BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

October 23 2017

Entry Point 50 - Cross Bay Lake

Cross Bay Lake entry point allows overnight paddle only. This entry point is supported by Gunflint Ranger Station near the city of Grand Marais, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 45 miles. Access is thru the Cross River with two portages to Ham Lake and a 24-rod portage to Cross Bay Lake. This area was affected by blowdown in 1999.

Number of Permits per Day: 3
Elevation: 1670 feet
Latitude: 48.0760
Longitude: -90.8222
Cross Bay Lake - 50

The Unintentional Base-camping Trip

by Spartan2
Trip Report

Entry Date: June 23, 2010
Entry Point: Cross Bay Lake
Number of Days: 6
Group Size: 2

Trip Introduction:
This is a trip that didn't end up being what we expected. Because we didn't go far or do anything very exciting, my trip report has become somewhat of a photo-essay. We are turning 65 this summer. We have been married since 1967 and we have been canoe-tripping together since 1971. We both have chronic health problems, and we have had some recent challenges that were beyond the ordinary. But we thought this was going to be our big comeback! We hoped we were stronger than we are, and this trip was a disappointment for us. We are now hoping that we have not reached the time in our lives that we must do a "one-lake" canoe-camping trip, but that may, indeed, be the reality. I am not calling this our last trip because there are many ways to take a canoe trip besides breaking camp every day and doing lots of portages. So. . .we ended up with a base-camping trip. I won't say I found it satisfying, but it was better than staying home!

Part 1 of 9


Trip Report: The Unintentional Base-camping Trip

Prologue: We enjoyed our “Celebration Trip” in September of last year, seven months after the milestone of Spartan1’s kidney transplant. Having all of the schedule/hassle of peritoneal dialysis, the inconvenience of the kidney diet, the years of severe anemia, etc. behind us, we took an easy trip and then made plans for this June when we would do a “real” canoe trip—ten days in the BWCA when we would be stronger, more confident, and ready to tackle more portages, more adventures, and perhaps see some real wildlife. (Read that MOOSE, please. I haven’t seen a moose in quite a few years and I am so ready!)

It didn’t quite work out that way. All through the winter of 2009 and the spring of 2010 I battled with back pain that seemed to worsen no matter what course of treatment I tried. Finally in desperation I had an epidural about a week before we left Michigan for Minnesota and we just hoped for the best. I won’t bore you with all of the details of my condition. Let’s just say I experienced more than just a few minor aches and pains. But, as with all times in the BWCA, a few days there are better than a few days most anywhere that I can think of. . . .Or as our granddaughter says, “Grandma, you have to remember to forget the bad and focus on the good!”

Anna is seven years old. For the past four summers now she has accompanied us to Minnesota for one week of our vacation. We stay at a cabin near Ely and we have all sorts of fun exploring the woods around the cabin, taking day trips in the canoe, and going for a campout at a Forest Service campsite on East Twin Lake. She’s getting pretty familiar now with the Ely area:

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She took this photo herself, of a nesting loon on West Twin Lake:

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She goes to play with the kids at Moose Track Adventures one afternoon each time we visit, and she enjoys seeing Gavin and Claire every year. We take her to Clearwater Lake so she can go fishing with our friend Marti Marchino, and this year we even stayed overnight at the Naniboujou Lodge one night so that she got to experience the beauty of Lake Superior, and sleep in a Murphy bed! By the time Mom comes to pick her up she has a lot of tales to tell about her vacation with Grandma and Grandpa.

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And then, suddenly, the cabin is quiet. We pack up our gear, do a little housecleaning, and load up the car to head for our canoe trip. This year our entry point was off the Gunflint Trail, so we drove to Grand Marais on Tuesday June 22nd, stopped for a little shopping at the Trading Post, and then took the beautiful drive up The Trail to Clearwater Road, and out to Clearwater Lodge, where we had reserved Charlie’s Room for the night. Drinks and dinner at Trail Center, a restful night at the lodge, and a hearty breakfast the next morning are enough to get us thoroughly in the mood for canoe tripping (it is a pattern we have followed many times in the past) and we drove to the Cross River landing with high hopes for the adventures to come.

I stopped that morning to photograph the forget-me-nots in Clearwater’s yard, and noticed that daisies were blooming everywhere, and the bunchberry blooms that had been so fresh and white ten days ago when we first arrived in Minnesota were now beginning to brown and fade around their edges. Spring was turning to summer in the canoe country.

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Part 2 of 9


Day One:

As we arrived at the landing two young men were loading up their gear and their canoe at the end of a trip. We exchanged pleasantries, and they just happened to mention that they had seen FIVE moose, including one on Cross Bay Lake that “wasn’t a bit shy.” That really sounded good to me!

We departed from the Cross River Landing at 10 AM under partly cloudy skies on a calm, warm, rather muggy morning. Again I noticed daisies, marsh marigolds, dragonflies and bluets as we were loading the canoe to get on our way. I was trying to take Anna’s advice to look for all things good and not notice my fears about being up to the tasks ahead.

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Right off the bat we took a wrong turn, heading right rather than left as we made our way into the reeds on the river and taking, as Spartan1 later called it, “a short-cut”. This resulted in getting stuck in several spots where he had to get out and lift our heavily loaded canoe over shallow obstructions, and also in me remarking “This can’t be the right way.” Duh.

But we did get on our way down the river, and it felt good to be heading toward the BWCA at last.

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In short order we arrived at our first portage, 60 rods long. This isn’t a difficult portage for most folks who are in good shape and well prepared for the job. It has a couple of good climbs, nothing major. But it was a problem for me because of stair-steps! The portage crews, in order to help insure against erosion on the hills, have inserted steps in several places on the portage, with large 6x6 beams set into the grade, making for a really BIG step up (or down). This is probably fine if you are six feet tall with long, strong legs. But if you are 5’ 4”, with a 28” inseam, have two arthritic knees, carry too much weight on your person and a heavy pack on your tender back, they are a daunting task! Much harder for me than just walking up a hill! Spartan1 ended up carrying my packs up the steps in most cases and then putting them on my back—a very big help indeed.

There were to be three portages on this day and we planned to camp on Cross Bay Lake by afternoon. Our next one was either 30 or 40 rods, depending upon which map you wanted to consult, and it went in to a little pond that led to Ham Lake. When we got to the portage landing we were scolded by a merganser who seemed to think that the landing was her own personal property, but she didn’t stay around long enough for a photo!

When we paddled in to Ham Lake we of course paddled right by the campsite that was the source for the infamous “Ham Lake Fire”. It is a rather sobering sight to see the campsite, not burned greatly itself, and then look across the narrow expanse of water to the other shore and view the stark outline of the many charred sentinels, reminders of a conflagration that spread along the Gunflint for many miles. And of course, underneath the blackened trunks still standing, there is the green of the renewing forest, growing yet again.

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So. . .we had two portages done and we were doing well. I was hurting some, but not complaining yet, and the day was still young. So far, so good! We paddled along on Ham Lake, looking for the portage entrance, and that was when we made a big mistake! We heard the moving water, saw the stream entering the lake, and instead of looking for the portage landing along the lakeshore (which isn’t that hard to spot if you are paying attention) we headed right for that splashing inlet with its small waterfall. There is a rock face where you can unload your canoe rather precariously onto a small landing beside the tiny falls, and there is a small trail going off on the right. Not nearly large enough of a trail for this portage!

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Now we had been on this route before! Not even that long ago, 2002. We knew that this wasn’t supposed to be an odd or difficult portage. But we had a senior moment, or something, and we looked at this little trail, with its rocky hole smack dab in the middle, and we decided to portage all of our gear and our canoe across it. It ends with an equally tiny landing. I mentioned to Spartan1 that I sure did hope no one came our way because there wasn’t a way in the world that more than one canoe could fit on this landing. But still we didn’t catch on.

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We paddled out into the stream for a few yards, heard the sound of white water, looked ahead and saw a long, long set of rapids. We were not at the portage. We weren’t even NEAR the portage! (The only thing we can figure is that perhaps kayakers run these rapids downstream as far as we came, take out at our tiny landing, and go to Ham on the short, rocky trail. It is NOT the portage!) Duh, again!

So we had to go back to the miniscule landing, unload the canoe, carry everything back to the equally uncomfortable landing at the other end, reload the canoe, and find the portage. The afternoon was fleeting, I was beginning to worry about getting a campsite on Cross Bay Lake, as there are only two, and Spartan1 was very tired. He does ALL of the loading and unloading, always has, but now with my back problems it is absolutely necessary. He is still anemic from 16 years of chronic kidney disease and always will be. He’s a lifelong insulin-dependent diabetic. And he is six weeks short of 65 years old. He has wanted to make me believe he is superman strong now, but I could see that he was very tired and not looking forward to another portage. This first day wasn’t going as well as we had hoped. But we were in the BWCA and life is good. What could possibly go wrong that hadn’t already?

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Yes, you guessed it! It can rain!

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He said, “Do you want to put on rain gear?” as the skies suddenly opened up and we were drenched almost immediately. I said “Why? We are already wet!” So I shouted “No!” And we loaded up in the canoe, wet to the skin, thankful that it wasn’t a cold day, and pretty much exhausted. And still with a 24-rod portage to go, plus paddling the length of Cross Bay Lake if we were to take the campsite we had our hearts set upon.

Then my confidence caved in. I said, “There are all of the sites on Ham Lake open and we can just take one of those and go on in the morning!” He tried to argue, because of course that would mean that we would be entering the BWCA illegally, one day after the date of our permit, and we always follow the rules as carefully as we are able. But it was raining so hard, we were so wet, and we were just so tired and discouraged, that I could see him caving in right beside (or actually behind, since he is the stern paddler) me. We headed that canoe to one of the campsites on Ham Lake—it didn’t end up being the nicest one, but it was adequate for our needs—and we put up a tarp in the rain until it let up, then set up the tent and made our camp.

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Eventually the rain stopped, and we enjoyed a field of daisies at our campsite.

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Our evening meal was a Packit Gourmet Beef Wrap that I was trying as a new idea. The corn tortillas I had bought at Zup’s didn’t hold together and Neil didn’t like the spicy meat mixture very well, but I thought it was really good. Flour tortillas needed, though! We topped it off with Backpacker’s Pantry Dark Chocolate Cheesecake, and that was really just like an instant chocolate pudding with some Oreo crumbles on top, but still tasted pretty good. We were dry and resting, so ‘most any food would have done OK.

We enjoyed a beautiful evening with interesting clouds. In spite of feeling guilty for being there, I don’t think we regretted the decision to stop at Ham Lake, given the challenges of our afternoon, even if some of them were of our own making. We hoped that if a ranger dropped by, he/she would accept “extenuating circumstances” as an excuse, and if not, we were prepared to pay a fine, just so long as they didn’t tell us we had to go home!

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Part 3 of 9


Day Two

Awake at 4:15, 45 degrees in the tent, up and enjoying the morning mist at 5:30. Everything seemed damp, my joints were stiff, but I was moving! It looked like a very promising morning. Even the tall grass was sparkling in the heavy dew.

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We had oatmeal and summer sausage and broke camp as quickly as we could, but we seem to have forgotten how to get on the water really early. (Perhaps it is because one of us is always away taking photos??) We were paddling by 8:45, and found the portage handily. Of course we had seen others take it by this time, so it was no longer any sort of mystery. More BIG steps, but an easy portage, otherwise.

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And soon we were making our way to Cross Bay Lake. Safely in the BWCA, on a beautiful stream with a mine field of big rocks under the water to make the bowman stay alert, and out into the water of the lake on a pretty partly-cloudy morning.

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We saw a family of brown ducks. Mama decided to play the “lame duck” role and lure us away from her three half-grown ducklings. She led us almost half-way down the lake with her series of flutter, flight, float, flutter, flight, float, etc..

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Near the stream that leads to the portage to Snipe Lake we saw this large snapping turtle. Its shell was about 16" in diameter.

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Because we had packed up very damp, and because we really had loved the southern site on Cross Bay Lake (it’s a beauty!) we decided to treat ourselves to an early camp and stopped at 10:40. It was a lovely morning with clear skies and a breeze, 65 or 70 degrees, and would be perfect for drying out and resting up. We had a hot lunch of eggs with cheese, hash browns, hot tea for me and spiced cider for Neil. By 1 PM there were clouds blowing in and I suspected an afternoon shower like yesterday, but at least we were well set up and dried out, so we would be much better able to cope.

I played around with photographing a pine bark beetle,

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the resident chipmunk,

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and a white admiral butterfly,

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and Neil rested in the tent. I was worried about his activity level, which was much less than normal, and his perspiration level, which was much MORE than normal. We had a chat about that, and he admitted that he was not feeling very energetic. I asked him if he thought we shouldn’t go on and he made a rather offhand remark about “not wanting any long hard days”. Shortly thereafter we were dealing with an insulin reaction, some stomach upset, and a bland supper of Cache Lake Creamy Wild Rice Soup, crackers, and BPP Apple Delight. There were a few sprinkles as we finished our meal.

We decided we would make a decision “tomorrow” whether we would try to head back out again, or base camp on Cross Bay Lake for a few days. We weren’t going to go any further into the BWCA on this trip.

There was a most non-spectacular sunset, and a beaver came swimming by at 8:30 headed to a different part of the lake. We didn’t have a fire, as Neil hadn’t found any firewood, and we just decided to retire early.

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Part 4 of 9


Day Three

Neil was suddenly awake at 5 AM when he heard a moose walking across the rock right outside our tent door! Of course it was gone before we could react and open the flap! We know it was there, as we could see tracks in the mud! Now my hopes were REALLY up!!

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There was a heavy mist on the lake at 5:30, and if I looked closely I could see a couple of ducks, but we never had any loons on Cross Bay Lake. We missed seeing and hearing them.

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We had a breakfast of pecan pancakes, scrambled fresh eggs with bacon, and Tang, and discussed plans for the remainder of the trip. We decided to base camp on Cross Bay Lake for a few days, do some day trips, and take no more portages except for the three necessary for getting back out to the entry point on Day 7 or 8.

It was a calm, overcast morning at 7:30 with birds singing and the sun burning off the fog. A red squirrel scolded us, but didn’t drop by for a visit. Later in the morning Mama duck brought her family around for little while:

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The chipmunk(s) checked us out after every meal, grabbing up any crumbs we might have dropped. We keep a clean camp, but of course it is impossible not to drop even a crumb, so the little creatures seemed to find tidbits. They also had chewed a hole in the trash bag. We were going to need to be very vigilant.

At 9:30 Neil got up after a nap and put up a tarp (there was a bit of nagging to get this activity going, but I was glad for it when it started to sprinkle just as the tarp was basically in place.) The weather was turning damp and cool, with no wind, and we suspected a period of drizzle. But as it turned out we had steady rain until after 3:30. We had our usual snack-type lunch under the tarp, and spent the afternoon alternately going out to watch groups on the portage, and reading our paperback books. I baked a cake in the Jello-mold oven. The first time I have used it on the stove and it was fairly successful.

Supper was cheese tortellini with homemade spaghetti sauce that I made from freeze-dried veggies and tomato powder from Packit Gourmet. It turned out really tasty. We had a nice sunny interlude from about 4 until 7:30 but by 8 o’clock it was cloudy and humid again.

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The beaver started to swim by a little after 8 and I made the mistake of photographing without remembering to turn off the automatic flash, so as soon as that happened, she turned around and went back to the lodge.

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It was 9 PM before she got up enough nerve to try a second trip.

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There wasn’t a nice sunset to photograph, and the mosquitoes drove us in to the tent about 9:30.

 



Part 5 of 9


Day 4

I was awake at four for a nature run, and thought I’d just lie awake and listen to the birds at first light. The next thing I knew it was 6:30 and I was hurrying to photograph the last of the morning mist before it disappeared! I was very stiff and sore on this cool, damp morning and I requested a fire. Then I went out and photographed spider webs while he got the fire going.

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Finally I returned and said “You’d better eat some leftover cake while you're working on the fire” and he replied, “I don’t feel like making the effort for a fire”.

So we had a late, but good, breakfast of potato pancakes, a 5-egg omelet with onion pieces hydrated in a little Nido milk, and bacon pieces. Our usual Tang, of course, and then we topped it all off with hot chocolate. While we were enjoying that cup, our friend “Chippy” discovered that he liked the potato pancake mixing bowl a great deal!

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About mid-morning another white admiral stopped by to pose for me. This one seemed interested in tasting Neil’s dry camp shoes, and whatever flavor might be on the sheath for my Buck knife, the only item I can think of that has gone on every single trip with me since 1971.

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We headed out in the late morning for a day trip, first going over to the rapids near our campsite that we could hear all of the time, then photographing our campsite from the water, and finally paddling down to the other end of the lake, checking out the other campsite as a lunch spot. It wasn’t at all friendly for landing from the lake (how DO people get into that campsite anyway??) and we decided to have our lunch on a rocky area along shore across from the campsite. I was having significant pain in my sciatic nerve, in my buttocks area and down the back of my leg, and it was particularly painful to sit in the canoe, even with my new Crazy Creek chair, so we realized that we were going to be cutting our day trip short from what we had planned.

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Mama duck was present again, with her family, and she didn’t seem that agitated this time to have us around, so I got a better photo.

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We checked out some pretty pitcher plants:

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a dragonfly:

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some fireweed:

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and a turtle:

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and headed back to our campsite. After a nap, we decided to use the water we had been warming in our fabric “kitchen sink” for a bath, and we got ourselves cleaned up and into some fresh clothes, which really felt good.

Our supper was a long-time favorite, the Mountain House Chili Mac. We also tried the Packit Gourmet California Strawberry Cheesecake and liked that a lot. It has a real cheesecake flavor, not like an instant pudding. Says it is one serving, but we found it adequate for two if you aren’t working really hard and have a good meal first. We always have an entrée and at least one veggie, so our dessert doesn’t need to be large. I had a packet of Trader Joe's freeze dried strawberries that I rehydrated to put over the cheesecake for extra fruit and it was very tasty.

The reflections were exceptional on this evening:

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and the beaver made her appearance right on time:

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We had a marginally good sunset view this evening. Nothing breathtaking, but the only one of the trip worth photographing at all. This just wasn’t a sunrise-sunset excursion.

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Part 6 of 9


Day Five

I was up at 5, quietly photographing a very blah sky. Got down the pack, made myself some coffee and started some blueberry muffins cooking in the Jello-mold oven.

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Neil got up at 7, decided we would leave on this day, and started to break camp. Just as he began to take down the tent (the tarp was still in place) it began to rain—hard! He kept on with his task and I called for him to stop. I cooked bacon and eggs in the rain, served them from the frying pan under the tarp, and of course everything was getting saturated again. Neil still thought we were breaking camp and going on our way.

A big argument ensued. He had argued his case to me last night that we needed to pack up dry, as going over those three portages with heavily saturated gear in the packs was the “worst-case-scenario” for our trip out of the BWCA. So here we were, getting ready to do exactly that, to pack up wet, load up wet, paddle in heavy rain, and go over portages already saturated from heavy rains the past few days, IN heavy rain, with one person who was admitting he wasn’t strong enough for what we were carrying and the other person trying to brave it out with severe pain, being pretty sure that she wasn’t going to make the second carry on all three of those portages. And we were leaving EARLY, so there was no one looking for us yet at the other end. We had a comfortable campsite and lots of food. But because he had started packing up, that was what we had to do now! (Man logic.)

I said I was willing, if the tent was now too wet, to just spend the next night sitting up on my stool under the tarp if that was what it took not to portage out in the heavy rain that morning. And I meant it. He looked at me like I had lost my mind, but he finally agreed to stay.

It rained steadily until 11:00. A real soaker. [IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Unintentional%20Base-camping%20Trip%202010/109_0625-IMGP2133_IMGP2133.jpg[/IMG]

By noon some blue sky was beginning to show overhead as I had predicted, and our tent might actually start drying out. Since I am known in our family as the diehard pessimist, I was most pleased to have my uncharacteristic optimism rewarded in this manner! You could stand at one point on the rock overlooking our shore and see this:

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Unintentional%20Base-camping%20Trip%202010/100EOS7D-2270_IMG.jpg[/IMG]

look the other direction and see this:

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and the view from under the tarp was considerably brighter:

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Unintentional%20Base-camping%20Trip%202010/100EOS7D-2274_IMG.jpg[/IMG]

Spartan1 stood on the shore and admired the lovely sky. I think even HE was glad that I talked him into staying for another day.

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And we were most thankful for our little shelter:

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So we dried the tent on a clothesline, and then he put it back up again. And the sky was a brilliant blue, but now and then a little shower would come by unexpectedly, so that you couldn’t quite relax if you were out and about, like photographing a lovely iris in the midst of the forest.

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We enjoyed the interesting cloud show, read our books, watched the campsite dry out again, and were thankful for a lovely 75-degree day that just occasionally forgot and wept on us for a few minutes. Our supper was BPP Southwestern Smoked Salmon Pasta with Chipotle Dill Sauce (which sounds pretty complicated, but we think it is one of the best of the freeze dried entrees), and a Packit Gourmet carrot and currant salad that was also fairly good. The salad was quite a surprise, though, as it said it made one serving and I personally think it would have been sufficient for a side dish for four people. I couldn’t begin to eat half of it! We had BPP Organic Blueberry Delight for our dessert and that was another new trial for us that was a surprise—not very many blueberries and a sauce that ended up the consistency of rubber cement! It tasted OK but it really looked funny! It was also supposed to be one serving; however, we found splitting it worked just fine for us, keeping in mind that we had NOT worked all day at paddling or portaging.

I had, by this time, pretty much given up hope of ever seeing my moose, but I did think perhaps a fantastic sunset might be a possibility, given the wonderful clouds we had been seeing all afternoon. Then at 8:20 the rumbles began! Thunder rumbled off in the distance, and storms seemed to be approaching swiftly. We cleaned up our camp and headed for the tent by 8:45. At 8:55 a very scary thunderstorm hit! This included the closest lightning flash/thunder clap I have ever experienced in a tent! I don’t usually yell out in fear during storms, but this one made me scream! The storm lasted about fifteen minutes, and was the only one of the night, thankfully. We did have light rain at 3 AM.

 



Part 7 of 9


Day Six

This was the day we were to leave, for sure! So. . .everything was saturated from the night’s rain and we would be packing up wet again. But at least it wasn’t a morning with a heavy rainstorm going on, and the morning sky looked promising, indeed.

We were dismayed to find a hole chewed in our food pack, which was tied up in the tree. Either our little friend Chippy or the resident squirrel had finally found a way into the side pocket of the pack. Rats! Or should I say, rodents?!

We took a leisurely pace this morning, waiting for the tent and tarp to dry out in the sun. It isn’t like we had a deadline—we were still leaving the BWCA two days earlier than our planned exit date! But somehow five nights at one campsite seemed like enough for one trip. So we had eggs and hash browns, and drank our usual Tang, followed it all up with a cup of hot chocolate, and sat around awhile with our books. I lay on the rock shelf looking up at the blue sky, and photographed the trees from a different perspective:

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Unintentional%20Base-camping%20Trip%202010/100EOS7D-2300_IMG.jpg[/IMG]

So what if the food pack has a hole in it and one of the zippers has broken? So what if my back hurts and every step I take sends pain down my hip and leg? So what if Spartan1 has learned that he isn’t Superman? So what if I am almost 65 and I have yet to see the Northern Lights? So what if we have just taken a canoe trip and not gone anywhere? Or had a campfire? Or seen a moose?

We came to the BWCA again. We are portaging out on our 28th canoe trip together. And, God willing, we will come again. What is it Anna says? Forget the bad and focus on the good. I think I’ll do that.

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At 10:30 we were on our way. The sky was blue with all kinds of clouds, just the kind of morning we needed yesterday. But then, if we’d had it, we wouldn’t be here today!

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We paddled through the “mine field” at the narrow end of Cross Lake without touching even one of those boulders.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Unintentional%20Base-camping%20Trip%202010/102_0628-IMGP2201_IMGP2201.jpg[/IMG]

We stopped for lunch at the Ham Lake “fire” campsite, and ended up packing out a trimming saw that someone had left there by the sitting log.

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I photographed a few flowers at this site, sort of as a “last hurrah”.

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And we completed all of our portages this time, without any missteps, “shortcuts”, alternate paths, etc. Somewhere along the line we saw a nice big garter snake, but it was shy about being photographed:

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And I got the Canon camera out one last time to try to photograph this little waterfall at the end of one portage.

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Finally we reached the last portage.

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Notice now that we are leaving how beautiful the weather is turning out to be?

I managed, with an escalating pain level, to do all of my carries except the very last one. While I was waiting for dear Spartan1 to finish that for me I kept company with this nice dragonfly

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We paddled around through the correct channel this time and ended our trip at 3:25 on June 28th, under sunny skies. The temperature was 64 degrees, but it felt warmer.

 



Part 8 of 9


Epilogue:

We stopped at Trail Center for our traditional after-canoe-trip supper, and while waiting to be served I called Poplar Creek Guest House B&B to inquire about the availability of my favorite room there: Ollie’s Room, which has a big whirlpool bathtub. Getting an affirmative answer made my burger and malt taste even better.

The next morning, after enjoying a relaxing night in Ollie’s Room and Barbara Young’s incomparable breakfast, we headed back down the Gunflint Trail. As we were passing the sign that says “Moose Viewing Trail” I sighed audibly and Neil said, “So, do you want to try it?”

Craziness! Of course there were no moose around at ten in the morning! But we hiked back into the woods to the viewing platform overlooking the little pond, and I had my silly hopes up again. There were no moose. Obviously.

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Unintentional%20Base-camping%20Trip%202010/100EOS7D-2334_IMG.jpg[/IMG]

Then we were back on the road, with a stop at Grand Marais for a delicious lunch at the Sweet Onion, and a stop at the Split Rock Lighthouse. That, of course, involved another hike, down to the lake for a photo:

[IMG]http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af153/LyndaLu17/Unintentional%20Base-camping%20Trip%202010/LongshotSplRLighthouse.jpg[/IMG]

And that evening we stayed in Two Harbors, so we got a glimpse of the lighthouse there as well. I wish we had known ahead of time that they have B&B rooms in the lighthouse! Maybe next year!

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The next day we drove across Wisconsin to Manitowoc, and on Thursday July 1st we boarded the SS Badger for a delightful crossing of Lake Michigan.

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One special bonus of this trip was that the US Marine Corps Reserve Brass Band from New Orleans was on board with us and a small group of their members gave an impromptu jazz band concert for us on the bow deck. Free! It was entertaining and fun!

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And finally we arrived in Ludington, Michigan, where we enjoyed a beautiful dinner, a splendid sunset, and a relaxing night’s sleep before heading for home on Friday.

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Part 9 of 9


New items on this trip:

Several food items from Packit Gourmet. Especially liked the nut-butter packets (peanut and almond), jelly packets, condiment packets, and the cheesecake. Also some of the freeze-dried veggies: the corn, the tomato pieces, onion dices, mushrooms, and the tomato powder which makes a fine tomato paste with a little water.

A diffuser so that I can use the Jello-mold oven on the stove as well as on the fire. Useful this time because we didn’t have a fire at all.

My new camera, Canon 7D digital SLR, with two new L-series lenses. Once I actually learn how to operate it I think I may get some really good photos. The learning curve is pretty steep. And it is heavy. For the inclement weather shots and quick shots in the canoe I still use a little waterproof Pentax Omnio W30.

Crazy Creek chair. I didn’t find it that helpful in the canoe, as I couldn’t figure out how to keep the back up when entering the canoe. Anyway, I have the big SeaLine bag behind me when we are loaded, so I can usually just lean back against that for a back rest. I did sit on it, though, (folded down) and it was more comfortable than the cane canoe seat with my sciatic nerve pain. A bit of extra padding really helped. And it was a godsend on my camp stool in camp, to give me back support, since we take stools with no backs.

 


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