Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Village Idiot Reaches Lake Three
by Kevlar

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 09/17/2009
Entry & Exit Point: Lake One (EP 30)
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 9
Trip Introduction:
What we found on a five day trip from Lake One into Insula. Our group included 2 social security aged guides, another healthy 54 year old man, and 6 rookie women campers.
Our trip started out just fine...met at City Hall in Minnetonka, breakfast in Canyon, drove to Ely, permitted, launched at Lake One. Camped on Four, reached Insula by noon the next day, and took a good campsite (but the sand beach beauty was taken!). We had warm weather, poor fishing, but most of the women were more interested in seeing than fishing, so I took them meandering. As usual, I stopped to look at several campsites, just for future reference. We found one on the southern side of Insula, on an island facing south, where the fire had been built on the rock and gravel slope halfway to the beach. This fire had been built with 8" in diameter, 12' logs, and had been nestled up against one of the main roots of a medium sized cedar tree, charring it badly. And then the ashes and charred wood had been kicked around the slope, with much of the logs partially burnt.

On our way back to Lake Three we took the northern bay of Hudson, up into Fire and Bridge, and down into Lake Four...gave the rookies a good look at back-country portages and they got to see a different area. On Lake Three we again went meandering after visiting the old CCC camp remains on the hiking trail near the Horseshoe portage. This is where we found evidence of the village idiot and his clan. The campsite on Lake Three, nearest the Horseshow portage, had two tentsites piled at least 5" deep in moss and a few cedar boughs. The rest of the green cedar tree was piled next to the fire grate. And behind the campsite, every birch tree in sight had been cut and peeled for about 5'!!! This looked like something out of an 1870 camping manual (maybe Rushton's?). I have never seen that much moss on a tentpad. Where do people like this live, so far out of touch? Under rocks? How can they not have heard of "no impact", "no trace" camping? We haven't reached them all, yet.

A couple of quick points: 1. every campsite but these two were left in great condition.  2. we had poor fishing, saw no moose, deer, bear, but had great otter sightings on Three and Four  3. the loons had all moved out...we only saw a few on Three 4. it still does my heart good to watch rookies learn how to paddle, portage, set up and take down, and best of all, ENJOY the BWCA.