Day 1 of 4
Friday, May 20, 2011
Deciding to take the longer way in for variety, we headed toward three short portages that take you onto the main body of Lake One. It was the maiden voyage of our new, Wenonah Boundary Waters. Loved paddling her, she was light and stable. [paragraph break] Paddling was uneventful and portages easy. The water being much higher caused the rapids at the second portage to come in with quite a current that had to be crossed, directly in front of our landing. With some trepidation, we crossed the current. No dumping, but not very delicate. We were happy to get beyond those. Spotted morel mushrooms near landing. Left them for the next person to discover. [paragraph break] Continued through Lakes Two and Three. Wind was strong from the S/SE. Realized later in calmer areas how much work we were doing to stay straight. Tucked back in to the bays of Lake Three. Gorgeous area with some prime campsites. All were occupied. Jumped from Horseshoe, Brewis and Harbor with the final destination being N Wilder Lake. Being that most campsites were occupied the entire trip, we were a little concerned about finding a site. [paragraph break] Found a wonderful, empty campsite at about 3pm on North Wilder. Another small group came in a short while after us and took the other. After the warmth of the day, we dumped our stinky bodies in the refreshing lake. Amazing how mild the water temps felt. Cool, but not freezing. Site had nice tree cover and so we set up the tarp, knowing we might be spending some time there in the "living room" watching rain. [paragraph break] Ate beans and rice with homemade smoked chicken. Topped everything with cilantro and cheese. Nothing like eating, sitting on a camp chair, appreciating the hard work and fulfilling day. Tossed in my fishing line. Bites, but no fish. Curious painted turtle followed me along the bank. Maybe he wanted my lure?
Day 2 of 4
Saturday, May 21, 2011 Day two was a lay-over day. It rained briefly during the night and again during the day. After a breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, salsa and cheese we headed south to check out the creek that flows into S Wilder Lake. Being that there was a portage that follows the creek, we figured it would become impassible at some point. [paragraph break] The creek was worth the paddle. Scenic and winding, it was so peaceful. We encountered on beaver dam-haul over and one large lodge. Seeing the beaver the evening before confirms that this is an active site. We paddled until the creek becomes rocky and impassible with willow. [paragraph break] Setting the canoes to the side on a grassy bank, we headed down a trail that bisects the Pow Wow Trail. We followed the Pow Wow for about a mile until we came upon a backpacking campsite. The trail follows the ridge with interesting views. We hung out at the sight, reading and fishing. After a lunch of smoked salmon, capers, cream cheese and crackers, the western sky looked like it was set to rain. [paragraph break] We headed back through the woods and to our canoes. At camp we heated up some hot cocoa and butter schnapps. Later we made onion rings. Yum! Some napped, others sat under the tarp enjoying the occasional rain shower and appreciating the quiet.
Day 3 of 4
Sunday, May 22, 2011 Today we woke up to gray skies again and intermittent rain. We were able to take down our gear dry. After a breakfast of homemade granola, we set off towards the short portage that takes us into the creek towards Hudson Lake. [paragraph break] North Wilder was a very pretty lake to camp on. Nice back bays, small islands and quiet. [paragraph break] The portage from N Wilder to the creek was muddy, and we saw signs of moose. But no moose. [paragraph break] The paddle along the wide, easy creek is lined with lowland bush and flowers. The banks are studded with spruce. Random boulders complement and provide variety. This was one of our favorite paddling sections. [paragraph break] The creek outlets at Hudson. The campsites were full in this area, but they look nice. [paragraph break] We headed up the north arm of Hudson Lake. This is another narrow, interesting section. You see more large white and red pine here with cedar along the banks. The rain created a wonderful musty wood mixed with cedar small. Sections of rock protruding from the water and islands throughout. The short, easy 10 rod portage to Fire lake brings you to a lovely entry. Fire lake looks like it might be nice to camp on. Small and narrow. [paragraph break] The next two portages that bypass small rapids and rock are easy. Sheer granite curtains both sides at one portage. [paragraph break] We followed this course into Lake Four which nearly blends into Bridge Lake. During our trip the birds were actively seeking makes and we were treated to a chorus of calls. Many loons were also spotted. [paragraph break] We lunched at a very nice site on Bridge. If we didn't need to go further, we would have stayed here. Landing is so, so, but area is cushioned with pine needles and mature trees landscape the area beautifully. Tent pads are nice as well. [paragraph break] After a savory lunch of tuna salad rolled into tortilla shells, we hit the longest portages of our trip. At 170 rods it isn't too bad. Plenty of ups and downs with some of those ups being a quick scramble up slippery boulders. We encountered a have dozen blow downs, one that was massive and took three of us to get each canoe over. Spring has been blustery! [paragraph break] We took a breather at Rifle lake, watched bluegills watching us. Fished again, then headed to grab a campsite on Lake Two, our last night. [paragraph break] Lake Two's sites were mostly occupied (no surprise), but we managed to get a island site that was ok. Landing is very nice, being flat. Fire pit area is pretty exposed with no trees for tarps. We set up our tarp in a grove of trees off to the side. Overall site is heavily used and wood very scarce. [paragraph break] After a dinner of Harvest Pasta, we watched the resident beaver and tried our luck at climbing some rocks at the tip of the bay. More funny than successful. We were treated to a classic (and our only) BW sunset. After days of gray, it was almost surprising to see the flush of blue the lakes took on and the golds and green that make this area so wonderful.
Day 4 of 4
Monday, May 23, 2011
Left the campsite after a breakfast of oatmeal topped with almonds and dried blueberries. Short day of paddling, around 4 miles. We saw more people today, but we were all staggered enough so that no one had to wait at the portages. Day was gray and it rained on an off. Somehow the weather is never really a bother when your in a place you love. We took the eastern arm out of Lake One. Maybe it's me but its always a little jarring coming back into civilization. Warm showers felt amazing and we stopped at the Steakhouse for burgers and fish sandwiches. I ate the fish there that I never caught. [paragraph break] Another great trip with good friends and beautiful wilderness. It just didn't last long enough. And my friends who had not been to this area before loved it and look forward to going again.