Day 1 of 6
Friday, July 05, 2019
Our first portage of the trip went great, was loaded up and leaving central Ohio at 6:00am. We are about 14.5 hours from Ely so we decided to split it up and stay in Rice Lake Wisconsin the first night. Driving was great, no rain, no delays other than a few slow downs through Chicago and we got to the Super 8 in Rice Lake about 6:00pm, which was really 5:00 with the time change. We ate at the Mandarin which looked like a dump but was delicious. Funny note about the Mandarin, the bathroom is in the basement and it looks like you are in the basement of the Fratellis hangout in the Goonies, I was fully expecting to hear Sloth down there. Really though if you like Chinese food and dont mind a rough looking place check out the Mandarin in Rice Lake.
Day 2 of 6
Saturday, July 06, 2019 With just about 3.5 hours to get to Ely we had plenty of time to make some stops along the way. The first was at Hensons Country foods in Minong for some jerky. Even though it was a good deal we didnt think we needed the 10lb bag of beef jerky
We did get a 1 pound bag that was around $8 which is still a good deal and also some Jack Links breakfast sausages which I had not seen before and were really good. Along the way we made stops at Bettys Pies and a few spots along the north shore.
We made it to Ely in time to stop at the International Wolf center, which I thought was pretty disappointing and we only spent about 15 minutes there. Checked in the Motel Ely then walked around town a bit and ate at the Boathouse Brewpub, decent food and beer but nothing special really. Back to the motel and early to bed so we can get an early start for the wilderness Sunday morning.
Day 3 of 6
Sunday, July 07, 2019 I was up by 5:30 and went to VNO to get the canoe and let Ashley sleep in a little more. Got the canoe and talked for a while with the guys about fishing and campsites and they marked some spots on the map for me. Went back to the motel got the kid and was at the Snowbank Landing about 8:00
I could not have asked for a better day for paddling, weather was great! We made it across Snowbank with no issues and hit the 140 rod portage to Disappointment. Ashley did great, we had to double portage and her pack was 35-40 pounds but she made the whole portage without stopping or complaining. The bugs were not bad at all but the trail was a little crowded with people heading out. After loading the canoe back up and getting back on the water I asked her if she wanted to find a campsite or move on, she already had the map and compass out finding where the portage to Ahsub was and said we were going all the way to Ima today! We made it on through Ahsub, Jitterbug, Adventure, Cattyman and Jordan with great weather no wind or waves to deal with and very few people, it was just a great day of canoe travel. We got to Ima and were heading to a camp site on the big island on the south side of the lake, about half way there we saw it was occupied so we started heading to the north shore for another site the guys at VNO said was nice. We had just started heading north and saw a group of 4 canoes come around the islands on the west side of the lake heading the same way we were. I told Ashley to dig in and the race was on. One of their canoes broke out ahead of the group but we got there first! It was a long day for a guy who hadnt canoe traveled for 15 years and a newbie but I think we did pretty good. We set up camp fixed some chicken and rice burritos and then fished around camp the rest of the evening but didnt catch anything.
Day 4 of 6
Monday, July 8, 2019 I was up early, about 5:00, let Ashley sleep in and fished from shore around camp again with no luck. Ashley was up about 8:00 so we had some breakfast then went out fishing. We fished all around the islands on the west side of the lake and even took the portage back to Jordan and fished where the small stream dumps in and then down the narrows and again no fish at all. Back to camp in the afternoon for some lunch and naps.
We had planned on heading to Hatchet lake in the evening to fish but the winds picked up and the waves were just to big to try it, so we just hung at camp and fished from shore the rest of the evening.
Day 5 of 6
Tuesday, July 9, 2019 Was hoping the wind and waves would settle down over night, and it did but not much. Was afraid if it got worse we'd not be able to leave the next day like we had planned so we decided to pack up and spend a few night on Disappointment lake in hopes that we'd have some better fishing. It was a tough paddle across Ima and I was a little nervous at times but Ashley did great and is a strong paddler so we made it across with no problems. The only other lake that was a little difficult was Jordan but it was'nt that bad compared to Ima. We made a stop at Cattyman falls along the way.
Found a nice campsite on the west end of Disappointment set up camp and did some fishing and finally found some fish. Ashley caught a walleye and a few pike that we had for dinner and they were delicious.
Day 6 of 6
Wednesday, July 10, 2019 The plan was to spend most the day fishing and then head out in the evening and back to Ely, well the wind was whipping pretty good so we packed up camp and headed towards the landing on Snowbank first thing in the morning in fear that it would just get worse as the day got later. It was tough paddling and we could hear some thunder rumbling on Snowbank but made it to the landing safe and dry. We got back to VNO and returned the gear showered up and even had time to get to Brittons before they closed. It was my first time eating at Brittons and it certainly lived up to the hype, great food and huge portions.
We decided to head back by going across the UP of Michigan and so glad we did, beautiful drive and we made a few stops along the way.
In all it was a great trip and we made lots of wonderful memories and hopefully we'll do it again sometime.