We left home at 5:45 a.m. It was a muggy, rainy morning. The day cleared and we arrived at Tuscarora Outfitters a little before 4 p.m. I stopped at Pin Cushion Point for the Grand Marais overlook. Weather was clear, sunny and 80.
Lilcowdoc joined us for supper at the TC and we returned to Tusc and retired early. Breakfast was ready to go at 7 a.m. in the Tusc dining room and we made it up to the Blankenberg landing by 8.
We were on the water by 8:10 and with no wind, made it to the Rog portage by 10. It was a nice quiet, still morning and even though it's long, we enjoyed our paddle across Seagull. The boys took a break at the Rog portage and hit the jerky and picked berries. It was then I hoped that I had packed enough food for these 3 chow hounds.
The Elderberry bushes were very colorful and there were numerous blueberry and raspberry bushes also.
On through Rog with it's funny emerald color and over the portage to Alpine we went. A fair number of people were in Alpine. At 11:30 I decided to feed the "animals" lunch at the top of the Jasper to Alpine rapids. They ate....I took pictures.
Arriving at Ogish at about 1 p.m., we paddled to the west end and went into Spice to check out that campsite. It's a decent site but I didn't think it would catch much breeze and would get buggy, so we went back out into Ogish and took the big site on the point as you head towards the Spice portage. Camp was set at about 2:30 and a few smallies were caught before our steak supper.
The plan was to relax and fish here for a few days and then work our way back to the outfitters at Round Lake. This was the boys' plan. They were tired of dad's long trips (ok,I admit I like to see new country and peek around the next corner...maybe too much) and just wanted to "hang out" for a few days. The skeeters got voracious at 9:30 but we hung the bug net under the tarp and sat in comfort as we watched the fire burn down. It had been a good first day. Day 2, July 7th, everybody was up early for pancakes and bacon. Jake found a blueberry patch up behind camp to spice up the pancakes.
After cleanup, we headed for our Ogish hotspot. It was a warm, overcast day with little breeze. The walleyes did not cooperate but the smallies did. We caught many....kept about 6 for supper.
We took a lunch break on a small island. The boys ate, I took pictures, Jake found blueberries (theme developing!?)[paragraph break]
With fishing done, it was back to camp to get ready for supper. A beaver and a family of Mergansers kept an eye on camp for us.
After a great fish fry, the boys.....kept fishing. Jake caught a nice smallie off camp and Caleb caught a Lake Trout on a slip bobber rig in about 15 feet of water. Kind of unusual for July....
[paragraph break] The skeeters came out again so we retired to the bug net for the evening fire. The next day dawned clear and nice but you could tell it was going to get windy. The boys made an executive decision to move. I guess they got antsy like me and wanted to do some traveling. I handed them the maps and told them to choose the route. They decided on Little Sag so we packed up and headed for the portage to Mueller Falls at 9:30. We met one lone traveler with his dog along the way on Agamok. He had a lot of questions for us....I think he had been out too long and his dog was sick of listening to him. We stopped for a break at Mueller Falls. A classic place for a break. The boys ate, Jake picked....uh, you know the rest.
The wind had built up a bit and made crossing Gabi a little rough. We pulled into Lil Sag at about 2 and the boys wanted one of the first island sites. We could see tents and canoes so we stuck to the west shore and took a nice little site that was spared by, but stuck in the middle of the burn. The fire pit was right on the ledge rock out by the water and was catching a nice breeze. A few trees shaded the tent and a big rock hill rose behind that. The entire hillside had been burned and the raspberry bushes had arose from the ashes in exponential numbers. So....Jake picked raspberries along with the other two and they went swimming and exploring.
A dinner of Beef Stroganoff was followed by raspberry desert....in every shape and form. I especially liked the banana cream pie with the mashed raspberry sauce topping. My compliments to the chef.
The clouds looked magnificent that evening and a nice breeze kept the bugs at bay on our little point campsite.[paragraph break]
The next morning we backtracked slightly to the far west end of Lil Sag and had a little trouble finding the portage to Virgin Lake. It's an uphill portage through the burn and not much has returned except grass. The breeze felt good but would twist the canoe on your shoulders at times. The entry into Virgin looks like a public boat launch. There is a huge, flat rock slab that gently slopes into the water.
On through West Fern and Powell and into French. The portage was lined with raspberry bushes, so we had to take a break before launching into French. The fire really did a number on this string of lakes. French was spared a little and looked like a nice lake with neat sites. After going through Fern, we arrived at Gillis at about 1 p.m. We grabbed the nice site on the west bank by Triangle island. It has a nice rock point that sits up high for a great view and some nice cliffs for boys to jump off. Some of the back bays in the area looked fishy but nothing was biting. We swam, relaxed and just hung out.
The boys found a nice cliff for jumping. I chose to take pictures instead.
This really was a nice site. There is a flat leading up to a nice sandy canoe landing. The view off the point is nice. There is a neat little fire pit area tucked in behind a rock ledge and there are many trails leading along the shoreline.
The wind died off and it was a nice quiet evening with a relaxing view.
It was a warm quiet night so we left the rain fly off the tent. The rumble of thunder woke me at 5 a.m. so I went out and covered the tent quickly. I was up so I made coffee and pulled some gear under the tarp and grabbed the camera and my journal just as the rain started. It was very relaxing sipping coffee and watching the rain come down....no wind with it, just a brief heavy rain. As the storm passed it lent itself to some interesting photos.
The sun came out and the breeze picked up so we hung the tent out in the breeze to dry while we ate breakfast. Everything was nice and dry when we packed up and headed for the portage to Bat Lake at about 9:45. On through Bat, Green, Flying and Gotter.....muddy Gotter. We met one group of day trippers on the way from Gotter to Brant. They looked bewildered. I was impressed with Brant, it looks like a neat little lake. As per mr. barley, we took the little stream into Edith and skipped the portage. Thanks B! The last 2 portages (Edith to West Round, and West Round to Round) lie outside the BWCA and are like highways. Dad asked for one last group picture before we launched into Round Lake.
We arrived at Tuscarora at about 1:00, so we cleaned up and headed to Grand Marais for pizza at Sven and Ole's. There was a street market so we did a little shopping before heading back to Tusc where we relaxed and hung out before taking Lilcowdoc out for supper at the Trail Center. I of course had to stop and check out the Windigo Moose....
We left about 7:40 the next morning and had rain all the way to Duluth. Clear sailing from there.