Day 1 of 9
Thursday 7/17. I left Minneapolis around sunrise and got to Grand Marais around noon. I stopped along the way to take photo’s of the Lupine and the outdoor chapel at Cascade Lodge. My husband and I were married at Cascade Lodge in 2006. I spent the rest of the day walking around Grand Marais and out to Artist Point. My dinner was Sven and Ole's Pizza. Then headed to Rockwood Lodge to stay in the bunkhouse for 1 night.
Day 2 of 9
Friday, July 18, 2014 I was up and on the water by 8 AM. Rockwood is great, they let me park my Jeep there and kept my keys for me. I will stay there again as it was nice having a hot shower the night before my entry. The portages between Lizz and Caribou were muddy and I saw a few groups. The first campsite from the portage on Caribou is the prettiest site and decided I would try for that campsite my last night in the bwca. Headed to Horseshoe Lake and spent the night on the fifth site from the portage. The big rock sort of looks like a but crack. The site is flat and has a nice landing spot for the canoe. I had lunch and was set up by noon. The wind picked up so I spent the afternoon exploring the campsite and reading in my hammock. Around dinner time a moose came down to feed and I spent a good hour watching him.
Day 3 of 9
Saturday, July 19, 2014 I watched the sunrise and spent the day exploring Horseshoe lake. The day was warm and it did not rain although some clouds looked a bit ominous. Around dinner time momma moose and her baby came down to feed and I again spent a good hour watching her. Normally I base camp when I am with my brother so this on this solo, I decided I would move every 2 days. Tomorrow I move.
Day 4 of 9
Sunday, July 20, 2014 I packed up and headed over to Gaskin. The 98 rod portage was not fun. Uphill and I wiped out carrying the canoe going uphill. Silly girl, I turned around to see if anyone was watching! At AM I was the only one on the portage! Just 1 big bruise on my knee. I got to Gaskin and picked the pretty island site just up from the portage. The people that were leaving said the sites on the left side of the lake were taken. I put my tent up amongst a small stand of young pines, set up camp and relaxed the rest of the day. At this moment with my tent set up, the canoe put away and the perfect day life cannot get any better. I was hoping to be in better shape but that did not happen so decided this would be a relaxing trip only moving every 2 days. I am very proud of myself, I almost turned around after I wiped out. I sucked it up and pushed towards Gaskin. This was after all, an easy trip for most people. Sunday night it thundered. One thing I was hoping would not happen, did. Lots of lightning and thunder but just sprinkles.
Day 5 of 9
Monday, July 21, 2014 Monday was calm, unusually calm. I spent the day exploring the lake and reading. I bring a Kindle and read constantly when I am in the bwca. I read contracts for a living so I do not do much reading outside of work except when I am on vacation. Monday night I watched the sunset and settled in for a quiet night. Tuesday I would travel out to Caribou and try to get that pretty site. Well, the wind came up and the thunder rolled in. I was scared. My tent caved in many times. Lots of thoughts ran through my head. At that moment I was glad I was carrying the spot geo locator. If my canoe is damaged or I get hurt, then I can push the SOS button. I need to learn where the best place to go is when a storm comes in.
Day 6 of 9
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 Tuesday was misting heavily. I got up early and checked the canoe. It was fine. Maybe the storm was not that bad. I packed up and before I left, I was going to make a pit stop at the potty but there were 3 trees down on the path to the potty. Ok now maybe the storm was worse than I thought it was. 2 Tylenol PM and ear plugs sort of gets me a little foggy. No more Tylenol PM for me at night. Just the ear plugs to cure the night creepers. The portage from Gaskin to Horsehoe was ok. It helped that I decided to take the canoe over first on any portage. I get a bit tired triple portaging and the canoe is the most awkward thing to carry. No downed trees on the portage. There were many good open sites on Horseshoe but I wanted to go further. When I got to Caribou, the wind had picked up. Crap, do I go back to Horseshoe or do I just go for it? I decided to just go for it. Stay close to shore and I should be fine. I was fine but the pretty little campsite was taken. Luckily there was another site not far from the portage that was not bad so I took that for 2 more nights. It rained all the way from Gasking to Caribou. Rather it was heavy mist. I made camp and got dry. The rest of the day I spent going through my food pack and reading. This has been a trip of self discovery. The more time I spend in the bwca on this solo, the more I journal. I find it therapeutic and eye opening. Old self doubt creeps in often. Still the little girl looking for her dads approval. My dad died many years ago and I am almost 50. I journal about my battle with depression. I journal about my mom and I feel her presence. I felt it last night during the thunderstorm. I was scared yet felt that I would be fine. I feel different today. Stronger, more confident. I cant stop smiling. My teeth are clean and I have dry feet! Ok so I want to sing the Helen Reddy song, “I am woman”
Day 7 of 9
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 Wednesday dawns and its beautiful outside. I slept great even without Tylenol PM. I spend the morning exploring the lake and taking photo’s. Then spend the afternoon finishing my book. Sad that my trip is almost over. I journal much more today. I write about my crappy child hood and write about my life now. I write about my past trips and I write about my future solo trips. I feel amazing I am sad and at the same time, looking forward to talking to my husband. I know he is worried about me. Ready for a hot shower and to get the many layers of Ultrathon out of my hair. I decide to by myself a treat when I get to Grand Marais. No food treat but something cool to wear.
Day 8 of 9
[paragraph break]Thursday, July 24, 2014 Thursday I am on the water by 6:30. The portage from Caribou to Lizz has no downed trees but the portage from Lizz to Poplar has 2 trees down on the portage. I get to Poplar by 8 and realize I am just not ready to end my trip. Poplar is calm and there are not boats on the lake. I spend the next 2 hours exploring the nooks and crannies of Poplar lake. At Rockwood Outfitters they lost 4 trees and they tell me about the people that had to be rescued. Then they tell me my husband called and asked about the Jeep. Then they laughed and said he also wanted to know if I was ok! I packed up and headed to Grand Marais. I parked on the Gunflint Trail where I could get cell service and called my husband. He is happy I am fine. I love the fact that my husband has no trouble with me solo tripping. I don't think he gets it but he knows how important it is for me. I feel blessed. My coworker calls me after my husband posts that I made it out ok. Apparently a woman from Minneapolis had to be rescued. They thought it might have been me. My coworkers were worried. Gee that makes me feel loved!
Phase 2 of my awesome vacation starts now. The Grand Marais Dragon Boat Festival. I got to the municipal campground early in the afternoon, set up camp, took a hot shower, met with my dragon boat co captain and then off to Sven and Ole's for pizza. Later a few of my dragon boat team members and I went to the Raven’s nest to listen to live music and have a beer. The beer never tasted so good.
Day 9 of 9
Friday, July 25, 2014 Friday I just relaxed and went for a walk. I reward myself with a pretty necklace from the trading post. We had boat practice and then the parade. I carried a big puppet in the parade. After the parade there was the opening ceremonies and then a dance. Our team is the only team that stayed for the whole dance. Maybe that is the reason we do not do so well event though we practice paddling in sync weekly. All of danced to the music of the Splinters. We had fun. So much fun. I am still flying high from my trip. Saturday we raced. Yup we got beat. By the Birkie Girls!!! They are older than us. Ok so it was their last race ever so we let them beat us. By the third race, I was a goner. I finally was crashing. Well we did win an award. We won for best team spirit! Off to Hughie's for taco's and beer. Perfect dinner with my team mates. Then back to camp for a fire. We got the fire going, watched the storm come in and retreated to our tents. Sunday I was on the road home by AM. Wow what a week it has been. Solo tripping is wonderful. I am already thinking about my next solo