Day 1 of 7
[paragraph break]Friday, August 21, 2020 We did our orientation as we had breakfast then went and finished packing. Cloudy morning with no wind.
Apparently it had rained the day before but it wasn’t forecast for today. Loaded up and got to Moose Lake around 10:30. Disembarked from our tow to Indian portage around 11:30. Our first portage! Hey this portage thing is no problem ( 5 rods)
We headed east on Birch Lake with a cloudy sky and mild temps. We planned to make four portages to Knife lake and find a nice site near Robbins Island. A 40, 25, 15, and a 75 rod. All were pretty level and easy walking. We portaged to Carp lake and stopped to eat a quick lunch. Then got loaded to go. As we put in the last of the gear, Another group showed up behind us and they looked like they were in a hurry. We figured it was getting late and so we better hurry to find a good campsite (before they got it) The race was on. We had a little trouble finding the portage out of Carp and they almost caught us. We hustled our gear across the portage and crossed Seed Lake to Big Knife portage. The other party followed closely behind.
This was the long portage of the day and we have been doing double portaging all day. But we knocked it out and did not see the other party again. They looked pretty beat from the chase. Chalk one up for the old guys! Apparently we are not wise enough. A 11:30 start at Indian portage means a late arrival at Knife. All campsites we passed were occupied and it was closing in on 5 PM. Then according to the map, there was a camp right where there was a break in the trees. Poor landing and only two tent sites. very bushy and no shore line trial. In fact the only trail was the one to the latrine! Camp #1250 [paragraph break] I took a deep breath and felt great to be out camping again! We started setting our shelter that was two "4" man tents, two people per tent. Steve went to set up in one spot and I began to unpack the tent for the other. Only to find that no tent, the bag only contained a ground cloth, some poles and the rain fly, no tent! Okay so our plan was that Martin brought a War bonnet hammock set up. Steve and Bill had lightweight camp cots to fit in one tent. And I had the other tent to myself with four ThermOrests. Well it was three in the tent that night because it was moist and the mosquitoes were out. We set up and had our steak diners while drank our cocktails. [paragraph break]Always wanting to improve our firepit, I threw a boulder towards the fire grate. It bounced once, took a hard left turn, and punctured our 1 gallon can of camp fuel! Arrggg. I was able to lay it on it's side and it stopped leaking. We'll deal with it tomorrow morning after we empty our boda bags of whiskey and scotch. Then to cap off the day, I nearly slice off the very tip of my finger cutting a tomato. First tip , always bring a roll of waterproof adhesive medical tape. Almost better than stiches!
~Moose Lake, Birch Lake, Carp Lake, Melon Lake, Seed Lake, Knife Lake
Day 2 of 7
Saturday, August 22, 2020 Woke up in the morning and got right up. The skies are still cloudy but temperatures are very comfy. There wasn’t much room in the tent but at least I didn’t roll off the sleeping pad. I was firmly wedged between the two cots. Being the first morning, we had fresh eggs for a leisurely breakfast and coffee. So we made it out of camp by the crack of 11. We headed east and onto the South Arm. We didn’t have a final destination, just a better campsite that the night before. We passed a couple that were occupied and others that were not highly rated. Then we came up on one that the outfitter had marked 4 stars. It was # 1446 and we figured that it had to be checked out. LUCY, I’M HOME. It is an awesome site with great fire pit with lots of shelf space for cooking. Logs set up to sit around the fire. Three large tent sites and the latrine wasn’t full! There was also an upper terrace on the point that had a awesome view of the lake. Even though we hadn’t gone far, we decided to stay.
We set up and figured out the shelter situation. Or namely MY shelter situation. Part of the supplies was a lean-to tarp. So I found a flat spot between two trees with no rocks. I strung a rope low enough to the ground and used the poles from the partial tent kit to set up a shelter. Not too bad, Close to the fire and a view of the lake. Luckily it was the first day of no bugs for the rest of the trip! We settled in and relaxed. There were a lot of bold chipmunks and we practiced throwing things at them to scare them away. They seemed to just sneer at us to say "That missed me by a whole inch!”
A group of people came by fishing along the shoreline. They had been out couple of days and said that it had hailed two days before that left an inch of hail on the ground. We asked about the fishing and they said it sucked! However the day before they had gone to Bonnie Lake and caught about 30 pike. That sounded fun and it was quickly decided that we would day trip there tomorrow. We got the food hang set up and began preparing for fishing the next day.
Day 3 of 7
Sunday, August 23, 2020 We are on a leisurely schedule now since we are not moving camp. Still overcast skies with some clear spots. Get up early, have some coffee (Instant..next time I’m bringing REAL coffee) and try some shoreline fishing from camp. Not much happening except a few nibbles. We come back to camp and cook up some breakfast. Then pack up the fishing gear, lunch, and head out to Bonnie lake. We do some trolling and casting on our way there. By the time we get there it’s close to noon so we eat lunch and give the pike a short reprieve. After eating, we launch onto the lake and begin our assault on the fish. Bam, I catch the first fish of the trip while the other canoe doesn’t even have any lines in the water. It was only a 5” baby bass but it’s the first. And only fish I catch on the whole trip. I’ll have to work on my technique or something. Steve hooks a pike and starts reeling it in. the line snaps and he loses the fish and his spoon. Then it happens again and I’m suspicious about such an easy snapping line. I look at the end and it looks like a unraveled knot. So I tie on the next leader as his record is 2-0 and were running short on leaders. Meanwhile the other guys are drifting across the lake. After a few minutes he hooks another one. The line stays tied and we get it to the boat. We’re thinking to release it but he swallowed the hook and we can’t get it out cleanly. So we figure it’s a keeper. We’re close to a campsite and we figure to a check it out and get the fish on the stringer too. We look over the camp and put as a undesirable. Very rocky, uneven, and little protection from the sun and wind. Back in the canoe and we start fishing for bass in the shallows. As we’re just doing our first circle, Steve says “look at that, they flipped their canoe!” Wait what? Sure enough, I look over and see the bottom of the canoe facing up with two guys in the water. We stow our poles and crank over to help. We rescue the gear that we see and proceed to try to help them into their canoe. Unfortunately none of us studied that skill and weren’t doing it the right way. Note to crew. Acquire that skill before the next trip! We drug everything to the shore and got it done there. What happened we asked? It was because of another bad knot. Bill caught a pike and reeled it up to the boat. Then he lifted it out of the water and asked what to do with it. Martin said to swing it into the boat. As he got it over the canoe, the knot let go and the fish laned in the bottom. Now there’s a fish flapping around in the bottom of the boat with a lure and sharp hooks. It did a ninja fish and tried to stick Martin with the hook. So he stood up to get out of the way…… I think that’s one of the basic rules is not to stand up in a canoe. We’ll put that on the list of lessons learned. Both had their PFDs on so we knew that lesson and it certainly paid off Final tally. Caught one keeper pike. Lost: tackle box of lures and leaders, iPhone 8 (that was sitting on top of the open tackle box) ,fishing pole, two days supply of GORP. Two more lures and leaders form out canoe. And one iPhone 5 submerged and kaput. But is was an adventure! We portaged back to SAK and back to camp. I look around for firewood along the shore but it’s slim pick’ns and none around the camp. So I go up the trail behind the latrine to start looking. It’s a steep climb up to the cliff but I keep going because there is no wood. Steve sees me going and decides to come along. Finally I start finding some and throw it down the hill. Heck, I’m almost to the top and there’s plenty of light. We climb the last bit and get to the top with a fabulous view of the lake. It’s not Thunder Point but still pretty good. We have dinner with some fish appetizer then settle down by the fire to plan the next day. Final plan is that it was an eventful day and we’re in no mood to do an early start pack and go. We have seen a LOT of canoes going back and forth and don’t want to end up in a lousy campsite. So day tripping it is! That way we can concentrate of fishing! Another night in the lean-to tent and still no bugs.
Day 4 of 7
Day 5 of 7
Tuesday, August 25, 2020 Today was decided to be a rest day. A total rest day. No plans to go anywhere. Not worried about catching any fish. Not even planning to put the canoes in the water. Heck we’re on vacation! Just sit around camp. Relax. Talk about family and life. Relax some more. The weather has turned absolutely perfect. No wind, brilliant blue skyies with occasional clouds. Around mid-day, I pull one of the canoes into the water and try trolling across the lake and back a few times. I’m solo in a tandem canoe so I grab an extra PDF as a back cushion and sit on the floor in the middle. We’re camped on a narrow connection part of the lake and it’s not far. No bites. Must be the wrong lure of bait. Or just my inexperience in these waters. Fishing has been GREAT! Catching not so good but just being out fishing works for me. No big deal because we have plenty of food. In fact that’s when it’s time for lunch. I return to camp for another meal prepared by our gourmet cook, Chef Billy. I ask for a table up on the view terrace And there is space available. I settle in for a hot lunch with the two eagles circling overhead calling to each other. We talk about going to close by Thunder Point but keep putting it off. Then as it gets later, the clouds return and the wind kicks up. We decide to stick around and get organized for our move tomorrow. It’s getting later in the afternoon and I grab my pole to try some more fishing off the point of the terrace. Nothing wants to bite. I see a canoe approaching from the east and think. Hey that’s the first one I’ve seen today. They come right towards the camp and I think that they’ll be disappointed to see it occupied. They aren’t looking for a camp, it’s the local Ranger patrol checking in. The checked around, made sure there were no widow makers above the sleeping areas. Checked the latrine to see how full it was. And chatted with us for a while. Turned out they were on the end of their 8 day patrol. Then they have 6 days off until the next 8 day patrol. They were camped at the next site down. They talked of dogsledding up here in the winter. It was hard to imagine ice 3’ thick on the top of the lake. I asked for some crazy stories and they came up with, people leaving all their gear! I can see maybe an ice chest or some chairs but they said that was just common. They have come upon entire camps abandoned with tents, sleeping bags, coolers, cook gear, and everything. I really wonder who would do that or why. They headed off to their camp and we got ready for our last night at this camp. The clouds have rolled in and the radio says there is some weather on the way .
Day 6 of 7
Day 7 of 7