First Solo, Knife Lake
Since this was my first solo, I wanted to do a short trip to an area that was familiar to me. Because of this, I stayed at one campsite for the two nights of my trip. I quickly become totally bored.
A beautiful morning as I left Williams & Hall on Moose Lake. I paddled from Prairie Portage up thru Birch and Carp into Knife Lake. I didn't want to go to far in the event of bad weather on the trip out.
I fished in Birch and caught a few nice smallmouth. There were some cool things that day that made the trip seem promising. I saw an otter watching me for a while, and later that day in Knife, I watched a loon dive and swim directly under my canoe only a few feet below the surface. That was cool.
I camped at site 1249 just south of Robbins Island. One of the problems that I quickly realized only after being on this first solo trip was leaving an unattended campsite. Making sure the food bag is hung, no unattended campfire.... I guess I became too used to having someone else at the campsite while I went back out for a paddle or to do some fishing. It was only about 3 in the afternoon of day one when I realized how bored I was with myself.
Another beautiful day. The morning was not so bad because there was something to do. Occasionally I could hear people from an island campsite nearby. It was light by about 5:30, so I decided my plan for the last morning was to be up and heading out early just in case there was a headwind heading out.
By 3:30 in the afternoon, boredom set in again. About the same as day 1.
Earlier in the day, I paddled east on Knife to Thunder Point(?). Hiked up to the top for a great view west down Knife. It was hot, but there was a nice breeze. I wanted to continue up Knife to Eddy falls, but again, I was worried about getting too far away from camp if the weather turned bad.
Later, in camp while I was starting dinner, I wondered to myself how nice it would be to have some other people around. Someone must have heard that little thought, because right around dusk a Boy Scout group paddled up and asked if I was camping alone. They were way behind schedule (this was supposed to be their lunch stop), and couldn't find an open site as it began getting dark.
I hung out and had a drink by the fire while they got their tents set up, prepared dinner and tried futily to get their food bags hung. Between the darkness, the small ropes and large bags, they gave up and decided to leave the food bags by the canoes. They were finishing dinner clean up while I was in my tent getting ready for the early paddle out in the morning.
I was up early and paddling away from camp while most of the scouts were still asleep. It turned out to be a good move. The morning started out nice, but soon it began to rain and became quite windy. Before the rain started, I saw a few beaver. One scared the crap out of me slapping its tail on the water as I passed nearby.
The paddle that took an easy and liesurely 4 or 5 hours on day one, took a hard solid 8 hours paddling back into the wind and rain. That hot shower felt fantastic when I finally got back to the lodge on Moose.
Looking back at this first solo, I won't say that I won't do it again (despite the note to myself in the journal). I learned some lessons on this trip that I think would make a future solo more enjoyable. I didn' have nearly as much fun as my other trips with the group, but I'm glad that I tried the solo at least once.
-Just to note, something I thought of after I submitted this report.
I traveled three days alone in the car before I even got to Ely. Something that may have contributed to the loneliness while paddling!