BWCA Trip Report - The Friendly Flies Trip 2002 Boundary Waters Trip Reports
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02/24/2022 10:50AM  
New Trip Report posted by Spartan2

Trip Name: The Friendly Flies Trip 2002.

Entry Point: 50

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missmolly
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02/24/2022 12:38PM  
Fine photos and good storytelling, Lynda.

I also had a fly trip and they coated my gear. I'd grab a pot and they'd fly at me. I'd grab the water bottle and they'd fly at me. As long as I didn't touch my stuff, they were pretty chill.
WonderMonkey
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02/24/2022 12:43PM  
Thanks for posting the trip report. You write so well! I am not looking forward to ever running into the flies like you did.
02/24/2022 01:23PM  
missmolly: "Fine photos and good storytelling, Lynda.

I also had a fly trip and they coated my gear. I'd grab a pot and they'd fly at me. I'd grab the water bottle and they'd fly at me. As long as I didn't touch my stuff, they were pretty chill. "

Thank you.

I guess they have their own habits. Ours were very clearly attracted to warmth—our bodies, anything in the sun, our food and drink. Couldn’t use a headnet, as soon it would be so covered with them that you couldn’t see out. And they didn’t “shoo”. You had to actively brush them off.

Every year I go up there in June again I am wondering if it will be another friendly fly year. So far, haven’t seen them since.
02/24/2022 03:58PM  
Thanks so much for another new/old trip report! The green can of Deep Woods Off, the 1# propane tanks and the butt wrecking "camp stools" brings a smile to my face. I thought it couldn't get any worse then black flies-seems I was wrong!
I will be going out of Cross Bay in May (second trip using EP50) your trip report couldn't have come at a better time.
What is Racko?

Thanks again, Merlyn
02/24/2022 04:44PM  
merlyn: "Thanks so much for another new/old trip report! The green can of Deep Woods Off, the 1# propane tanks and the butt wrecking "camp stools" brings a smile to my face. I thought it couldn't get any worse then black flies-seems I was wrong!
I will be going out of Cross Bay in May (second trip using EP50) your trip report couldn't have come at a better time.
What is Racko?


Thanks again, Merlyn
"


Hi Merlyn.
First of all, I loved that camp stool! It probably meant that I was able to go tripping for another decade after we got it--my arthritic knees (now both totally replaced) couldn't squat to cook by the fire or the stove. And that stool was nice because I didn't sink into the ground like some of them did. Incredibly lightweight, too. We still use it around the house, believe it or not.

IMHO the "friendly flies" were worse than mosquitoes, worse than blackflies, maybe not worse than ankle-biters or deerflies, but those don't swarm around by the hundreds in the same way. And the fact that there were also the big worms--just so very icky. But everyone has their own opinion of what is worst. Some people are freaked out by a garter snake and I think they are just really cool. The big water spiders are scary to some people and I can spend an afternoon just watching them and photographing them.

Racko is a game where you arrange numerical cards into a rack and try to get them in chronological order. You can ditch the box and take just the racks and the deck of cards, and it is lightweight and easy to carry in a miscellaneous pack. We found it more fun than card games, but it doesn't have much strategy--sort of mindless fun. Racko
sedges
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02/24/2022 06:40PM  
Such a wonderful trip report! Love that Cross bay Lake campsite!

June wildflowers and wildlife make solstice trips my favorites. I was in Quetico on my first solo at the same time as this trip. I met quite a few folks headed out early because of the friendly flies. I was wet-footing my launches with a woodstrip canoe and the dead caterpilars bothered me more than the flies. At the end of one portage in the Man Chain a whole bay was covered with dead FTC and they stuck to pants and mashed when you tried to brush then off. YUCK

I found that the flies were particularly attracted to yellow. I would put my Fisher maps out at the far end of a campsite to attract them away from my living area. Sorta worked, but not good enough.

Thank you for sharing this trip with us!
TuscaroraBorealis
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02/24/2022 07:38PM  
Another gem! The report. Perhaps not the trip itself???

The perseverance you both displayed in dealing with the flies and army worms (that's what I've always called them) was nothing short of heroic. Praise God, I haven't had to deal with anything like that in the BWCA. Although, on a day paddle on the Platte River near Royalton, MN I did. It was sooooo bad! There was literally a cloud of flies, that eventually drove me to madness as I broke out in laughter. My suffering paddling partner scowled, "What so #@>^ing funny!?!?" I told him they're getting me just as bad, there's just nothing I can do about it but laugh. Biblical pladue is the term that came to mind. :-D

We did wake one morning to the tent being covered with dead bugs but, it was more gross than bothersome.

Having just completed a similar trip last year, it was interesting to hear and see details of the area from days gone by. You make the Cross Bay site look and sound pretty nice. I must admit I've never actually gave it a good look see, as the one time I stopped, my partner quickly dismissed it. It was also fun to hear about the several other areas that are still fresh in my mind. Enjoyed all the flower pictures.

Kicking around the possibility of finally making it to CanoeCopia this year. God willing, it would be fun to cross meeting you guys off my bucket list.

Anyways....if you're still reading this? :) Another excellent report. Thank you for taking the time to put it all together and share it here. It's much appreciated.

God bless.

02/25/2022 12:10AM  
Loved the report! Excellent photos with plenty of good storytelling. An impressive array of bugs and insects and plenty of wildlife photos too. Thanks for sharing!
02/25/2022 12:41AM  
I also loved this report (I especially like pictures) and the pictures really add lots! That is a great lesson you shared about having a good mindset and appreciating the good instead of letting the uncomfortable part bother you! Hopefully I can apply that lesson going forward when needed!
02/25/2022 07:27AM  
TuscaroraBorealis: "Another gem! The report. Perhaps not the trip itself???

You make the Cross Bay site look and sound pretty nice. I must admit I've never actually gave it a good look see, as the one time I stopped, my partner quickly dismissed it.


Kicking around the possibility of finally making it to CanoeCopia this year. God willing, it would be fun to cross meeting you guys off my bucket list.




We really like that Cross Bay site. We stayed there again on our 2010 trip (trip report is called "Unintentional Base-camping Trip") and enjoyed it again. I think if I were to list favorites from all of our trips, it would be in the top 10 for sure, maybe even the top five. Picking a campsite is very subjective. That is why we didn't read campsite "reviews" and try for "five-star" sites others had listed. We just would paddle up to a site, check it out, and make a decision.

Would love to see you at Canoecopia, TB.
02/25/2022 07:34AM  
double post. Delete, please.
Mocha
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02/25/2022 12:15PM  
your photos are always so wonderful. particularly the photo of the ducks taking flight....i was drawn back to that one a few times!

you and Neil always have great trips to write about, and i'm glad you do.
my last trip was spring 2017 using your similar itinerary. we thought we wouldn't see many people but we did. so much exploring just off cherokee lake.

interesting to compare notes on portages and sites. i think that cross bay site has become over-used which is too bad. it's still a great site, but knowing what it used to be pre 1999 wind....

looking forward to more of your trip reports.
02/26/2022 06:28AM  
Mocha: "your photos are always so wonderful. particularly the photo of the ducks taking flight....i was drawn back to that one a few times!


you and Neil always have great trips to write about, and i'm glad you do.
my last trip was spring 2017 using your similar itinerary. we thought we wouldn't see many people but we did. so much exploring just off cherokee lake.


interesting to compare notes on portages and sites. i think that cross bay site has become over-used which is too bad. it's still a great site, but knowing what it used to be pre 1999 wind....


looking forward to more of your trip reports."


Thanks for kind comments, Mocha. Our last trip was 2013, so any reports I would do now are "historic", and I will probably only do one when I need a project to keep my mind occupied. It feels like we have been home doing not much during January and February, and I guess I got bored.

Never saw the site "pre-1999 wind", so really have nothing to compare.

As far as the duck photo, it was a favorite of mine, too. Our son has an enlargement of it hanging in his house even now. Just a lucky shot, but fun.
02/26/2022 06:28AM  
Sorry. Trying to get used to a new, slower browser. Please delete double post.
02/26/2022 08:01AM  
You would have at least 10 of them on you at any given time during the day light hours. It was Maddening. I remember waving my paddle in the air and hitting several of them at one time
straighthairedcurly
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02/26/2022 05:35PM  
As always, a lovely trip report. I am a huge fan of the June wildflowers as well, so I enjoyed your pics a lot. Your sitting rock campsite on Cherokee was a favorite for us last summer and made for some excellent turtle watching.
Twins87
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03/02/2022 03:18PM  
Wonderful trip report as always, I so love reading them and seeing all of your pictures. Especially knowing that these were taken with an "old fashioned" film camera!

We are returning to Cherokee this summer through Cross Bay as well. First trip for our daughter in 7 years. We let her pick the entry point and destination lakes... Long Island and Cherokee. If the Cross Bay site you stayed at is open when we pass by, we may stop for a night on the way in. We've always wanted to camp there and it's always been full when we paddle by.

Our two trips to Cherokee, both in the summer of 2014, carry very fond memories for me and I can't wait to return. We loved your sitting rock site when we went alone and then later in the summer we stayed at a site up near the portage to Town Lake with our daugher, Luft & two of her kids. Daughter M may want to try for the island site in the middle of the lake so we'll see where we land.

Enjoy Canoecopia this year... perhaps next year I'll make it back there.
520eek
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03/02/2022 09:17PM  
Very nice read, enjoyed the photos. Makes me want to get up there again...soon!
03/03/2022 08:43AM  
Twins87: "Wonderful trip report as always, I so love reading them and seeing all of your pictures. Especially knowing that these were taken with an "old fashioned" film camera!

Enjoy Canoecopia this year... perhaps next year I'll make it back there. "


Sorry we won't see you at 'Copia this year. And I do hope you enjoy your return to Cherokee. I'll be with you in spirit.

If you happen to be on the Gunflint June 16-21 and just have nothing to do, stop in at Rockwood Cabin 4 and see if we are at home. Would enjoy seeing you again.

The "old-fashioned" camera was a pretty nice one. An SLR, and I had a good Canon 300mm lens I could use for closer photos, so at the time I thought it was pretty nice. But I got my first digital camera in 2003, about the same time I got my first grandchild--and never used film after that.

Doing this report was fun. I needed a "project". Thanks for the compliments, everyone.
Twins87
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03/03/2022 02:27PM  
Spartan2: "Twins87: "Wonderful trip report as always, I so love reading them and seeing all of your pictures. Especially knowing that these were taken with an "old fashioned" film camera!


Enjoy Canoecopia this year... perhaps next year I'll make it back there. "



Sorry we won't see you at 'Copia this year. And I do hope you enjoy your return to Cherokee. I'll be with you in spirit.


If you happen to be on the Gunflint June 16-21 and just have nothing to do, stop in at Rockwood Cabin 4 and see if we are at home. Would enjoy seeing you again.

"


As it so happens... we will be exiting at Cross Bay on the 18th and spending a couple of days at one of Poplar Haus' cabins before heading back home. We will walk down the road and see if you are there.
03/03/2022 06:50PM  
Another great report, Lynda, and great photos, too. I especially liked the loon with chicks. Not sure I could deal with those flies, and hope I never have the opportunity to be tested that way. Thanks for sharing.

TZ
Argo
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03/06/2022 11:27AM  
I think I saw this trip report on another canoe country bulletin board twenty years ago.
03/06/2022 03:22PM  
Not sure what you mean by this. I just wrote this report a couple weeks ago and painstakingly scanned every single photo. I took the notes from my original journal from 2002, which had been transcribed into the narrative in our album.

Since I wasn’t on any boards twenty years ago, (although I have been on a couple of them now for about fifteen years), it wasn’t “this report.”

Not hard to believe, however, that others were in the BWCA in 2002. And if anyone was there at this time, they would probably agree that it was memorable.
Argo
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03/06/2022 04:46PM  
Spartan2: "Not sure what you mean by this. I just wrote this report a couple weeks ago and painstakingly scanned every single photo. I took the notes from my original journal from 2002, which had been transcribed into the narrative in our album.


Since I wasn’t on any boards twenty years ago, (although I have been on a couple of them now for about fifteen years), it wasn’t “this report.”


Not hard to believe, however, that others were in the BWCA in 2002. And if anyone was there at this time, they would probably agree that it was memorable."


I guess that wasn't your report. But someone posted there of the exact same occurence back then. I never forgot the photos. There's a number of folks here who used to participate there.
03/06/2022 07:51PM  
I am sort of thinking you are referring to the CCBB. I was a member there briefly, but not 20 years ago, and I never posted a trip report there. I never went there at all until after I had been a member on QJ for several years, and at that time in my life I didn't have time for any of it. Don't really know what you mean by "exact same", or how much you can remember from 20 years ago, but I can assure you that my report is genuine and I just created it in February of 2022, albeit 20 years after the trip. As I said above, I am sure our June 2002 experiences weren't unique to just us--anyone who was there that week would have gone through a very similar scenario.
Argo
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03/07/2022 06:57AM  
Spartan2: "I am sort of thinking you are referring to the CCBB. I was a member there briefly, but not 20 years ago, and I never posted a trip report there. I never went there at all until after I had been a member on QJ for several years, and at that time in my life I didn't have time for any of it. Don't really know what you mean by "exact same", or how much you can remember from 20 years ago, but I can assure you that my report is genuine and I just created it in February of 2022, albeit 20 years after the trip. As I said above, I am sure our June 2002 experiences weren't unique to just us--anyone who was there that week would have gone through a very similar scenario."

I am most definitely not trying to impugn the authenticity of your report. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a nostalgia trip reading it.
03/07/2022 08:54AM  
OK. I guess I misinterpreted your first message. It's all good.

Nostalgia is an interesting thing. Since our last trip was in 2013, every time I take out a trip book or album, it is "nostalgia". I have amused myself in the past couple of years by writing some trip reports on here about some of those long-ago trips, and if I wished to do so, there are probably a dozen or more that could still be done. They won't be, as I suspect no one really wants to go down memory lane that much, and anyway, it is a lot of work.

I think I picked "Friendly Flies" because I thought a bunch of people would remember being there at that time and I would hear some similar stories. That didn't happen as much as expected. We have been surprised that we haven't heard about it again in 20 years--at the time we left the BWCA in 2002 they were saying that it was a cycle that repeats every 10 or 11 years.
 
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