The Painful Portage
Monday, Eric drove me out to bower trout to drop off my car and then dropped me off at Ram. I carried my canoe to the lake first. This portage was definetally a sign of things to come. Very steep, very rocky, very up and down. I had dressed warm because it was in the low 50's (in the 90's back in Cincy during a bad drought). By the time I got all the gear to the lake I was covered in sweat.
I paddled easily across the lake. Finding the first portage was a little more difficult than I remember. But last year I was on the Granite River and it was much more used and more obvious where the portage trails were. The first portage wan't overly difficult. Very cool, very wet due to recent rains and I could almost watch the leaves changes as I walked. Ram to Kroft wasn't overly difficult nor was Kroft to Rum. A little up hill and rocky, but nothing overly major. Rum to Little Trout was a little different. It started out not looking to bad. But it quickly changed and it just seemed to climb higher and higher. It was slick and rocky. Quite a bitch. Took longer than normal as I took a break that I wouldn't normally take and I was slidin around pretty good. But I made it ok, but was shedding layers pretty wuick to keep cool and not get too sweaty as I knew it would be cold tonight. (I did not need hyperthermia).
So into Little Trout I head. I drop a line in the lake as the light rain has eased up and try to catch a little something before I hit "The Big Portage". I catch nothing as I troll a line behind me as I come up to the portage. I notice a father and son are sitting at the portage resting. I assume they one more carry over, but since I am in no hurry I let out more line and paddle around some more. I finally catch a small lake trout ( maybe 12-14" in length) and i release it. I reel in the line and head back to the portage. I notice the father and son are actually sitting having lunch! They actually have a stove out and are cooking lunch at the portage! Well screw me being patient with them and letting them have the portage landing to themselves. I land and unload and set my yoke. I happen to notice that there is now fresh trash around the portage and they are making quite a mess of their "stew". I happen to mention (being the forward person that I am) if they knew that it was totally not ok to cook a meal at a portage. Not only is it inconsiderate, but also illegal to tie up a portage like that. Thewy politely told me what I could do to myself and continued to cook their lunch. Well I tried (more to this story later).
I pulled up my pack and stuff and left it to the left of the rocky portage as the rain started again. I grabbed my gear pack and headed over. Though this is only 150 rods, it is definetally the hardest portage I have ever done. Two major ups and downs. VERY slick, very rocky all over. At the area between the hills it is very marshy. Mud over the boots. Not only is it a lot of up and down but it is VERY steep. I have to take a short rest at the top of the second hill to catch my breath. I make it down and head back across for the canoe and food pack.
So now I get back to the portage and the heathens are gone with some exceptions. They left their Campbell soup cans and plastic baggie trash. i go ahead and pick it up after I try to smash the tin cans smaller. Anyway, I hoist the pack and hoist the canoe. Wow, this is tough. I'm literally smacking the crap out of the front and back of the canoe as I climb the granite hills and whenever I slip. By the time I get to the top of the first hill I resting already. I'm worn out. I grab a quick snack and drink. And head down again. I head over the second hill as the rain picks up. I stop at the top of the hill to take a picture. After I snap the photo and attempt to put the camera back into my pocket, I start to slide. i try to catch myself and the canoe to stop the fall. I kind of twist around and end up sliding down the hill on my ass and my right leg kind of tucked up underneath me. Ijamb up on a nice big granite bolder. and can feel my knee pop. Ouch. Not good. I've always heard them say on TV when a player goes down that you can hear the pop but never beleived it. You soooo can hear the pop.
So now I'm laying on the ground freaking hurting. The canoe is kind og on my head and i'm laying on the food pack. I slip out and try to walk. Not good. I grad a stick near by and the pack and start back on the portage trail. It hurts really bad. I;'m taking breaks about every 20 steps or so. I make it to the bottom of the portage and take about a half hour break. I throw back 4 advil and go for the canoe. I didn't realize how much your knee helps you stabilize. I fell about 5 times trying to carry the canoe to the put in. I finally make it and now my knee is very swollen. I take my pants off and soak my legs in the lake. Very cold but feels good. I pack up everything into the canoe and hope the very first campsite is open. It is. I set up camp slowly. The person who was here before me left a bunch of firewood for me. It lights fairly easy, my first real luck, so I can dry off and warm up after sitting in the freezing lake. FYI, if anyone is in Misquah lake and sees a pair of balls floating around they are mine. That water was so cold they froze right off. I ate very little, tied up the canoe with the food pack underneath it, put out the fire and went to bed. No sooner did I get into the tent than it started to pour. Hard. I took more advil and went to sleep trying to decide what to do.
Well, it turns out I had a tear in my mcl. I drove back to cincinnati the next day after staying in duluth over night. A very pretty night in duluth. I had some work done on my knee and did some PT and now it feels fine. All in all, it was a crazy trip. I still enjoyed it, but it was honestly one of the hardest things I have ever done in my entire life. I will go back in 2009 but this time I'm going somewhere easier and with someone. :)