The Snowbank to Lake One Loop that Wasn't
by bapabear

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 08/21/2007
Entry & Exit Point: Snowbank Lake (EP 27)
Number of Days: 7
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
My son and I were plotting to get back for a Boundary Waters trip of our own since we were first introduced to canoe tripping in the summer of 2004. That trip definitely gave us a strong urge to return. We have been in a canoe together for well over 30 years fishing and enjoying trips on south central WI waters and had realized the sheer vitality of taking a canoe to these new (to us) waters. We hoped to return sooner but I had a surgical setback in 2005 and with Jeff's work and family commitments we had to arrange for August 21, 2007. It was a time of severe dry conditions, low water and fire ban, but most of all it was a chance for us to explore canoe tripping on our own.
Day 1 of 7
August 21, 2007

The road trip kicks off at 6:30 AM as we leave home (about 30 mi N of Madison, WI) and head north through intermittent rain. Rain played with the windshield until Black River Falls.

Around Eau Claire we began to notice a stark difference in the colors of trees and roadside plants. It was dry back home but here the yellow and brown from lack of rainfall was certainly getting our attention. Even so it was not as shocking as what we saw and felt between Virginia and Ely. It was painful to adjust to the yellow, brown and dead looking trees, grasses and ferns that were such a contrast from what we remembered the area to be. The evidence of drought had us questioning how it would impact the trip.

We arrived at our outfitter’s at 2:45 secured our permits, got our canoe and began adjusting to the fact we were under a fire ban. Since we were staying the night in a bunkhouse we stretched our legs by strolling from store to store around Ely and doing some shopping picking up last minute items and having a nice supper. Even though we’d gone through our gear many times it was time for one last repack and check before hitting the sack.