Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

A Paddling Partner for Life
by Kiporby

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 07/01/2008
Entry Point: Saganaga Lake (EP 55)
Exit Point: Seagull Lake (EP 54)  
Number of Days: 6
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
Children, what a blessing! When they are born parents wonder how they will turn out and what in life they will enjoy. Some parents choose to shelter their children from the world and protect them from it. Others choose to expose them to life in the world and teach them how to coexist. No one approach works for everyone and there are many variations in the middle. My wife and I quickly learned with our daughter, Lauren that the later approach worked best for us. My wife and I are avid outdoorsmen and have spent all of our summers together going on various camping trips and outdoor excursions. Not wanting to stop going on our trips, we decided to start her off young, real young. After adding a bunch of new child type gear to our arsenal we were ready to go. When she was three months old we camped at Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Rocky Mountain in Colorado when she was one, and Yellowstone and Glacier when she was two. Last summer when she was three, we stayed at a cabin on Seagull Lake on two occasions. We rented a canoe and paddled and fished. Since Lauren seemed to embrace all of these experiences, I decided to take her on her first real canoe trip this year. I have been on canoe trips in the past "with the boys". This trip will certainly have a different feel. The trip will be at Lauren's pace, not mine. Hopefully, I remember that once we are out there. So with a pink fishing pole in hand and a pink Duluth pack on her back, Daddy and Lauren are ready to embark on what is hopefully our first of many canoe trip adventures together. Just maybe I have a paddling partner for life in the works!
Day 1 of 6
Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Finally! What a feeling it is getting into the car early in the morning for the ten hour drive up to the Gunflint Trail. The anticipation is over. The trip has begun! Many thoughts enter my head along the drive. How will the fishing be? Will we get that campsite on Alpine Lake I've been dreaming about? Hopefully the weather will cooperate. Am I doing the right thing bringing a four year old into the wilderness? What will the wife do to me if anything happens to her baby? Will Lauren enjoy the trip? Have I prepared enough?

I am confident in the outfitter selection. Debbie Mark and the crew at Seagull Outfitters have always taken good care of me on past trips. I know the equipment I will be renting will be top quality. I hope the equipment I have purchased this year will work out which includes: a new CCS Pioneer Pack, a MSR Windpro stove, and a Tigger sleeping bag by the North Face and a pink Duluth Pack for Lauren.

We left our house at 0230 and arrive in Duluth by 0900. Now the fun part of the drive begins: the North Shore Drive and the Gunflint Trail. We make stops and Gooseberry Falls and Temperance River State Parks. It is nice to get out and stretch the legs and see some good scenery at the same time. We hike a couple short trails, check out the falls and dip our feet in the water.

We arrive in Grand Marais by noon and start heading up the Gunflint Trail. Lauren and I stopped at Trail Center for a quick cheeseburger and fries and then continue on to Seagull Outfitters. We arrive a little early, so we spend some time wandering around the shores of Seagull Lake, looking at the used canoes for sale, and soaking our feet off the dock. By then the outfitter was ready for us. We then did the routing session with one of Deb's staffers, Chris and went over the gear and menu and watched the BWCA video. We tried out a Penobscot 16 and a Bell Northwinds in the bay before deciding on the Bell as it sits a tad lower in the water and felt more stable. Plus it was brand new this year. We then got settled in the bunkhouse and did some minor gear arranging to condense our gear into two packs: the CCS Pioneer back and a 60L Bear Barrel. Once settled we head for the Trail's End Cafe for some cheese pizza and sodas. After dinner we fished a little catching one bass from the dock at the outfitters before heading off to bed. I was a very hot and humid evening, but a late storm cooled the air as we drifted off to sleep.