Day 1 of 4
Friday, May 23, 2008 My girlfriend and I pulled in to Piragis at 6 a.m. after staying in town the night before after driving from Elk River. Drew had the boys load up the kevlar wenoah champlain on our neon while we reviewed the map and he pointed out some nice camp spots on Agnes and Boulder Bay LLC. Right away I was thinking, there is no way we are going to make it to B. Bay with the shape my back was in. Around 7:30 a.m. we are about half a mile to E.P. 16 and I shout, look at that moose.
That has to be a good start to a trip. After double tripping the first and longest of all the portages on the trip, were off. The weather was already getting a bit warmer and little to no breeze and my back is already a little tender. To me the moose river was the hardest part of the trip. Tight and turny, two short portages which the worst is just lifting the two Duluth packs in and out of the canoe at lets say over 45 pounds each. Nina moose lake was a pleasant sight and easy voyage. Into the Nina moose river. A bit wider with two longer portages at 70 and 96 rods. Some beautiful picture areas at these rapids and little falls.
I was a bit worried coming up to Lake Agnes after finding out about its reputation for strong winds and waves. Ha, we were in luck, we headed up to the eastern shore line going through the narrows by the island and then made a charge for the 115 rod portage on the north east corner. While at the shelter of the island, we talked about setting up camp at the closest site by the portage, sense I was a little bit in pain and worried of hurting my back again. As we get close to the N.E. corner, the views from the canoe showed no open camp sites. Sh#t...We decided to take lunch at the beginning of the portage to the Boulder river. While lying on the hand plained wood planks, looking out into the hot calm beautiful bay, we decided to charge on. Pain or no pain, this is what we have been waiting for all winter. The paddle on the Boulder river was fairly easy and relaxing. Our muscles were sore and our charge was gone. We pass some fishermen in the bay and they say they haven't found the walleyes yet. The first three campsites on B. bay were full. My heart began to sink and I half laughingly said, "well, we might be heading to Canada yet today." We turn the corner and the first island is full, then the far island by Warrior hill, both full, the smaller island full, then we went to the one single campsite in tiger bay.....Yes no one was there. A great campsite, easy unloading, a elevated view fire and kitchen area, a nice pad for the tent, and the whole bay all to our self's. Nine and a half hours after we started, we made it, as did my back. All we could do was laugh at the thought of us making it this far in the first day. With a few hours left to soak in the beauty, we went to sleep.
Day 2 of 4
Saturday, May 24, 2008
As I sit on the steep rock on shore, I rig up a couple of rods for slip bobbers and just think how dang lucky we are to be able to see and experience such a quiet and peacefull place. Anna is off hiking in the hills behind our camp and looking for some good pictures with our new camera. Surprisingly neither of us are very sore. My back pain is put in the back of my mind, were it should be. Ten minutes into fishing, wow, hunny it feels big. I didn't have a tape measure but I would guess 20 to 23 inches. A nice walleye for dinner.
After a nice eggs and bacon and fresh veggie bake, we went out for a little more fishing and site seeing. We couldn't even get out of our own bay and this thing grabbed my shad rap.
We didn't wonder too far as the winds were up a little so we ducked in between a few small islands and I was looking for some fish on the lowrance. With some structure and fish at the narrowest part of two island points we fished. I was jigging 1/4 ounce fireballs with leeches and Anna was slip bobber fishing with a fairly small blood red hook. I ended up with a few small eater walleyes and she was catching a few pound, pound and a half crappies. Only I forgot to take some pictures of her and her contributions to dinner. This lake was like heaven.
We have fresh walleye and crappie for lunch and relax the afternoon around the campsite and make steaks and mashed potatoes with corn and fruit for dinner. I'm glad we stopped by Stu and Michelle of Boundary Waters Journal to pick up a poly food box with the insulating foam. Stu was just wrapping up the up coming summer edition. A fire and stars top off the night. The sound of beavers tails pounding into the water awaken me in the middle of the night.
Day 3 of 4
Sunday, May 25, 2008 What walleye for breakfast, your dam right. As a precaution of mondays possible weather and for the ease of the 4 hour drive home; we decide to take our time and pack up and make our way to one of the southern camp sites on Lake Agnes. We leave our beautiful bay of lasting memories and head back around the long point to the Boulder river. As we are leaving we take a few pics I would like to share; Warrior hill, one of the biggest campsites I can remember, and the photo showing a island being sunk...The water levels on Lac La Croix seemed to be about 3 to 4 feet high. Huge pine trees that once were on land are just strangely in the water and marshy fields have become shrub and tree filled bays.
The paddle back to the Boulder river was fairly decent going with the wind. In the river we experienced a bit more burst of heavy wind reminding me of some back pain. But we end up at the 115 rodder with a lot of daylight left.
The double portage was not too bad but a deer ran in front of me while I had the canoe on shoulders and not seeing it completely I had a fear of a mama bear with cubs charging me. A few hours after we started today, we made it to the most south east camp site on Agnes with plenty of time to set up camp and cook some bison burgers, beans and salad.
Just as the food was getting done and the sky was darkening, deathly close lightning and rain hit the lake. We were forced to eat in the tent and had some good conversation before heading to bed. Boy is it raining hard.
Day 4 of 4
Monday, May 26, 2008 Its still raining in between mild and steady. We choose to pack up in the rain and try to get to the river before the already 2 foot swells get any worse. We could see the mouth of the river but the waves and wind were going at a bit more south east then our direct route. After we push off it only took one wave to crash over the side of the canoe to figure we had to ride the waves in their direction and then when close to the far shoreline, make a quick maneuver back into the waves up the shoreline to the river. Drifting along ruddering the stern at a break neck pace, we plan our maneuver. NOW, we make a sharp turn and before we could get turned around we were pushed into the rocky shoreline under a over hanging tree. In a state of panic, keeping the kevlar off of the rocks, we contemplate staying there or make a run. We made a run. Angling at the waves we stay close to shore and make slow way towards the river mouth. The whole time my eyes were on the right side middle wall of the canoe, adjusting paddling and direction in order to keep anymore waves from coming over. As we get to the mouth, two fishermen were on shore waiting and asking if we had seen a white canoe on the lake. Then the one says, "looked like you were in for a wild ride." Smiling and shaking our heads we continued on in the calm Nina moose river. We must have been taking our time site seeing things we missed on the way in because from that point on to the last portage to the parking lot, we let pass and rode with about 4 groups of people. The moose river had dropped about a foot since the day we started. Rocks showing out of the water made one area a bit tricky. It was nice to be back at the parking lot with surprisingly Zero pain in my back, but it was also sad our trip was over. This was a great 4 day trip. It would have been better if it was 14 days. I will come back to Lac La Croix many more trips in the future. I hope this trip report wasn't too drawn out or too many photos. But I had a fun time reminiscing about our trip and glad to share. The trip to Tiger bay can be done a bit faster and easier as long as everyone is in shape and not hurt.