 9am. Spend the day on Twin Lake relaxing. Camp on Twin Lake.
Break camp at 6:45am. Meet canoe rental company at Burntside Lake boat launch at 8am. Two guides ride with rental company back to Bass Lake (about 10 minutes away) to pick up vans. Leave for Phantom Ranch at 9am arriving back late on Friday night.
Check out is at 9am at the Adventure Trip shop.
Can I contact my son while they are on the trip?
We will provide parents with the adventure trip guide's cell phone number for emergency use only. We cannot promise that they will work everywhere we are going, and they will only be turned on to check messages every few days to conserve batteries in case of an emergency.
How strenuous are the trips?
The canoe trip will involve portages during which campers need to carry their own gear. Portages range from short to long and can be difficult, but our guides doe their best to help carry gear and encourage campers to press on. The route will also be chosen based on the needs of the campers.
How will campers eat and drink?
For food the guides will bring along a lot of great pre-packaged food that is light weight and tastes good! We will also try to eat the fish that we catch, but we are not dependant soley on the fish for food and campers are not required to eat the fish, but are encouraged to give it a try. Water is purified trough filters and taken directly from the lakes. We have back up filters along, so please do not send one with.
Will there be showers?
There are showers at camp at the end of the trip, but not during the trip.
What happens in an emergency?
On each Phantom Ranch trip there is at least one certified Wilderness First Responder who has 75 hours of medical training specifically geared to dealing with emergencies in a wilderness setting. All guides are also cpr and first aid certified. The guides on the trip will decide whether evacuation is needed and then act accordingly. A hospital is in the town of Ely which is within 3 hours of our location.
Are there bears?
We are out in the wilderness and therefore we are around wild animals. We do everything to try and not attract bears and other animals; like hanging up all food at night so bears can't get to it. We also are a very large noisy group which bears tend to stay away from.
Can campers come home in the middle of the week if they get homesick?
Once the session has started, the boys will not return until the end of the week. In very rare cases, campers who are unable to make it through the week due to behavior issues will need to be picked up by parents.
Trip notes from previous trip
These notes are provided to give parents and campers a good idea of what the trip will be like. These notes were written by trip guide Peter Johnsen.
This campsite would be my number one pick for the 1st night. It's got ample room for 4 to 5 Eureka Outfitters. Pulling the canoes up for the night could be a little bit of a trick; however, the site is worth it. There is a decent cliff jump (about 15 feet straight drop) and it's a short paddle from Dry Falls.
This is a great spot to paddle over to once you have camp set up. This is the spot that Nettie's [a former trip guide] bluegill first got eaten by a huge largemouth and then her other bluegill got eaten by the 10 lb. northern pike that I later caught. There is great fishing under the falls for bluegill and bass, especially if you have live bait (leeches or worms). Don't fish directly under the falls but down the shore (west of the falls) where all the crumbled rock starts. Just use a white crappie jig tipped with a small piece of bait. Even a plain crappie jig will work, though not as effectively.
Fishing Spot 1
You can catch bluegill, bass, and northern pike here. There is some potential for a walleye. I'd use jigs tipped with bait. Just cast them out and let them sink. Reel it in slowly, but beware the bottom. There are snags with all the rocks on the bottom. It is very deep here though; so, usually all you have to do is cast it out about 10 to 15 feet and let it sink.
Fishing Spot 2
The kids caught bluegill and northern pike at this spot. Use a bobber with just a hook and some bait, set for about 3 to 4 feet deep. Cast the rig about 20 feet out there. If you want to try for pike or bass, cast a crankbait (Rapala) and reel it over the tops of the weeds that are about 4 to 5 feet below the surface. Even a spinner bait might pull something up.
This campsite would be my number two pick for the first night. We had to stay at this spot last year, as the other site was taken. It has ample room; however, there is no cliff jump and no real swimming opportunities. The kids did catch a good number of fish off the rock, though. There is plenty of room for cooking and sitting around. Good luck finding a decent tree to hang your bear rope in. We had difficulty last year finding a reasonable spot to hang our food bags.
When you pull up to this area, it looks like the portage is on the right, but don't beach your canoe right away. First, check to see if the canal is open. It looks like there's a beaver dam across it, but just keep paddling. If you have to, get out and drag or lift your canoe through the shallow water. You don't want to go to the right, unload your entire canoe for an 80 ft portage trail, and then have to repeat it again after paddling 50 ft. Instead, paddle through the canal. When you do pull up the sandy portage trail mouth, be very careful of poison ivy. There was a ton of it off to the right hand side, a literal forest of the stuff! This portage trail is very easy, very light work, and very sandy. There is great swimming on the other side, in Low Lake. It drops off immediately. I would recommend trying to reach this portage trail by 8:30 to 8:45am on Tuesday morning.
Poison Ivy Mecca
Steer clear of the right side of the trail on the 2nd portage. You'll clearly see all the three leaved plants.
Canoe Route (Low Lake and Range River)
It is important that all of your canoes stay within sight of each other while on the Range River. Once it narrows, I'd tell everybody to try and stay grouped together. This will make it easier for you to ensure their safety. They must put on their PFD's while paddling the river. The reason the kids must put on their PFD's (even if they don't want to) is because if you get separated and somebody dumps in close proximity to sunken timber and the banks of the river, they could get hurt. Better safe than sorry as the saying goes.
Fishing Spot 3
You may want to troll a Crankbait (Rapala) behind your canoe as you paddle up to the Range River. I caught 3 big Northerns (the largest about 8 lbs) between the entry point onto the lake and the bend in the lake. I wouldn't troll beyond the point at which the Canoe Route line bends to the northwest. Once you get into that bay, it gets shallow and weedy. You don't need to spend time here. If you want to catch fish for dinner, try on Grassy Lake.
This is a campsite, but I'd stop here on Tuesday for lunch. It may be a little early, but this is a good spot and the last spot before the next portage into Grassy Lake. From here on, it gets pretty swampy until you are on Grassy Lake.
Turn LEFT. This is where things could go awry if your campers got spread out. Somebody could easily go the wrong way. In low water, it is tough to spot the correct river mouth to take.
This is a short portage but a tough one, especially if you guys get all piled up. Don't all try to cross at the same time. Have the campers help each other out moving one or two canoes and all the gear at a time.
Grassy Lake Campsite #1
This Campsite is amazing. There is plenty of room for the group and the kitchen area / campfire location is prime. You will need to get firewood from shore however. I gathered wood on the north shore of the lake. Pull the canoes around the north side of the island and park them here. Spend Tuesday night here and make sure to go to bed early because Wednesday will be a long day. Before you leave in the morning, make sure that you have every water bottle filled. I would try and leave by 8am at the latest. You can catch some fish from the island and there is a little reef off the island about 50 feet that is great for swimming if you paddle over to it.
This is the beginning of a long day. This portage is very steep initially. However, by this point the campers should be getting the hang of it. This is another tight squeeze where you pull up at on Grassy Lake, so you'll have to go maybe 3 or 4 canoes at a time.
This portage is longer than the first but not quite as steep. First, you go up and then at the end you head down. Stay to the left as you approach Sletten Lake. If you go right, you'll end at a campsite. The end of the portage trail is very muddy as is the start.
This is a nicer portage trail, not so muddy. Fairly easy, but the campers will probably be getting a little tired and hungry at this point. Encourage them the next portage is quite short and there you will eat lunch.
This portage isn't much more than a carry over. If the campers are careful and don't drag their canoe, two of them can just carry it (one in the front and one in the back) with their packs on their backs and paddles inside the canoe. I would eat Wednesday lunch here. Also, I would refill all the water bottles here in Little Sletten Lake, where the water flows down towards Fenske Lake.
This is definitely the toughest portage of the day, not because it's up and down or rocky but because everybody is so tired! The trail itself is in excellent condition. You will have to cross the Echo Trail to get over to Everett Lake. Upon reaching Everett Lake, you will notice that there is a ton of muck. What Grant and I did to keep the campers, the inside of their canoes, and their gear from getting caked in muck was to stand in the muck up to our waists and load their canoes for them. There is a bit of shore, on the left if you are facing the lake that the campers can hop from into their canoe.