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eagle98mn
senior member (55)senior membersenior member
 
12/11/2018 01:54PM
So here's a question I've been sitting on for a few months until it got cold. I know this forum is full of canoe country experts - so take a moment to impress us with your stories of things you didn't quite nail perfectly in the wilderness. :)

To start, I'll give two:

1. My second trip to the BWCA, I went up there in September with a friend. He decided to bring a watch, and not wanting to risk a nice watch, bought a cheap one from Walmart. After our first day of travel, we marveled at how late it stayed light in the wilderness compared to home in the Twin Cities. Fast forward to day 3, we arrive at our 3rd campsite and I pulled out my phone to take a picture after my other camera battery went dead. Imagine my confusion as I tried to comprehend how my phone said it was around 3 when I was expecting it to be around 5 pm after a full day of travel. First I was convinced my phone was wrong, but suddenly it clicked that the phone's time matched where I would expect the sun to be. We had spent nearly three whole days operating under the belief that the time of day was actually 2 hours later than it truly was! We had actually tried to rationalize the extra evening light in the sky, as if driving north by 5 hours would add 2 hours of light to the day! We had a laugh at our foolish attempts to rationalize what should have been an obviously wrong conclusion. Lesson learned: forego the watch. :)

2. This past year, the same friend and I put in at McFarland Lake, headed to S. Fowl and later the Grand Portage. We felt a little bit rushed as we were dropped off at the landing, but we knew that we just needed to paddle around a point and head north toward John Lake. So we jumped in the canoe, and paddled right past the obvious bridge on our right, around the second point, and nearly all the way down McFarland before realizing our mistake. Again, we rationalized what should have been obvious: "maybe that hill over there is this contour on the map" or "maybe we are already on Little John Lake." The sky was very overcast and hazy, so we didn't have the benefit of the sun, and our compass was (smartly!) buried at the bottom of a pack. So we kept on rationalizing until we both stopped paddling. Again, I pulled out my phone - this time to get a GPS heading in my maps app even though I knew I wouldn't have a map overlay to look at. Sure enough, we were headed due west. We spun around and shockingly the contours and topography all matched! Lesson learned: always take the time to verify you know where you are. Here is the graphic from my GPS tracker on my phone:



These two stories may make us sound like a couple of yahoos without a clue, but I don't think that is the case. That said, we apparently are prone to rationalizing incorrect conclusions rather than trusting the signs that are pointing out that we are wrong. We will keep on paddling, keep on learning...and keep on chuckling at our mistakes. :)
 
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THEGrandRapids
senior member (85)senior membersenior member
 
12/11/2018 03:42PM
I wouldn't forgo the watch- too many benefits vs the risks. taking heart rate in an emergency, etc. You are likely traveling, eating, sleeping based on the sun anyway, so whatever the watch said didn't actually create any risk.

We put in on Kawishiwi lake on our way to Polly and the first 5 minutes all I could think about was whether I forgot something in the car. Well, we get to the first island out from the landing, and I'm thinking we are already by the island at the NE corner, where it heads out the creek to Square... so we basically stuck to the shoreline all the way there, thinking each bay was the outlet.... man did that have me twisted around. I'd say lesson learned and the rest of the trip I knew within a canoe length of where I was at all times.
12/11/2018 08:35PM
Get a compass. Easy to use and reliable
ozarkpaddler
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12/11/2018 09:51PM
Blatz: "Get a compass. Easy to use and reliable"

Yup, never took a watch and never will. Unless you have a shuttle boat to meet, why bother? Even then, weather and waves still dictate when you will get to your rendezvous point. Just an encumbrance you really don't need. Eat when you're hungry, drink when you're thirsty, sleep when you're tired. Native Americans think we're goofy for looking at a timepiece to tell us when to do things.

We have ALL made silly, obvious mistakes, even after we've made numerous trips. Sometimes you just get "Cocky" about your experience and then you get "Humbled" (LOL)! I once didn't bother to pull the map out after portaging from Red Rock to Alpine. Heck, I KNOW Alpine, I know where I'm going, to the Jasper Portage.....EASY! Heheheh, well, after playing ping pong paddling from one place to another we pulled up to an island, ate lunch, and I got out the MAP AND COMPASS and figured out where we were (LOL)! And I didn't put the map away until we got to the portage!

And that's just one of many miscues I've had. You're not a "Yahoo," just "Human" (LOL)!
ghost of murphy lake jim
Guest Paddler
 
12/11/2018 11:46PM
Stay hydrated and within your limits. The first day I went really hard in the bwca I had to retire early with a terrible headache (an unusual ailment for me).

Don't let your super shad rap flop all over on the portage trail and become embedded in your arm.

Don't leave fish tied up over night for breakfast (I warned my brother not to try this....). A snapper turtle will have a midnight snack instead.

12/12/2018 08:32AM
It always takes a day or two to get my time/ speed sense. First day I routinely feel I'm further than I am, usually on big lakes
joetrain
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12/12/2018 08:35AM
If you have any doubt if it is safe to paddle because of wind/waves then don’t go. Many years ago my wife and I were almost killed trying to paddle across Bailey Bay to get to our tow at Prarie Portage. I have never been so scared in my life. Never again.
~JOE~
12/12/2018 08:40AM
Mistakes are numerous, not being familiar with my new compass and getting into a foggy situation where I needed to rely on it and getting really lost. The stand out mistake is pushing too hard and not respecting how fatigue and electrolyte imbalance can impair judgement. Be safe and return.
12/12/2018 08:46AM
In 43 years of canoe-tripping there have been many, many mistakes. Some of them, I am sure, were so inconsequential that we didn't even remember once the trip was done. Some of them still get a mention decades later. . .often with a smile or a guilty blush.

Probably the one I feel the most foolish about is from 1982. It was not our first trip, but our sixth. It was a ten-day trip out of Lake One (Insula, Thomas, Knife, Boulder, etc.) that we shared with three friends for the first five days, and then finished with five days on our own. Overall, a very enjoyable trip. It was just the two of us when the mistake(s) happened.

We wanted to go from Elton Lake to Hoe. We have always operated with a map and compass, and when we looked at our maps, we saw a 45 rod portage into Makwa Lake, then a 100 rod portage into Hoe Lake. But there was also a thin blue line on the map--a tiny stream leading from Elton directly to Hoe! I saw that little blue line and I just had to try it! :-) Can we? Can we please??

To quote from my journal: "I suggested we try the stream and it turned into a real adventure. The stream wound around through grasses and lily pads to a big beaver dam, which we lifted over, kept winding along, getting rockier and narrower and shallower 'til we had to bushwack through dense woods to a small pond, then through REALLY dense woods over moss covered rocks. when Neil finally got me and the packs settled near (not yet on) Hoe Lake and went back for the canoe he discovered he'd left his life vest back at the end of the stream! So he had to backtrack to retrieve it! By the time we got this all behind us it had taken two hours in misty rain and we sure wished we'd taken the portages!"

Lesson learned. There is usually a reason why the portage is there. ;-) But aren't those fine blue lines sometimes tempting??

It is not unknown for Spartan1 to "misplace" his PFD. Since we are serious about always wearing them in the canoe, this can make for delays. Another time, we were about to depart at the portage at Poplar/Lizz on the first leg of a trip, and I was all loaded up with my first pack, ready to start down the trail when I heard him say, "Ummm, Lynda." "What?" "You had better just put your pack down and wait a bit." "Why?" "I left my life jacket on the dock at Little Ollie Lake."

Sigh.

The trip was fine. It just started a bit later than planned. We left our packs at the portage and paddled back together that time.

We were always a good tandem team. I am sure he can come up with more stories of mistakes that I made, since now the score is 2-1 in favor of me. Sorry.

We always did have a watch. I think when you are traveling with a Type1 diabetic the schedule is often more important than for most people. It seemed important sometimes to know what time it was, how long it had been since a meal, etc. And in the case of an insulin reaction, I felt it was very important for me to be able to make a note of the time elapsed after I gave a corrective dosage of sugar. I also enjoyed noting the time that we did things in my journals.



HowardSprague
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12/12/2018 09:01AM
My first trip. Friends backed out, so I went solo and kept it pretty easy, going in at Mudro and camping on Sandpit a couple nights.
1) I'd purchased some Adidas sandals. They weren't made like today's Keens or Tevas, and it was sort of a lace that kept it together. One trip Mudro-Sandpit portage, they were trashed as one of the strings/laces holding it together broke.. Fortunately, I had another pair of light hiking shoes.
2) Using my Whisperlite stove for the first time. I'd left the primer thing open a bit long. I squatted and LEANED OVER the stove as I lit it. The fireball arose as if in slow motion, and fortunately that day I had catlike reflexes and was able to jump back in time and not get my whole face torched.
One of the benefits of traveling solo is the avoidance of embarrassment when you screw something up.
bobbernumber3
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12/12/2018 09:33AM
joetrain: "... my wife and I were almost killed ...
~JOE~"


Really almost killed?
missmolly
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12/12/2018 09:43AM
Joetrain's story reminded me of crossing Lake Winnibigoshish in the fall instead of following the shoreline. The wind kicked up. Luckily, I was in a kayak with a spray skirt, for the waves hit me chest-high again and again. I was both mad at my recklessness and afraid. I had to land in a surf, which isn't easy when you're in kayak and don't want to ruin your hull.


Spartan's story reminds me of seeing a stream on Google Earth that connected two lakes in northwestern Ontario.

"Handy!" I thought.

Not handy, I discovered.

It started out well enough, narrowing and narrowing, but then it narrowed into a canyon with littered with boulders.

"I'll get through this and all will be well," I thought.

Ha!

The stream emptied in a bay of pencil reeds, too stiff to permit paddling. So, I hopped out and tugged the canoe, much like Humphrey Bogart in "African Queen." However, I couldn't see which way to go, so I took my teenage paddling partner ashore so he could climb a rock and direct me.
WhiteWolf
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12/12/2018 09:54AM
Tripping with BeaV. (tongue in cheek BeaV-- especially across NAM/Crooked etc.in the dark)-- :O)- the rest will be told .



Though, I must admit; some of the most challenging and rewarding times of my canoeing career (if you call it that). If you got what it takes- make the "mistake" and canoe with the legend in BeaV. It's a "mistake" you will never forget and want to repeat at the same time. What is the definition of "insanity" again??

mastertangler
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12/12/2018 01:37PM
bobbernumber3: "joetrain: "... my wife and I were almost killed ...
~JOE~"



Really almost killed? "


Sure........if you have never been there its hard to explain. I have "almost" bit the dust several times. A glancing blow from another vehicle to a front fender after having fallen asleep driving to see my girlfriend after a Marshal Tucker Band concert on a country road doing 65 plus miles an hour. Another 10" or so and it would of been a head on. Thats "almost" dying ;-0 I figured I must of fell asleep because I never seen the big black TransAm that I clipped until I looked in my rear view mirror framed perfectly in the only street lamp (intersection) along that entire stretch of highway. Dumb kid that I was, my main concern was being bummed about ruining my front fender of my cherry Ranchero.

I can picture Joes Canoe and the the wind and waves........big powerful rollers cresting and breaking.........each pass and you figure your going to roll. Cold water or no PFD and your dead. Thats "almost" dying.

Canoe country mistakes? Sure, we all have a pile of them. My pal and his kid and I went to Isle Royale and he had left their fishing reels in a paper bag in the back of my truck. Fortunately the gift shop had some equipment.

Organization is vitally important IMO. Its hard to get a routine going when its something we dont do on a regular basis. When I first started canoe tripping I had just started getting into the hang of things and then it was time to go home........only to rinse and repeat the following year. Finally I wised up and got organized. My stuff is pretty much color coded and separated. Red duffel is all the cooking stuff, blue bag is clothing, green bag is lunch stuff, Orvis bag is rain gear, T.P. etc.

GraniteCliffs
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12/12/2018 01:39PM
So I am in the Q about 15 years ago heading south on McDougall. I had about 50 Q trips in by then. I was with a group of 4-5 guys but I had the most experience by far. So everyone presumes I know what I am doing. So did I.
We paddle down the lake and since I knew where we were going and I had been there before I may have paid scant attention to the map. I spy the bay we need to head to. Next I can see the portage.
We hit shore and off we go. I had a canoe and whatever and went first. I was surprised at how overgrown the portage was. I got to the end of the portage feeling quite unsure of myself and saw a lake that was not the right size or layout.
Yep, I had portaged into the wrong lake--Cushing Lake! I still hear about that error all these years later from the folks I was with.
inspector13
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12/12/2018 01:56PM
mastertangler: "bobbernumber3: "joetrain: "... my wife and I were almost killed ...
~JOE~"

Really almost killed? "

Sure........if you have never been there its hard to explain. I have "almost" bit the dust several times. ...Cold water or no PFD and your dead. Thats "almost" dying. "

Man have you made a boo boo. Bobber was literally a "bobber".

Canoearoo
distinguished member(2306)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/12/2018 03:41PM
inspector13: "mastertangler: "bobbernumber3: "joetrain: "... my wife and I were almost killed ...
~JOE~"

Really almost killed? "

Sure........if you have never been there its hard to explain. I have "almost" bit the dust several times. ...Cold water or no PFD and your dead. Thats "almost" dying. "

Man have you made a boo boo. Bobber was literally a "bobber".


"


If joetrain would have flipped and been in the water he could have been bobbernumber4
12/12/2018 06:53PM
About five years back my then 8 year old son and I took our first trip, Granite River starting from Gunflint Lake heading north to Sag Falls.

Just north of Granite Bay we encounter a little "mini" rapid, looks easy to run. We give it a shot, big wind hits us half way down the same time we hit a rock and turns us sideways, then capsize. Packs, leeches, everything goes into the water. Thankfully we're wearing our PFD's, as always.

Managed to retrieve everything but one shoe, but one of the packs took on water and we had to hang our sleeping bags, tent and some other gear out to dry.

Haven't challenged another rapid since, no matter how small.
12/13/2018 07:30AM
I suppose I could also mention the time that we drove all the way from Michigan to Ely (seems like this was in the early 90's--I'm too lazy to look it up), and shortly before we arrived there we were talking in the car and suddenly some mention was made of paddles.

A strange, sort of blank look came over Spartan1's face and he said "Paddles?" I looked at him with questions in my eyes, and he said, "I don't think I packed any paddles." Sigh.

We went to Canadian Waters as soon as we got to town and bought a couple of cheap paddles. But it was a source of jokes for all of the rest of our canoe-tripping days: "Have you remembered the paddles?"
missmolly
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12/13/2018 08:34AM
Spartan2: "I suppose I could also mention the time that we drove all the way from Michigan to Ely (seems like this was in the early 90's--I'm too lazy to look it up), and shortly before we arrived there we were talking in the car and suddenly some mention was made of paddles.

A strange, sort of blank look came over Spartan1's face and he said "Paddles?" I looked at him with questions in my eyes, and he said, "I don't think I packed any paddles." Sigh.

We went to Canadian Waters as soon as we got to town and bought a couple of cheap paddles. But it was a source of jokes for all of the rest of our canoe-tripping days: "Have you remembered the paddles?""


This reminds me of forgetting my cook kit once. I rarely see other paddlers on a trip, but a pair happened to be crossing my lake. I mentioned my predicament and they gave me a pot, which was all I needed.

Another mistake that frustrated me was visiting a lake that I knew held muskies. It was hard getting there. I had to cross three lakes and three of the portages had no portage trails. There was a swamp too. After all that, I only had a spinning rod and it just didn't have the backbone to hook muskies. I caught about ten, but lost twice that number.
Driftless
distinguished member (184)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/13/2018 09:14AM
It's already been mentioned, but that squiggly blue line that is not marked as a canoe route, but you are running short on time and it will save portaging through 4-5 lakes - don't take it. Just say no....
eagle98mn
senior member (55)senior membersenior member
 
12/13/2018 10:52AM
I'm enjoying the mishap stories! Particularly the ones that weren't quite as life-threatening. Safety is always a major point of emphasis, so those stories just make me thankful you all made it through to the other side. The less threatening mistakes are good for a December-laugh. Thanks for sharing everyone!
HowardSprague
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12/13/2018 11:19AM
Probably the biggest canoe country mistake I made was the one that ruined a good piece of equipment.
I was camped on Norway Lake with Bogwalker and Bannock. We each had our solo tents. At Bannock's urging, I played the old "stick a rock under someone's tent, right under their sleeping bag" prank on Bogwalker. Well, as it got dark Bannock retired to his tent, Bogs went off to his, and I went back in the woods to take a leak.
"Aaggghhh!" I heard, from Bogwalker's direction. I laughed, I heard Bannock giggle, and then a stream of angry profanity from Bogs.
I had angered the man.
I decided to take my time getting back to my tent. I was kind of afraid I had made a grievous mistake.
Indeed I had. Bogwalker, being a large 6'8" and 320 lbs of pure muscle and former runner-up in the Brooklyn Park Strongest Man Contest (1984-86-88, 3rd in '97), decided to retaliate. When things were quiet, I returned to my $700 Hilleberg tent and saw exactly how.
He had found a boulder. It was about 4' high and must have weighed a thousand pounds if it was an ounce. He had moved that thing about 50 yards and placed it smack dab in the middle of my tent. There was no way I, even with Bannock's assistance, could move it even an inch.
As we had five days remaining on our trip, I needed my shelter. So I had to take my knife and cut the floor of the tent around the perimeter of the bottom of the boulder. So I still had a tent, but it had a huge roundish hole in the floor. For some reason I took along my ground cloth too, though it had the same diameter hole. So I could use the tent again, but would have to cut a new innie cloth when I got home. Now, whenever I set up that tent (though I usually opt for one of my others), I am reminded to never cross Bogwalker. Or listen to Bannock. And to think first, before playing practical jokes on people.
12/13/2018 11:22AM
I remember reading a fellow paddler going into the forest after dark to do his business. Luckily he was able to find his way out in the morning before his trip mate figured it out and launched a search and rescue effort. Haha.
missmolly
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12/13/2018 12:47PM
You don't tug on superman's cape
You don't spit into the wind
You don't pull the mask off that old lone ranger
And you don't mess around with Bogwalker
BearMandolin
senior member (55)senior membersenior member
 
12/13/2018 01:17PM
I've always been the quartermaster on our group trips, setting the menu and gathering food. One two-week trip in 1982 I got the four of us a great line up of delightful food. One of the key components of our successful trips is coffee in great quantity, boiled in the percolator over the fire or stove at nearly every stop. That year I decided to go all out and get a number of varieties of "gourmet" coffee, five pounds in all if I remember correctly.

We got to our fist site and in the course of making dinner someone tried to start a pot. But couldn't. Turns out I had forgotten to get the coffee ground, so all we had as five pounds of beans.

While not as dramatic as joetrain's story, I too feared for my life briefly. For the next two weeks we literally ground the coffee beans between rocks at each site, picking pieces of granite out of the mix.
BigOarDeal
member (7)member
 
12/13/2018 02:52PM
BearMandolin: "While not as dramatic as joetrain's story, I too feared for my life briefly. For the next two weeks we literally ground the coffee beans between rocks at each site, picking pieces of granite out of the mix."

Haha that is hilarious! I'm glad you found a 'workaround' to get your beans ground! I can only imagine you all trying to grind the coffee with rocks... But yes, a trip without coffee does have mutiny potential!
A1t2o
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12/13/2018 03:36PM
This last trip, I turned into the wrong bay on Tuscarora when headed for the 360 rod portage to Missing Link. We ended up taking the 280 to Hubbub. Both are long portages and both looked like they crossed water half way through on the map. We didn't figure it out until we got to the other end of Hubbub and started wondering where the rest of the lake and our portage was.

After that I bought a map of my own. Before I always used my buddies maps and printed maps from online for lake depth and note taking. This trip my papers got wet and ruined so only one guy was looking at a map. Probably still going to print off maps on regular paper for notes and detailed DNR contour maps for fishing, but a map of my own is a must going forward.

Other mistakes I've made are a bit simpler, like taking on more than we could handle, forgetting gear, and over packing. The one big one that you probably want to hear about didn't take place in the bwca, but was still in a canoe. My dad made the mistake of standing up in the canoe while we were duck hunting. He thought he could throw a rock a little bit further if he stood so he could direct the dog to fetch a duck. Needless to say, it didn't end well and we both ended up in the lake. It took about 20 min to find my gun on the bottom but we did find it so nothing important was lost. Good thing my phone is waterproof too. My dad's wasn't but he was able to get by with it long enough with it and it was a really old phone so it wasn't a big deal.
joetrain
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12/13/2018 04:46PM
Yes from my perspective we very easily could have died. Winds were high,not sure how high but way way to strong. Water temps were 56-57 degrees and the air temps just a bit more. We were in a flat bottom aluminum canoe. By the time we made it to Prarie there was at least 4 inches of water in the boat.

If you don’t think that’s almost killed then try it sometimes.
~JOE~
RetiredDave
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12/13/2018 08:23PM
HowardSprague:
As we had five days remaining on our trip, I needed my shelter. So I had to take my knife and cut the floor of the tent around the perimeter of the bottom of the boulder. So I still had a tent, but it had a huge roundish hole in the floor. For some reason I took along my ground cloth too, though it had the same diameter hole. So I could use the tent again, but would have to cut a new innie cloth when I got home. Now, whenever I set up that tent (though I usually opt for one of my others), I am reminded to never cross Bogwalker. Or listen to Bannock. And to think first, before playing practical jokes on people.
"



This story made me laugh. Thank you!

Dave
LindenTree
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12/13/2018 08:33PM
HowardSprague: "Probably the biggest canoe country mistake I made was the one that ruined a good piece of equipment.
I was camped on Norway Lake with Bogwalker and Bannock. We each had our solo tents. At Bannock's urging, I played the old "stick a rock under someone's tent, right under their sleeping bag" prank on Bogwalker. Well, as it got dark Bannock retired to his tent, Bogs went off to his, and I went back in the woods to take a leak.
"Aaggghhh!" I heard, from Bogwalker's direction. I laughed, I heard Bannock giggle, and then a stream of angry profanity from Bogs.
I had angered the man.
I decided to take my time getting back to my tent. I was kind of afraid I had made a grievous mistake.
Indeed I did. Bogwalker, being a large 6'8" and 320 lbs of pure muscle and former runner-up in the Brooklyn Park Strongest Man Contest (1984-86-88, 3rd in '97), decided to retaliate. When things were quiet, I returned to my $700 Hilleberg tent and saw exactly how.
He had found a boulder. It was about 4' high and must have weight a thousand pounds if it was an ounce. He had moved that thing about 50 yards and placed it smack dab in the middle of my tent. There was no way I, even with Bannock's assistance, could move it even an inch.
As we had five days remaining on our trip, I needed my shelter. So I had to take my knife and cut the floor of the tent around the perimeter of the bottom of the boulder. So I still had a tent, but it had a huge roundish hole in the floor. For some reason I took along my ground cloth too, though it had the same diameter hole. So I could use the tent again, but would have to cut a new innie cloth when I got home. Now, whenever I set up that tent (though I usually opt for one of my others), I am reminded to never cross Bogwalker. Or listen to Bannock. And to think first, before playing practical jokes on people.
"


Howard, who moved the rock so you could remove your tent circle when you exited your camp.
HowardSprague
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12/13/2018 09:37PM
I had to lift the tent straight up and off/over the rock. The Boulder remains, with a circular piece of tent floor and ground cloth forever trapped underneath.
DrBobDerrig
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12/14/2018 08:37AM
HowardSprague: "I had to lift the tent straight up and off/over the rock. The Boulder remains, with a circular piece of tent floor and ground cloth forever trapped underneath."

that is serous anger..
d bob
DrBobDerrig
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12/14/2018 08:37AM
Spartan2: "In 43 years of canoe-tripping there have been many, many mistakes. Some of them, I am sure, were so inconsequential that we didn't even remember once the trip was done. Some of them still get a mention decades later. . .often with a smile or a guilty blush.

Probably the one I feel the most foolish about is from 1982. It was not our first trip, but our sixth. It was a ten-day trip out of Lake One (Insula, Thomas, Knife, Boulder, etc.) that we shared with three friends for the first five days, and then finished with five days on our own. Overall, a very enjoyable trip. It was just the two of us when the mistake(s) happened.

We wanted to go from Elton Lake to Hoe. We have always operated with a map and compass, and when we looked at our maps, we saw a 45 rod portage into Makwa Lake, then a 100 rod portage into Hoe Lake. But there was also a thin blue line on the map--a tiny stream leading from Elton directly to Hoe! I saw that little blue line and I just had to try it! :-) Can we? Can we please??

To quote from my journal: "I suggested we try the stream and it turned into a real adventure. The stream wound around through grasses and lily pads to a big beaver dam, which we lifted over, kept winding along, getting rockier and narrower and shallower 'til we had to bushwack through dense woods to a small pond, then through REALLY dense woods over moss covered rocks. when Neil finally got me and the packs settled near (not yet on) Hoe Lake and went back for the canoe he discovered he'd left his life vest back at the end of the stream! So he had to backtrack to retrieve it! By the time we got this all behind us it had taken two hours in misty rain and we sure wished we'd taken the portages!"

Lesson learned. There is usually a reason why the portage is there. ;-) But aren't those fine blue lines sometimes tempting??

It is not unknown for Spartan1 to "misplace" his PFD. Since we are serious about always wearing them in the canoe, this can make for delays. Another time, we were about to depart at the portage at Poplar/Lizz on the first leg of a trip, and I was all loaded up with my first pack, ready to start down the trail when I heard him say, "Ummm, Lynda." "What?" "You had better just put your pack down and wait a bit." "Why?" "I left my life jacket on the dock at Little Ollie Lake."

Sigh.

The trip was fine. It just started a bit later than planned. We left our packs at the portage and paddled back together that time.

We were always a good tandem team. I am sure he can come up with more stories of mistakes that I made, since now the score is 2-1 in favor of me. Sorry.

We always did have a watch. I think when you are traveling with a Type1 diabetic the schedule is often more important than for most people. It seemed important sometimes to know what time it was, how long it had been since a meal, etc. And in the case of an insulin reaction, I felt it was very important for me to be able to make a note of the time elapsed after I gave a corrective dosage of sugar. I also enjoyed noting the time that we did things in my journals.



"



Pfd's are strapped around the seats along with our seat cushions. can't be left behind.that way and they don't weigh that much.

One of our scouts lost his pfd. claims someone took it on a portage. maybe...but more likely he left it at the lunch where they had been to have lunch. Leaders gotta check any time kids get in their watercraft

dr bob
DrBobDerrig
distinguished member(725)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/14/2018 08:46AM
BigOarDeal: "BearMandolin: "While not as dramatic as joetrain's story, I too feared for my life briefly. For the next two weeks we literally ground the coffee beans between rocks at each site, picking pieces of granite out of the mix."


Haha that is hilarious! I'm glad you found a 'workaround' to get your beans ground! I can only imagine you all trying to grind the coffee with rocks... But yes, a trip without coffee does have mutiny potential!"


time for song from a master
Camp Coffee

dr bob
12/14/2018 08:51AM
DrBobDerrig: "


Pfd's are strapped around the seats along with our seat cushions. can't be left behind.that way and they don't weigh that much.


One of our scouts lost his pfd. claims someone took it on a portage. maybe...but more likely he left it at the lunch where they had been to have lunch. Leaders gotta check any time kids get in their watercraft


dr bob"




As long as those pfds dont get left strapped around those seats.
burrow1
senior member (80)senior membersenior member
 
12/14/2018 10:47AM
On a Philmount trip we had an experienced adult with a dozen trips under his feet get lost because he stepped off the trail to take a leak with out telling anyone (he was last in line) stepped back on the trail and went the opposite way. The group lost about 2 hours looking for him once we discovered he was missing. He couldn't figure out why he couldn't catch up and kept going faster. Once he finally figured out that he was going the wrong way we were able to reconnect. The group was heading west in the morning with clear skies. He went east into the sun. He was extremely embarrassed and humbled. But made a great teaching moment and laugh at dinner that night.
12/14/2018 11:49AM
DrBob: I agree in general, but Spartan1 had the type of pfd with the shoulder cushions for padding under the portage yoke. He has always liked that for portaging the canoe; has actually bought a second one when the first one got old and worn. So he wore it on the trip when he carried the canoe, then took it off and didn't wear it when he portaged the pack. Made it easier for a double-portager to leave it behind.

BigOarDeal
member (7)member
 
12/14/2018 11:58AM
Two stories, both from the same trip (and you can read further detail in my trip report):

1. Portaging from Kawishiwi River to Clear Lake (north of Clear Lake), the portage trail appears to start a few hundred yards north of the southern bay on the Kawishiwi. We found a false landing and started portaging a very faint trail that eventually dissipated. Wasted an hour before we got back in the canoe, went to the end of the bay and found the unmistakable portage trail. Lesson learned: if it doesn't look like a portage trail, it probably isn't (if a maintained portage).

2. We tried to shoot some rapids to save time on the Kawishiwi just south of the BWCA boundary. Long story short, canoe got wrapped around a boulder and we were stranded until our friends came back with an extra canoe. Lesson learned: take the portage.
jdevries
distinguished member(1613)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/14/2018 12:34PM
BigOarDeal: "Two stories, both from the same trip (and you can read further detail in my trip report):


1. Portaging from Kawishiwi River to Clear Lake (north of Clear Lake), the portage trail appears to start a few hundred yards north of the southern bay on the Kawishiwi. We found a false landing and started portaging a very faint trail that eventually dissipated. Wasted an hour before we got back in the canoe, went to the end of the bay and found the unmistakable portage trail. Lesson learned: if it doesn't look like a portage trail, it probably isn't (if a maintained portage).


2. We tried to shoot some rapids to save time on the Kawishiwi just south of the BWCA boundary. Long story short, canoe got wrapped around a boulder and we were stranded until our friends came back with an extra canoe. Lesson learned: take the portage."


1. Got all the way to Eskwagama before I realized I was on the wrong portage out of Clear.
2. There's good fishing below those rapids and you can't really get back down to the water if you take the portage!

JD
12/14/2018 07:22PM
Looking back on 40 years of BWCA/Quetico visits, I must say that my steepest learning curve was on my first trip, the summer of 1978. As posted elsewhere, I was the adult advisor for a crew of Boy Scouts from western North Carolina. The crew of 9 (myself, seven Scouts, and an 'advisor' from Charles L Sommers High Adventure Base) were paddling three canoes: 2 17' boom-alums and an 18' wood/canvas craft built by Joe Seliga. The 3 occupants of each canoe packed gear, food, and personal items into two Duluths; each portage was single-walked with one person carrying each canoe and the others carrying gear/food packs. Overall, a nice system (which I continue to mimic) and a focus on minimal gear/weight.

Except that the canoes weren't minimal weight! The aluminum canoes were 70-75# each, and the advisor said the Seliga started the trip around 80# and gained weight slightly throughout the trip. From the start, the advisor portaged the Seliga, I portaged one of the boom-alums, and a couple of the older/larger Scouts traded off on portaging the other aluminum craft.

Then, several days into the trip, we hit the long portage between Brent and Darkwater (then Darky). While the Scouts carrying packs had seen their burdens diminish, those of us portaging the canoes had not. We spread out a bit too much along the portage, and most of us collapsed for a wheeze break at the portage end. But two Scouts are slow to regroup. And they're my neighbors--I know the families, and feel very responsible for these two kids. After 25 minutes without signs or sounds of the two (who will only be identified as J and B), I decided to run back up the portage trail. I hadn't gone too far before I heard the boat's distinctive one-note wind chime effect, and when I saw J in the lead, I asked what was going on. He simply responded that B had problems with the canoe, which was quite understandable--I felt like I, too, had problems with the canoe!

After setting up a grand campsite on Darkwater and feeling revived by a great meal, we sat around the campfire to review the day. Comments about the tougher-than-usual portage from Brent Lake started B laughing and looking at J, who joined in on the laughter. Then B spilled the beans: "You want to know why that portage took me so long? I was popping the canoe onto my shoulders when a gust of wind caught it and I crapped my pants trying to hold onto it! Took me a while to get cleaned up and bury my underwear."

To this day, even with lighter canoes, I look at nearby treetops and listen for signs of wind before shouldering my canoe...

DrBobDerrig
distinguished member(725)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/15/2018 08:02AM
nctry: "DrBobDerrig: "



Pfd's are strapped around the seats along with our seat cushions. can't be left behind.that way and they don't weigh that much.



One of our scouts lost his pfd. claims someone took it on a portage. maybe...but more likely he left it at the lunch where they had been to have lunch. Leaders gotta check any time kids get in their watercraft



dr bob"




As long as those pfds dont get left strapped around those seats."


pretty uncomfortable with pfd and folded seat cushion under you. easily a couple inches higher in the canoe as well...

dr bob
WonderMonkey
distinguished member (179)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/15/2018 11:10AM
eagle98mn: "So here's a question I've been sitting on for a few months until it got cold. I know this forum is full of canoe country experts - so take a moment to impress us with your stories of things you didn't quite nail perfectly in the wilderness. :)

These two stories may make us sound like a couple of yahoos without a clue, but I don't think that is the case. That said, we apparently are prone to rationalizing incorrect conclusions rather than trusting the signs that are pointing out that we are wrong. We will keep on paddling, keep on learning...and keep on chuckling at our mistakes. :)"


I think they show how the human mind can lead us to error. At times the human mind will save us, which is why we trust it, but other times that rationalization will creep in and lead us off in another direction.
BuckFlicks
distinguished member(622)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/18/2018 04:45PM
THEGrandRapids: "
We put in on Kawishiwi lake on our way to Polly and the first 5 minutes all I could think about was whether I forgot something in the car. Well, we get to the first island out from the landing, and I'm thinking we are already by the island at the NE corner, where it heads out the creek to Square... so we basically stuck to the shoreline all the way there, thinking each bay was the outlet.... man did that have me twisted around. I'd say lesson learned and the rest of the trip I knew within a canoe length of where I was at all times. "


Kawishiwi throws me off every time. A lot of those islands aren't marked on the map and you think you've passed one set of islands when you really have only passed smaller, unmarked islands. We've never had any trouble navigating any other lakes.
bwcadan
distinguished member(1316)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/18/2018 07:03PM
Keep the PFD on until the end of your first portage trip.

I stubbornly decided the wind had completely reversed as I went half way around an island. It had not. 30 minutes later, I called uncle and all was well. The marvel of compasses.
carmike
distinguished member(1591)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/22/2018 09:20PM
I tipped on a solo trip in early May -- right after ice out, with snow drifts still lingering. Luckily and not purposefully, I was on the downwind side of the lake, so I was able to get to shore with my boat and gear floating to shore not too long after. I wouldn't say I almost died (thanks to my PFD and my gear arriving in due time), but never in my life have I been close to the feeling of fear and isolation (I had no sat phone or way of contacting anyone) I had then. I still remember getting to shore, slipping on the wet rocks, hurting my knees trying to crawl up into the brush, and then being on my back staring up at a warm, blue sky while trying to catch my breath....and then being terrified to look to see where my gear and boat were. Thankfully, it was drifting towards me.

It's left a permanent scar on my psyche. I still take solos in the shoulder seasons, but I enjoy them less than I used to, and if a wind kicks up over night, I find it almost impossible to sleep for anxiety for the next day's paddle.
bwcasolo
distinguished member(1723)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/23/2018 07:55AM
joetrain: "If you have any doubt if it is safe to paddle because of wind/waves then don’t go. Many years ago my wife and I were almost killed trying to paddle across Bailey Bay to get to our tow at Prarie Portage. I have never been so scared in my life. Never again.
~JOE~"

that IS a dicey bay to paddle in the wind, always raised my anxiety.
JackpineJim
distinguished member(645)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/23/2018 08:33AM
TrailZen: "Looking back on 40 years of BWCA/Quetico visits, I must say that my steepest learning curve was on my first trip, the summer of 1978. As posted elsewhere, I was the adult advisor for a crew of Boy Scouts from western North Carolina. The crew of 9 (myself, seven Scouts, and an 'advisor' from Charles L Sommers High Adventure Base) were paddling three canoes: 2 17' boom-alums and an 18' wood/canvas craft built by Joe Seliga. The 3 occupants of each canoe packed gear, food, and personal items into two Duluths; each portage was single-walked with one person carrying each canoe and the others carrying gear/food packs. Overall, a nice system (which I continue to mimic) and a focus on minimal gear/weight.


Except that the canoes weren't minimal weight! The aluminum canoes were 70-75# each, and the advisor said the Seliga started the trip around 80# and gained weight slightly throughout the trip. From the start, the advisor portaged the Seliga, I portaged one of the boom-alums, and a couple of the older/larger Scouts traded off on portaging the other aluminum craft.


Then, several days into the trip, we hit the long portage between Brent and Darkwater (then Darky). While the Scouts carrying packs had seen their burdens diminish, those of us portaging the canoes had not. We spread out a bit too much along the portage, and most of us collapsed for a wheeze break at the portage end. But two Scouts are slow to regroup. And they're my neighbors--I know the families, and feel very responsible for these two kids. After 25 minutes without signs or sounds of the two (who will only be identified as J and B), I decided to run back up the portage trail. I hadn't gone too far before I heard the boat's distinctive one-note wind chime effect, and when I saw J in the lead, I asked what was going on. He simply responded that B had problems with the canoe, which was quite understandable--I felt like I, too, had problems with the canoe!


After setting up a grand campsite on Darkwater and feeling revived by a great meal, we sat around the campfire to review the day. Comments about the tougher-than-usual portage from Brent Lake started B laughing and looking at J, who joined in on the laughter. Then B spilled the beans: "You want to know why that portage took me so long? I was popping the canoe onto my shoulders when a gust of wind caught it and I crapped my pants trying to hold onto it! Took me a while to get cleaned up and bury my underwear."


To this day, even with lighter canoes, I look at nearby treetops and listen for signs of wind before shouldering my canoe...


"



This reminds me of the time in 1967 when my dad took me on a trip to Malberg with a group of construction workers he knew. A fellow named George, a union Mason from southern Wisconsin who wore a pretty nice white cowboy hat, manned the front of our canoe with me, an 11 year old kid, sitting in the middle on a pack. George had a huge and unwieldy frame pack loaded to the max. On the first portage landing on the shore of Kawishachong he swung his pack up on his back, lost his balance and fell back on his backside. He looked up and said, "I think I shit my pants". Unforgettable and very humorous to an eleven year old.
PaddleAway
distinguished member(937)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/24/2018 12:16AM
Good stories, or disturbing, depending on how you look at it.

My stupid moment came pre-trip. Several years ago I'd been sick for a couple days before the trip & skimped on my normal pre-trip planning, because I'm always afraid of forgetting something. So instead of double-checking everything, I took a three hour nap. I've done this dozens of times, I thought.

Well, luckily, we got a late start & ended up reaching our entry point only moments before dark. We paddled about three hundred yards to the nearest campsite to set up. I pulled out my tent & instantly knew....I had no poles. I ended up paddling back to the landing, driving into the nearest town, sleeping in the car, & buying a tent first thing.

I've never skimped on pre-planning again.
missmolly
distinguished member(9268)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
12/24/2018 08:43AM
carmike: "I tipped on a solo trip in early May -- right after ice out, with snow drifts still lingering. Luckily and not purposefully, I was on the downwind side of the lake, so I was able to get to shore with my boat and gear floating to shore not too long after. I wouldn't say I almost died (thanks to my PFD and my gear arriving in due time), but never in my life have I been close to the feeling of fear and isolation (I had no sat phone or way of contacting anyone) I had then. I still remember getting to shore, slipping on the wet rocks, hurting my knees trying to crawl up into the brush, and then being on my back staring up at a warm, blue sky while trying to catch my breath....and then being terrified to look to see where my gear and boat were. Thankfully, it was drifting towards me.


It's left a permanent scar on my psyche. I still take solos in the shoulder seasons, but I enjoy them less than I used to, and if a wind kicks up over night, I find it almost impossible to sleep for anxiety for the next day's paddle. "


Wow, that's a scary story. The way the fear and deprivation lodged in you reminds me of mighty BeaV. I talked to him a couple times after his expedition and he told me that there were two opposing currents in him; He was tenderized by what he endured, psychically bruised, but he'd still see a river and want to launch a boat to see where it went.
TomT
distinguished member(5355)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
12/24/2018 09:26AM
My biggest mistake was using canvas converse high tops on my first solo as a very green tripper in 1984. I wanted to "go light" so didn't bring a 2nd pair of shoes. Not too smart. The blisters were excruciating. I doubt they were ever dry after the first day of a weeklong trip.

bottomtothetap
distinguished member(761)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/24/2018 05:09PM
ozarkpaddler: "Blatz: "Get a compass. Easy to use and reliable"


Yup, never took a watch and never will. Unless you have a shuttle boat to meet, why bother? Even then, weather and waves still dictate when you will get to your rendezvous point. Just an encumbrance you really don't need. Eat when you're hungry, drink when you're thirsty, sleep when you're tired. Native Americans think we're goofy for looking at a timepiece to tell us when to do things.



I've purposely tripped without a timepiece before and looked forward to the "freedom" from knowing what time it was and, rather, conducting ourselves by instinct, the sun and other observations and reckoning.

Frankly, even though we didn't have any need to be anywhere, I found not having any means of telling time to be a bit discomforting. I'm not good at judging how long we have left for daylight and found myself performing camp chores and having meals in the dark with annoying frequency. We were able to function OK but just found that a watch was a handy tool to help make the trip enjoyable. I suppose if I had to I could also forgo a map and compass and instead keep the trip really simple and find my way as needed by observing the sun, horizon contours, currents, etc. but I find that those are pretty handy tools for expanding the trip possibilities and important for us to have the experience we are hoping for. I've come to regard a watch in that same manner.
Guest Paddler
 
12/27/2018 02:43PM
BuckFlicks: "THEGrandRapids: "
We put in on Kawishiwi lake on our way to Polly and the first 5 minutes all I could think about was whether I forgot something in the car. Well, we get to the first island out from the landing, and I'm thinking we are already by the island at the NE corner, where it heads out the creek to Square... so we basically stuck to the shoreline all the way there, thinking each bay was the outlet.... man did that have me twisted around. I'd say lesson learned and the rest of the trip I knew within a canoe length of where I was at all times. "



Kawishiwi throws me off every time. A lot of those islands aren't marked on the map and you think you've passed one set of islands when you really have only passed smaller, unmarked islands. We've never had any trouble navigating any other lakes."


Same thing happened to us when we got on Kawishiwi the first time. Those Islands really through us for a loop.
Stumpy
distinguished member(1519)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/27/2018 05:43PM
Unfold the map !
Many years ago my friends Randy, Cary, & I were on the lakes Northwest of Silence Lake in Q.
After pulling away from one portage and having the map fold, cross right through the lake we were on (no name), I said "Oh the next portage is right there".
We portaged & I unfolded the map to find out we should have taken another portage, further down the lake.
We headed back.
Then came the debate....
Randy said, "I thought you never get lost up here".
I said I wasn't lost, because if you had asked me where I was, I would have pointed to the portage we were on. I knew right where I was on the map.
I only admit to being off course.
We still laugh about it.
What you say ??
Castaway
distinguished member (160)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/28/2018 10:01AM

Fixing the quote font.
eagle98mn
senior member (55)senior membersenior member
 
12/28/2018 11:49AM
PaddleAway: "We paddled about three hundred yards to the nearest campsite to set up. I pulled out my tent & instantly knew....I had no poles. I ended up paddling back to the landing, driving into the nearest town, sleeping in the car, & buying a tent first thing. "

Ha! This is a good one and perfectly captures the spirit of the stories I was looking for. I should have called the thread "Canoe Country Bloopers". Thanks for sharing!
Canoearoo
distinguished member(2306)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/28/2018 02:47PM
eagle98mn: "PaddleAway: "We paddled about three hundred yards to the nearest campsite to set up. I pulled out my tent & instantly knew....I had no poles. I ended up paddling back to the landing, driving into the nearest town, sleeping in the car, & buying a tent first thing. "


Ha! This is a good one and perfectly captures the spirit of the stories I was looking for. I should have called the thread "Canoe Country Bloopers". Thanks for sharing!"


I own a lot of tents. I once showed up to the BWCA with the wrong tent poles for the tent I had! hahaha. I ended up making it work. It was only a 2 night trip.
treehorn
distinguished member (241)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/28/2018 03:36PM
This thread made me think of a story I read in someone's trip report...

Their canoe left their site in a gust of wind overnight and floated to the other side of the lake. Roughly a mile away by their estimation. It had their pfd's and paddles in it.

She SWAM to go get it. I'm not saying she did the wrong thing. They waited for help and nobody was coming, and the lake was too large to circumvent by foot (they may have been on an island). But talk about scary. I asked her questions about it and one of her replies...

"I hope you never read about a swim like this again nor do I think anyone should ever do it. It wasn't something we took lightly. If I hadn't completed a tri and also the swim leg of 2 group tri-s we never would have considered this retrieval. It was still scary and my mother knows nothing of it. I warmed up, stretched, and warmed up some more. My husband who I have never heard pray aloud before or after this event, prayed for safety, strong strokes, no cramps, and continued glass lake surface. We knew the 2 outcomes.

Again, to anyone reading this, don't retrieve your canoe by swimming across a lake. Just don't."

So....lesson is tie up your canoes securely!
andym
distinguished member(4501)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
12/28/2018 08:08PM
Not sure a mile swim really scares me that much if the water is calm and warm. It should only take about 30 minutes and so you should be able to judge whether the weather is stable.

A PFD would make it safer but much slower. Plus, mine is usually attached to the canoe when onshore. So, it would be gone too. What I would do is take a dry bag with me to serve as flotation for safety. That could be either rolled up to inflate if needed or inflated before hand and attached by a line to the waste. Some open water swimmers use a setup like that as a safety buoy for visibility to boats.

Final question would be whether to do the swim as a pair to be able to help each other. Slows you down to the speed of the slower person but could definitely be safer in the event of a cramp.

But, our canoes are always tied up by the bow and stern. So, we don’t take this risk.
WhiteWolf
distinguished member(5168)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
12/29/2018 07:15AM
Personally- I would be more concerned about the paddle back- solo- in a tandem canoe with no load in it. Any wind- and your better off probably swimming again (towing back) if your a strong enough swimmer to attempt it in the first place. The stretching and "warming up" before hand is not to be taken lightly. Kudos to the individual involved. They prepared well for the challenge and sounds like they got it done.


As far as two going for swim and if one gets a cramp-- two for the paddle back would be nice, but if one gets a cramp in the swim, I see little the other person could do without the aid of a PFD. Than again- little the other person could do onshore.
WhiteWolf
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12/29/2018 07:15AM
double post.
andym
distinguished member(4501)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
12/29/2018 03:01PM
There are easy swimmer assistance methods for rescues when someone has a cramp and is calm. Victim places hands on rescuers shoulders and leans back while rescuer does breaststroke (hands much wider than usual). It’s actually the only “go” rescue I ever did. I used it when I was in the water with a class when one of my students got a cramp. A nice thing is that it is so calm no one even noticed he had a problem. Just swam him to a dock and handed him off to another staff member.

Good point about the second person helping on the paddle back.

Still tying up our canoes.
carmike
distinguished member(1591)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/30/2018 12:04AM
missmolly: "carmike: "I tipped on a solo trip in early May -- right after ice out, with snow drifts still lingering. Luckily and not purposefully, I was on the downwind side of the lake, so I was able to get to shore with my boat and gear floating to shore not too long after. I wouldn't say I almost died (thanks to my PFD and my gear arriving in due time), but never in my life have I been close to the feeling of fear and isolation (I had no sat phone or way of contacting anyone) I had then. I still remember getting to shore, slipping on the wet rocks, hurting my knees trying to crawl up into the brush, and then being on my back staring up at a warm, blue sky while trying to catch my breath....and then being terrified to look to see where my gear and boat were. Thankfully, it was drifting towards me.



It's left a permanent scar on my psyche. I still take solos in the shoulder seasons, but I enjoy them less than I used to, and if a wind kicks up over night, I find it almost impossible to sleep for anxiety for the next day's paddle. "



Wow, that's a scary story. The way the fear and deprivation lodged in you reminds me of mighty BeaV. I talked to him a couple times after his expedition and he told me that there were two opposing currents in him; He was tenderized by what he endured, psychically bruised, but he'd still see a river and want to launch a boat to see where it went. "


I suspect he's been through much, much, much tougher times, though I am honored that tipping my canoe puts me in such company! :)
missmolly
distinguished member(9268)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
12/30/2018 08:51AM
carmike: "missmolly: "carmike: "I tipped on a solo trip in early May -- right after ice out, with snow drifts still lingering. Luckily and not purposefully, I was on the downwind side of the lake, so I was able to get to shore with my boat and gear floating to shore not too long after. I wouldn't say I almost died (thanks to my PFD and my gear arriving in due time), but never in my life have I been close to the feeling of fear and isolation (I had no sat phone or way of contacting anyone) I had then. I still remember getting to shore, slipping on the wet rocks, hurting my knees trying to crawl up into the brush, and then being on my back staring up at a warm, blue sky while trying to catch my breath....and then being terrified to look to see where my gear and boat were. Thankfully, it was drifting towards me.



It's left a permanent scar on my psyche. I still take solos in the shoulder seasons, but I enjoy them less than I used to, and if a wind kicks up over night, I find it almost impossible to sleep for anxiety for the next day's paddle. "




Wow, that's a scary story. The way the fear and deprivation lodged in you reminds me of mighty BeaV. I talked to him a couple times after his expedition and he told me that there were two opposing currents in him; He was tenderized by what he endured, psychically bruised, but he'd still see a river and want to launch a boat to see where it went. "



I suspect he's been through much, much, much tougher times, though I am honored that tipping my canoe puts me in such company! :) "


Yeah, he crashed, aka extreme tipping, in the Bering Sea surf one time. Lost his hat. He loved that hat.
treehorn
distinguished member (241)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/17/2019 01:35PM
andym: "Not sure a mile swim really scares me that much if the water is calm and warm. It should only take about 30 minutes and so you should be able to judge whether the weather is stable. "

Anyone who is not both in VERY good shape cardio-wise AND a strong swimmer, should absolutely be scared of a mile swim in open water with no flotation assistance. That is a death sentence for, I'd guess, at least half of the people that venture into the BWCA. And the ones that make it, most would be on their back just survival floating and making slow progress half the time.

Go watch any triathlon...these are people that are actually training swimming, and many of them end up on their backs, or grabbing a boat or buoy for a rest along the way. And most average people aren't training swimming, so that mile swim is nothing to be taken lightly.
OtherBob
member (50)member
 
01/17/2019 01:52PM
Three canoes launching at Kawishiwi Lake. First canoe takes off, but headed wrong way to the portage. I'm waiting for rookie couple to finish loading, but they tell me to catch the other canoe, they will meet us at the portage. At the portage we wait about half an hour for the rookies. He tells us he doesn't have his car keys, may have left them at the entry. Not wanting to wait another hour, my bow paddler and I head back to the entry, where we find the car keys, in the car, with the engine running and the doors open! Just a little beginner's anxiety, I guess.
jwartman59
distinguished member(3097)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/17/2019 07:40PM
My brother lived in Duluth, we were having beers and came up with a plan to take a ten day trip to wabakimi. We left two days later. We had maps from earlier trips, no info on portages or campsites, we’ve done many Canadian wilderness trips so we were fine. We were surprised that many of the portages we had used years before were no longer maintained, we would have to run many of the rapids. Problem with this we stupidly brought a mn2, a horrible canoe for whitewater, also we only brought one pdf. Oops. We were running a long non technical rapid on the ogoki river. Of course with the mn2 we ran up on a rock. Me brother paddling bow leaped on the rock and kept the canoe from broadsiding. No problem so far, however as I sat in the eddy it was obvious that my brother would not be able to get into the canoe, he was going to have to swim and as we were in the middle of the river things were interesting. I was in hysterics laughing at him. Then I realized that he would need the pfd, I threw it to him. That was quite the trip.



Took a photo
JackpineJim
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01/17/2019 08:53PM
One trip into Malberg two of my uncles and their buddy Carl decided to bring in a half barrel of beer. They loaded the canoe with a couple of Duluth Packs, Carl in the front, Donny in the back, and Larry sitting atop the half barrel in the center of the aluminum canoe. We watched them push off, all expecting entertainment. They made it about 60 feet before they rolled the canoe.

Undaunted, they waded the canoe back to the landing, emptied it of water and resituated the load. Thinking they were done in by the high center of gravity of Larry sitting atop the upright barrel, they situated the half barrel laying down with a couple of seat cushions wedged in on each side to keep it from rolling in the canoe. This time Larry sat on the barrel like he was riding a horse. They pushed off again, all of us watching the show, and again made it about 60 feet before the barrel shifted and they went for another swim.

That was enough, they gave up on the idea of plentiful beer at Malberg and put the half barrel back in the trunk of Donny's car.
bobbernumber3
distinguished member(895)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/18/2019 09:17AM
joetrain: "Yes from my perspective we very easily could have died. Winds were high,not sure how high but way way to strong. Water temps were 56-57 degrees and the air temps just a bit more. We were in a flat bottom aluminum canoe. By the time we made it to Prarie there was at least 4 inches of water in the boat.


If you don’t think that’s almost killed then try it sometimes.
~JOE~"


Well, at least you weren't in the water. For an hour. And a float plane didn't have to rescue you and your group. And you didn't wake up hours later in a Ranger's cabin. Or have your incident reported in the paper.

You're never really cold, until you pass out! That's almost killed...
TomT
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01/18/2019 09:18AM
Most embarrassing and expensive mistake was taking a creek that ran along a portage thinking I would just portage the packs then float the creek in the empty canoe in the high water from a weeks worth of rain.

This was in Quetico in 1988 and I was solo. Luckily I invited a couple who were looking for a campsite on Isabella Lake the evening before to share my site. They were travelling out the same way so at the outlet creek of the lake I portaged the packs then said I'll just take a shortcut by floating the creek in the empty boat.

All went well until close to the end when the rushing water had me caught up in branches. I could see the pond where the creek emptied so I had the bright idea of getting out and letting the canoe float through and I'd get it in the pond.

I pointed the canoe downstream and let it go. The plan worked flawlessly until just at the outlet where it caught on a boulder and turned sideways. Now, this was my Sawyer Autumn Mist's maiden voyage. It was a beautiful white golden glass canoe with black trim. As it got stuck and wrapped around the boulder I heard ripping noises. This was very, very bad. It was stuck, wrapped on the rock as water rushed around it. I waded over to it and with all my strength pried it off the rock and heard more ripping as I did so. I was mad. I couldn't believe I just did that. I was swearing a LOT.

The damage was extensive. I pulled the gunnels apart but no way could I paddle this boat. I took out the duct tape and sealed the large "L" shaped rip off the stern as best I could. Again, I was fortunate to be with this couple at the time and they offered to tow the canoe out while I rode in theirs.

In north bay we had to pull up to an occupied island site to empty all the water in my boat. Another memory of this ordeal was sitting at the sandy beach portage landing at Bayley Bay taking a break when a large group of 4 canoes pulled up. I embarrassingly told the story to shocked looks on their faces.

So, I stored the canoe in my Dad's garage rafters hoping to get it fixed. I took it to Ralph Freese at the Chicagoland Canoe Base who told me it was totalled. I ended up selling it to one of his employees for $50. I had paid $850. for it about 4 months prior. Yes, it was a low, low feeling for quite a while. I learned a lot about the power of water that fateful day. Respect the water. Lesson learned. Sorry for the long story. I had never fully told this to anyone until now.

BTW, in order to save weight for this big loop I was doing for 8 nights, I decided to leave my heavy 35 mm camera at home. I don't have a single picture from this trip or of the canoe. Just a bad memory. :) It would be cool if that couple I was with somehow reads this and chimes in.








missmolly
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01/18/2019 01:02PM
TomT, that's a sad story. Thanks for telling it though, as it might save someone else's canoe down the river. I could totally see myself doing exactly what you'd done.
MichiganJohn
member (18)member
 
01/18/2019 05:38PM


First time in the BWCA, solo trip to the Crab Lake area. Well, this pic shows the weather from that day. My big mistake, paddling across Burntside Lake in 30 mph gusts. I'm sure everybody can guess what happened to me. I was too inexperienced to be tackling that big lake in those conditions. Still can't bring myself to try another solo, even though I really want to. Wife won't let me go alone again anyway. Too bad because most of my friends just don't get into wilderness tripping. I can still recall every vivid detail from that day. Oh, and always remember to zip you map case; or your iPhone gets drenched and stops working. :(
deerfoot
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01/18/2019 06:19PM
OtherBob: "Three canoes launching at Kawishiwi Lake. First canoe takes off, but headed wrong way to the portage. I'm waiting for rookie couple to finish loading, but they tell me to catch the other canoe, they will meet us at the portage. At the portage we wait about half an hour for the rookies. He tells us he doesn't have his car keys, may have left them at the entry. Not wanting to wait another hour, my bow paddler and I head back to the entry, where we find the car keys, in the car, with the engine running and the doors open! Just a little beginner's anxiety, I guess."

Very funny story.
andym
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01/19/2019 01:08AM
treehorn: "andym: "Not sure a mile swim really scares me that much if the water is calm and warm. It should only take about 30 minutes and so you should be able to judge whether the weather is stable. "


Anyone who is not both in VERY good shape cardio-wise AND a strong swimmer, should absolutely be scared of a mile swim in open water with no flotation assistance. That is a death sentence for, I'd guess, at least half of the people that venture into the BWCA. And the ones that make it, most would be on their back just survival floating and making slow progress half the time.


Go watch any triathlon...these are people that are actually training swimming, and many of them end up on their backs, or grabbing a boat or buoy for a rest along the way. And most average people aren't training swimming, so that mile swim is nothing to be taken lightly."


Agreed that it should scare you if you don’t know you are up to it. I sometimes do a workout and then swim a mile. I’m also a former lifeguard and swimming instructor. Of course, a mile in a pool is easier than in open water. We sometimes take mile swims from our cabin.

Also note that the rest of my post was about how to make the swim safer by having flotation along.

Finally, like the triathletes there is nothing wrong with winding up on your back for a while. Part of being safe in an open water swim is knowing how to rest. That can be some elementary backstroke, some breaststroke, or survival floating. A long swim doesn’t have to be all freestyle.

And don’t try it unless you are confident of your ability. Thinking it through beforehand is part of making it safer.
ozarkpaddler
distinguished member(5568)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
01/19/2019 10:49AM
TomT: "Most embarrassing and expensive mistake was taking a creek that ran along a portage thinking I would just portage the packs then float the creek in the empty canoe in the high water from a weeks worth of rain.

This was in Quetico in 1988 and I was solo. Luckily I invited a couple who were looking for a campsite on Isabella Lake the evening before to share my site. They were travelling out the same way so at the outlet creek of the lake I portaged the packs then said I'll just take a shortcut by floating the creek in the empty boat.

All went well until close to the end when the rushing water had me caught up in branches. I could see the pond where the creek emptied so I had the bright idea of getting out and letting the canoe float through and I'd get it in the pond.

I pointed the canoe downstream and let it go. The plan worked flawlessly until just at the outlet where it caught on a boulder and turned sideways. Now, this was my Sawyer Autumn Mist's maiden voyage. It was a beautiful white golden glass canoe with black trim. As it got stuck and wrapped around the boulder I heard ripping noises. This was very, very bad. It was stuck, wrapped on the rock as water rushed around it. I waded over to it and with all my strength pried it off the rock and heard more ripping as I did so. I was mad. I couldn't believe I just did that. I was swearing a LOT.

The damage was extensive. I pulled the gunnels apart but no way could I paddle this boat. I took out the duct tape and sealed the large "L" shaped rip off the stern as best I could. Again, I was fortunate to be with this couple at the time and they offered to tow the canoe out while I rode in theirs.

In north bay we had to pull up to an occupied island site to empty all the water in my boat. Another memory of this ordeal was sitting at the sandy beach portage landing at Bayley Bay taking a break when a large group of 4 canoes pulled up. I embarrassingly told the story to shocked looks on their faces.

So, I stored the canoe in my Dad's garage rafters hoping to get it fixed. I took it to Ralph Freese at the Chicagoland Canoe Base who told me it was totalled. I ended up selling it to one of his employees for $50. I had paid $850. for it about 4 months prior. Yes, it was a low, low feeling for quite a while. I learned a lot about the power of water that fateful day. Respect the water. Lesson learned. Sorry for the long story. I had never fully told this to anyone until now.

BTW, in order to save weight for this big loop I was doing for 8 nights, I decided to leave my heavy 35 mm camera at home. I don't have a single picture from this trip or of the canoe. Just a bad memory. :) It would be cool if that couple I was with somehow reads this and chimes in.
"


Sad tale! While I don't have a picture of YOUR Autumn Mist, I have a few of my old one. I really loved mine also, but made a mistake too. I thought I'd sell it and save a bit of cash up and buy one in kevlar from the resurrected Superior/Sawyer company? Unfortunately, a year or so later, he wouldn't answer e-mails or phone and found out the guy had went out of business. I wonder what ever happened to those old molds? FINE hull that I miss and share your pain!
TomT
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01/19/2019 11:36AM
Nice pics. Thanks for posting! I tried my best to wipe that beautiful boat out of my mind. Looking back now it was a real good lesson for me to learn. Hey, most of us are young and stupid at some point in our lives. I think my angel was looking out for me that day. If I was alone it would not have been a good situation. My little angel sent that couple to my site the night before. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.
 
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