Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

A Much Needed Trip
by Arkansas Man

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 06/21/2008
Entry Point: Little Indian Sioux River (north) (EP 14)
Exit Point: Little Indian Sioux River (north) (EP 14)  
Number of Days: 9
Group Size: 4
Trip Introduction:
Where to start??? What began as a friendly conversation at a Christmas party about trips to the BWCA, became a plan for myself and another guy Heath to do the Loop from Loon to Shell out of Entry Point 14, Little Indian Souix. Then what began as a tandem, became a trio when my wifes boss said he would like to go. And then became two tandems as a friend of his wanted to come along as well. It was a unique group, myself who has made several trips and three new guys. All of from varied backgrounds, two in education, myself a high school assistant principal, Heath, a high school chemistry and physics teacher, Charlie, my wifes boss who is an Audiologist and his friend Dave who is a Psychologist. We were all bound by a love of the outdoors, fishing and canoeing. A group who had never been together, until we picked up Heath on the drive north to complete the foursome. As time for the trip grew nearer it became evident that all of us were in need of a trip of this nature, each for their own reason! As the only member of the group with experience going to the BWCA before, I was in charge of the preparation. I already had the Permit for Entry Point 14 Little Indian Souix, my first time there. I made the reservation to stay at Jeanette Lake Campground the night before entry so we could wake early and be on the water soon after daylight. All was ready by the first of June except for the packing and leaving. However, on June 4, at age 51 I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer, and now instead of choosing the menu for the week, I was choosing my method of treatment. We had found it early so Brachytherapy was chosen as the least invasive means of treating the cancer. A date was chosen for the implantation of the radioactive seeds July 1, two days after I return from the BWCA& The trip was still on, but now the reason for going had changed somewhat. It was no longer just a desire to go. It became a desire to prove I could still do it, and a need to be in the wilderness to prepare myself for what was coming, the battle I was about to face, to still my soul and allow peace to enter in! (I want to insert here that while Prostate Cancer is a very treatable disease, and the success rate is over 90 % for most treatments, and the one I had chosen has close to a 95% success rate with early detection. I had just overcome a scare with Thyroid Cancer a year and a half before when I had part of my thyroid and a huge mass removed from my throat and chest. It was just the shock of hearing I did now have cancer after not having it a year and a half earlier) The battle mentioned before comes from the after effects of the radioactive seeds that I am having implanted, no closeness to (approximately a foot) to my wife or any family member or even the family dog for up to ten months! I have the support of my wonderful wife, my family and many friends and the prayers of many people so I have no doubt that I will get through this thing. Now, I could go on this trip and relax, and show three new guys the Wilderness area I love so dear!
Day 1 of 9
Friday, June 20, 2008 & Saturday, June 21, 2008 Load the canoe, final packing, a quick hair cut by my wife, put everything in the truck and wait for the two doctors to show so we could leave to pick up the fourth member of our group 26 miles away. They show up at 6:15, load their stuff into the truck and I run into the house for a quick last moment with my wife before we head out in a driving rain storm which lasted about 5 minutes. We talk about what to expect as we drive the short trip to pick up Heath, the teacher. We meet him, he loads his stuff and says goodbye to his wife, and we have a group picture made before we head out. Everyone in the truck, a prayer for safe travel there and back, and a safe adventure while there and we head out, the time about 7:00 pm.

I drive for about seven hours, or until we reach Iowa, 500 miles total. Then Heath takes over for a hundred miles and then Charlie finishes the trip to Owatonna and Cabelas we get there an hour early so we have to wait for it to open. An hour in Cableas and we leave not too much money out of pocket. Charlie continues to drive through St. Paul where we stopped and met Adam, the main man for, and his son Ben… Fantastic man and boy! He gives the guys shirts and me a hat, (which I needed badly) and gives us directions to get through the detour across the Mississippi River. We get past St Paul and stop to quickly grab a bite to eat and I try to sleep as Charlie continues to drive North to Ely. Once we reach Cloquet I see that diesel fuel at Wal-Mart is $4.39 a gallon so we stop to top off the tanks, and then I take over and finish the drive to Ely. Passing through Cloquet I am called by my friend Satchmoa who was wishing he was with us! I had already been called earlier in the day by Yellowbird who was entering at #14 that day! So I had already spoken to two good friends and met another in one day, yet more was to come, as I was supposed to meet the Spartans 1 & 2 at the Chocolate Moose at 4:30.

We reach Ely at 3:00pm and run out to Red Rock where I purchase a portable depth finder from Joe and talk to him a minute about trading in my Sr Quetico 18.5 in duralite for a used Kevlar SR Q 17. He tells me to email him and we will talk about it later as we are in a hurry to get out to Jeanette Lake, where the two doctors are supposed to cook us a special dinner that night! When we get back to town it is 4:15 so we go ahead and go to the Chocolate Moose where I visit with Lynda and Neil for a few minutes while the guys shop in Piragis. After we visit for a few minutes I leave Neil and Lynda to their pie and coffee and we head to Voyager North to pick up a canoe, get license and bait. We then begin the long drive out the Echo Trail to Jeanette Lake State Park to set up camp for the night while the doctors prepare a spicy pork dish for dinner. Then it is early to bed for an early start the next morning. Everyone was full of anticipation as well as a great dinner.