A Paddling Partner for Life, Part 2. The Thunder Point Loop
by Kiporby

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 07/09/2009
Entry & Exit Point: Saganaga Lake Only (EP 55A)
Number of Days: 8
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
Last year when my daughter Lauren was 4, we took our first canoe trip together.
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A Paddling Partner for Life
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Since the first trip went so well and because my daughter asked to go again, we began planning this trip right away when we got home last year. In 2008, we rented a canoe and had the outfitter provide the food and cook kit. The goal this year would be to take a longer trip and to completely outfit ourselves this time. We purchased a used kevlar Bell Northwind in September 2008 and received many of the remaining items such as cook kit stuff and a CCS tarp from Santa Clause. A CCS Guide Pack was purchased at Canoecopia to complete the outfit.
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The criteria for the route was easy portages with some familiarity and some new areas to explore. We would expand on the route from last year by starting off the same but turning towards Ogish and Knife Lakes with a return along the border lakes to Saganaga. Essentially a slight variation to the "Thunder Point" Loop. We planned on taking 6-8 days to complete the route with a few base camps along the way.
Day 1 of 8
Prelude

Most of the winter was spent fine tuning the gear and packing arrangement. When spring arrived I turned my attention to getting into paddling shape and gaining confidence in paddling the new canoe. Since Lauren isn't much of a paddler yet (she plays with the water more than paddles), I modified the canoe by adding a 3rd seat in the middle for me to sit in. This allowed for the canoe to be trimmed better with a 5 year up front and made it easier for me to control and turn the canoe.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The day before we depart! This was a day of double checking the checklist, packing the food, and test packing the canoe! Thankfully, all the gear fit great.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Yanking a 5 year old out of bed at 3 am is never a good idea, but it was a necessary evil on this day with a 570 mile, 10 hour drive ahead of us. After about 5 miles of driving, Lauren fortunately fell asleep and peace came to the car again. Boy was it ugly there for a while! :)

It remained very quiet in the back for the next six hours at which time we were making our way across the big bridge in Duluth and into Minnesota. We stopped at Betty's Pies for breakfast, Temperance River State Park for a quick hike, Buck's Hardware in Grand Marais for some gas, and finally Trail Center for french fries, ketchup and chocolate shakes for lunch.

We made good time and arrived at Seagull Outfitters around 2 pm. After a nice welcome from Deb, Dave and crew we arranged our tow to Red Rock portage in the morning and rented a satellite phone. We left the exit date for the trip open and agreed that I would call to arrange the tow out from American Point when we were ready in 6-8 days. We then got settled into the bunk house. Lauren thinks the bunk house is the coolest thing in the world. I guess it is like a big fort to her. If she had it her way, we'd spend the whole week there.

After spending some time exploring the bunk house we headed back down the trail for dinner at Trail Center. Great service and a great atmosphere each time I eat there. With our stomachs full we head back to the bunk house and settle in for the night.