Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Crab Lake/ Joining The Solo Club
by sid41

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 06/11/2008
Entry & Exit Point: Crab Lake and Cummings from Burntside Lake (EP 4)
Number of Days: 6
Group Size: 1
Trip Introduction:
This trip was originally intended to be a tandem but scheduling conflicts left me with one alternative, solo. This was my first jump into the solo canoeing club and I was very intrigued with the concept. I spent a lot of time researching and combing the web site for information and advice. I enlisted the services of Voyageur North Outfitters since I was traveling from Pittsburgh and could not bring all of my own gear and they have a good reputation. I chose a canoe/food package which was reasonably priced. After combing though the Beymer books, researching routes on-line, and speaking with the folks at VNO I decided to put in at EP#4 Crab Lake. This entrance left me with a few options to do some loops in smaller lakes and rivers/creeks.
Day 1 of 6
Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I flew from Pittsburgh to Minneapolis, then Duluth, rented a car then drove to Ely. When I left Duluth it was sleeting (Yuk). I arrived in Duluth to slightly warmer weather (50’s) but windy. I checking in at the VNO and pulled a Prism for a test paddle. The staff at the VNO have their act together. They had the canoe tied to my car in a matter of minutes and off I went. I put in at a public launch a few minutes away in a heavy 20 Mph wind. The first thing I notices was the lightness of the canoe and it’s reluctance to turn easily in the wind. I pushed hard for a few hundred feet and was in a sheltered bay. These boats are fast and light. This was the 1st time I paddled a true solo canoe and I was thrilled. It was stable and tracked well. As with any canoe it was tough going in the heavy wind but after getting my sea legs in the canoe I surfed back to the car. Good 1st impression. I was later to learn how stable and easier it was to handle when loaded (as anticipated). I reviewed my route with John from VNO then discussed my food pack with Dave the equipment lead. The bait shop guys had some geed advice as to what was hitting and where. They were on the money. I had a good dinner at the Ely Steak House and chatted with lots of folks who were coming out of the woods. Eat at the bar; you get to talk to everyone if you want. I retired to the VNO bunkhouse that night and made my final packing of my equipment.