Day 1 of 11
Thursday, August 18, 2022 Thursday, August 18, 2022 I actually left at 11:59 on the 17th, but that was when the airplane’s door closed. We weren’t off the ground in SFO until after midnight. True Red-Eye flight. I got the aisle seat and that was a mistake. I should have got the window so I could sleep against the wall. I reclined the seat the full 1 ½” available and was still to upright to sleep. I maybe got a total of an hour sleep in cat naps. Arrived at Chicago at 6:30 AM to meet my two cousins who were arriving around 7:30. Count so far, 1 hour of sleep in the last 24 hours. But I’m fine!!! Really . Adrenaline is a wonderful thing. And coffee. Met with Martin and Stephen then grabbed a quick breakfast. I thought they had brought a snowboard but it was a paddle bag. Newbie mistake . This is only my second trip in a canoe and I thought the outfitter provided paddle was sufficient. These paddles were more like artwork. Flew to Duluth and arrived at around 11. I sat next to a guy on the plane who knew many of Thursday night bicycle ride crew from the '80s. He was stationed in SF at the time. It started when I mentioned an old friend, Gravey and he said “ you know Steve??” We spent the flight talking about mountain biking in the 80s 90s on Mt Tam where we like to think it all started. And his time there and now his craft/business. Seems he makes handsaw according to old designs. He copies old handles and fabricates new saws the same way. He also restores them. I think it's pretty cool, old tools that had the design of things figured out are worth saving. We arrive in Duluth and pick up the rental car by 11. Ely by 1 under cloudy skies and go right to the outfitter. He had our permit but we needed to go pick up the PMA permit for Sunday Lake. So we drop our gear and head to the ranger station. Then to the boathouse for beer and lunch. That's when the "showers" start. Yeah more on "showers" later. We stock up on booze and supplies and head back for out trip orientation. The showers returned with some really good thunder and lighting. We clarified that we want two vessels, not a three person canoe. Which would have been interesting with the EIGHT packs on gear we had (that didn't include my GO backpack with the essentials and water).The outfitter asked the important question, Kayak or canoe paddle? I'm the newbie and still learning the intricacies' of canoe paddling. The J-stroke is still just a far out concept to me. So I called for a double blade. Steve and Martin had brought their own paddles so they were okay This time my lack of sleep in the last 38 hours overtakes my gangplank fever and I fall asleep at a reasonable hour. I did go through my gear and made sure I had enough fishing tackle
I think I've got enough. No sunset due to overcast skies.
~White Iron Lake Saw bunches and bunches of people
Day 2 of 11
First day on the water Friday, August 19, 2022 Slept like a rock and was up around 6:30AM. This is it! the day I waited for the last 1 year 11 months and 24 days. Not that I was counting. We got up to overcast skies but no rain. Had a quick breakfast and got all our gear together and hit the road for the hour drive to Mudro. So we got paddles in the water at the crack of 9:30. You know, let the crowd clear away. Me in the solo and the others in the tandem. I'd been reading about solo canoeing on this site and really wanted to try it. With the brothers used to paddling together, they were fappy in the tandem. I figured to start in the solo and switch out if I got tired of it.... or too far behind.
I quickly found the advantage of the solo. It draws less water and is narrower. I was able to scooch through the beaver dam on Picket creek while the tandem had to dismount. We cruised across the lake with cloud cover and mugginess. That made it very quiet and calm. Then onto the hard portage to Fourtown. I had read about it and seen the ratings so I was expecting difficulty. As we all know, it's three portages with a couple of ponds to cross. so with the triple portage option that we had chosen, we didn't finish until about 11:30.
Horrible rocky portage with lots of up and downs. And that's just the first of three.
Naturally this is the beginning of the trip and we're fully loaded with food water and fuel. It's just as bad most of the way with the nasty put in on Foutown. Don't do it. if you walk another 60-70 feet, uhh 5 rods(?) there's a much better entry/exit. All in all a thoroughly beautiful portage. Heading across Fourtown it became apparent that the tandem was quite a bit faster with two experienced paddlers than I in the solo. Even with a kayak paddle! It worked out okay though. While they headed on a wrong vector I just paddled along and changed my angle when they turned their course 90 degrees to the left. I made a lot of time up there.
If you zoom in on the picture, you can see my cousins ahead. We got to the short portage to Boot and huffed our gear across. It looked super threatening so we ate a quick lunch and put on our rain gear. Then we heard some thunder and decided to wait out until it moved on. The thunder stopped which meant the rain started. The wind was minimal. The weather report said it wasn't supposed to shower until 4 or 5. It was 2 and coming down pretty good. To me "showers" in August meant a slight sprinkle like we get out of our drought mandated restricted shower head in CA. A slight dampening of the landscape to keep some of the dust down. Not a deluge with no sign of a clear patch of sky. I didn't enjoy the rainy paddle but it wasn't terrible. And a new BW experience for me. Our original target was to make it to Gull or Thunder. That changed to the next unoccupied site that didn't suck. That was #1093 on Boot. Didn't look like much from the lake but actually a really nice site with great trees for tarp and a spot out of the rain.
We scoped out the two hammock hangs and one tent pad. Steve hurried to get his tent out and all set up while the rain continued to fall. I had faith in the "showers" prediction and thinking it might slack off, hung out under the tarp for a while. It stopped raining and started some clearing as soon as Steve finished getting his tent completely set up. That gave us time to set up our hammocks and get dinner going.
Lesson learned that the kayak paddle is great for a center pole in the tarp. Finished eating, hung the food and were treated to a glorious sunset for the first night.
This is what I came for! I think it's going to be all right. "Red skies at night...." Oh yeah, almost forgot about the mosquitos. Very few until just after sunset... then the swarms came out! We had to run to our tent or hammock to get away. They were just layered on the underside of my tarp waiting for me to get out to pee. I heard them under my hammock sounding like they were in my ear. Though I didn't get bitten through the hammock but made it hard to get a peaceful sleep. uhg Certainly wasn't like my last (first time) trip where I slept under a open lean-to with no screen and had no problems. ~Mudro Lake, Fourtown Lake, Boot Lake Total people/groups seen. One family unit in a triple canoe on Picket Creek Four groups going out on the Mudro-Fourtown portage. We had the all the lakes to ourselves! But most of the campsites looked occupied. Hmmm that should have triggered the newbie radar
Day 3 of 11
Saturday, August 20, 2022 Up to overcast skies around 7. It didn't rain most of the night and was drying quickly.
Though there were still a few mosquitos waiting on the underside of the tarp. Coffee from the french press, I'll never go without that again! Still in fresh food mode so we cooked up the eggs and hash browns. By the time we ate and got packed up, we hit the water about 9:30. Lots of clouds that were clearing away to blue skies. Plan was to hit Beartrap Lake for lunch and head downstream to Sunday Lake for a two night stay. I heard of 6 hour trip from Beartrap to Iron so I figured we could easily knock it out Sunday Lake in 4. Boot and Fairy we quite calm and we scooted across in pretty good time except for missing the Fairy/Gun portage by a bay.
Then we hit the wind on Gun and it slowed our pace. Next was the full on headwind on Gull, the bog on Mudhole, and the final kick of an elevation change on the last portage into the serene waters of Thunder. Getting there at around 2 and were all beat by the day. The triple portage routine seems to add a lot of time and effort. We figure it's too late to get to Sunday lake and hope for the Beartrap campsite. As I pass by the camp on the point on Thunder, I chat with the folks there. They say that the site on beartrap was empty as far as they know. YAY. I am so ready to stop for the day and have read great things about that site. We get to the portage and get the solo across with some gear to confirm the availability. The other guys are hungry for some lunch so they pause to get some food out. I shove off saying if I don't come back, we got the site. Actually I dropped the packs and came back around the point to wave my paddle in the air. It is a great site complete with precut firewood logs. We'll be able to use the splitting axe that we brought. (hey when you have 8 bags for three guys, you have it all).
Fishing, dinner with fresh food and a great sunset finished off the day. the mosquitos weren't nearly as bad as last night. No swarms and they disappeared after 1/2 an hour.
~Boot Lake, Fairy Lake, Gun Lake, Gull Lake, Mudhole Lake, Thunder Lake, Beartrap Lake
Total people/groups seen. Once again, we saw nobody else in a canoe and had the lakes to ourselves. Saw one group of two tandems on the portage headed from South Gull to Gun. Campsites were occupied but there were still plenty available.
Day 4 of 11
Sunday, August 21, 2022 Wake up to a fresh start and are ready to tackle the PMA! A little fog around sunrise but otherwise looking good. Couple of cups of coffee as we eat rehydrated breakfast and pack up. We hit the water about 8.
Then clear blue sky across the lake
To the long portage in the bay North of the outflow. There is another portage at the outflow but more on that later. We so got this!
We decide to each grab a bag and walk the portage to see what we have gotten ourselves into. We'll do the canoes later. Portage trail is not too bad. Only about a foot wide in most places but pretty easy to follow. Three downed trees that took some effort to get over. And a bunch more that made it like a football training camp
As we go along we see more animal prints than shoe prints. Including this rather large moose track. Luckily it was going the other way so it must have been from yesterday. The paddle at the bottom gives some idea of the size of it. When we get to the other end, we realize that we didn't time ourselves. So we time it on the way back. 25 minutes to traverse one way. We decide to bring all the packs over and take the empty canoes on the outfall portages. The thought was it would be easier to bring the canoes down the river than over that tight trail. Sometimes we think too much. When we get back after packing all the bags over the trail, it's 11:30 and we head to the outfall portage. We wasted a few minutes looking on the North side until we found the portage trail on the south side of the river (creek). Easy to find but just as tight as the long portage. We do the first one and hop into the boats. Headed downstream through the lily pads or as we started calling them, brake pads. Then started on the MANY beaver dams for the day. Most we small and had a small channel that you could get through. Assume Ramming Speed! It wasn't too bad in the Prism because of the shallow draw. The tandem hung up more and they had to get out a couple of times. Then we hit a larger one with about 2 feet high. I aimed at a low spot and hit it with some speed to get over. Got stopped about halfway and started to butt scoot over it. Steve came up behind to give ma a little push. Next lesson learned! When the front tip of your boat is in the water and the back is on top of a beaver dam, you don't have the wide part to keep stable. It was like trying to balance sitting on a pencil. I don't know how but I didn't dump into the water. Probably because I had no gear in the boat Got the rest of the way to the end of the long portage and picked up our gear. It was really handy having the Inreach as it showed the waypoint where we left it. Probably would have found it using the map but it was way easy with the GPS. Total time to do the river route. An hour and twenty minutes! Next time, if there is one, we'll do the long portage with the canoe too. We headed downstream where it opened up some more. We hit a bunch more beaver dams and lost count. Then the last portage before Sunday lake. Where I got major wildlife sighting. The portage was extremely easy to find which I found curious. Walking along, there were many trails crisscrossing. It looked like the local riverfront park between the parking lot and the water. On my last portage trip I saw why, a brown furry animal was ahead of me on the trail. Oh crap, a Bear I thought. No too small so maybe a baby bear.... which would be worse if mama bear was around. No, there's a big flat tail, It's a beaver! I yelled loudly out of fright and to scare it away. The little sucker was just as scared and scurried off through the bush. All those trails were from the beaver harvesting the forest on the side. When I was coming back with the last pack, I got this picture of him in the water. Then on to Sunday Lake over more beaver dams and through the oxbows. Which made it about three times longer than a straight line. if you get a few turns ahead, you can lose sight of the rest of the group Finally, SUNDAY LAKE! it took us most of the day to get there. Looking across there were some large white objects on the far side that I thought to be other campers. It turned out to be two large Trumpeter Swans hanging out. We scooted across the lake to the campsite getting there around 4, I think. There we settled in and set up camp. We were too tired to fish so we started cocktail hour. Then Mart started making some "whoa,, aaa. lookatthat" noises as a Great Blue Heron attempted to land in the dead tree right at the edge of the campsite. It kinda scared him away but it was another close encounter for the day. We sat back down to finish cocktails and were treated to a fly-by from the Trumpeter Swans doing a lap of the lake. We had our rehydrated meal and settled in for the night. We decided we needed to start earlier to make better time. So we planned a early wake up in the morning. ~Beartrap Lake, Sunday Lake Total people/groups seen. We saw three young guys, in a tandem and a solo. at the beginning of the Beartrap lake PMA entry heading to Iron. ( sorry guys, we kind of hogged the portage landing. Didn't expect someone coming up behind us!) Apparently we beat them to the Beartrap campsite last night. And that was it.
Day 5 of 11
Day 6 of 11
Tuesday, August 23, 2022 Ahhh Sleep in day! The other guys got the sunrise pictures today. Have I mentioned the last two days of weather had been awesome beautiful and today was looking even better. Blue skies with an occasional cloud here and there. Temps where mild 70s -80s
I eventually got out of the hammock and grabbed my fishing tackle, Had some rocket fuel coffee and rigged up the poles. I'm gonna catch some fish today. It's our first real chance after 4 days of trekking. I need to get SOMETHING after getting skunked last time. Still in my pajamas, I go to the shore and cast into the small bay off the side of the rock. Bam a smallmouth bass nails the lure on the first cast. I cast a half dozen more and get nothing. Time for breakfast and more coffee.
Then back out to cast some more. BAM first cast and a 22" Pike hits the same lure! Didn't get any pictures but sent him back to grow more. I did a few more casts then figured it was a good time to get out of my pajamas. It was warming up to another great day. Though it looked like the wind was kicking up a bit. We lazed around and got all our gear dried out. Had some lunch and went for a nice swim. I brought my old scuba mask so I could look around and find some lures. Yeah right, I couldn't see more than 2 feet! That's more wasted extra weight that I won't bring again. We decided to canoe fish and got everything together. Only took an hour or so. Went to the other side of the island where there was a good deep channel that was supposed to have walleye. The afternoon wind was kicking in and we got blown all over. Didn't any kind of anchor with us and gave up after half an hour. Total people/groups seen. Just those three guys again out fishing. And some people across the lake in a campsite.
Day 7 of 11
Wednesday, August 24, 2022 So as Longfellow famously said "Into each canoe trip some rain must fall / Some days must be dark and dreary.” Or something like that. Well today was that day for us. We woke to a dreary overcast morning. Up at sunrise but we didn't see it. We made our morning coffee and a quick breakfast. Proceeded to pack everything up into our 8 bags of gear. I know I keep mentioning that but I just want to remind myself to pare down our gear significantly. As we finished and were ready to load and launch the canoes, until we heard the distant boom of thunder. So we sat around for another 45 minutes to wait it out. Sat around and tried to remember the formula for how far away the lightning was by how long it was before we heard the thunder. It moved around us and we tested the theory . I think the duration is about 6 seconds for a mile. The weather report said some thunder and lightning in the morning followed by occasional showers. which hadn't started yet. I had paddled in some rain on the end of the first day and thought "that wasn't that bad, let's go ahead and knock some miles out." Our plan was to head east across Crooked and go for a site in Thursday Bay by early afternoon. I got loaded and headed across to the portage around Curtain Falls. I've gotten in the habit of getting out quickly as the tandem always overtakes and passes me in the big open water. Then the rest of the time I'm chasing them. There is a hint of misting in the air as we land on the shore of the bay South of the Curtain Falls outflow. It adds about 24 hill rods the portage but I have heard it's much safer than the landing at the base of the falls. Just as we start portaging our 8 bags(okay I'll stop), a light rain starts to fall. Okay I can deal with these kind of showers. We do our portaging as the rain gets heavier. Martin goes back for the last bag and we wait as the rain moves into full deluge stage.
After our planned early start, we had the lightning delay, the triple portaging, and now trying to wait out the worst of the rain. as the rain slacked off we jumped in the canoes and headed out. It was close to 11 AM by now. At least there were no more portaging today ....yay... There was wind right in our faces. And 6 to 10 inch waves coming right at us. I cut across the cove but sort of hugged the shore towards the island Southeast. Which worked well because it blocked some of the wind. It was still slow going for this newbie in a solo, even with the double blade. With my paddling skills, a canoe paddle would've been useless in my hands under those conditions. But I think I handled it pretty well. The Tandem with the power twins beelined the shortest route and were well ahead of me as I approached the corner. Coming around the point, I hit the full force of the headwind and stopped me quicker than the lily pads on Beartrap river. This also when the rain continued to fall heavily. Looking up, I see the tandem well across the bay in some big open water, which I am not going to do.. I decide to land and reassess. I'm still a little uneasy about being to far from shore in these conditions. They are almost to the next point and are concentrating on paddling. Looking back for me would be difficult and downright dangerous for them at that point. I'm not going across THAT in these conditions. As I watch my traveling companions disappear around the point. I get my rain pants on that I thought I didn't need earlier. Though it was closing the barn door after the horse was gone, I was soaked head to toe. My lower half from the rain and my upper half from the sweat. I figured it would be like a wetsuit and at least trap some body heat. At this point, I'm going to wait it out and see what happens. Soon my cousins come back around the point to see what happened to me. The come up to my landing spot and are relived to find that I didn't dump in the water. The gear is wet but not saturated and still in the canoe. At this point I exercise a personal Veto to any more travel in conditions that are downright scary to me. Martin says there is an empty campsite (#1850) right around the corner from us and I say that's a fine idea. Apparently they weren't enjoying the conditions either. I get my canoe back in the water and mount up. Wow wet footing is okay! The water feels warmer than being out in the open air. Bad sign as my legs must be extremely cold for that feeling. Luckily I had put on my thermal undershirt along with other layers on top so my core was still warm, for now. I paddled straight into the wind and waves then turned for a straight shot to the campsite. And I beat the tandem this time! Maybe the thought of getting off the water gave me wings.
We got the tarps up asap and I changed into dry clothes. Then we waited it out under the tarp. The rain let up and I was able to get the fire started. We scoped out the tent/hammock sites and settled in. Too tired to get the fishing gear out so we just hung around for the rest of the afternoon. and an early dinner.
Total people/groups seen. Saw the same campers on Iron as we left. Nobody but us idiots out in canoes.
Day 8 of 11
Thursday, August 25, 2022 Ahh the rain moved on and it's a pretty quiet morning. Mart brings me a cup of coffee to my hammock which is greatly appreciated. Though I think his ulterior motive is get me out of the hammock. It hard to enjoy coffee in a hammock with no table handy. We got a lot of miles to cover today to make up for lost time.
It is an absolutely gorgeous day. The scary wind and waves of dreary yesterday are replaced by glass smooth water and blue skies with sculptured clouds. It was a beautiful paddle as we hopped back and forth over the border in the most direct route across Crooked. We aimed for Little Current as it was the quickest route. And we wouldn't have to expend extra effort going up big current. When you get to Little Current, It's pretty obvious.
We stop here for lunch. The breeze is picking up at this point which is okay. We've crossed all the big water for today.
. We paddle through Little Current and continue. No portaging at all today! We've only seen one canoe with a couple headed to Curtain Falls for the entire time on Crooked. As we head South around the corner into Wednesday Bay, there is a moose swimming across the border to the island. Check mark for my first moose sighting in the BW. He is pretty far away and we figure he'll be on shore and into the woods before we can get close for pictures. This is the Island where John Galt said he'd be camping on for that week. I said I'd stop by if we can find him but we are pressed for time so I continue to chase the tandem. I didn't see a canoe at his camp so I figured he was out somewhere.
Turned out he was there. His canoe was up behind some rocks and he was in the trees reading a book. He said he saw us disappearing around the corner to the south but didn't know how far we were going so he didn't chase us. Sorry John, maybe we can have that whiskey and cigar campfire some other time. (Besides I didn't bring the cigars and the whiskey was running low.) We continued against the current and breeze for another 3.5 miles to campsite #1864 and call it a day. In that section we see one canoe with three guys, coolers and a lot of fishing gear headed North. They are moving along really well with a tail wind and the current. The end of a 13 mile day and still feeling pretty good. It's a nice site but not a lot of hammock hangs available. We get it figured out and head to the shore for some fishing. The smallmouth bite is okay and we harass them for a while.
Take a nice swim to wash off the grime then more fishing and relaxing. Later in the afternoon, we see the same couple from this morning headed back towards LBF. After they pass and head upstream, Mart says "That guy has the perfect j-stroke" . I watch for a few strokes and don't even notice. He was very smooth with it. I'll find out why tomorrow. Diner and a nice sunset finish off a great day.
Total people/groups seen; the couple headed to Curtain Falls, Twice!. the group of three fishermen in the canoe, and some campers at the nice site around the corner from Little Current.
Day 9 of 11
Friday, August 26, 2022 Another awesome day in the BW. The water is like glass and just a few clouds. We want to get to Horse or Fourtown lake for camp tonight. The weather report predicts some rain and wind tomorrow so we'd like to be closer to our exit. The plan is to spend a day on one of those lakes and do some fishing. Then have the big fish fry that hasn't happened yet. Another freeze dried breakfast with REAL coffee. Pack all our gear, load the canoes and hit the water
Sigh... another day of chasing the tandem... It's quite pleasant out though. The sun is ducking in and out of a few heavy clouds and a very slight breeze. Then I come upon that group of three Trumpeter Swans, What are they following us? Or maybe it's another group.
We finish off the 3 1/2 miles to Lower Basswood Falls and check out the area, there's one campsite occupied by...... the three guys we saw entering the PMA with us at Beartrap!
I paddle around and see a guy on the Canadian shore, Is that the portage I ask? It certainly is he replies. It's the same guy we saw on the way to Curtain Falls and back yesterday. He complements my paddling stroke and says I got that kayak paddle down. It doesn't compare to his J-stroke but I appreciate the comment. I guess 8 days of practice made me better. He's just coming out from a swim at the base of the falls. He says it's a ritual that he does every year to ground himself. He lives in Seattle but grew up around the BW and has been tripping in there ... oh a couple of hundred times or so. That's how he got the perfect J-stroke. He knows the BW like it's his back yard and is most at home in a canoe seat.
Time for our leisurely paddle up the Horse River. I call l that because it took us so long to get up it. The first section to the first portage was fine, but lots of grasses and brake pads. We hit the first portage and proceed with the routine. Then the suffering and confusion. The water was really low. The map shows three portages. We hit at least 4 more than that. Some places we couldn't see the portage trail and walked through the shallows. Sometimes pulling the boats and sometimes doing the full unload to carry over the rocks. It wasn't the oxbows of the Beartrap but we had to unload and load a lot more. It took us hours and a lot of effort to get up that river. We hit horse lake and are hoping for the site right there. If it's available, we're ready to call it a day. Well it was occupied. .bummer because it's getting on to 4 o'clock. On to Fourtown in a pretty stiff headwind across the lake. Then the same story for the portage there. Low water and some extra portages. We get to Fourtown and take the campsite that's right there at the portage. A nice site but we've been warned that you have people walking through your site while using the portage. Whatever, There's plenty of extra room and a big clearing in the woods. We're so beat after a 9 hour day that we're fine with that. It does have an awesome view from the fire pit/kitchen area. we have our dinner and go to an early sleep. ~Crooked Lake, Horse Lake, Fourtown Lake
Day 10 of 11
Saturday, August 27, 2022 We wake up the next day with a weather report of a storm coming in sometime today/tonight. It looks real threatening during the morning. So we set the tarp up in the clearing. BAM here comes the rain just as we finish the tie offs. We pull all the gear in and settle down to making breakfast and coffee. We ain't going anywhere soon.
The canoes are happily tucked in the forest
The only people using the portage today was a father/son who were camped at the site closest to the river on Horse. and a group of three canoes headed to Lower Basswood Falls. I try a little shore fishing and don't get much . One bass and that's it. We see a canoe in Fourtown but they're getting blown around by the wind and paddle away. I figure this is our last night. It's pretty chilly, So we're going to have a good campfire tonight. I hop in "my" canoe and go collect some firewood.
Then we just hang around the campfire and watch the dark clouds build in the East.
we eat the last of our dehydrated dinners and enjoy our last sunset in the wilderness. Luckily we got one with all the clouds
We burn up the firewood and stumble off to bed
A VERY relaxing day that we all appreciated.
Day 11 of 11
Sunday, August 28, 2022 Exit day. MAN it dumped overnight! it seamed to deluge on and off throughout the night. It still was drizzling when we woke up but was tapering off. No problem, I was high and dry in my hammock. which worked awesomely the whole time. The crearing had tracks were the water coursed through. We had left eveything under the tarp so it was all dry. Luck had it that there were some tree roots that diverted the water away from the bags. We had just enough fuel to boil water for our dehydrated eggs and ONE cup of coffee. Next time I'm going to bring a twig stove for just such kind of emergency. We pack up our wet gear and head to the portage to Mudro. Guess what? yep right into a headwind. By now I'm ready for it but I'm sure I wasn't trimmed correctly. I wish the recent thread about trimming a solo had come up BEFORE this trip. Oh well, i just went on to chase that tandem down the lake. The drizzle continued on and off Two other canoes came from the west and the race was on! no not really. but I came in last anyway. That was another fortunate benifit on falling behind. In ten days we had forgotten the bad put in at the portage. The other canoes missed that one and found a worse one with minimal landing and a tree they had to climb over. They wised me up and told me to go back to the easy one. Not much more to say about the portage except it was wet and slippery this time. At least the packs were lighter. We ended the as we started in dreary humid weather on a glass smooth lake. We were 10 minutes early but so was the outfitter in the van. We loaded up and had the best beer in the world. You know, the one from the cooler as soon as you get to the parking lot
All in all, it was another awesome trip. I learned a lot more and had some different experiences. Last trip was an out and back to South Arm Knife with a tow up and down Moose. Very little portaging and lots of lazing around. No bugs and just one brief rain storm on the 2nd to last night. It was just a relaxing time for seven days. This time was about 20 miles of portaging, hard travel days and three days out of ten that had significant rain. Not to mention the swarms of mosquitos that were nonexistent on our first trip. We had too much gear and the triple portaging option is off the table for next years trip. Gonna pare down the gear starting with leaving the scuba mask home. Fishing was better than last time (I got skunked) but still room for improvement. Would I do a solo again? Absolutely! It was great being in my own canoe. I did every portage with it and two packs of gear. I know I can go out on my own if everybody cancels. Which I will instead of skipping a trip. I'm sure I'll do more of a postscript over the winter so I'm ready for the next trip. Heck, I'm ready for the next trip now! But I like the water to be liquid and sort of warm.