Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Mom's first trip: LIS North out EP16
by Badgerboy

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 06/30/2009
Entry Point: Little Indian Sioux River (north) (EP 14)
Exit Point: Moose/Portage River (north) (EP 16)  
Number of Days: 6
Group Size: 4
Trip Introduction:
This would be my wife Maureen’s first trip into the BWCA despite having been born and raised in MN. My 2 sons raved about last year’s trip to the extent that Mom just had to come. Maureen, Keegan and our Daughter Zoe all flew up to Apple Valley to hang out with Grandma for a week before Raleigh and I flew up after Raleigh’s summer baseball season ended. So the paddling team will be Maureen, Raleigh (16), Keegan (11) and I. Raleigh and I flew up Sunday morning to MSP while Zoe heads out to Long Prairie for a 2 week long equestrian camp. We pull some things out of storage at Grandma’s and head over to Gander Mtn for a few last minute items including fishing licenses. In short order we have everything packed and I sit down to enjoy a couple cold brews on the deck.

Day Zero: We are up early for the drive to Ely. We pack it all in Grandpa’s Jimmy and head north. We let Raleigh do a little driving (working on his license) and set a leisurely pace and finally arrive safely in Ely about 1:30p. We grab a quick bite of lunch and walk around and shop a little. Raleigh heads to the Webcam and calls back home to some friends who think it is cool to see him on the internet. We head out to Jordan’s to meet Mark and Sonya. I had the pleasure of running into Marc Bates Who had just come in from a trip that afternoon and Marc shared some ideas with us about our route. After a review of our travel plans with Mark and some great suggestions we head back to Ely for dinner at the Steakhouse. We are in the racks early as we intend to hit the road by 5:30am so we can get on the water early Tuesday morning at EP14. The plan is to do a loop from EP 14 to EP 16 through Shell, Lynx, Hustler, Oyster, Agnes etc…

Day 1 of 6
Tuesday, June 30, 2009 Sonya is kind enough to have pancakes and coffee ready at 5am so we enjoy a hot breakfast and hit the road for LIS North. Andrew drops us off about 6:45, we snap a quick picture and take off down the short portage to the river. The weather is cool and it is raining on and off, not the perfect weather I was hoping for on Maureen’s first trip but we don our rain coats and hope for the best. We hit the water about 7:30a and head off toward Upper Pauness with a goal of reaching Lynx for a 2 day stay. Maureen decided to take the stern after some practice back home on the Chattahoochee River so we set her and Raleigh up and off they go. She has the big V-8 of Raleigh providing the horsepower up front and I have my younger son Keegan (little V-6) providing me the power. The river is lovely and we haven’t seen or heard anyone else on the portage which surprises me a bit as all 6 permits were taken for today. We spot a soaring bald eagle pretty quickly which is always an awesome sight!

We cross the first portage around some rapids and smoothly double portage repack and continue on the river only to reach Upper Pauness to find some medium winds and small white caps. About half way across the lake I notice two canoes coming from behind us and we reach the 40 rod portage to Lower Pauness right before the do. The other group is 4 young men and I can tell they are on a mission so we encourage them to “play through” which they kindly accept. They are out of the water and down the portage in a matter of seconds (single portaging) which provides me a great opportunity to remind the boys of proper portage etiquette using these guys as a great example.

We quickly cross Lower Pauness deciding not to head to see Devil’s Cascade as the rain has picked up. We hit the 220 rod portage to Shell with a plan of trying a portage and a half thanks to the suggestions of Bannock, Kanoes and others on the BB. This plan works well and we decide to use this method going forward for the rest of the trip on any portage over 70 rods or so. By the time we get to Shell the Rain is picking up a bit as is the wind. The last thing I want to do is push too hard on Maureen’s first day and I have some good sites identified on Shell so we decide to shorten our target for the day and stay on Shell. We end up on the north end of Con Island (site 57) which is a nice site. This turns out to be a very good decision. We unpack the gear as the rain sporadically falls while we set up camp. A quick sausage and cheese lunch and everyone wants to go fishing despite the weather (still cool, windy and spitting rain). We divide the leeches and head out and find limited success. Maureen and Raleigh find a pretty good bluegill hole and Keegan and I quickly find the smallies but nothing is very big. We keep a couple fish to have with our steaks and head back for dinner. Dinner is great over the fire and we enjoy a cool evening with no rain before heading off to the tent about 10pm.