Son and I had a great time on our 1st BWCA trip July 31-Aug 3 2018. Day 1 we arrived at VNO at 8am, got geared up and were dropped at Entry Point 25 on Moose by 9:30. Paddled to the portage to Wind Lake then on to the portage to Wind Bay on Basswood. Stayed at Campsite 1656. Site was in good condition and we had things set up fairly early. Had some significant storms overnight but tent was dry and slept well after storms passing. Day 2 broke overcast and spitting rain. We paddled to portage 497 from Basswood to Indiana. This was our first significant paddle in a narrow stream and after some discussion felt we were still on the right path as we continued on. We came to two beaver dams and crossed the correct one to the right and soon found the small portage to Indiana. Here is where I made the biggest rookie mistake of all. While checking the area around the beaver dam to make sure it wasn't actually the portage location I set my water bottle down to get something out of the pack and left it after reloading. Luckily we had a dromedary bag along and I was able to use cups in the camp kits other than for the paddle out. It was a very short paddle to site 2046 on Indiana and quickly set up camp on this beautiful site. Still overcast but starting to thin some. Spent quite a bit of time foraging for dry firewood as none had been left at camp and then did some fishing. No luck fishing but we were not pressing hard and I don't think my tackle selection was correct. We got dinner of Mountain House Lasagna made and were quite surprised at the quality-- could have been that any hot food was welcome. Went to bed early as clouds obscured any star gazing. got fairly chilly but more than comfortable in the tent. Son got a little chilled in the hammock. Day 3 broke with partly cloudy skies visible to the East, had an oatmeal breakfast and then did a little fishing. Caught a couple decent bluegills but no luck on smallmouth or northerns. Back to camp for a nap and late lunch. Got entertained by the very large hare that jumped up on the log by the camp fire area to check us out. Went back out to fish for a while and then dinner of mac and cheese. Camp cleaned up at about dusk and sat looking at the stars and having a relaxing time. Day 4- A glorious morning made braking camp and set up to leave even harder. Got on the water a little late but made good time. Took portage 505 from Indiana to Good Lake, then 520 from Good to Hula, then 525 from Hula to Wood. A pretty decent wind in our face on Wood but we made decent time. Made it to the EP 26 for pick up at 11:30. Jackson from VNO met us just we were starting to take our gear to the parking lot and saved us a second trip. Even had a cold beverage for us at the van!! Will definitely use VNO again .
Overall this was a wonderful 1st Trip into the BWCA for us and I would go back tomorrow. A few lessons learned: 1- ALWAYS MAKE A FINAL CHECK ANY TIME YOU GET OUT OF THE CANOE for possible gear. Would have saved a lost water bottle. 2- Make sure you packed/rented a camp stove in case of rain and no dry wood for fire. 3- Would have tried to make it to base camp on first day to have more time at one spot and avoid breaking/making camp multiple times if only in for 4 days. BUGS- due to rain and the wind during our time in we did not have an issue with bugs at all. We had pretreated our clothes so that likely helped. LEAVE NO TRACE- Many instances of leave no trace violations in the camps and portages we were at. I was pretty disappointed about that. Unfortunately I have to add myself to that list for the lost water bottle. TAKE THE EXTRA DAY!!! - I will be adding at least a day to the trip next time. It was the most relaxing trip I have taken in a long time and did wonders to recharge, spend some quality time with my son and get away.