Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Adventure in Quetico
by timatkn

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 08/02/2008
Entry Point: Quetico
Exit Point: Quetico  
Number of Days: 8
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
My wife Sara and I have taken many trips to Quetico, but this was to be our first through Prairie Portage. It was filled with Pictographs, great fishing, solitude, and great camps.
Day 1 of 8
Saturday, August 02, 2008

We meet our tow at Moose Lake around 7:30 am. Today we are captained by Canoe Country Outfitters to Prairie Portage. There is not one cloud in the sky and no wind. Weather wise this is how the whole trip will pretty much play out :) We really lucked out on the weather this year, but I think we deserved it, last year it literally never stopped raining on our trip.

There are only a couple of groups ahead of us in line at Prairie Portage. We get through the entry process fairly quickly and we are finally off.

During the tow on Moose Lake, at the entry station and on Basswood we see canoes EVERYWHERE. We mostly enter on the western side and are used to seeing few if any people. I have heard this route is busy and am starting to get concerned.

We head across Bayley Bay to the "yellow Brick road" portage to Burke Lake. I am not sure if an easier portage exists--good way to start a trip. Next we hopped over "Singing Brook Portage" to Sunday Lake. I know the North Portage is quicker, but we opted for the longer route because I wanted to do the singing brook portage just to say I did.

So far this is a very easy trip. THen we hit the MEadows portage. A little hilly and rocky, nothing too bad, but the mosquitos were horrible. We did not spray up before the portage. My wife Sara was wildly slapping them killing dozens at a time and getting great satisfaction from the kills, but unfortunately she was not watching her foot placement and took a tumble. As I came down the trail after her all I saw was a pack and fishing poles, but no Sara. She had left everything on the portage trail. I began to worry and dropped the canoe and quickly went to the end of the portage---to find her in the water trying to stay away from the mosquitos. We put on some deet and went back for the canoe and her pack.

After paddling a short distance we were at the last portage of the day from Meadows to Agnes LAke. There is a large group of women loading up and heading out. We talk a bit and they offer they have caught a nice walleye (I'm salivating) and all of the camps around Louisa are open. We talk a few moments longer comparing our equipment, likes and dislikes--then we head back into the Mosquito haven. This time with an ample supply of Deet.

We make quick work of the the last Meadows portage and paddle on to Louisa Falls. We take a dip in the bathtub/whirlpool after I convince Sara it is safe. There is a nice camp right off of the portage to Louisa near the falls that is open, but we decide to move on secondary to this can be a very busy area and one can expect alot of visitors. We do enjoy our lunch at the site since it is unoccupied.

We find a nice camp near the base of Louisa Falls. With the heat is is a little to open for me, but we find a tent spot back in the trees to get some shade. Later on we grill some Ribeye steaks on the fire, with mashed potatoes and gravy. My favorite first nite meal. This year we added some boxed wine which was a nice twist. I am not normally a big wine person but I did enjoy it.

We sleep well with the sound of the falls nearby. Remarkably we have the whole falls area to ourselves. I am sure this would change for tommorrow----unfortunately it would be much worse than I could ever imagine.