Day 1 of 8
Saturday, August 11, 2007 In Day after an uneventful trip last evening, we are up and at em 5:30 am, situate the canoes with our outfitter and down the Echo trail we go with anticipation as bright as the sun that morning
Arriving at Little Indian Souix River that morning, we find it pretty busy, with a couple other groups loading in at the same time. We seem to be more organized, and get our stuff down the portage, load em up and shove off into a cloudless day of fun and sun
Matthew and Henry chug on ahead up the river, for most of the trip they are the scout party, no substitution for the endless energy of a 22 and 17 year old paddling like the canoes was on fire.
Nathan and I follow along, knowing we wont keep up the whole time, so we meander up the river pondering how many boxes of rice a roni we could make with all the rice we are paddling through.
last but not least Scott and Mare bring up the rear, zigging and zagging their way down the river, discussing the best way to canoe as only a married couple can
after paddling up stream and taking the mostly uneventful portage(uneventful except a buckle on my fancy new harness for the food pack broke) we come to Upper Prauness. Here we decide, its only day one and decide to stop, after checking out a couple empty campsites that would not accommodate our group, and a couple full ones, we grabbed the one directly out from the entrance to lake. Nathan, and Scott and I decide fishing is in order. we grab our rods, tied on some Lindy rigs and went to grab the leeches............ummmm the leeches that we bought and the outfitter did not deliver, and to our own fault we weren't thinking of at the time we shoved off. So there we were with a couple of rapalas and spoons and a ton of Lindy rigs and no leeches. fishing wasn't looking so good, but with weather clear and upper 80's and a lake full of swimming we were not disheartened for too long, our relaxing, sight seeing, fishing trip had become a relaxing, sight seeing trip that we would feebly attempt to fish on. So we spend the evening with a few cocktails and call it good
Day 2 of 8
Sunday, August 12, 2007 R and R day wake up sorta early....sorta late, get some breakfast, pancakes if memory serves. We have decided to stay this site another day, as it seems a good base camp to make a run for the border (the north border) and to check out the falls.
we paddle off for Upper Prauness. take the quick 13 rods and head to Loon Lake. As we paddle Upper Prauness, Nathan astutely points out how windy it is getting............ Matthew, Henry, Nathan, and I arrive at the portage that takes us up by the falls and off to Loon Lake, looking around, no sign of Scott and Marilyn...maybe they saw something cool to look at, no biggy, grab the canoes and over to loon to hang out and wait for them, and wait, and wait, and wait, after what seems like and eternity (and may have been) they come strolling down the portage, to be barraged with questions of "where the heck ya been". As it turns out they misread the map and took the portage back to Lower Prauness.....ok, Sorry Mare, but that had to be told, but nothing like an unneeded portage
Paddle up the creek to Loon lake.........white capping Loon lake, eying the whitecaps, PFDs go on and zipped up and we fight the wind across to Canada side in search of one of our goals for this trip, to find an International Boundary marker. After a somewhat tough paddle against the whitecaps we hit Canada.....yaaaa we are here!!!!!! We walk around for a while snapping pictures like some tourists first time in New York City, but no boundary marker to be found. Somewhat sadly we start back cause we still need to stop at the falls and get some photos. Back across Loon Lake (has the wind shifted into our face again??). We see a Ranger or DNR or whatever cruising around on his boat, and with a friendly wave Nathan and I continue leading the charge across, glancing back occasionally to be sure the others are still on the way. Then we notice Matthew and Henry are not wearing PFD's in white capping water (dumb if you ask me) The Rangers stops them(prolly to see if they even got em, which they did of course) and because of that stop, they drifted close to this little rock (I hesitate to say island) and lo and behold on that rock is our international boundary marker. Good fortune comes in strange packages.
Day 3 of 8
Monday, August 13, 2007 Traveling day Getting up fairly early we pack it up and head out, with no destination in mind take the short portage to Upper Prauness again, and head over to the portage to Shell Lake. This portage is a fairly easy 220 or so rods. We stroll happily across until the end, where we see a pre-courser of things to come in a few days.......Mud and a bunch of it!!! we load up in the mud while another group (seems to be 3 teenage girls and a guide) wait patiently for us to get out of the way. We head over to little shell lake, where I am hopeful, as there is only one campsite (my favorite kind of site) and as luck would have it, it turns out to be a very nice and large site. We are home!! and we settle in for a stay.
Day 4 of 8
Tuesday, August 14, 2007 R and R day everyone sleeps till they feel like it or until the sun turns the tent into a steam room. Today is one of our complete R and R days. Do what you want when you want. Nathan decides fishing is in order, even with our limited tackle, since we had no leeches and were completely set up for jigging leeches for walleye. Anyhow Nathan catches this monstrous fish from shore (see photo) no one can believe he caught it (sarcasm alert). due to the sheer size of this fish we debated for a moment whether to keep it and have a nice meal or throw it back, the sporting part of us decided to leave for the next expert angler.
that evening we were were all brought to tears from the ghost stories book that Marilyn brought with.......words to the wise, pre-read your ghost stories books before bringing them. tears of "oh my god did we really carry that stupid arse book with us" prevailed amongst the camp???
we stay up late to try and catch some shooting stars, but lucky for us the clouds roll in as the sun rolls out......no stars tonight :O(
Day 5 of 8
Wednesday, August 15, 2007 Traveling day aka lots o portaging Up and at em again early, after a quick breakfast, we head out, destination Oyster Lake and a 5 star campsite Matthew and I had stayed at 8 years ago From Little Shell, to to lynx lake, to some little pond to Hustler lake, to Oyster lake, there was some 600 rods, and since we double portaged i guess it was 1800 rods total, not a death march but not too simple either or fun. we arrive at Oyster to head to our 5 star site and..............taken damn we cruise around oyster for another site and find one with the #1 worst landing I have ever seen. Flat canoe landing then a 5 foot "hand up" to get your gear to the campsite, but otherwise a very nice site......tomorrow would tell us why. a bit tired form the day portaging, we kick back and relax. Henry takes his normal after noon nap. That evening, Nathan and I decide there is too much tree cover to see stars, so we paddle out into the lake to star gaze for a while. What a reward!!!! Glass lake and no clouds, we could have slept there!!
Day 6 of 8
Thursday, August 16, 2007 R and R day the last the R and R days(should have been fishing, but lack of leeches) most of the day, just your standard hanging around camp day, until near dinner time. Henry and Matthew were napping, I was changing out of my swimsuit and Scott and Mare were as well. Nathan was just hanging by the fire pit relaxing like ya should, then I hear "Dad, get your camera, theres a moose in camp" grabbing my camera, I run out and Nathan points into the woods 20 yards away, a bull moose strolling through the brush to the lake. He splashes into the lake and I wake Matthew on my way by his tent, grabbing cameras we follow a nice looking bull moose to the lake, snapping pictures like crazy, the moose looks at us as to say, "so what ya gonna do??" we didn't get closer than 20 yards or so from the moose, but judging from the foot prints, Nathan had a view from no more than 8-10 yards as the moose strolled through the camp......what a thrill!!!! we watch him as he casually strolls across the shallows to the other side and disappears. guess what we talked about the rest of the day
Day 7 of 8
Friday, August 17, 2007 travel day the day that will live in infamy we leave our campsite and take the portage out of Oyster to the stream. after paddling down the stream, you come to a choice. You can take the 180 rod portage to Agnes or you can take the stream to the river south of Anges. We took the Stream. OOOPS Matthew and I had taken this stream 8 years ago, and all went well, with just a couple beaver dams to cross. What a difference 8 years makes. The water was a bit low this year as we traveled into what I like to call the "bog maze". It went well for most of the way, twisting and turning through the bog. Then the bog got shallow, mud. The get out of the Canoe type mud. We got out of our canoes and started shoving them along shin deep in mud. Then it got interesting. 100 yards from the river the mud decided it no longer needed a bottom, and we sank, and sank, and sank. we sank so deep in the mud that for the first time in all the years tripping, I was actually a bit afraid for my life. In the end it turned out ok, but we had to hang on to the canoes and tread mud to get though this mud from hell. I remember yelling at Nathan to stop laughing as we were in serious trouble and hearing Mare yelling "save yourselves I am done!!!" we get out of the mud and to the river, as a couple of other canoes pass us gong the other way, looking very strangely at us covered in mud nearly to our necks, commenting "I think we will take the portage"
Day 8 of 8
Saturday, August 18, 2007 The final day perhaps you can relate........if not good, if so, I am sorry. Matthew is anxious to get going that day, so before the sun is even up, I am awakened by a yell of "GET UP" so loud I think it discouraged the sun from getting up for another half hour. so to get my revenge, I pack just as slowly as humanly possible. after getting all packed up we head for the landing, where if memory serves is just an easy paddle up the Nina Moose River (my memory didn't serve at all) beaver dam, beaver dam, beaver, dam, beaver dam, etc, etc.....9 in all I think, followed by a river about 4 inches deep.(when is beaver hunting season??) The good news is, coming around a corner Nathan and I stumble upon a mama and baby moose in for a drink......again AWESOME to see a daddy, mama, and baby moose all in the same trip I will count myself lucky forever after grabbing a couple pictures we patiently wait for them to get their drink and move on. back to the cars and reality
this trip will long be remembered for many things on the fishing scale it was a 1 on the sightseeing and R and R scale a 10 on wildlife scale it is an 11