Day 1 of 7
Monday, July 14, 2008 We pack the night before and we are on the road from the land of OZ by 6 AM. I had us depart at this time to avoid the traffic in Des Moines and Minneapolis We take turns driving and it works out that my son drives thru Des Moines and Minneapolis and into Duluth our destination for the first day. I was very proud of him, even though we live by Kansas City and he does drive there, these are big and new cities to him. We arrive in Duluth at 4:30 and go thru town to a quaint hotel (Cape Superior Inn) about 4 miles north of town along the shore of Lake Superior. We spend some time in Duluth and that evening and along the lake we observe a site in the sky that I can’t remember the name of; you can see the earths shadow across the sky. Last time I saw it was when we watched the space shuttle launch. During the evening there were several severe thunderstorm and tornado reports from Grand Rapids to Ely and west. I don’t know if any of you were in the BWCA that night but it sure looked like it was getting pounded and hope no one got hurt. Hope the weather improves for our trip!
Day 2 of 7
Day 3 of 7
Wednesday, July 16, 2008 Entry day! We are getting a tow up to Splash Lake at 7:00 to get a jump on the day, but are delayed by FOG of all things. You can’t see the island at all just across from the resort so the wait begins………. Finally after only a brief 30 min wait a breeze comes up and starts helping clear out the fog. Off we go passing 10 or 12 boats at the entrance to Newfound Lake waiting to go up to Basswood(the fog is really dense here again), we pass them and head over to Splash lake. By the time we complete our fist portage the skies are clear and wind is calm, a great start to a wonderful day. We portage from Splash to Ensign and spend the next couple of hours paddling into a light breeze. I am starting to be concerned because only 1 or 2 camp sites we pass on Ensign are un-occupied. The last time I was in the BWCA we only saw 2 canoes for the first 4 days until we were at Dorothy’s on the Knife Lake. We portage the 55 rods to Ashigan Lake and then the tough 105 from Ashigan to Gibson Lake where we stop for a summer sausage and GORP lunch. On to the falls and Cattyman! We portage an easy 55 rod portage from Cattyman to Jordan Lake enjoying the sights along the way. A short 5 rod portage and we are we are at our destination for the day Ima Lake. We pull into the bay straight across form the portage and check out the camp site. Not to our liking so we travel up the short channel into the main lake. The next campsite we pass is taken, so are the ones on the island and so are the ones on the east shore. We quickly travel to the north shore where the western most campsite is open and we claim it for our own. We set up camp quickly and sit down to relax. It’s about 4:30 and time for an afternoon snooze. We crawl into the tent, and my son even wants to nap. I have been working him really hard up to this point. I think he has learned much about himself already. I wake up about 30 min later and go sit outside; it’s starting to look like rain a little bit. Try my hand at fishing several lures and get absolutely no bites whatsoever. It’s now about 6:30 and my son is still in the tent sleeping and it’s really looking like rain so I roust him up. We quickly heat up some water and just as we mix our dehydrated beef stew with it, rain. So into the tent we go and share a fine tent dinner courtesy of the rain. It rains and sprinkles off and on the rest of the evening so we call it an end to a long day.
Day 4 of 7
Thursday, July 17, 2008 Fishing day! After a filling breakfast of potatoes and bacon wrapped in tortillas we start fishing. We throw everything we have from our camp site (Water is about 25 ft here) and get no bites what so ever – not a good sign. So we hop into the canoe and head back over to the bay where the portage from Jordan comes into. I tie on a silver spinner with a 3 in gulp minnow; my son does the same with a gold spinner and a leech. We troll and drift the bay once and go back across to start casting. BAM, I get a strike, not that big a hit but I soon feel the weight of something big and tell my son, I have a big fish on. I work him closer to the canoe and see a Northern flash as he runs, doubles the pole over and starts peeling out the drag. My son goes “Dad, he’s pulling the boat” I tell him I know and that I will need to play him out for a while before we will even try to get him to the boat. This goes on for awhile and finally he circles into some lily pads, I horse him out of them but too late, the damage is done. He makes another run and spits out the hook. We just look at each other. Man did I want that one back. Now this was not some monster Northern, I only got a glace at him and my son saw him much more than I, but I have caught some fish before and I would give a guess of a 6 to 10 pound fish. We keep working the bay for another hour with out one more bite and decide to move on to the channel just out of the bay working toward the main lake before going back to camp for lunch. Right away my son hooks and pulls in a nice Walleye – Lunch is in served! After lunch we stay close to the camp site fishing with no luck. So we swim a little and enjoy the sun as the sky darkens to the south. Our plans were to leave the next morning and head to Wasini Lake, but my son wants to know if we can stay here longer. I tell him that it is not a problem so we plan to stay another day here. The wind picks up and starts blowing a cold breeze harder and harder, long pants then jackets it is quite cool. It keeps looking like we are going to get stormed on but it passes by us, by just a few miles. South and East of us were getting hammered. We have a dinner of dehydrated Chili Mac that is quite good with some granola bars. The breeze continues keeping all the critters at bay and we watch a wonderful moon rise to end our day.
Day 5 of 7
Day 6 of 7
Saturday, July 19, 2008 After breakfast we clean up the camp and pack up. Pretty foggy and wet this morning so it takes a little while to dry out the tent. By 9:00 we are headed back the way we came. Jordan, Cattyman, Gibson, and then the tough portage to Ashigan and into Ensign. One thing I did notice on the way back is that only 2 of the campsites on Ima still were occupied and to our big surprise, only one was occupied on Ensign as we traveled across it. We stopped at the campsite on Ensign right next to the portage into Splash Lake at 2:00. I was getting ready to set up camp. My son was pretty whipped all day today and started asking about how long it would be tomorrow to get back to Moose Lake. I told him that if he was real motivated we could be back in Ely, showered and eating at the Ely steak house by 7:00. My bad, he really wanted to get back, I really wanted to stay another night. But in keeping with my plan to let him make the decision, I left it up to him. So at 3:00 we headed out across Splash and into Newfound and finally Moose. We were lucky as it looked like it could rain all day but it never did and the wind, although in our face was never real strong. We stopped and picked up a couple of small Northern on a bay in Moose Lake and went back to the resort to end our BWCA trip. Back in Ely is was real tough to get a hotel room as there were 5 wedding’s in town that night and I think we got the next to the last room in town. After a shower and a great steak at the Ely Steak house we relaxed and went to sleep early.
Day 7 of 7
Sunday, July 20, 2008 Up at 6:00 we drove to Sioux City IA, and visited my Mother in Law and my oldest daughter and my 2 grandchildren, we continued on to Kansas and arrived at 00:45 on Monday tired but satisfied. What a great trip it has been. My son brought a note book and kept a journal of the trip. I told him that it would be a good thing to do and that it could be private. One day I hope he is willing to share it with me as he wrote sometimes seven pages at once.
I am ready to go back once again and am dreaming of the calm still nights punctuated by the call of the Loons. Man I love the BWCA and hope my son does also; there just is no better place.