Wednesday, June 06, 2012 Up early! Packed up - which includes filling our water bottles with the sweet spring water flowing at the tap in campground. We head to Tofte for a gas station breakfast and a quick glance at the newspapers. WI recall election results are the headline which makes me glad I’m heading into the wilderness to get away from reality for a while.
We arrive at Brule Lake around 7:45 and with the two of us it doesn’t take long to ready ourselves. We work out the best way to trim the canoe and are fortunate to have a friendly couple that are there for a fishing day-trip offer to take a few “before” pics of us.
We’re off and paddling a very calm and wonderful lake! (I’d been worried about what they caution regarding starting a trip on such a large body of water but this morning is sunny, calm and pleasant) This moment has been a goal for me since mid February’s shoulder surgery. My rehab has been focused on this very experience and I’m grateful I’m paddling strongly and without pain.
Terry, much more than me, like to “check out” open sites. So as we head east along the south shore we take our time and stop every so often to add to our data base about what the campsites are like. Interestingly , along the north shore just before entering Brule Bay, we spot a campsite that has a small area burned around it. As we inspect we try to figure what could have happened here. A campfire get away from someone and they were able to put it out? A dieing campfire sent a spark after someone left and a rain doused it? (On our way home we stopped at Sawtooth Outfitters to discuss refinishing Terry’s Kevlar canoe and we asked if they knew what had happened at this site. We were told that during the Pagami fire last year there were many planes in the area and one of the tanker pilots saw this little blaze that might have been from a lightning strike and quickly buzzed it with a water drop to extinguish it.) We had not thought of that!
As we entered Brule Bay we encountered Mama and baby moose out swimming! We followed at a distance to see where they were headed and saw them scramble out at a very steep shoreline. Mama powered her way to the top with no trouble but Jr. was having trouble. Mama grunted and “talked” to it the whole way up providing encouragement until it reached her. At that point they both just disappeared into the woods like a magician had waved a wand.
We searched for a site marked on my Voyageur map that should have been back in a cove but could not find it. We took a gorgeous little site on the southern side that was in view of the portage into Vernon Lake and we could hear a waterfall or rapids of some sort - from quite a distance a way.
It was time for lunch so we broke open the food pack as some showers started up with off and on rain. We tarpped off the kitchen area and settled in to camp number one.
Before mid afternoon we decided to see what Vernon Lake had to offer. We could hear the loud rapids as we portaged in and knew there was something special along this portage. A quick left on the lake brought us to a campsite where we beached and went exploring. A short walk brought us to the absolutely most gorgeous little place. With the way the sunlight was playing through the trees, the green of the moss covered rocks , the jumble of trees, the mist in the air and the roar of the water I didn’t want to leave. Terry climbed around and explored and I just sat and took it all in for at least an hour. If you’ve not experience this water fall and “glen” I hope you do sometime. My dad’s name was Vernon and this will be the 15th year he’s been gone now. I had some amazing thoughts and memories of him as I sat and studied this area. You had to be there - and I hope you are soon!
We circled Vernon Lake, check out another site and then headed back with dark clouds looming in the distance.
At around 8 in the evening I’m sitting along the lake reading and realize I’ve made a terrible decision on this trip. I chose to leave fishing gear at home and travel lighter - Aack! The lake is alive with fish surface feeding and the sights and sounds of fish are everywhere. I vowed there will be a trip in my near future where that’s all I do is fish. Terry and the others I go with choose to explore rather than sit and “pound the water” so I’ll either have to shake my son free for a trip for find some others that are dyed in the wool fishermen. Oh well. The beauty of the evening soon takes over my feeling of remorse thank goodness.
This year I left the Crazy Creek chair behind and brought a three legged folding stool. That, at least, was a great decision for this trip!