Dads and sons- Mudro loop thru Horse, Crooked back thru Gun and Fourtown
Our two hour drive to Ely is filled with stories from Pete of of B’Dub. It gives the group an idea of what to expect. Can a story do the BWCA justice? All the reading and planning for me on the web…is it enough? I expect not. Bob at Canoe Country is ready for us when we arive. We go over route and gear. He throws in leech bucket and fishing nets....some things I can't bring from Atlanta. We sense he tries to talk us out of the loop around Crooked and back through Gun, etc. I want to remain flexible, but I am set on the route. I will let the weather and availability dictate the camp sites. He speaks fondly of the current area of Crooked. I am pleased with the route chosen. I imagine good fishing in that area. We have the complete ultra lite outfitters package and all the gear looks good. We pack our personal packs in a cabin provided by CCO. Again, the outfitter does an excellent job. We will sleep here tonight before leaving early in the morning. A bit of rain in Ely keeps us close to our temporary home and we go to the Italian joint for food and a last cold beer. We are home close to 9PM and most are in bed by 10PM.
Many things I can not control…what I’m most concerned about are injuries, excessive wind, bugs. I have sprayed with Permithium but can’t plan for injuries or wind.
I assume this happens to many of us, I was awake at 3AM and stay in bed until 4:30 AM. I get up, quick shower, cup of coffee and paper from across the street. I am ready to go. Most start to move at 5:15 AM. The canoes are already loaded, our packs go into the trailer at 6:15AM. I am back from the bait shop with more tips and two pounds of leeches. (more is better than less) A pound will go in a leech tamer, a pound will go in leech bucket provided by Canoe Country. We are on the road by 6:45 and on the water by 7:30 AM. The water is a bit low at Mudro. We have to walk down 30 rods to put in. Pete is gone in a flash and we are off in a bit of spitting rain. It is a rain we hardly notice. The wind is at our back but I have a small goal of a site on Horse somewhere. If I knew I could, I’d get to the Lower Basswood Falls area, but that is a risk I am not willing to take. I do not want to spoil a good start by too many portages and the mad scramble for a site. This leaves Dick a bit disappointed…..he wants to move on. We hear all the sites were taken on Horse the night before. At the risk of paddling into the wind to the desired site near the mouth of the Horse River, we take the spot in the narrows on the south side of the lake. It turns out to be a very good site. We have a good view of the whole lake form the edge, high ground away from the spitting rain, plenty of wood, good spots for tents. We arrive close to noon and learn the ropes….tents, gear, etc. After a bit of camp set up , we try some of the leeches, crank baits from shore. Nicholas catches a few large pan fish along a weed bed. The wind is still blowing as I try to single paddle the Kevlar down the shore for some wood. The front end catches a breeze, I tip over in a second in 5 feet of water. Brian watches from shore and saw an odd look on my face.If there is a good place to tip, it is close to shore with an empty canoe. I did not think I would be the one tipping. I ‘ve now tipped a canoe in Georgia, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Minnesota. I walk to shore , put on my other clothes and lick my wounded pride. This is the only time on the trip a canoe tips….good news. Dick and I go out for wood in one canoe and the boys go out in the other two canoe for wood. By 5PM, we have wood for tonight and the morning. The steaks and potatoes cooked by Dick are a great first meal. Dick and I spend a bit of time on the water soaking leeches. It is too windy to go too far, but we get bit close to camp by a few smallmouth and pan fish. For me, any fish tugging is a good start. I want walleye for all of us but, mainly, I want the whole party to have something tugging on their line. A bit of daddy juice, discussion around the fire and our first day is over. We are in bed by 10PM. We have a big travel day on Friday…..somewhere on Crooked.