Day 1 of 8
Saturday, September 01, 2012[paragraph break]Hours have been spent dehydrating food, researching our trip route (along with the backup route), paring down the equipment for single portaging, etc...[paragraph break]The min-van left our house in Ohio at 2:00 a.m. with the 4 participants in this outdoor adventure. Tom (myself), Tom (Goose), Brian (from Indiana), and Brian (B-Dub from Pennsylvania). Yes this will be the Tom x 2 and Brian x 2 show! We alternated drivers and had on 1 short break at Arby's for this 15 hour trip. Hoiday Gas station in Grand Marais beckoned our call to buy some leeches in case the trout idea was a total fiasco. Then we stopped at the Trail Center on the Gunflint Trail for our last meal in a controlled atmosphere. The food was excellant.[paragraph break]Arriving at Tuscarora we were greeted by Andy who was very friendly. Two Kevlar 18 1/2' canoes were prepared for Sunday's departure. Andy showed us the "spine tingling" movie and even let us take a quiz afterwards.WHAT A NICE GUY! Next he showed us a bunkhouse which was going to be our abode for this evening.[paragraph break]After settling in we returned to the office for advice from Andy. We went over the proposed route and fishing techniques for trout since our experience is charter boats in Lake Michigan using downriggers. When I asked him what our chances of actually catching a Lake Trout, he responded with a 50-50 chance! (This would be our motivation for the week). After questioning him on the low percentage, he remarked that he didn't know how we fished because he had never fished with us before. Laughs came out of everyone in the room! [paragraph break]Our group headed for the bunkhouse to quaff a few brews and dig into some of the GORP which didn't make the cut to be included in our food buckets. The day was long and sleep was easy to come by.
Day 2 of 8
Sunday, September 02, 2012 Everyone awoke at 6:00. We even made the decision to skip the "world famous French Toast Breakfast" so we could get an earlier departure. Walking out of the cabin, B-Dub saw a black bear cub standing at the corner of our cabin. What a start for our trip. We tried to scare it off while keeping out a watchful eye for momma bear but it just ran under the cabin. Canoes were loaded and across Round Lake we went, it was now 7:00. It only took us 2 tries to find the right portage we needed for our trail towards Brant Lake. The first couple portages went Bat Lake at 10:00 which means it took us 3 hours, not bad we thought for 4 guys somewhat past the prime in their lives. We took Campsite #497 on the SE corner since it was closer to the deeper water and still in the non-burned area. Campsite was given a 3 1/2 only because it lacked great tent pads for our 2 Eureka tents. [paragraph break]Spoons, crankbaits, and jigs produced 0 trout although 2 were on long enough to bring up to the surface. Supper was spaghetti and it tasted great while enjoying the fantasic view from the high kitchen area.[paragraph break]Now for the bad news. Our first camera incident was about to happen. B-Dub took a canoe out to fetch some water when a mermaid flipped everything upside down! He lost his presciption glasses and boonie hat. The camera which was in a pocket took on water which rendered it useless for the remainder of the trip.
After making sure our liquor would cohabitate with the Grade 10 Bat Water, we enjoyed some evening conversation before crashing for the night.
Day 3 of 8
Monday, September 03, 2012 Enjoyed some early trout fishing with SUCCESS!! Goose pulled in our 1st Lake trout using a minnow crankbait. The longer he held it the bigger it got (see attached pictures.
After catching 2 more trout the decision was made to invite them to brunch with us. Lake Trout with hollindaise sauce and scrambled eggs with green peppers and mushrooms were on the menu. WOW it was good!!
Since our objective was to move daily we packed up camp and headed to next portage. One more trout was caught and released while trolling for our portage trail. The portage was fairly level and the only one we would do for the day. Quite a bit different from day #1. Gillis Lake was now supporting our canoes.[paragraph break]Tuscarora Borealis recommended a 5 star campsite on the west end of the lake. It was taken but we found a very good one even farther west, #509 (We gave it a 4)
Brunch was trout and brown rice with green peppers. [paragraph break]It is time for some de-skankification so we all went swimming and the water felt refreshing. Evening fishing was good and we ended up with 4 more Lake Trout, 2 females full of eggs and 2 males.
Instead of eating the trout we fillet them and sank them in deep water in a zip lock bag. Now for more bad news! Our 2nd camera fell out of my life preserver pocket while reaching for the tackle box in the canoe. It hit the bank and fell in the lake. Within 1 1/2 seconds I had the camera out but it was put on the injured disabled list for the remainder of the trip. NO MORE CAMERAS!!!!! Star gazing was spectacular and occasionally we heard a drumming sound. It was determined to be a Ruffled Grouse using the ultra clear sky and almost full moon.
Day 4 of 8
Tuesday, September 04, 2012[paragraph break]The morning fishing session resulted in Gillis letting us catch 2 more trout which we released. The food buckets were lowered from the tree (old photo). We took the submerged trout and made cajun pan fried trout , vegetable medley and snacking on wasabi flavored GORP.
Camp was cleaned up and off we headed for Peter Lake. The route took us to Fern, French, and the to Peter. The view from the top of Peter portage was breathtaking. Just look at the pictures------------oh yeah, both cameras were out of commission. Once entering Peter it gave us an eerie feeling as the entire lake was in the burn out zone. It was almost Holocaustic (is this a word?)Paddling and inspecting all 4 campsites we encountered a cow moose at waters edge. What a welcome sight in this dead area. Campsite #485 on the west end was chosen which we gave a rating of 1 1/2, but the best on the lake. Enticed 2 trout back to the campsite which will be tomorrows brunch. Dinner was Dutch Oven lasagna made with completely dehydrated components and was as my dad used to say "SMACK OAT" which means very,very,very,very, good. Late afternoon thunderstorm was brief but our group was glad for Brian's Zing (old photo). Found out later fires were started in the Snowbank, Ensign area from this storm.
[paragraph break]The evening skies cleared up until the Northern Lights broke out in spectacular fashion. They went on and on for 45 minutes or so, definitely the best show I had ever seen! Time for bed.
Day 5 of 8
[paragraph break]Wednesday, September 05, 2012 Woke up to another beautiful day. [paragraph break]If you made it this far in my trip report you are probably wondering why on earth is "LOONLING" in the trip report title. Well as you may know questions come up though out the day and without resources are out of reach. What are the young of Loons called? Our answer which we deemed as wrong but better than the real answer of chicks was LOONINGS. If we could get one of you whom is fluent in WIKI-PEDIA to change the boring answer for our much better answer feel free to do so. Other words were created during our trip and if someone wants to WIKI-PEDIA them also, just shoot me an email and I will fill you in with all the details.[paragraph break]After a successfull catch and release fishing episode brunch was in order. Pan fried Trout with a side of scrambled eggs mixed with jalapenos hit the spot.[paragraph break]Off to Little Sag we will go. Gabby was rough with waves just trying to cap over. Made it to Little Sag in 2 hours where we searched for a protected site from the wind. #534 was an island site and best one on our trip, 5star without a doubt! Trolling resulted in Brian catching our biggest 2 trout measuring in at 22" each and Goose caught a 27" Pike. I fumbled through the 5 fillet method on the pike. Tried some TGO method using a leech from shore with not one bite. Why? Fished until dark from shore since chop was up. Our Rum, Vodka, and Bourbon containers are hitting the critical low level alarms. Next trip adjustments will be made. Dinner was chicken burritos.[paragraph break] Stars came out in full throttle along with the Milky Way. Shortly after dark the wolves started to howl. We were camped on an island but it still made you wonder and I'm sure everyone formatted a plan in case we got ambushed. Mine was to kick the nearest person in the knee as hard as possible then run like HELL. Lot of good that would have done on an island! ;-)
Day 6 of 8
Thursday, September 06, 2012[paragraph break]Fishing a little slower this morning so time for brunch.We ate the pike and one of the trout which was hooked too deep to release. Pan fried again after dipping in egg batter and rolling in fish breading. Hash Browns were our side dish. Our best fish meal of the trip. Time for Tuscarora. Wind was up a little but not too bad. We had 3 issues while portaging. 1) Finding the right trail out of Mora Lake. It is NOT the one where you sink almost waist deep in moose muck like Brian did. It is farther NW in a very clear stream. This is where we ran into our first humans in three days, a young couple from Duluth and Twin Cities area. 2) The mermaid reappeared and tipped over one of our canoes while entering Crooked Lake. This time there was 2 other canoes with people to enjoy this scene. 3)A root sprang out of the ground on the portage into Tuscarora causing Brian to do a face plant into the dirt. "I wonder if it was related to the root which tripped him up last year?" Tusc was still a little rough so we decided to find a site and wait out the wind. [paragraph break]Site #520 had a beautiful beach landing and a nice view from the kitchen. We gave it a 4 on the rating scale.Never did get to fish the lake but did a little exploring. Dutch Oven calzones stuffed with pepperoni, hamburger, mushrooms, and green peppers filled our gullets and more.The decision was to go "ALL IN" on the remaining alcohol and just enjoy good company the rest of the evening. Tommorrow with be the flat 428rd portage into Missing Link.
Day 7 of 8
Friday, September 07, 2012[paragraph break]Wanting to get an early start to the long portage, fishing was forgone and we packed up camp. The portage was easy to locate and we decided to break it up in sections. The flat portage was anything but flat. At least the reviewers got the length right. Missing Link has 3 sites. We opted for #2 or #3. #2 was taken so we planted ourselfs in #3 (#547). We gave this one a 2 due to poorly maintained kitchen area and other reasons.[paragraph break] Immediately we pursued our second quarry, Brook Trout. The electronic depth finder (did I forget to mention we had this device the entire trip?)indicated fish throughout the depths of this lake and everywhere on this lake. This should be like shooting fish in a barrel! NOT!!!! We trolled casted and jigged with everything in our tackleboxes with the only fish coming out of the water was on a bumble bee and fell off before landing.[paragraph break]We did have a major bright spot in between the frequent light showers. Mort from BWCA.com paddled through on his final leg of a lengthly solo trip. It was a pleasure to meet and talk to Mort. He is the kind of guy you could listen to all night sitting around a campfire.I was really suprised how full of vigor he was considering he just came out of the flat 428rd Missing Link portage. Did I say flat? Mort said it best when he thought people should be more realistic in rating that portage!!It was anything but flat!!!!![paragraph break]Cleaning out the food buckets, we had taco rice and creamy chicken rice. Dessert was lemon cake in the Dutch Oven. My attempt earlier in the trip was a total failure so Brian took over and did it right this time. He is amazing when it comes to campfire cooking. Since we have a 15 hour drive in the morning and alcohol was gone, it was to bed early.
Day 8 of 8
Saturday, September 08, 2012[paragraph break]Early to rise, broke camp and got back to Tuscarora at 7:17. Missing Link and Round Lake both had major mist rising from the surface due to cooler temps.Much needed showers were taken by all and dirty laundry was stored in garbage bags for the trip home. Settled up with Andy and headed out at 8:30. [paragraph break]Totals for our trip: 20 Lakes (21 if you consider Round twice) 20 portages ranging from a walk in the park to a total bi*@h. 20 Lake trout or more. 0 Brook trout but 1 close call. 1 Black bear. 1 Moose. Couple of Bald Eagles. 3-4 Beavers. Many Loons but no LOONLINGS They will be a target for us on our next trip. 2 Mermaid dumpings. 1 root tripping. 1 almost drowning in "moose muck".2 camera ruinings. MANY MANY MEMORIES. [paragraph break]This area is like a piece of heaven compared to what I see everyday and I live in the sticks! Plans already are in action for a trip in Spring of 2014 as we speak.[paragraph break]Thanks for reading my rambling, FISHONFISHOFF.