Day 1 of 4
Wednesday, August 15, 2007 We left Saint Cloud MN at 9 a.m. Pulling into Ely at 1 we quickly got our permit and had a great lunch at Cranberries on main street. We soon found our entry point on Farm Lake and got the gear into the canoes. It was now 3 p.m. Our initial goal was to get into Gabbro by nightfall. We had a great deal of difficulty finding our way into the North Kawishiwi River entry point but with some help from some local fisherman did get there. With the wind to our backs we made good progress and paddled up to our first portage. With a 175 rod hike to Clear Lake we unloaded and took off. With all of our gear we had to double portage. Half way there a tree had blown down across the trail, making it difficult to get around. On our return trip we took the time to clear it so portaging the canoes wouldn't be as difficult. Our scout group has it's own aluminum canoes and boy were they heavy. By the time we got everything to Clear Lake we decided it was time set camp. We took the first site east of the portage. It was a small uneven site. What was surprising and somewhat upsetting was all the trash left at this site. It is rare we do a camp clean up before we set up but took the time to do so, storing the trash with ours. Soon we had our tents set and was working on water and supper. With hobo dinners of hamburger, potatoes, onions and carrots on the fire we settled in for the night. It was a warm evening with a slight breeze. To our surprise there were no bugs and we sat out by the fire . Soon we all retired to our tents for a good nights rest.
Day 2 of 4
Thursday, August 16, 2007 We woke early, had oatmeal, coffee, and juice then broke camp. Loading the canoes we were off, heading south through Clear Lake. Along the way we spotted a beaver, and marveled at the huge boulders just under the water line. This small lake was clean and clear and we thought it might be good for fishing but pushed on rather than stop and try our luck. All to soon it was time to portage again. I had been through this portage at the south end of lake two years ago. It is amazing what a beaver damn and two years can do to a portage. It was muddy and about three quarters of the way across the 70 rods it just disappeared into the pond that the beavers had made. The alternate route that ran up through the trees was treacherous with loose dirt, rocks, and large tree roots. The end of the portage dumped out into a muddy mess were you had to push your canoe out quit a ways before jumping in. This is were our trip took a wrong turn. Going to our right instead of left we headed south down the South Kawishiwi River. With the wind coming at us head on we paddled on, looking for a portage that wasn't there. After a time and a lot of map reading we realized our error, but were nearly to entry point 32. We decided to make camp at the first camp site northeast of the 32 entry point portage. This was a great camp site with several level areas to set tents. It also had a good place to land all three canoes and logs around the fire grate to sit on. We decided to stay here and fish the river the next couple of days. Stetting camp we again picked up trash and stowed it. I hope this isn't happening everywhere but suspect it is. We all had lunch. chicken from a pouch in wraps with cheese. Then we started our fishing and exploring. Several small northerns were caught and a few smallies. Before long it was supper time and we all met up for beans and rice and yes, more chicken from a pouch. It was very tasty and soon the dishes were done, bear bags back in the trees and we were off fishing again. Soon it was dark and we built a small fire, sitting around plotting the next day activities and talking about how poor of a map reader I was. Soon it was time to hit the tents, an owl hooted us off to sleep. My son at thirteen hadn't heard an owl in the wild before and after a few calls just had to ask"what is that dad". Laughing I said not to worry it was just an owl and soon we were sleeping.
Day 3 of 4
Friday, August 17, 2007 We all slept in this morning, being 7:30 before we all rolled out of the tents and made breakfast of oatmeal, trail mix, dried pineapple, coffee and juice. We decide to split up this morning and go our own way, fishing and exploring the river. Going south on the river we find an eagles nest with two adult eagles and a hatchling in it. We pull up to the bank a good distance off and watch them through our binoculars. This was a special treat to see them interacting, feeding, calling to each other. Soon we feel like we had worn out our welcome and head north. We spot a doe and a fawn. We think we see a golden eagle. It was a huge brown bird with at least a forty eight inch wing span. Traveling northwest we fish and explore. Until today it was catch and release but tonight we wanted to have a fish fry so it was time to get with the program. We had a good stringer of smallies by lunch time so we drifted south toward camp, taking in all the sites the river held. The wind had came up and was blowing down the river pretty good. Lunch was summer sausage, hard colby cheese, dried fruit and trail mix all washed down with water spiked with crystal light raspberry lemonade mix. Good stuff with easy clean up. After a little rest we all head back out for more fishing. We pretty much fish all afternoon with mixed results. All in all we gathered enough bass for all of us to eat that evening. So fish and cheesy rice was the fare for this evening. After clean up we all just lazed around camp, some reading books, others fishing from the bank. A few small northerns were landed and released. As darkness descended we knew there was a fire ban that went into effect this day so we sat around in the dark chatting until sleep called us to the tents.
Day 4 of 4
Saturday, August 18, 2007 We woke at six this morning and broke camp. Time to head home. It came all too soon for us. With coffee and hudson bay bread for breakfast it was quick and easy. It was forty degrees and the fog was rolling off the water like it was boiling. It was an erie sight as we gathered our belongings into the canoes. With one last inspection of the camp site to ensure we left no trace we paddled northwest on calm waters. With no wind we made excellent time tracing the same route out as we had taken in. Six hours later we were back at the boat launch unloading and getting cleaned up for our trip home. A stop off at Ely for lunch and a little exploring there and we were on our way home with some wonderful memories of our trip.