Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

The Passion Revealed
by bumabu

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 08/10/2007
Entry & Exit Point: Angleworm Lake (EP 20)
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
This trip was to be like no other I had ever taken. I resolved myself to not exit early this time. I was taking someone that was of no family relation to me. I was driving 10 hours in a truck I thought might not make it. As well, my partner and I were both going to an area void of communication, disconnected from wife and child for the first time ever. My name is Bud Hicks of Winthrop Harbor, IL and I am a supervisor in a busy Police/Fire 911 communications division in a rather large city. My partner for the trip is Oscar Dupuy of Waukegan, IL and he is a teacher in a local middle school by day and a Pastor at our church the rest of the hours of the day and night. We properly dubbed ourselves the odd couple as he has never been in a wilderness in his life, just the jungle that he grew up in, in Panama. I, on the other hand, was raised in the northwoods of northern Wisconsin and am very familiar with the setting we were about to enter. I had been to Boundary Waters many times prior to our trip and Oscar had been car camping like twice, ever. We said our goodbyes and a prayer for our journey and we were on our way. Neither one of us could tell how transforming this trip would be for our souls or our wilderness skills. I cold only tell Oscar one thought that I had, and it was this; “This is the last day of our friendship Oscar. When we return home, we will be brothers.” And so our adventure began…….
Day 1 of 5
Friday, August 10, 2007 We started out by getting into Ely at about 1100 after a thirteen hour overnight trek. We went to Piragi's to pick our permit and get some odds and ends, to include our fishing licenses. We were advised that the computer was down and we should come back in 30-45 minutes. While walking to Pamida to pick up Band-Aids/medical tape, suntan lotion, tooth paste, and disposable cameras; Oscar commented that Ely, MN has the highest concentration of bearded men in the universe and that he felt like he was in the woods when we weren’t even yet in the woods. That comment made me laugh. After returning to Piragi's, they told us that the computers were down and we should probably go to the Wolf Center/Chamber of Commerce to give it a try there. Up there, they didn't know what we could do except wait so we stuck our pins in our cities on the map and headed to another outfitter; Spirit of the Wilderness. Same deal here so we left our drivers licenses at the counter and headed out for a bite to eat and to pick up more forgotten items. When we arrived at Dairy Queen the line was really quite long. To tell you the truth; we weren't even hungry, just anxious, so we left. We decided to do our pre-trip gear check in Ely so that we could get on the water a.s.a.p. We realized that we forgot eggs so I whipped in to the Clark gas station and bought a dozen eggs. I only needed six of them so I gave half of them to the woman working the counter, she offered to pay me 76 cents but I could hardly take money for 6 eggs considering she was nice enough to cut the carton in half and tape it shut for me. After that we went to the bait shop across the street and purchased 6 pounds of dry ice and 1 big block of real ice. This is the first time I have used dry ice and it worked great. It is a little pricy and quite heavy but worked well for us this trip. After that we went back to Spirit of the Wilderness and BEHOLD! We had fishing licenses. We finally reach Angleworm Entry Point Lot at 2:00 in the afternoon and were on the trail by about 02:30. The whole time preparing for this entry point, I was nervous because I knew it was going to be a rough walk in the woods. We had trimmed down our gear to where we could single portage the trail, but double loaded was the price we were to pay. I had the dry food/cook pack and the canoe with paddles and rods strapped to the thwarts. Oscar had the gear/personal belongings pack on and the mid-size cooler strapped to his front side, after we discussed the dangers of obstructing your downward view, but he wanted to try it that way anyway. I can't remember every detail of that forced march but I know I stopped 4 times ready to die. I could feel my heart beating in every inch of my skin, intensely pulsating as if the body was asking the brain "Are you nuts?!" One of those times, Oscar came back to find me and even was gracious enough to carry my pack until we reached where he had stopped. He had stopped at a three-way fork in the trail because he didn't want to take the wrong way. You want to be real careful at this fork because instinct coupled with fatigue tells you to head straight, straight to fastest way off of this crazy trail! If you were to go straight though, you would find yourself on the Angleworm Hiking Trail and in for a long hike. Go left, and a short ways later you will hit a two-way fork: left is Angleworm Hiking Trail and right is a path that drops you right down to a protected slot on the south end of Angleworm Lake. WATER! WE HAVE REACHED WATER! Shouts of joy rang out from the trail. We clasped hands in congratulation and then started loading the canoe because we still had a long way to go. Our intention was to try and make Beartrap Lake by dark, and if not, then after dark. Angleworm Lake is deceiving on the map, skinny little lake. It is actually a very long skinny lake, a few miles by my approximation. The portage to Home Lake is not too bad and only about 60 rods, a breeze after the Angleworm portage. Home lake was a quick paddle and then we mounted the trail to Gull Lake. I sent my maps to T.R.I.P.S. of BWJ and Stu marked this portage as an "Honest Hike". That term was somewhat of a mystery until we got to the end of the trail. "Honest Hike" means lace up yer boots and drink some water before you start; because anything you had left in you is about to be squashed like a little ant. After our "Honest Hike" we started looking for a campsite on Gull Lake because we were "Honest Beat". We took the second site and were very happy with it that night. Oscar met his first loon and was initially scared of the "noise" but quickly came to appreciate being serenaded to sleep after a long day on the trail. Tired, so tired.............