BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

September 24 2017

Entry Point 38 - Sawbill Lake

Sawbill Lake entry point allows overnight paddle only. This entry point is supported by Tofte Ranger Station near the city of Tofte, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 25 miles. Access is a boat landing at Sawbill Lake. This area was affected by blowdown in 1999.

Number of Permits per Day: 14
Elevation: 1802 feet
Latitude: 47.8699
Longitude: -90.8858
Sawbill Lake - 38

Return to Cherokee (with a bonus)

by Spartan2
Trip Report

Entry Date: September 05, 2012
Entry Point: Sawbill Lake
Number of Days: 7
Group Size: 4

Trip Introduction:
Spartan1, Spartan2, Ho Ho and David go on a trip into the Boundary Waters to take an old lady down memory lane. Photos were taken mainly by Spartan2, but some also by Spartan1. Ho Ho will write his own trip report.

Part 1 of 10


FURTHER INTRODUCTION:

Cherokee Lake has been a special place for me ever since our 22-day canoe trip in 1992. There is a campsite there with a wonderful “sitting rock”. I fell in love with that rock, with that campsite, and with Cherokee Lake back in 1992, and it has remained precious in my memory for the past twenty years. Spartan1 and I photographed each other from opposing points in the little bay at the campsite then, and again when we returned to the site in 2002. Since then, it has been my desire to return to Cherokee at least one more time.

Photos from 1992:

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/Cherokee%201992%20LLC_zpsa9475777.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/Cherokee%201992%20NEC_zps2abe31dc.jpg[/IMG]

Photos from 2002:

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/Cherokee%202002%20LLC_zps3b995985.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/Cherokee%202002%20NEC_zpsaa06f044.jpg[/IMG]

Unfortunately, I have been dealing with some pain issues that make carrying my big packs across the portages to Cherokee more than I can accomplish. Back pain primarily, complicated by a couple of knees that need replacing, overall arthritis pain in many joints, and some balance difficulties. More weight than I should carry on my frame adds to the problem. And the reality of my situation was that I needed help to get back to Cherokee. Spartan1 was willing to do extra, but four trips across those portages are more than he should do, also. The time had come for some “portage monkeys!”

We were richly blessed to have our friends Bill (Ho Ho) and David step into those roles for me. And we couldn't have asked for better! They offered to take a trip with us, they agreed to mesh with our schedule, they made good suggestions (the best of those, I think, was providing a set of trekking poles for me to use while walking the portages), they helped me in and out of the canoe, carried my packs, never complained about how slow we paddled or how much time it took for them to TRIPLE portage gear across the portages so that I could have my dream come true!

And I returned to Cherokee. As you will see when you read the trip report, it didn't turn out like I had hoped, but in the end it turned out better. It wasn't just a return; it was a real canoe trip, with a return to Gordon Lake and Frost Lake as well, and some wonderful new adventures along the way. It always amazes me that you can take a canoe trip into the BWCA after 41 years and still experience something totally new to you--still have a unique memory.

So here we go! Spartan1 and Spartan2, age 67, seasoned BWCA trippers with significant health challenges (Spartan1 is an insulin dependent diabetic; this was his first time tripping with an insulin pump and continuous blood glucose monitor). Bill and David, not quite young enough to be our sons, (I believe they are in their early 50’s), physically fit Quetico regulars who had just returned from a 10-day adventure in the Q. And I shouldn’t forget our fifth member of the team—Kahshahpiwi, “Piwi” for short—a canoeing puppy in training who gave us many moments of joy along the way.

 



Part 2 of 10


PROLOGUE: Good times in Minnesota

Before the canoe trip, Spartan1 and I had already spent almost two weeks in Minnesota.

We brought our nine-year-old granddaughter up for her annual “cabin week”. For the second year in a row it was at Rockwood Lodge. We enjoyed a wonderful week, great weather, and many fun adventures.

Highlights included a trip to Ely to see Pat Surface and the Boundary Water Boys perform at a Benefit for the Eagles Nest Fire Department (Anna was invited to come up and sign some songs with Pat’s wife, Donna):

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/Signing%20with%20Donna%20mod%20re_zps5ee52d64.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/With%20Pat%20and%20Donna%20mod%20re_zps6a168f59.jpg[/IMG]

Fishing with our friend Marti Marchino in Clearwater Lake:

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4176%20re%20pb_zpse00f5990.jpg[/IMG]

Relaxing by the fire in the cabin:

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6268%20re_zpscddfbf75.jpg[/IMG]

And lots and lots of swimming in Poplar Lake:

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4223%20re_zps92c1ab86.jpg[/IMG]

We saw quite a few BWCA.com folks, too. Serenityseeker met us at breakfast in Lino Lakes. We met Mort coming out of Trail Center one day. I saw Merganser as he was ending his canoe trip at Rockwood. We were able to see Boppa and his family as they arrived to start off on their canoe trip, and then welcome them back after their six-day adventure:

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/Boppa%20and%20family_zps6f2f560b.jpg[/IMG]

We slurped up some malts at Trail Center:

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4218%20re_zpscf557698.jpg[/IMG]

Roasted marshmallows at the fire pit to make some yummy smores:

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6349_zps9b9215ff.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6331_zps507c8d47.jpg[/IMG]

and Anna got in some good canoeing time with her Grandpa, too.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6647%20mod%20re_zps8ff3526e.jpg[/IMG]

After our daughter picked up her daughter, Neil and I moved to a cabin at Trail Center, and we enjoyed some quiet time. We drove down to Lutsen and took the trail out to the “home” of Wild Country Maple Syrup, which was a very interesting outing. Bought some for gifts, and a year's supply for us. We never eat any other kind of syrup--it's the best!

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6669%20re_zpsb4822e9a.jpg[/IMG]

Then on Sunday evening we attended a gathering of BWCA.com folks at Trail Center. That was lots of fun. It is always neat to get together with our friends from the messageboard and share some great food, drink, and conversation. This is Carlton1812, his wife Magellan, and Boppa.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/100EOS7D-6736_IMG_zps4b26dda4.jpg[/IMG]

Here are Suncatcher, Georgelesley, and Spartan1.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/100EOS7D-6738_IMG_zpsd7c0a04a.jpg[/IMG]

This is Bruceye, posing for the camera.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/100EOS7D-6740_IMG_zps206e4427.jpg[/IMG]

Mocha was in attendance. Here she is talking with Mooseplums.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/100EOS7D-6741_IMG_zps6851a871.jpg[/IMG]

And here is Boppa again, posing with Byron. Byron is Suncatcher's friend, and they were about to paddle a canoe together on a trip in the Quetico, so they were getting acquainted.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/100EOS7D-6742_IMG_zps4afe8c63.jpg[/IMG]

 



Part 3 of 10


DAY ONE (9/5/12): A short travel day

And finally September 5th arrived. We had our car all packed up the night before, and had checked out of the cabin. We traveled down the Gunflint Trail, had our breakfast at the South of the Border Café in Grand Marais, and then we drove to Sawbill Landing to meet Bill and David at about 9:30. I was nervous, and sort of dreading the trip. It is difficult to give up the “real” work of canoe-tripping. (That would be the portaging.) It has been very hard for me to admit that I need help if I am going to be able to go on anything other than the very easiest of trips. It is depressing to realize that I may be getting too old to be able to do the one activity that I love most. And I wondered, too, how I would adapt to having a large, rambunctious puppy along on the trip. My usual “before-the-trip jitters” were magnified by about 4X, and the ride to Sawbill and the unloading was sort of tense. Gloomy weather didn’t help.

Then we saw Bill and David, watched “the video”, picked up our permits, were introduced to Piwi,

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6798_zps0d74a085.jpg[/IMG]

and loaded up our canoes for the trip. Suddenly it had become a reality. Sawbill Lake was calm, with gray skies overhead, and at 10:40 we were off!

We had planned an easy first day. We paddled up Sawbill Lake, looking for a campsite on the northern end of the lake somewhere, thinking that we would stop early, have a quiet afternoon and evening, get a good night’s sleep, and be ready for a big day of paddling and portaging on Day Two.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4316_zps1bd92a89.jpg[/IMG]

We experienced some intermittent light rain as we paddled along, and it became obvious immediately that Neil and I would slow our companions down considerably. This wasn’t a surprise, as I am not a really strong bow paddler. But Bill had made it plain to us that there wasn’t any hurry, and they didn’t seem at all upset to slow down and wait for us occasionally.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4315_zpsd1ba996f.jpg[/IMG]

We stopped at our island campsite about noon. It is a good site with pretty views of the lake.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6804_zpsa372db07.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6809_zps480baaf8.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6803_zps4a918f6d.jpg[/IMG]

Piwi explored every bit of ground, found new sticks to gnaw on, and checked out the underbrush, too. She is a very busy puppy, but quiet (not a barker, thank goodness!)

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4318_zpsde0cd950.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6805_zps67a1e91b.jpg[/IMG]

The sun was bright and warm. It was a pleasant afternoon. We enjoyed our usual lunch of cheese and crackers, some Kool-Aid and dried fruit. Neil set up our canoe to use like a table, as we often do. You can see that we take creature comforts like a chair and a stool, too, now that we are senior citizens. David prefers to just sit on the rocks.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6806_zps1d4bfda0.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6816_zps295d3077.jpg[/IMG]

After setting up camp, Bill and David went off to explore the upcoming portages and let Piwi do some running. While they were gone it blew up a stormy sky and sprinkled a bit, but nothing too dramatic, and then it cleared off again. This photo was taken at 4:15:

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6829_zps1aaaf3c1.jpg[/IMG]

And this one at about 5:30:

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4320_zps8e5498e6.jpg[/IMG]

Neil photographed this large fungus arrangement that he saw on one of the trees. He put down his glove for comparison in size.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_0868_zps928e5c1d.jpg[/IMG]

This site has a nice rocky arrangement on the way to the biffy trail,

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6821_zps7d60e25d.jpg[/IMG]

and of course just about the only flowers you will see in September, the purple asters, were blooming on that trail.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6826_zps190a5804.jpg[/IMG]

Neil and I enjoyed our traditional first evening meal of steak and oranges. Later on we all sat on the rocks and sipped bourbon during the evening calm. After rising early in the morning to get to Sawbill by 9:30, we were all tired, so everyone retired to the tent about 9 P. M.

 



Part 4 of 10


DAY TWO (9/6/12): Some hard work, and a disappointment

I was up and out of the tent at 6:20. With a plethora of aching joints, and after sleeping on a thin pad overnight (getting up the first time in the night and literally falling out of the tent onto the ground), I rose to my feet rather gingerly and stretched out my complaining back. However, the chance to photograph a misty morning is always a big draw for me, so I was soon on the rocks with my tripod and camera, looking for a misty shot to remember this first morning in the canoe country.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/IMG_6831_zps4761861d.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/IMG_6832_zpsa2e7cd08.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/IMG_6833_zps6cec9950.jpg[/IMG]

We had a good hot breakfast of bacon and fresh eggs (which we shared), oatmeal, hot chocolate and decaf coffee.

Piwi was full of energy this morning and wanting to play. Bill had a bit of a challenge keeping her play from including the occasional loud bark, and we didn't want to disturb our neighbors.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6844_zps43928d36.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6845_zps9fdd392b.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6848_zpsc253130f.jpg[/IMG]

I found a small, lone bunchberry flower on the path to the landing as we were packing up to leave. Such an odd flower to see in September when the bunchberry plants should be setting their red berries!

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4323_zps12b1898a.jpg[/IMG]

After taking a long time to clean up, get organized and pack up (fortunately Bill and David aren’t upset about not getting on the water by 8 A.M.), we finally began paddling to the first easy 80-rod portage that would take us on the way to Ada Creek, Ada Lake, and finally via Cherokee Creek to Cherokee Lake.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4327_zps5eaf1dce.jpg[/IMG]

I was pumped! The trekking poles were a huge help on the portage trail, which wasn’t a difficult one at all, and once I adjusted my thinking to the fact that I would just carry my camera equipment—I insisted on doing it myself, even though the guys offered to do that as well—I began to enjoy the perks of sitting on the end of the portage waiting for the “guys” to bring the gear on their second and third trips. Such decadence to be a “princess!” Or perhaps “queen” would be a better term for the dowager lady on the trip?

The second portage, 80 rods to Ada Lake, after a paddle through a marshy area, is rockier footing, with a sort of bright, sunlit open area in the middle. Bill talked to some people after this portage who made it through by the creek and made about the same time that we did. (I suspect we’ll try that on the return trip.) We met two young men with an aluminum canoe on the portage. We photographed a rather impressive pile of wolf scat on the trail near the end of the portage.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_0871_zps19772441.jpg[/IMG]

The day was sunny, with a cool breeze. Just perfect!

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_0872_zps7a14919a.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_0873re_zps8243de4f.jpg[/IMG]

Ada Lake looked bright blue in the sun as we began our short paddle across it.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4330_zps245b878a.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6851_zps93a83db4.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6853_zpsd2cf69e9.jpg[/IMG]

Then there was more creek paddle and a little 13-rod portage to Skoop Lake.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4331_zps63c6f22e.jpg[/IMG]

It was a busy place, with two canoes going the other way (friendly lady from Austin, TX), and two canoes going our way as well. And then a third one came by as we were having lunch off to the side on a rocky area.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_0874_zps18cb37f0.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4333_zps7e8d0036.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4332_zpsd2deacac.jpg[/IMG]

The last portage, the one to Cherokee Creek, is 180 rods, and we arrived there at 1:05, still under sunny skies. I struggled just to walk the portage once with my trusty trekking poles, and truly do not see how Bill and David can consider it “fun” to carry over this portage three times (!) with heavy packs!

I did notice this flower on the portage and snapped its picture. I have no idea what it is, but anything other than a purple aster in September catches my eye.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4334_zps75805751.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4337_zps40db9253.jpg[/IMG] It was sprinkling by 1:50, and I sat on a rock at the end of the portage as two wonderfully fit young women paddled up, took up two packs and a canoe and started off single-portaging on their way. I spoke briefly to the second of them and discovered that the one who had gone on first was a BWCA.com member: canucanu2 was on her way with a canoe and a big pack and I didn’t get a chance to introduce myself. She did speak with Ho Ho further on down the trail.

I think the long portage tired Neil out.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4338_zps77547a74.jpg[/IMG]

He rested as our good friends carried the last of the packs, and then we were ready to start out on Cherokee Creek.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6857_zpsaea06b27.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6861_zps6544e9b4.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6864_zps5c7bfbca.jpg[/IMG]

And, at long last, after ten years. . . . .I was back on Cherokee Lake! As we rounded the point, it was a big disappointment to see that “my” campsite (the one on the southernmost point) was taken! Not that surprising, when we were arriving after 3 P. M., but nevertheless, a disappointment. We checked out the one directly across the lake, found it most agreeable, and began to make camp. I figured we’d just watch and perhaps the people would leave on the next day.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4340_zps2518542d.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6875_zps1fbe78fa.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6869_zps7176e94b.jpg[/IMG]

Piwi was quite thrilled with the site. She immediately ran to us with a new “toy”, the back half of a rather tattered old snowshoe hare that had definitely seen better days. Of course Bill and David made a quick effort to separate her from her grisly treasure, and then a search ensued to find the rest of the poor animal and dispose of what was left of it.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4341_zps9b8a3361.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4343_zps764919db.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4344_zps8901ab00.jpg[/IMG]

The trail to the “biffy” at this site is a hike up the hill, and I would have found it treacherous, especially on the down trip, if I hadn’t had the trekking poles.

The skies became gloomy and gray, sort of matching my mood as I stared across the lake at the campsite I had come to claim. But my mood was broken by the sighting of an eagle in a tree across the bay,

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/eagle%20mod%206895_zps3a267f4b.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/Eagle%206896%20mod_zpsba2f1d97.jpg[/IMG]

and by getting busy preparing supper. I boiled some macaroni to add to our Mountain House Chili Mac, and fixed a double portion of the Packit Gourmet Strawberry Cheesecake with added strawberries, so that we had a dessert to share with our friends. The sunset wasn’t anything spectacular.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6899_zpsbbb5c0ee.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6900_zps0c6f54a1.jpg[/IMG]

After some fellowship and talking in the evening, we again retired about 9 P. M.

 



Part 5 of 10


DAY THREE (9/7/12): Layover day on Cherokee

I was up at 6:30, but the sunrise wasn’t anything to climb out of the tent to witness.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6903_zpse206e313.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6905_zps2cf9cf9e.jpg[/IMG]

Still, it is always my favorite time of day, the early morning in the canoe country. A loon was calling ‘way off down the lake, and the others in the tents began stirring soon after I made it to the kitchen area (do you suppose they heard me, even though I was trying to be so quiet? Piwi has GREAT hearing!)

Spartan1 took this shot of our early morning camp soon after he got up.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_0877_zpsb89ede7e.jpg[/IMG]

After savoring my hot chocolate, I set to preparing a breakfast of scrambled eggs and hash browns. It was a cool, cloudy, breezy morning.

Bill and David decided to go check on some other campsites. A friend of theirs writes campsite articles for the Boundary Waters Journal and she had a couple of sites on Cherokee that she hadn’t gotten to in order to review, so they wanted to visit those specific sites and check them out for her. (They also checked to see if the people had left the site across the way, but the answer for that was negative.) In addition to that, we had told them about the portage from Cherokee to Sitka and some other challenging portages in the vicinity. They are always looking to investigate challenging routes and one possibility was that perhaps Neil and I would base-camp on Cherokee for a few days and they would go off on a loop of their own.

Piwi decided to give her best imitation of a lap dog while Neil was walking around with his camera out.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_0878_zpsb8b9fcc3.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_0879_zps24a44934.jpg[/IMG]

And we all got a chuckle out of watching David try to clean up his black fleece which was then covered with white dog hair! We decided that he needs to get a lighter-colored fleece if he is going to care what he looks like when he goes out on an expedition in the canoe with Bill and Piwi!

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_0881_zps020f8f70.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_0880_zps095a45ee.jpg[/IMG]

The sky was looking "interesting" as they were loading up to go on their way. Perhaps that was why Piwi seemed a bit reluctant to load up into the almost-empty canoe for a little day excursion.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6918_zps5ea38f74.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6917_zps6b7fd2ce.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6921_zps0e5a5994.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6925_zpsade39fbb.jpg[/IMG]

A light rain blew in, and I took refuge in the tent for a few minutes about 11:30, writing in my journal and warming up a bit. It didn’t last long, and sitting around in the tent gets boring, so I was out and about again, trying to photograph an uncooperative chickadee, and just puttering around the campsite, looking for mushrooms and such.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6931_zpsf29cdcea.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6879_zps676241a9.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6886_zpsfb139bd4.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6933_zpsfb8b56ee.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6942_zps06639fae.jpg[/IMG]

This was an odd day, weather-wise. We had periods of lovely blue sky, warm sun, and what looked like perfect conditions, shortly followed by a blow-in of dark gray, stormy-looking clouds and light rain. Over and over. At one point I lay down on the warm rock by the lake and snoozed for a few minutes in the sun, only to be awakened by rain falling on me and a cold wind blowing my hat off my head.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4345_zps2c63bd21.jpg[/IMG]

It wasn't busy on Cherokee. We did see these people paddle by:

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6915%20re_zps8b54a3e0.jpg[/IMG]

Bill and David returned from their sojourn and decided to put up a rain tarp. This task was accomplished in bright sun. We lunched at 12:15, under the tarp with light rain falling. And so it went, all day. A little rain, a little sunshine. During one of the sunshiny periods, a couple of mergansers landed and paddled around in the bay down below our campsite.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6937_zps6ed39b83.jpg[/IMG]

Pretty pitiful merganser photo, but we didn't see many on this trip.

Some Canada geese flew by in their typical V formation:

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6912_zps20a90cce.jpg[/IMG]

[[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6913%20re_zps47b825a8.jpg[/IMG] The guys left again in the afternoon to find another campsite, and Neil “encouraged” Piwi to go along. She seemed to get rather alarmed when she was left behind with us while her “Dads” went for water, so we didn’t think she would want us to dog-sit for any extended period of time just yet.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6962_zpsf0fc0d16.jpg[/IMG]

We stayed back, resting and adapting our activities to the alternating sunny and rainy weather.

And then they were back again! What a delight it is for a dog to nap in the sun!

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6945_zpsb8acd6e2.jpg[/IMG]

It's traumatic when your favorite "toy" rolls down the rock and into the water,

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6955_zpsad5cfb9e.jpg[/IMG]

but one of your "Dads" can rescue it with a canoe paddle,

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6956_zps42024b5a.jpg[/IMG]

and then it tastes just as good, or maybe even better!

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6957_zps735d4d17.jpg[/IMG]

And if you "help" the guy who is splitting wood, you can maybe even grab another new "toy".

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6959_zps946322df.jpg[/IMG]

We thought this formation in the knot of the wood was interesting:

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6961_zpse7824b57.jpg[/IMG]

Supper tonight was cooked and eaten under the tarp, although Neil built us a nice little campfire for atmosphere later on. Neil and I had Mountain House Chicken and Rice (OK but I probably wouldn't get it again, as I could do as well with grocery store items), to which I added a package of Packit Gourmet freeze-dried green peas, and all was cooked over the stove instead of just warmed in the package. This improves the freeze-dried meals considerably, in my opinion. Then I made a cherry cobbler in my Jello-mold oven, using freeze-dried tart cherries from North Bay Trading Company and some home-cooking ingredients (sugar, cornstarch, Bisquick, a little more sugar, Nido, and water), and we shared that dessert with Bill and David. It seemed to be appreciated. After our dessert and coffee, we sat at the campfire for a couple hours, talking and sharing the rather generous amount of Maker’s Mark that Bill and David had brought along with them. It was a pleasant evening, but it got very cold.

The sky was perfectly clear, the Milky Way was visible, and the stars were gorgeous to see! Some day I am going to learn how to photograph the night sky successfully, but this night I was too cold to even give it a try. It was enough just to see it, and to marvel in its glory.

Later in the night, I was chilled. We heard afterwards that this night got down to 35 degrees at Sawbill, and in some places down to freezing. It was the only night on the trip that I had trouble sleeping because I wasn’t warm enough, and I was up in the night to put on another layer, fully zip my warm bag and mummy it around my head.

 



Part 6 of 10


DAY FOUR (9/8/12): Travel day to Frost Lake

I was up again at 6:15, this time to a foggy morning. REALLY foggy!

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6969_zps168f15d8.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6974_zps1e295d14.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6978_zpsd6f97c5d.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_0886_zps6bc04212.jpg[/IMG]

Neil built a warming fire, and I enjoyed my hot chocolate while the guys savored their coffee by the fire.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6989_zps738faa9b.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6980_zpsbc2bf6ee.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6985_zpse79ef599.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_0888_zpse5fb3fba.jpg[/IMG]

I made a batch of pancakes for Neil and me, and just a few eggs to go with them. At 9 A. M. I was doing dishes, and Bill said we needed to make a decision about what our plans were for the rest of the trip. That is when I surprised my husband.

I said I thought we should go to Frost Lake! Neil was amazed, as he knew how much it meant to me to stay at “THE” campsite on Cherokee, which was in view just across the way, and he figured I would want to just camp there the entire time until it became vacant and then move over to occupy it. And that is what I had initially thought that I would want to do, too. But here I was, out in the BWCA with “portage monkeys”, ready to go on a real canoe trip with me! Neil felt well and was able to make the trip. I had had a day to rest. I remembered Gordon Lake and Frost Lake so fondly. . . .it just seemed like the thing to do. So I said, “Let’s go. Let’s make it a canoe trip!”

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_0890_zpsdef67071.jpg[/IMG]

Bill and David said they were agreeable to whatever we wanted to do, so we packed up and made ready for travel. There were high clouds overhead, and it looked like blue sky beyond. There was a light breeze. The day looked promising! Well, at first, anyway!

Just as we got packed up it started to rain. Not a few sprinkles, but big-time rain! Neil said "This will be an all-dayer." That was discouraging for me, since he is the optimist in the family, but I still believed that I didn't want to base-camp,and we had our gear ready to go.

Our gear:

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/Copy%20of%20IMGP4348_zps0bce5fef.jpg[/IMG]

Their gear:

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4349%20re_zpsfa8e1475.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4352_zps2623f991.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4350_zpsdf2bf7b9.jpg[/IMG]

So we shoved off on our trip in the rain. Fortunately, not a rain that lasted all that long, and we ended up paddling the length of Cherokee in good conditions, with a tailwind, and gray skies overhead. There were a few sprinkles at the portage to Gordon, and then our paddle on Gordon was on calm, misty water. I didn’t want to get my good camera out because of the rainy conditions, and later I regretted it, as I missed some nice photos of Bill and David ahead of us, paddling through the mist. The little waterproof point-and-shoot that I carry around my neck in the canoe just doesn’t do justice to a shot like this.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4364_zps82cbd7e3.jpg[/IMG]

The portage to Gordon is only 13 rods and easy.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4357_zpsb79e95dd.jpg[/IMG]

We stopped for lunch at the southern site on Gordon. Not a great campsite, but certainly adequate for a lunchroom.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4363_zps416c8b7d.jpg[/IMG]

And then we were back on Gordon, in the mist again, on a narrow lake that almost gives the feel of a river. We came to what I have always referred to as the “smiley rock” (David says it looks like a rabbit), and I photographed it, as I did in 1992, and again in 2002.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6992_zps5745319f.jpg[/IMG]

I heard a loon call. I had mentioned to Neil earlier that one of my favorite loon photos from 2002 was my “Gordon Lake Loon”, and I wondered if this loon was a relative. In my mind, I was hoping that perhaps we would see a loon now on Gordon, just for old times’ sake. And sure enough, just as we were approaching the portage out of the lake, we spotted it. By then it was sprinkling, so I didn’t reach for my Canon, figuring that if I did, the loon would just dive anyway.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4370_zpsed17a933.jpg[/IMG]

But this loon wanted to pose for me. And we paddled closer and closer, while I was missing some fabulous loon photos because I was shooting with a little bitty pocket camera instead of my big IS L-series lens! And it is OK. This is the best I could do, but the memory is in my mind’s eye; and if I choose to think that this is the great-great-great-granddaughter of the Gordon Lake loon that has his/her photo hanging on my bathroom wall. . . .well, that is OK, too. Why else would it have posed for me, right??

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4379_zpsd65a4e7b.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4382_zpscd55a291.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4383_zpsf235b887.jpg[/IMG]

The portage to Unload Lake is muddy, but very narrow and pretty. (I can say pretty now, I am just walking along with my poles and one light backpack.) And this portage, while not that difficult, really has it all!

Rocks:

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4384_zps275bc65f.jpg[/IMG]

mud:

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4387_zpsbdc4fd85.jpg[/IMG]

flat trail:

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4385_zps88f12cb1.jpg[/IMG]

rocks AND mud:

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4388_zps46407ae6.jpg[/IMG]

leaves and roots:

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4390_zps950d786d.jpg[/IMG]

some lovely big cedar trees at the end:

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_0896_zps39d26ab3.jpg[/IMG]

and rain at the end at Unload Lake (or pond, or whatever.) A nice spot to wait for the guys to complete the 140-rod portage.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4397_zpsb833f0a3.jpg[/IMG]

There is an interesting intrusion in the rock at the landing at Unload. This would be prettier in sunshine. (Most everything is.)

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4399_zps45050c06.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4398_zps4683a6ba.jpg[/IMG]

We paddled through from Unload to Frost, with some help over the beaver dam.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4405_zpsbe5239b2.jpg[/IMG]

And we camped on Frost at the same site that Neil and I enjoyed in 1992, the second site as you enter the lake. It is a nice campsite with a far-off view of the big rock that is the iconic Frost Lake “view”, and it has a lovely curving sand beach in a shallow bay off to the side.

When we camped here in 1992 there was a big bull moose walking on the beach shortly after our arrival. I remember sitting on the rocks in the early morning the next day waiting for him to appear again. (Of course, he didn’t.) There was no moose this time. None at all.

It was about 3:30 when we made camp, on a cold, breezy, damp day with a totally gray sky. It occurred to me that I would really enjoy a warmup and some blue skies, but there was such a sense of joy to be back at Frost again, and to have traveled through Gordon. This is one of my favorite areas in the Boundary Waters.

The site has large cedar trees, and plenty of room for our tents.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7001_zps7e63cca6.jpg[/IMG]

The sun was actually peeking through at 5:30, a nice accompaniment for our dinner.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6998_zps7d49d9b9.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_6999_zpsf9d8868c.jpg[/IMG]

Neil and I enjoyed a Mountain House Sweet and Sour Pork, with some Packit Gourmet sweet corn as a side dish. Bill and David provided a yummy chocolate bar to share for dessert with our coffee.

We had a very nice fire here. Not a cooking fire, but a little campfire to gather around and to enhance the friendly conversation. I have been surprised that Piwi doesn’t join us for the campfires. Usually by early evening she is asleep in the tent. Probably a good thing, as it keeps her from taking off in the night after little (or big) creatures. We watched the sun go down behind the trees and saw the last of the glow leave the surface of the lake, savoring our libations and exploring all sorts of topics as we chatted together.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7010_zps4c9fc2eb.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7013_zpsfadbcd42.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7022_zpsa682983b.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7027%20mod_zps423a3997.jpg[/IMG]

I slept well on this night. I wasn’t cold on Frost.

 



Part 7 of 10


DAY FIVE (9/9/12): Travel day back to Cherokee

I arose at 5:30 by myself (quietly) to watch the morning come. The small crescent moon was overhead and the sky was still quite dark, so I needed my headlamp to get around at first.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7032_zps2a41c8d9.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7035_zps6e671e27.jpg[/IMG]

There was hardly any mist on the lake and the sunrise didn't keep its pink glow for more than a few minutes.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7038_zps9f0a4bd3.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7043_zps6da537ae.jpg[/IMG]

Still, it was a pleasant morning. Some white puffy clouds drifted by in the blue sky and we had hope that the rain had finally passed us by. It was breezy and cool, but not as cold as other mornings had been.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_0901_zps963df3ca.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7060_zps732385d0.jpg[/IMG]

I scrambled up the seven remaining fresh eggs with a big helping of chopped (pre-cooked) bacon for us to share along with whatever other breakfast we had planned. Throughout this trip, partly because of our different styles of eating, partly because of dietary needs, and mainly because we didn’t know if we would stay together for the entire time, we kept our food separate. Still, it was fun to share some things. By now Bill was sharing his “ration” of Werthers candies each morning, and we each left camp every day with a little stash in our pocket to brighten up the mood whenever a sweet treat would do so.

As always I was still taking photos, photos of the campsite, the lake, and even our activities. For some reason the tarp was exceptionally wet on this morning, and by exceptionally, I mean not only on the top, but also on the bottom side! To sit underneath the “rain tarp” was to sit “in the rain”—is that taking “rain tarp” a bit too literally? Bill and David had a wet job packing it up.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4406_zps8e41f06f.jpg[/IMG]

Neil had finally given up on our water filter (we should have bought a new insert this year—note to self, just do it every year!) and he had struggled with it for five days, but on this morning he gave in and switched to the Steri-Pen. Bill and David use theirs exclusively and they seem to be healthy, so we will hope it will work for us, too. Clean water is a necessity for us, probably more than for most people, due to the anti-rejection drugs Neil must take after his kidney transplant, and his resulting compromised immune system. This was our first experience with the Steri-Pen.

Because we had explored Frost before, and because we were hopelessly behind in the packing up department (as usual), Bill and David decided to paddle over to the big rock and check it out while we were getting our gear organized.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7070_zps383a08a1.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7071_zps09e3f5d6.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7074_zps817f237c.jpg[/IMG]

We were leaving Frost Lake on a beautiful morning. I took one last shot of the beach in the sunshine and then we were off to Unload once again. What a difference a day makes!

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4411_zps39609ed8.jpg[/IMG]

A beautiful day for our return paddle to Cherokee! The sun was shining and the cool breeze made it pleasant. I stopped on the portage to Gordon to photograph this nice big mushroom, which was nestled up against a log right in the middle of the portage trail. When I had come through yesterday I had thought to myself, "Well, one of the guys will certainly knock that one over", and when I saw that it was still there after our portage trips (and perhaps even more), and the return trips of Bill and David ahead of us, I thought it deserved a photo. Neil went by with the canoe while I was trying to get my shot. I stepped out of the way for him, but didn't say anything about the mushroom, and he stepped right over it, too. :-)

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4413_zps44458d09.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4415_zps08911648.jpg[/IMG]

I dawdled along on this portage, photographing more fungus formations

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4419_zps7a9fbfaa.jpg[/IMG]

and whatever this green ground-cover-like plant is. Funny how you don't even notice these things when you are slogging through in the rain.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4422_zpsc919e218.jpg[/IMG]

I noticed some Mountain Ash at the end of the portage, and tried, unsuccessfully, to photograph a big flicker there. He was entertaining, if not willing to pose.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7077_zps9b83a755.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7079_zps6098b532.jpg[/IMG]

We stopped for lunch on Gordon Lake at the northern site, where Neil and I had camped in both ’92 and ’02. It looked much the same, a rather difficult rocky approach after a sandy landing, and a nice area around the fire grate for sitting. The biffy location is changed a bit; the trail turns and lengthens out. I was pleased to see that the columbines along the biffy trail are still there, but of course not blooming in September as they were during our previous June visits.

Gordon Lake was blue today, too, of course. And the rocky outcroppings along the shore always make a paddle in Gordon scenic.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4431_zpsaf3d97e2.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4429_zpsa6e99733.jpg[/IMG]

And the paddle back to Cherokee was pleasant, but not as moody and ethereal as the day before. I think it was a blessing to see it in two different kinds of weather conditions.

We reached Cherokee Lake at 2:00

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4444_zps2bd7c3f4.jpg[/IMG]

and again had a tailwind as we paddled the length of the big lake. That is not our usual experience! As we were paddling along enjoying the beautiful day I saw two loons dead ahead and signaled to Neil that I would like to try to photograph them. They stayed around as we got closer, and then were joined by a third, making it a really fun time to see them close by and to have them willing to pose so nicely for portraits.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7106_zps225c85c5.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7088_zps95f8cb56.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7103_zps522b1b34.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7100_zps97115906.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7108_zpsf06cb01b.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7114_zps181592b8.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7117_zps36ea7916.jpg[/IMG]

We approached the desired campsite and my heart sank as I saw that it was again occupied! Occupied by different people! Now I realized that if we had stayed and base-camped at the site across the way, we could have secured it for ourselves and right now I could be enjoying “my” sitting rock in the afternoon sun!

Bill and David confererred with us out in the lake, and they said they would paddle to the site across the way, already familiar to us, and claim it for the night. They headed over that way, and I decided upon a bold move, very uncharacteristic of my usual “leave people totally alone” philosophy—I was going to go over and ask if we could come onto the campsite and take photos of each other on the “sitting rocks”!

There was a young man at the site, and when we approached, I explained my request to him. He said “Sure.” Then he seemed to disappear. We couldn’t use the normal landing spot, as their canoe was in place there, and we had more than a little difficulty landing on the rocky point. Finally, when our canoe was secured, we walked along the point, over the trail and into the campsite. Another young man, slightly older, was in the campsite, and he was very friendly and hospitable. His name was Matt. He listened to my story about this being my favorite campsite on the 22-day trip and he said, “Well, that’s good to know.” After we exchanged some pleasantries, I asked him to move the sleeping bag that he had drying on the rock, and he did so very willingly. We took our photos, said our “thank-yous”, and went back on our way to the campsite across the lake, where Bill, David and Piwi were awaiting us.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_0914_zpsa4cfae54.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_0918_zpsf1ba798b.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_0909_zps0a5ec0c5.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7121_zps1897b77c.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7125_zpsd6ac3a4f.jpg[/IMG]

This is Matt. THanks, Matt (and Bob).

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4446_zps1569e8f1.jpg[/IMG]

And here are our guys and Piwi, waiting for us.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7130_zpsc38d89f6.jpg[/IMG]

My photos of Neil had a lot of sun for competition. None of them are as good as I had hoped for—we didn’t have the time to do it right. All of this should have been a major disappointment, because this was the focus of the trip in my mind for years—it was the actual purpose of this canoe trip. So I was suddenly surprised to find out that it didn’t matter nearly as much as I thought it would.

Something else had replaced my original goal. We had gone beyond a return trip to a specific place in Cherokee Lake; the trip up to Frost was full of new memories, new challenges, and new experiences. My decision to forego waiting for the expected result and to set off in a different direction gave this trip its own personality instead of just a “down memory lane” feeling. I don’t regret the decision to break camp and head on, even though it did mean that Bill and David didn’t get their more challenging loop off by themselves. Heck, they live in the canoe country! They can take another BWCA trip whenever they want to! :-)

(Seriously, we did appreciate their willingness to let us decide the direction of this trip, and to go along with whatever we wanted to do. They were the perfect tripping companions, most excellent portaging friends, and never made us feel like they were doing a favor for the “old folks”. Plus, we had the extra fun of getting to know Piwi, who is really a first-class traveling dog!)

Bill and David had stopped at another campsite earlier on our paddle down the lake and left their gear, just in case there were no sites available on the southern end. So they paddled back and retrieved their gear, dipped water from the center of the lake, and returned to our common camp for the evening.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7131_zps341bddad.jpg[/IMG]

I went out into the woods with a pan of water and did a quick wash-up, discovering that there were a few small mosquitoes that found me tasty. When I came back to the tent area I asked Neil to go up the hill in the woods and bring back my stool and the water bucket and soap dish. Significant fact: more about that later.

We were all a bit tired and cranky this evening. Our little, (unreliable, inaccurate?) pocket thermometer said fifty degrees but we agreed that it felt colder. Neil and I tried a new Mountain House entrée that didn’t get rave reviews from either of us: New Orleans Style Rice with Shrimp and Ham. I made a batch of corn fritters with rehydrated freeze-dried corn and Bisquick, but he decided he didn’t want many of those either, so Piwi got a little extra treat and most of them were saved for breakfast.

Piwi was getting frustrated by a red squirrel that was teasing her, running along the ground and then chattering from up in the tree:

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7141_zpsb57b1c1a.jpg[/IMG]

Finally she gave up and just got a long, cool drink from the lake.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7142_zpsa2976457.jpg[/IMG]

Everything was running late on this evening. I was scrambling around to get the dishes washed up by headlamp at 7:20, and we were out of fuel for our little stove so Bill was heating my rinse water on his stove. I lifted up the pan for my hot rinse water and promptly dumped it out on the ground, narrowly missing my feet! So rinse water was back to square one! Did I say I was tired and cranky? That didn’t help much!

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_0932_zpsa7e49468.jpg[/IMG]

A lighter moment came when we realized that Neil had left our soap dish open by the door of our tent when he brought the washing things down from the hill. We knew Piwi liked soapy water and enjoyed chewing on soap, but I don’t think any of us were quite prepared for the idea that she would EAT a half-bar of Ivory soap! Thankfully, she didn’t seem to suffer any dire consequences from this naughty behavior. Also thankfully, the trip was nearing an end, so Neil and I wouldn’t need too many more cleanups!

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7145_zps366565af.jpg[/IMG]

It wasn’t a lovely colorful sunset, but it was a nice calm night. We didn’t stay up very late; Neil and I were heading to the tent at 8:50. Bill, David and Piwi retired early as well.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_0926modre_zps591ab0a0.jpg[/IMG]

 



Part 8 of 10


DAY SIX (9/10/12): Travel day back to Sawbill

This was the morning that I slept in. It was 6:45 when I rolled over and realized that it was time to get up. Someone was stirring outside already, as it turned out, it was Bill and Piwi. The sun was rising behind a bright fog on the lake and there was just a bit of mist, too.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7146_zps9675101c.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7147_zpsd14a4bc5.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7149_zpsc0696632.jpg[/IMG]

Neil took these two photos of the sunrise:

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_0933_zpsdca6efdf.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_0935mod_zps8b0f776a.jpg[/IMG]

I decided to try a package of Ova powdered eggs that I had ordered online after reading a favorable review of them (somewhere.) We were impressed overall. I hydrated them as directed, heated up some chopped pre-cooked bacon in the pan, and then cooked them like scrambled eggs. We would use these again. Also hydrated some freeze-dried peach slices and added those to our instant organic oatmeal with Nido added. It was a good, hearty breakfast.

The sun was warming up the campsite as we broke camp, leaving about 10 A. M.

I took one last shot with the pocket camera to remember my sitting rock campsite. I was a bit weepy as we paddled past the big rocks and out of Cherokee Lake.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4447_zps27252458.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4448_zpse3775b42.jpg[/IMG]

We enjoyed a pleasant paddle on Cherokee Creek, pulled the canoes over a beaver dam, and arrived at the 180-rod portage.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4449_zps0b908c19.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4450_zpsa644f29a.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4451_zpsabfa7a23.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4452_zps4ceac406.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4455_zps4a2fe6be.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4457_zps6d030c20.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4459_zps55dddba5.jpg[/IMG]

It's just a little beaver dam.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4460_zps0a88d821.jpg[/IMG]

Piwi always needs to find another new stick.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4461_zps5c2c5dbd.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4462_zps49417d78.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4463_zpsa9581ae3.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4464_zpsf4f170c6.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4465_zps5ad40661.jpg[/IMG] I had been dreading this one. My pain level, particularly in the knees, had been increasing since the trip to Frost, and I knew that just walking this portage would be a task for me, especially since it would be followed by more portages later on. I paced myself, and actually dilly-dallied along, stopping to look at flowers, fungi, rocks, trees, etc. and to listen to the birds on the way. It took me 45 minutes to walk the trail!

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4470_zpsb2fd4030.jpg[/IMG]

I hate to say it, but I think the guys were slowing down a bit, too. I waited for them, of course, as Neil made his second carry, and Bill and David made the second and third. I photographed some bright red maple leaves I had seen near the end of the portage, and also tried to photograph a red dragonfly that seemed to like posing on the bottom of Bill and David’s canoe.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7180_zps4a137b82.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7182_zps8200be45.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7189_zpsf184c294.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7190_zps7f333498.jpg[/IMG]

Then after the last carry there was an emergency—we had lost Piwi!

Bill and David retraced the portage, calling for her, and whistling. She had always stayed right on the trail before, and never had strayed far out of sight, so this was a mystery. I am sure when Bill (Ho Ho) writes his trip report he will explain this situation much better, since I was just waiting while they were off looking for her, but eventually they found her with some “rescuers” at the end of the trail. It seems she had jumped into the water and was swimming back along Cherokee Creek! Somehow she got confused about where the end of the trail was, and where we were.

Once we were all united again, we paddled on Skoop Lake to the same spot where we had lunched before, and we decided that we should lunch again. As luck would have it, our spot was occupied. We scouted along the lakeshore looking for another lunch location and didn’t find anything very agreeable, so we ended up going back to the Skoop Lake portage location and having a quick lunch there with some other folks. It was two gentlemen in solo canoes. They appeared interested in Piwi, and didn’t mind that she checked them out, as well as giving their lunch a good sniff. One of them had a black magic Bell canoe that was a pretty thing, too.

Piwi didn't seem any the worse for wear from her recent adventure, and she enjoyed her lunch as always.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4471_zpsbf97a0f3.jpg[/IMG]

We made the decision to take Ada Creek on our return instead of the portage, so this would be a new experience. We knew that there was a beaver dam of some significant height, but we also knew that others had handled this obstacle, so we figured we could manage it if they did. The creek is narrow and shallow, and that in itself presented a few challenges. For Neil and me, sometimes it would be grounding out in the shallows (we were more heavily loaded in our 17-foot Bell Northwind. Bill and David paddled a Wenonah Champlain and didn’t draw as much water with the bigger boat, but of course the extra length and width made the narrow, winding passages harder to maneuver.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4475_zps1efed36f.jpg[/IMG]

The dam lived up to its hype! It is at least four+ feet tall, and looks a bit daunting from the top. With my balance and mobility issues, I was the first one out on the top, and scrambled down to the bottom on one side to wait while the guys slid our canoe down into the stream at the bottom—so far, so good! Neil made it down to the bottom, managed to get into the canoe, turn it around, and get me loaded up again.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4477mod_zps5d921928.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_0936_zps2b14ef54.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4479_zpse951a264.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4480_zpsc5fd6fcc.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4481_zpsd3ee1d99.jpg[/IMG]

Then Bill and David had to move their canoe down the dam, which didn’t present too much difficulty. More problematical was convincing Piwi to leave her beaver sticks and get back into the canoe! She was having fun on the rocks in the sun, with new toys to play with, and it took some coaxing to persuade her that jumping down the big beaver dam into the canoe was the best course of action.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4483_zpsb6c836ce.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_0939_zpsb92e4bb4.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_0937_zps92cab596.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4485_zps2e9b6b9a.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4486_zps57ae90de.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4487_zps4ea24927.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4488_zps606de704.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4489_zps5144d381.jpg[/IMG]

Along the creek there was another, smaller, beaver dam to pull over. Bill and David pulled our canoe, fully loaded, over this one and we heard an ominous creak/snap sound as it topped the rise—Neil said he saw the bottom of the canoe bow up in the middle. We were concerned that some damage might have been done, but as far as we can see, our Northwind survived OK. (It would have been wiser to get out of the canoe before lifting it over the dam, obviously.)

Finally we were on our way to paddle the rest of Ada Creek, and portage into Sawbill Lake once again. On our way we surprised this turtle. I thought I could get closer, but all I got to reward my efforts was a splash!

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7201_zpsfd9cfc13.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7207_zpsc70d4b99.jpg[/IMG]

The wind had been picking up all afternoon, so we expected to encounter a south/southwest wind on Sawbill, and we were correct. It was very windy! I suggested at the end of the portage that, given the late time of day (about 3:30), and the windy conditions, we should take the first available campsite. Bill said that he could see that the first site by the portage was open, but it wasn’t a good site, and he felt we should go on to try to get one that Neil and I had used years ago and had recommended. He is a Quetico camper; he isn’t accustomed to paddling by lots of occupied campsites at 4 in the afternoon. I had great misgivings about passing up that vacant campsite.

So we took off on the windy lake. We were tired from a long day, and as we passed several occupied campsites I became more and more convinced that we would just be paddling the entire length of Sawbill Lake and camping at the campground for our last night together. NOT what we had envisioned! We separated so that Bill and David, who were stronger paddlers, could check out more campsites, but they kept coming back with negative results. After a quick reconnoiter in the middle of the lake, Neil said that we would go along the western shoreline while they checked out the site back in the bay (thus getting us into a more sheltered area and also getting us over where we could paddle around to the two sites on the bay that leads to the Kelso portage if that was our next best bet.) Bill and David continued on the eastern shoreline, and after they came out of the bay signaling to us that the site was open, we crossed the lake to meet them.

The waves weren’t terrible. I don’t want to make it sound like it was a hair-raising experience, because I have been in worse. But it was about at the height of my comfort level, especially when I am tired at the end of the day. We made it across the lake in the wind in very good time, paddled into a lovely little sheltered bay, and found a really nice campsite that fit our needs well. No beautiful lake view, but sheltered and quiet. Plenty of room for two tents. We stopped at 4:40, and were thankful that we weren’t still paddling towards the campground.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4493_zpsc08f3d89.jpg[/IMG]

As is their custom,Bill and David took a quick “dip” in the lake and changed clothes (this was the first time, though, that they skinny-dipped—no photos of that, to be sure!) and we set up camp quickly, as the remaining light would be brief, especially in a site that was heavily wooded.

Neil and I shared Mountain House Lasagna for our supper, with hot chocolate as a pick-me-up while the meal preparations were being made. Later on, after Bill cooked his meal of rice, black beans and cheese, I again borrowed his stove and cooked up a little pan of BackPacker’s Pantry Apple Delite for dessert. Neil needs a lot of carbs when he exercises, and the freeze-dried entrees don’t provide enough unless I supplement with extra macaroni, rice or noodles. Somehow I had forgotten the noodles on this trip.

Bill and David shared another lovely chocolate bar, and we sipped our bourbon as we enjoyed the sunset.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7209_zpsb2fa2aed.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7215_zps7823cbab.jpg[/IMG]

This was the first time Neil and I had ever heard wolves howling in the BWCA, and the sound of them was quite the accompaniment for our Kentucky Bourbon and chocolate, sociable conversation, and relaxation after a long day. We were thankful that Piwi was sleeping in the tent and not bothered by the wolf songs.

Shortly after 9 P. M. we headed for our tent. As I was making my night preparations by headlamp, I heard a rustling in the leaves and grass, and realized that some sort of small animal was nearby. Soon I noticed a leopard frog hopping around in the vicinity of the tent. He seemed rather stunned by the light and posed nicely for a photo.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/Leopardfrogmodre_zps5f95f041.jpg[/IMG]

It was harder to get to sleep on this night. I didn’t want to put in my earplugs (those help to drown out my husband’s gentle snoring) because I did want to hear the wolves. And there was just the feeling of the last night of our trip. As much as sleeping in a bed and cleaning up with some nice hot water seemed like a good thing, leaving the BWCA yet again didn’t seem good at all. It was warmer in the tent than the previous several evenings. I lay in the dark, thinking about all of our sweet face-licks from Piwi, about all of the good-natured help we had received from Bill and David, about the beach on Frost, and the smiley rock and the Gordon Lake loon, and the sitting rock, and. . . .and. . . .and

 



Part 9 of 10


DAY SEVEN (9/11/12): a wake-up and back to the entry point

and. . . .and. . .suddenly it was morning. Neil and Bill said that there was light rain at 4 A. M., but I didn’t hear a thing. I was up at 6 on a pleasantly warm morning, took one quick mist shot on the lake.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7217_zps8065f290.jpg[/IMG]

We had a relaxed breakfast. For Neil and me that meant more Ova eggs, this time scrambled up with a slice of foil-wrapped Spam. (the bacon was better.) More oatmeal and peaches, some Tang because Neil’s blood sugar was running low. Squirrels were up in the trees teasing Piwi. Bill counted out our final rations of Werthers for this short, easy morning.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7224_zps083e4e69.jpg[/IMG]

I had to take a photo while sitting on the “biffy” at this campsite. It is unique, in that the biffy trail winds around in back of the fire grate area, but not very far at all, and not uphill very much either. The brush cover isn’t dense, and from the “throne” you can see people sitting at the fire grate area. There was a fine view of the tents as well. There isn't a great deal of personal privacy in this particular campsite for your toileting needs!

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7221_zps1e952594.jpg[/IMG]

Of course Piwi had to get a good chew in on one last big stick!

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4500_zpsba86b8ab.jpg[/IMG]

We tried valiantly to get a good group photo. This is easier if you don’t have a dog that you want in the picture. Piwi was not at all interested in posing for a camera that didn’t have a person behind it, and after about six tries, this is the best we could do.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/Groupphoto_zps4fd0254d.jpg[/IMG]

And we paddled out of the BWCA at about 10:45, in bright sun, warm temperatures, with a light breeze.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7237_zpsd79fdfdc.jpg[/IMG]

Sawbill landing was busy with canoes, people and dogs coming and going.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4502_zps4226135f.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4504_zps911b34d0.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4505_zps2a46e05f.jpg[/IMG]

We loaded up our gear, checked in briefly at the store, and were on the road.

NOTES ABOUT GEAR:

While it is often said that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, we had several innovations in our gear and supplies for this trip.[paragraph break]

1. We replaced our old food pack (an external frame backpack with many zippered pouches) with bear vaults (one large and two small) carried in a Granite Gear Quetico pack. This resulted in a major reworking of our packing system--still a work in progress.[paragraph break] 2. Neil started out hanging one pack with our auxiliary box of food, and later on it was “stashed”. We used to hang ALL of our food![paragraph break] 3. I had purchased a packet of “Fresh Bath Travel Wipes” at REI, and we found these handy for whole-body cleanups on cool days instead of a full wash-up with soap and water.[paragraph break] 4. Neil’s diabetes care was simplified by the use of the insulin pump and continuous blood glucose monitor, instead of bottled insulin and syringes or insulin pens as in the past.[paragraph break] 5. We made use of the Steri-Pen, a piece of equipment we had bought a year before, but hadn’t used until this trip. Time will tell if it was effective against giardia.[paragraph break] 6. Bill had a GPS and a SPOT along on the trip. I will let him comment upon those in his trip report, since I didn’t really pay much attention to either of them.[paragraph break] 7. We needed more fuel for our stove. We ran out. The colder weather seemed to affect the amount of fuel needed, but we are also cooking less on a fire as time goes on. Going in September, with the shorter days, rather than in June as we used to do is probably the primary reason. There is just less time to gather firewood, and probably less firewood readily available close to camp.[paragraph break] 8. We forgot to pack several items when leaving home. Some were replaced at outfitters in Grand Marais, and some we just got along without. Even with comprehensive lists to check, sometimes items get overlooked when two people are packing. (or there are senior moments.)

 



Part 10 of 10


EPILOGUE:

We had decided before the trip that we would all go to the Trestle Inn for hamburgers and beers at lunchtime before we parted ways. This should have been simple. As it turned out, it wasn’t as simple as we anticipated.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7238_zps503be7f1.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7240_zps88855ed5.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7239_zps3d3fd7b3.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7241_zps5f0bbe6f.jpg[/IMG]

There was a detour on route 7, necessitating quite a few extra miles of driving on the gravel roads, (extra driving both before and after for all of us), and it may have been a rather foolish thing to do, but we still kept on with our original plan.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7242_zpse2dae20f.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7243_zps00b1c92c.jpg[/IMG]

After some dusty travel, we arrived at the Trestle Inn.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7244_zps2a3fb195.jpg[/IMG]

Piwi had a stretch in the parking lot, followed by her lunch, and then was loaded back into the Jeep.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7245_zps6822f939.jpg[/IMG]

We enjoyed big, greasy burgers, onion rings, beers, and more conversation (we never seemed to run out of things to talk about!) for an hour or so, and then we parted our ways. Bill and David back to Ely and their beautiful home there, and Neil and me headed down the North Shore for our evening’s lodging at the historic lighthouse B & B in Two Harbors, MN.

The lighthouse is really quite interesting. It is beautifully preserved (or restored?), and still has a working light every night. There are three guest rooms within the lighthouse, with a shared bathroom. The shared bath was a bit awkward when we needed to clean up, but our early arrival kept us out of the way of the others pretty well. And I did appreciate the big, deep claw-foot tub to soak off my dirt and ease my aching joints! The only down side was that the rooms were on the second floor, and the light was up in the tower, so there were lots of steps to climb in order to really enjoy this place.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_7258_zpsccfc7cb3.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_0963_zps2e6a9673.jpg[/IMG]

Breakfast the next morning was beautiful, congenial, and LATE! 9:00. I was awake at 6 AM as always, and spent the time downloading photos into my card reader.

We drove across Wisconsin, stopping at the Foster Cheese Haus for our traditional lunch stop (it’s a favorite of ours), and spent the night at Delafield, so that we could board the Lake Express Ferry in Milwaukee the next day shortly after noon. It was a very rough crossing on Lake Michigan, and I was very glad to get on shore again at Muskegon.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMGP4508_zpsdd5b7f8f.jpg[/IMG]

Now we are back home in Michigan after more than three weeks. So many memories, so many friends that we saw, new experiences, special places. As I said at the beginning, we are richly blessed.

There is no way to adequately thank Bill and David for making this canoe trip possible for me. They say that they had fun, too, and I believe that. Even for someone who usually does it quite differently, I think it was a trip with just a few challenges and some special moments. Sharing the licks, laughs, and antics with Piwi made it even more fun.

And we did return to Cherokee. That’s the best part of all.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Canoe%20Trip%202012/IMG_0915_zpsc85e56d8.jpg[/IMG]

 


Routes
Trip Reports
a
Routes
Trip Reports
Routes
Trip Reports
Routes
Trip Reports
Routes
Trip Reports
x
Routes
Trip Reports
fd
hgc
Routes
Trip Reports