Day 1 of 4
Wednesday, June 05, 2013 We got a somewhat early start. We had a few more beers than anitcipated the night before so it was a slow start. We were paddling by 9am. The portages were all pretty easy. We went from Lake 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 pretty smoothly. On Lake 4 one of our canoes tipped. The bow man was reaching for something behind him. Early June isn't the ideal time to take a swim since there was still ice on the lake a couple weeks before. They both played "tough" but we all knew they were cold. We paddled and portaged to Hudson and decided to camp on the Island. Our original intention was to try to make it to Insula, but I didn't want to risk them getting sick or worse. If it was a nice sunny day things would have been different but it was windy and rainy so we stopped to dry out. I didn't hear any complaints about not making it to Insula so I think everyone was tired of paddling after 7 hours, myself included. Set up camp, fished a bit and drank ourselves to sleep.
Day 2 of 4
Day 3 of 4
Friday, June 07, 2013 More fishing and revelry. We portaged into Insula where I caught my first northern. We left our camp set up on the Island. Nobody wanted to pack up all those tents, chairs and other stuff just to set it up somewhere else again. Too much hassle, especially for a large group. I had to use the bathroom so we stopped on a small island on Insula so I could relieve myself. There was a mama loon on the island sitting on her nest. She made this loud noise that almost gave me a heart attack. Snapped a couple photos and left. We didnt go very far in Insula before we decided to head back to camp, hunger was setting in. We had a bountiful fish fry. We had caught enough fish to feed 9 grown men until we were full. Oil and shore lunch is all we used... delicious! As we were getting ready to head out for more fishing, someone said " Look at the Eagle!" We all looked and saw the Nation's bird gliding across the top of the water. Then, almost as if he was putting on a show for us, perfectly in front of our campsite view, he snagged a nice size northern right out of the water and flew away with it. Nature at its finest. I couldn't believe it, it was AWESOME. All I could say was, "That eagle has caught just as many fish as I have!"
Day 4 of 4
Saturday, June 08, 2013 We decided to start our journey home a day early. I wanted to stay, but in hindsight I am SO glad we didn't. It was a gorgeous day, we all had our shirts off and soaked in the sun. This is ill-advised, but we braved the rapids on the portage from Hudson to Lake 4 in leiu of carrying everything. It was an intense and bumpy ride, but we made it. We took a little water in, but we didnt tip. I realize that it could have gone a lot worse, but no risk, no reward. Once our friends saw that it was possible, they also opted for the same challange. Same result. I think my bow man became over confident because he wanted to do the same thing on the next portage but the rapids were much more dangerous looking than before. He bravely decided to go it alone. We watched him disappear behind a large rock going like 20mph. We ran to the other end of the portage and waited for the result. Finally we saw the canoe pop out from a waterfall. The canoe was empty. Shortly after I saw my partner clinging to the canoe from behind. I laughed so hard I cried. He was alright. We stopped for another fish fry on Lake 3 and made it back to entry 30 just before dusk. It was such a fun day. We drove down to Virginia, MN, went to the Sawmill Saloon and stayed in a hotel. The next day it was pouring rain. That is why I was so glad we decided to head back early. If we would have had to make the trip back in the rain it would have sucked. Round 2 coming soon...