Day 1 of 6
Sunday, August 06, 2006 This was by far the hardest day of our trip. We did not catch up to my cousin, who flew in from CA, until 11:00. After meeting in Ely and getting fishing licenses (we had done the permits ealier in the day), we ran the shuttle. It was close to 2:30 before getting on the water. So much for my hopes of eating lunch in the BWCA. The lake that you put in on is Cane Lake. If we had planned ahead we would have arrainged to have a shuttle across it. It was a big lake with a lot of chop. Combine that with a fair number of motor boats heading to take out, our put in, it was misserable. Some how no matter how much we protested, the 2 paddlers with the least amount of experience were in a canoe together. To make matters worse, Tim didn't swim at all. Having planned all of this and just telling the others where to show up I sort of felt in charge of their health. I had just left my real job (dentist) where I worry about people to a vacation where I was worrying over them. I got over that pretty quickly. After watching the other boat zig zag back and forth as they fought the wind and taking on some water ourselves, I was pretty nervous myself. We were well away from shore and all glad that we had on our lifejackets especailly Tim. We saw a sandy beach and pulled over for some rest and drink. We were wipped already and not even in the park yet. I think a couple of them were wondering what we were getting into. I also was starting to get my doubts. I hadn't paddled enough. done much planning, and was not sure I wanted to battle waves like this the whole time. A few minintues later we were back on the water and not soon enough turning onto little Vermillion lake. It was amazing. The waves got 1/2 as small and then smaller until there were none at all. An hour or so later we were in the park. We took the second campsite and started dinner. It was after 7 and we had been traveling for 3 days. A quick dinner and some unpacking. We hung the bear bag. This was our first time and we were wipped. Luckily Joel was an avid climber. A couple Z drags later the bag was up. I was quite releived. I had not hung a bag since Boy Scouts. A couple of nips later (warm liquer sucks), we were all in bed and agreed not to wake anyone up in the morning.
Day 2 of 6
Monday, August 07, 2006 After a getting up and moving by 7 (this hour change is awesome), we put together breakfast and were on the water by 9:00. Not early by an standards, but better than the day before. We paddled down Littler Vermillion and over the 80 rod portage to loon lake. There is a shuttle here to take motor boats over. That being said I don't think it gets used very often. The fellah who was running that should be made a saint. He was leaving that day so he agreed to sell us some coffee. Brian had taken out our instant coffee at the put in and switched it with a French press and starbucks coffee. Now I am not a coffee snob, but I due think starbucks coffee is way overrated. That was not the reason we were having issues. All 4 of us were pretty heavy coffee drinkers. I need 2 cups just to get everything started. The pit toilets were great but without some high test well.... He brought Decaf... I do not even understand why they make that stuff. Joel was already asking for Advil. The portage was not bad and we were in Loon lake pretty quickly. We chose to camp that night over in East Loon Bay hoping to not see any motors. It was a good plan. We found a pretty point right before going into little loon. We got here around 3-4 o'clock. We were planning on day tripping from here so we stopped and looked at all the sites on the way. This was our favorite. The tents were out and the hammocks were up. Dinner was made and the night was spent staring at the full moon.
Day 3 of 6
Tuesday, August 08, 2006 We all woke up with one thought. Well after we started drinking coffee, no one could believe that we had only seen a couple skeeters. The wind was blowing pretty hard and we were all pretty tired. The day was spent reading, fishing from the bank around camps, and lounging in the hammocks. Joel paddled down and ran for awhile on the Sioux Hustler Trail. When he got back and told the stories of how he had to shoot across the bay and then ride the wind into camp, none of us ventured very far in the canoe.
Day 4 of 6
Wednesday, August 09, 2006 We woke pretty early and hurried up with breakfast so that we could set around and relax. It is tough out there. At 10 or so we grabbed our poles and some lunch and head up to slim lake. We had plans to canoe through slim lake and into some of the ones beyond. We had brought lunch and we planning on getting in just a little before dark. All of that came to a screeching halt. We had been fishing for walleyes. I knew it was August, but that was all I had heard about, walleyes and pike. But in Slim it changed. There were small mouth everywhere. Now I know it is walleyes and pike, but if you put someone from the southeast into that kind of bass fishing I just kind of go nuts. We were catching them on anything and everything. There were some nice fish in there. Many weighing a couple pounds and more. You did catch a few smaller ones, but if they were under 12 inches or so they got slaughtered as you reeled them in through the channel. I brought 4 pike to the boat with the same 12 inch bass hooked through the lip with a rapalla. The pike would let go at the boat and I would toss the poor guy back out. I have never gotten into bass like that before. At 7 after fishing slim from one end to the other we decided to head home. What a good day.
Day 5 of 6
Thursday, August 10, 2006 Today was a moving day. We headed south on the Little Indian Sioux River. The area was full of grass and we fished the whole day. We got to the devils cascade around 1. There is a campsite on the very top with cliffs going down the side. It was quite a change from being on the water everyday, but it was too nice to pass up. We got camp set up and headed back down to wet our line. It was at this time that I did one of my stupider acts. While talking and fishing I had inadvertently thrown my lure across the lake and into a tree. I wish that I could say I just barely caught it, but no this lure was 25 feet up in a tree on the opposite side. With the boats already portaged over, I decided that a good jerk was my only option. That lure barely touched the tree. I just started to get my head turned when the large crawfish with 2 treble hooks caught me in the cheek. Luckily I didn't even get a black eye. Instead I just got a piece of jewelry hanging from my cheek. Obviously this did not sit will with me or my cousin who was fishing near me. After attempting this trick I had once seen where you pull the curve with fishing line while disengaging the barb. A few tugs later I realized that I was doing something wrong. That being said I did not think this was the time to experiment with different methods. We decided to push it through and mash the barb down. That was actually easier than it sounds. I have no idea what the older couple that came by the portage thought about 2 guys standing cheek to cheek and with serious concentration. The final night was spent finishing off the tequila and the box of wine. Wine is now my drink of choice on a trip like this. The bag gets smaller and a red taste good warm.
Day 6 of 6
Friday, August 11, 2006 This day was an easy day as we headed on down to the take out. We were on the road early and back in Morgantown for a 30th slippyslide party. That was a good welcome back to civilization
They trip was certainly all that I wanted. I am going back again this year at the same time, but a different place. The bugs were awesome. The fishing was very good when we decided to switch to bass. The route was not a crowded as I feared when I got this permit, but Crane Lake is awful.