Our Boy Scout troop tries to do a "High Adventure" trip as a reward for all the hard work that is done throughout the year. This trip is is reserved for the older scouts only. Doing this trip will be 6 - 16&17 yr old scouts, Bryan (t-ball or mule), Trent (chicken), Brennan, Jake (Stallone),Alex, and Jeff(a replacement for Kyle who ended up getting ankle surgery before the trip).The adults are Brian (Boy Scoutmaster),Gary (Brennan's dad), and Tom (myself, and Trent's dad). Although everyone in the group has been on plenty of hiking, canoeing, and camping trips, we have never put together a trip like this as a whole. It all became because of the high costs associated with the normal high adventure to Philmont in New Mexico. Brian came up with the idea of BWCA and we ran with the idea. We spent countless hours on the forums getting to know how to pack, where to go, and other info from people such as Kanoes, Basspro, Missmolly, Savage Voyageur, and others. There was also info from various outfitters in Ely since we would probably need to rent equipment (we only had to rent 4 aluminum and a canoe trailer). After discussing many different entry points we decided on trying for Mudro Lake EP23. With this entry we could do some serious portaging and hopefully get away from the majority of the people. Canadian Waters will be our oufitter but to be honest every outfitter we spoke to were great. Dan Waters said we would be best with aluminum canoes due to the nature of boys (and he was right).Dan put in our application for Mudro in the lottery and we got it! Now "GAME ON". The boys were devided up into three groups of two. One group was in charge of ROUTES and FISHING. One was in charge of MEALS, and the other was in charge of EQUIPMENT. We decided to make all single portages to save time and dehrydrating as much food as possible to save on expenses. In the weeks before the trip various items were prepared or secured. A 18 x 23 tarp was made from house wrap and contact cement. Leech containers were made from gatorade bottles. 50 BDB's were made (our apologies to OLD SCOUT). Gamma Lids were purchased for food buckets. These ideas all came from this forum----Thanks. The plan became clear, to single portage 4 people would carry canoes, the other 5 would carry hiking backpacks. The 2 with the lightest packs would also be responsible for carrying the (4) 5 gallon buckets. For this group of 9 BWCA newbies we felt we were ready (I hope).
Day 1 of 10
Friday, June 24, 2011 The 15 passenger rental van was packed last night so all we did was load up with people and drove 6 hours to Janesville Wisc for an overnight stay at Holiday Inn. Pizza and swimming were the activities for the night.
Day 2 of 10
Saurday, June 25, 2011 After the breakfast at Holiday Inn, we started our trek towards Ely at 7:00 a.m. We arrived in Ely early in the afternoon with the first stop at Canadian Waters. Dan showed us our bunkhouse for the night, then his help got out trailer ready with 4 aluminum canoes. After all neccessary paperwork was completed we hit the town. The boys went one way and the adults went the other. After meeting back up and finding out for some reason a turtle went #1 in Jakes's pocket (we didn't ask and didn't want to know why or how),it was decided to go eat. Sleeping that night was tough from all the anticipation built up, the bathroom trips (one time I got locked out and had to wake up someone to unlock the door), and Jeff getting attacked by a beaver (in his dream).
Day 3 of 10
Sunday, June 26, 2011 Up early but have to wait until 6:00 for Boathouse breakfast which was very good. Loaded up the van and made a pitstop at Skubes for leeches and nightcrawlers. Finally unloaded everything at Mudro parking lot at 8:00, parked the trailer and van then divided up individual responsibilities. The last person on the portage was to be a person with a backpack and have the responsibility of picking up anything that was dropped by the others. Our goal today was to make it to Crooked Lake and get a site near the falls or closer to Wednesday Bay. Just as we were ready to shove off a whitetail doe walked right in front of us through the channel about 25 yards away. The paddle through Mudro went smooth along with the portage to Sandpit. Hey maybe this group of newbies can do this!!!!!The portage to Tin Can Mike was more of a test but the only issue was one root jumped out in front of our Scout Master and tripped him and his canoe. Those roots are tricky little devils. Horse Lake was easy as we had a slight breeze from our backs.The trek up Horse River was a little tricky as we had some walk throughs besides the 3 portages. Before the last portage a short break for jerky and gorp was in order, Basswood Falls was only a short distance ahead. We continued on and arrived at Basswood Falls at 1:00. Total trip time so far 5 hours. Jeff and Trent did a fine job being in charge of navigation. The campsite at the top of the falls was taken so after a quick vote it was decided to continue on. We found a campsite on a penisula farther north. We set up camp then did some shore fishing while watching 3 bald eagles play around. Dinner was spaghetti made with dehydrated sauce and hamburger. After dinner more fishing was in order before hitting the tents for the night. What a grueling but beautiful first day.Rain seems to be in store for us tommorrow.
Day 4 of 10
Day 5 of 10
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 I woke up early (4:30) to a beautiful morning. Went on a solo fishing trip to catch a few fish before the entire crew got up. After a quick breakfast we packed up and paddled towards our new campsite. Found a great spot right before getting into Thursday Bay. The site was huge with a great view. Fishing was great with many walleyes being caught along with another 34" northern caught by Jeff who was one fishing fanatic. Another fish fry was in order along with peas, diced potatoes, and homemade bread from the Dutch oven. Thanks to Brian and Gary we will have a honey hole for fishing for two days.
Day 6 of 10
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 This is a rest day with no traveling other than fishing or exploring. Breakfast was scrambled eggs with bacon bits and hash browns. The walleyes were hitting all day with the occasional northern or smallie. A few perch were also caught from shore. Jake did catch a carp which we found out later was stolen from a seagull. We made him release it back to the Gulls. The big fish of the day was a 27" walleye which was a catch and release. We couldn't help but have another fish fry for which a few walleye were invited as the main attraction. Two dutch ovens of lasagna were cooked for dinner, what a treat. We are definitely eating good on this trip. The 4 buckets of food are starting to get lighter every day. The buckets are also coming in handy as seats, stepstools, and even canoe drags while drifting.
Day 7 of 10
Thursday, June 30, 2011 The adults noticed some of the scouts are starting to lose interest in the fishing so we changed plans. We had planned to stay 2 nights near Gun or Moosecamp but we decided to only stay one night then move onto the Fourtown Lake area. This should keep the boys occupied by packing and unpacking an extra time. Alarm was set for 5:00 to break down camp. Cake mix pancakes hit the spot for breakfast and we were on the water at 6:40. Jeff and Trent had no trouble through Thursday Bay but did make a small miscalculation trying to get to Friday Bay. Portaged and traveled to Papoose Lake, Chippewa, Nikki and Wagosh.After Wagosh is the mile portage. Jeff, Jake, and myself take the shorter canoes while our "mule" Bryan handles the longer one. About half way to Gun Lake I see a fisher walking the trail in front of me. I step aside and Trent and Alex also get glimpse of it. We just don't see them in Ohio. A well deserved break was taken after the portage then we continued to Bullet and finally Moosecamp. This was another beautiful lake and luck was on our side. A party was just exiting the campsite we were hoping for on the east side of the lake. Wild rice with peas and diced potatoes hit the spot for lunch. Some catch and release fish were caught during the day but mostly the group was in a veg-out mode "do nothing".For dinner calzones with pepperoni, tvp sausage, and spaghetti sauce. Tasted great. Mosquitoes and flies put us to bed by 10:00, probably the worst we seen since the start. Our 2nd rod tip was broken off in all the portaging, this was my fault for not breaking down the rod into 2 pieces. So far everyone of the group has carried a canoe on a portage.
Day 8 of 10
Day 9 of 10
Saturday, July 02, 2011 Everyone is up at 4:45 a.m.On the water by 5:30. Either our scouts are very good at breaking camp or some are very eager to get back to civilization. I think it's a combination of both. We got back to the Mudro parking lot at 7:00. Very smooth sailing for all canoeing and portaging throughout the trip. I thought we would miss out on a few items by single portaging, but the fact is we could have shaved the load even more (not much, but a little).The drive back to Ely was quiet but after a shower at Canadian Waters people stared to liven up. Dan mentioned about the Government shutdown and the chaos it was doing. The troop did some t-shirt shopping for about 1 1/2 hours then we started the drive back to Janesville Wi.
Day 10 of 10
Sunday, July 03, 2011 After spending the night again at the Holiday Inn we ate breakfast and headed towards Coldwater Ohio.[paragraph break]Overall we were very satisfied on the trip. We had very, very, very, little food left when we exited BWCA. Total of two broken rod tips. Three minor injuries, all involving the adults. Two of us got cuts from the camp saw just by brushing up against it. The third cut was from braided fishing line on a finger. Although we had to rent a van for 10 days and stayed in a hotel for two nights, we still got by for right at $400 per person.It helped that we used hotel points and used our own equipment as much as possible. Brian, our Boy Scout leader took this troop over about 6 years ago when it just about folded up due to many reasons. He started with this group of boys as his first group of scouts. Without older scouts for guidance these boys have become model citizens and very good scouts. It didn't hurt that Brian is an Eagle Scout and ex river guide in Maine. BWCA is a fantastic place and I will be back.