Day 1 of 8
Friday/Saturday, May 28 & 29, 2010
Today is a travel day, but plenty to do. We had everything packed for three people (food, tent, gear, and canoe). I had already began thinking of worse case scenario (dad not going) and had to get our six packs down to four, get a lighter canoe (we were using a 100# aluminum) and get a smaller tent (had a heavy 4 man dome tent). My buddy Manny helped with the tent and canoe option. We got on the road and headed to Rice Lake, where we spent the night with my aunt. Woke early the next morning, for we had to go to Seagull Outfitters to pick up Manny's newly purchased canoe and get over to Ely. Got a speeding ticket going through Cascade State Park (I did slow down, just not enough) and made it to Ely in enough time to go to Red Rock and take a Souris River for a test run. Very nice canoes. Checked in at Voyeguer North and went to go scope out the entry point. Word to the wise, don't take the trail out of Winton, take the echo trail north. Got back into town to visit the Ely cam, and dad took a picture of us. Still had to finish organizing the four packs and crashed.
Day 2 of 8
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Awoke about 3:30 am, couldn't sleep. We were on the road and at the entry point by 4:45 am. Jake noticed a couple of turtle nest that had been scavenged through, eggs were all over the place. In the water and paddling by 5:15 am. Very beautiful morning as we headed down the river and into Mudro Lake. Made the portage into Sandpit and by now the sun was beginning to peak through the clouds. Had some issues finding the next portage, but on to TCM. Mosquitoes were a little thick on this portage. Up to this point we hadn't ran into anyone, but that would change on TCM. Most sites were busy with campers getting up for breakfast. Made it to the portage into Horse. Ran into two different groups both leaving Horse. Both groups very courteous and stating the campsites they were leaving, if we wanted them. We were pushing on to Crooked Lake. Down the Horse River we went, having to maneuver around a couple sets of rapids, but nothing to bad. Another group had now caught up to us, I believe someone from Horse Lake. No matter, even though we were double portaging, we kept just enough ahead of them. Three portages later and we were in the Basswood River and running out of gas. We had one last portage around Lower Basswood Falls. As I was heading back for my second trip, Jake stated the site next to the falls was open. So I moved as quick as I could, but unfortunately there was a group right behind us that single portaged and made it to the site just ahead of us. At this time a storm was rolling in and we were both exhausted. We tried to find the second site, but settled on the third site. Set up the tarps in just enough time to not get soaked from the storm and keep our gear dry. Got camp set up after the rain, shore fished some and ate Steaks and Rice for supper. After dinner shore fished more and I caught a 27" walleye (personal best). 10 miles, 8 portages at a total of 551 rods. Mudro Lake, Sandpit Lake, Tin Can Mike Lake, Horse Lake, Crooked Lake
Day 3 of 8
Monday, May 31, 2010 – Woke up and had breakfast burritos. Newsflash, instant eggs suck. Cleaned dishes and went fishing. Highlight was a 27” northern in which I cleaned up (with only two bones – a new all time low) and had fish tacos. I definitely need to work on the tacos thing. Sky looked as if it could storm at any minute, so we made a late afternoon journey over to Lower Basswood Falls. We noticed a couple of guys fishing below the falls from land, but otherwise not a soul in sight. We journeyed back out fishing, with only one eater walleye, so we let him go. Came back to camp to notice all of our fresh meat had thawed, so we cooked up the pork chops(4), chicken breasts(3), and onion burgers(3). Jake had the nerve to ask what we were going to have as a side dish. Ate so much I thought we were going to explode. Jake shore fished that evening and caught a perch. One thing to note about this campsite was there was a tent pad for one and really no good place to hang a tarp. I was able to get a tarp up, but it definitely wasn’t very pretty. We took a vote and decided tomorrow we were to travel to Thursday or Friday Bay.
Day 4 of 8
Tuesday, June 01, 2010 – Stormed all night, but we kept dry and the tarp kept everything else dry. Made breakfast burritos with just sausage, 100 percent better. Packed up camp and headed out to Thursday Bay. Made it to the pictographs and snapped a few pictures, and then the storm hit. Proceeded to rain as we stopped at table rock and looked around. This was just about the point that Jake made a derogatory remark about the weather. I reminded him at least we don’t have 2 foot waves slapping us around. Rain finally let up after Wednesday Bay. Started noticing all the campsites, north of Wednesday Bay, were occupied. Same trend into Thursday Bay. I was beginning to get a little worried as it was approaching the afternoon and I knew there were only a handful of sites on Friday Bay. Another storm was rolling in, so we took a chance and made our way to the first island site on Thursday Bay. Bingo, it was open and we set up camp in the rain. Another side note, I didn’t notice until after we unloaded the canoe in the front of the site, but there is a really nice level landing just to the west of the site. Jake found a make shift bow and arrow. He proceeded to shoot the contraption and smacked himself in the face with the arrow. Not to be outdone by my thirteen year old, I went down to the lake to get some water for coffee and hot coco. As I’m going down the wet inclined rocks, I was thinking to myself this is not very smart and just like that I slipped into the lake. Jake had a good laugh. Got into some dry cloths and made tacos for dinner. After dinner Jake caught a handful of smallies and a northern from shore. We took a hike around the island looking for traces of animal life. Did find what looked like pine cones pulled apart in a nice little pile. Later that evening we had a grosse walk between Jake and myself as I was fishing and he was monkeying around. Paddled 11 miles with no portages for the day.
Day 5 of 8
Wednesday, June 02, 2010 - Woke up around six. Jake slept in, so I took the canoe on a solo fishing mission. One trip around the island and I had lunch for the day, two nice walleyes. Jake and I decided we loved this spot and we were going to stay another day. Made pancakes for breakfast and cleaned the fish. Finally rinsed my body in the lake and hung the shower. Jake took a nap and I went fishing again. This time caught five walleyes and three northern. Came back to camp and took a shower. It was at this point I noticed no wind, no waves slapping rocks, no birds, no chipmunks, no noise at all. It was deafening. Started to fry our fish for lunch and woke Jake. After lunch I took Jake out fishing, while I just paddled. Jake caught 3 walleyes with the biggest being 22 inches. Came back to camp and started a fire, cleaned Jake’s walleye and ate him with some mac’n’cheese/hotdogs. By this time the sun had beat me up pretty good for the day, so I layed down, while Jake cleaned up camp. I awoke and we began packing for traveling tomorrow. Had a campfire and played “31” in the tent.
Day 6 of 8
Thursday, June 03, 2010 - Woke up around 5:30. Had a quick breakfast and finish packing. On the water just before 8. Made good time across Crooked Lake and through Friday Bay. Portage to Pappose Creek was full of animal footprints and flowers, rather enjoyed looking around on my trip back for our gear. The beaver damns were amazing through this area. Missed the creek between Chippewa to Niki. We were passed by a tandem canoe at this point and decided to sit back and watch their lead. We met up with them on the mile portage to Gun Lake. We exchanged stories and found out they were from Indiana and entered the same date that we did. We wished them luck and told them we would be passing them as they were setting their camp up, beings we had to double protage and they were single portaging. Jake then thought he recognized them as the two that had gotten the falls site just before us, four days earlier. Made it through the mile portage with three stops, which we would backtrack and get our second set of packs each time. We were both glad to see Gun Lake, and of course every site on the lake was occupied. So we pushed on to Fairy. At the portage to Fairy, I noticed we didn’t have our spare paddle. I looked at Jake, and new instantly It was back at the last portage. We weren’t going back today to get it.At the end of the portage into Fairy Lake, ran into a tandum canoe fishing. They stated the campsite on the west was open and they were staying on the east side. They also informed us the walleye bite was tough. It was great news to know the campsite was open, because Jake and me were whooped. Made it to the site around 2:30 pm and relaxed. We set up camp in at a leisurely pace. First ate some backpackers delight to regain a little bit of energy. Jake caught a smallie, bluegill and a turtle from shore, while I caught a small walleye from shore, but nothing when I went out trolling the lake in the evening. Had a campfire, played cards and went to bed. 10.5 miles, 1 pullover and 4 portages equaling 560 rods.
Papoose Lake, Chippewa Lake, Niki Lake, Wagosh Lake, Gun Lake, Fairy Lake
Day 7 of 8
Friday, June 04, 2010 - Started raining in the middle of the night. One of the support rods on the tent snapped (had noticed at last campsite the rods were splitting so wrapped them with duct tape, unfortunately it didn’t matter. Woke up later to the tarp flapping in the wind, seems one of my twine lines broke (twine don’t quite cut it). Repositioned the tarp shortly after breakfast. Jake awoke, ate and went back to sleep. Watched as five groups of paddlers would make their venture for the exit today, including our friends from Indiana. Up to this point I really hadn’t hit the whiskey flask but maybe once a day. Well I made up for lost time in the rain today. Shortly after lunchtime Jake came out of the tent and we made ramen noodles, hot coco, augratin potatoes. Rain finally quit around 4 and then the sun came out. We went back to the mile portage and picked up the paddle we had left the day before. Made our way over to Moosecamp Lake and then back tracked to camp taking the time to troll the southwest side of Gun, with no luck. Once back at camp, started packing all items for tomorrow’s departure. Was able to get a campfire rolling for a little while, played cards and went to bed.
Bullet Lake, Moosecamp Lake
Day 8 of 8
Saturday, June 05, 2010 - Woke up at 6:30 and was on the water by 7. It was a beautiful morning, sky was cloudy with the sun breaking through sporadically. We made our way through Boot and Fourtown. I started going picture crazy on the portage to Fourtown, and actually got a really nice one at the end of the portage. Was very impressed with Fourtown, funny how many campsites there are, but didn’t see a lot of people. Continued paddling to the first portage, of the three to Mudro. I was able to find the beginning of the portage and my jaw dropped at the cliff we would have to scale up, but Jake went first and I handed him all the packs. It wasn’t until we were making our way back on the portage did I noticed the much easier way of getting to this portage in low water. Live and learn and on to the tougher of all three portages. Slipped and fell while carrying the canoe on this one. Another funny, luckily didn’t hurt myself and the canoe stayed right on top of my shoulders. Got back up and away we went, no harm no foul. I have to admit, both of us were pretty whooped after that, but one more. As I started the last portage, ran into two guys from Ohio. Seemed they were heading up to Fairy, so I told them how our fishing was and which site we came from. Next thing I know they were hauling our second pile of gear down the portage. Couldn’t thank them enough. Not that I was in a hurry, but I was amazed that it took us one hour and 45 minutes to do all three portages (man are we slow, and we didn’t have anyone slowing us down). On through Mudro and up the river, we went having everything packed in the Explorer and in town by 11:30. Drove to my aunt’s in Rice Lake, WI, where she fed us and let us use her shower. Made it back to Illinois by a little after 1 am.
Boot Lake, Fourtown Lake, Mudro Lake