Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

An out and back for the first time
by bryanjp2

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 07/21/2009
Entry & Exit Point: Kawishiwi Lake (EP 37)
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
My girlfriend's uncle came to the boundary waters two times a year for twenty years. He passed away last year and when we went to the burial we saw all the pictures from his trips. We decided to try it, so we planned one for this summer. We never really said it out loud, but I feel we took this trip just not for us, but also to pay respects to him; a great man I never had a chance to meet.
Day 1 of 5
Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Technically our trip started out the day before. We left Milwaukee, WI at 12:30pm for Tofte, MN. We had quite a drive ahead of us: 10 hours to reach The Cliff Dweller on HWY 61. We, also had to find a Dunhams Sports somewhere along our route which proved to be more difficult than we thought. My aunt said we could borrow paddles from her, but she didn't tell me that they were these old wooden ones that looked like if I would hit a rock would smash into a million pieces. So we needed to buy new paddles. We foound a Dunhams in Rice Lake, WI and bought our paddles, then continued on our way. We arrived in Tofte, MN at 11:00PM, checked into The Cliff Dweller and quickly went to bed because we planned on getting up at 7:00am. Before I stepped into the room, I took a moment and breathed in the crisp fresh air.

NOW it is Tuesday, July 21st, 2009.

We slept till 8am instead of 7am. We prepared for rain because that is what the weather was showing prior to our trip. And yupp it was raining and looked awful out. We had our nice continental breakfast and re checked everything. Then we made our way over to the Tofte Ranger Station to get our permit. We watched the video that everyone talks about and was on our way to the entry point. We got to entry point 37 by 10:45AM and luckily the rain stopped for a moment. There was one other group there getting out on the lake when we pulled up. After unloading and then loading up the canoe that group was gone and we were on our way. one minute later it was raining, five minutes later we were lost! (Remember first time ever) It came to a point where I wanted to go left and my girlfriend wanted to go right. We went with her decision and she was right. Felt sheepish at first, but I am glad I listened to her. Then we saw some people, asked if we were heading in the right direction, got a yes and we were on our way.

Our ultimate goal was to get to Malberg on the first day, once we passed the first portage we realized it wasn't happening. It was muddy, slippery, wet, and of course the sun came out while on our first portage. Steam rose from the ground while mud and sweat ran together down our faces. We overpacked, we knew it right away.

After three, almost four hours we only made it to Kawasachong Lake. It was back to raining, so we decided to try and find a campsite on this lake. There was only one taken, so it was pretty easy. We took a nice campsite on the east side of the lake. We then set up camp and thank heavens it had stop raining for the time being to set up camp. By nightfall we were exhausted and made our steak and potatoes. I did some fishing and caught a couple northerns. Bedtime. Pretty sure a bear came in our campsite at night, but we hung our food well and he/she was gone.