Day 1 of 6
Monday, August 04, 2014 Shayne & I left Monday morning August 4, planning to meet Peter, Sheila, Elizabeth, Karl, and his friend Chad in Duluth at the Thompson Hill Rest Area & Information Center. The most amazing view of Duluth and Lake Superior. I always know when I reach the overlook, I am going to the BWCA (or Heaven).
It is amazing that we arrived within minutes of each other. After a quick break, we were on our way to Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail! We stopped for leeches and gas in Grand Marais, got some snacks, and started North for East Bearskin Lake Campground. We set up camp and enjoyed the evening before getting to bed early for an early start the next day.
Day 2 of 6
Tuesday, August 05, 2014 It was a long paddle down East Bearskin taking the south arm to portage into Alder. We were getting tired and it had been a long paddle, but campsite after campsite on Alder was occupied. We sent the kids, Karl and Chad, into Canoe to see if any sites were open, and they returned with bad news. Our next option was Pierz lake. We took the first campsite going in on the North side. Karl & Chad went fishing while the rest of us set up camp. After dinner, a thunderstorm came through just before dark. After assessing the aftermath, dusk started descending on camp and brought waves of mosquitos with the darkness. We barely had time to say goodnight before seeking shelter in our tents. Thankfully we all had screens to keep them out, but there were many trapped inside already. It was a bloodbath, and unfortunately, it was our blood; but fortunately, it was the mosquito’s lives! No pictures from Pierz or the travel to Pierz from East Bearskin Lake Campground. For some reason I did not take as many pictures in the early days.
Day 3 of 6
Thursday, August 07, 2014 We woke to sunshine, but I was not aware of the pain awaiting me. After breakfast, we broke camp and backtracked to Alder, then took the short portage into Canoe. This is where the pain awaited me. I carried my canoe from Canoe lake up the portage toward Pine. I never thought I would get to the top as the trail kept ascending as far as the eye could see. Once I found the top, I decided to go back down for my portage pack. The trip down was an excellent opportunity for rest but taking the pack to the top of the trail was exhausting again. As I started down toward Pine Lake, reinforcements showed up and we finally reached shore. Our next move was to find a campsite on Pine. We headed up the North shore hoping the first camp would be good enough for home. Even though campsite 2061 is not rated highly, I liked it. There were not any flat tent pads, but we found a few spots to set up tents and rest after our long morning. This would be our only layover for the trip. We all relaxed for the evening after Dinner and slept well after our hike over the Mountain. The campsite required a hike up to an open meadow, but the clearing was nice, though not level, and the fire grate was quite high.
The red line approximates the path to the kitchen and open meadow.
It has been over six years, but I believe I was sitting in the kitchen area to take this picture.
Day 4 of 6
Thursday, August 07, 2014 Our goal for today was to check out Johnson Falls and do a little fishing. It was a beautiful day and the lake was like glass as we left for the falls. We got to the West end of the lake, about a quarter mile and made our way to the falls. We took our time, exploring the trails and working our way up the creek. Once we got to the lower falls, everyone had a chance to get in the water and enjoy the area. We never took a group picture, but everyone is in one of these photos.
This is the closest I came to a group picture. In the future, the group picture is required. Even though the group has only been me or me & Peter
After a day of fun at the falls, we returned to camp and relaxed for the remainder of the day. Shayne caught a nice Smallmouth and we had fish for dinner.
Day 5 of 6
Friday, August 08, 2014 After breakfast, camp was packed and we headed for Little Caribou, hoping for the campsite in the narrows. It was taken. We then made it into Caribou and took Campsite 691. It was a very nice site with lots of room to spread out. The Kids went swimming/fishing – Karl found out if you knocked rocks together, curious Smallmouths would investigate. Next thing you knew, the kids had fishing rods in the water while swimming. I got a chance to fish with Peter that night and we were getting into the Smallmouth on a sunken island off the campsite. I remember seeing the full moon as we fished (thought about my Dad) and thought I landed another Bass, but when I tried to grab it by the lower jaw, teeth sunk into my thumb and I realized in the dimming light that I had a walleye! We kept the Wally and decided to go into camp. Since we had already had dinner, we tied the fish up by shore and decided he would make a great breakfast. This night Peter said, “Where there is Smoke, there is fire” labeling me as the firemaker! We went to sleep that night knowing we would be leaving the BWCA the next morning.
Day 6 of 6
Saturday, August 09, 2014 When we got up in the morning, we realized the snapping turtle in the area had found and consumed my prized breakfast, fortunately, we had not planned on basing our meals on my fishing skills, so other food was available to fuel our trip out. As we began the Journey home, we were missing a life jacket. Must have been left on the last portage. Me and Shayne went back and walked the Caribou/Little Caribou portage and could not find it. No choice but to go on. We got back to our camp and everyone proceeded to the portage into Deer. We reminisced as we went by the camp site which we spent several days on the year before, then worked our way to the portage into Moon. I was hoping we would see another Moose on Deer, but he was not there this year. From Moon to East Bearskin portage has a wooden staircase we climbed and then a long paddle back to the Entry point. Once we got our gear loaded up, it was to Grand Marias for DQ and then the long drive home. It was a good trip and I looked forward to many more. In our hurry to get out, I did not take time to shoot any photographs as we left the the BWCA. This is a deficiency which has been resolved for future trips, and Peter and I even spent an hour photographing grasshoppers on Agnes a few years later.