Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

The Namesake Trip - Davis/Frost loop
by cowdoc

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 09/25/2009
Entry & Exit Point: Baker Lake (EP 39)
Number of Days: 8
Group Size: 2
Day 2 of 8
Saturday, September 26, 2009 Day two starts out with a hazy, cloudy morning on Jack Lake.
Temps are in the mid fifties with a 20% chance of morning showers. There is a slight southwest breeze that is pulling a little warmth into the day. There are a few beaver dams to cross and as we pass through Weird Lake, we soon come to the first little challenge of the day, the 240 rod portage up to South Temperance.
It turns out to be a fairly flat, well used portage and we are soon looking over South Temperance, enjoying a snack and watching the wind increase from the West. This wind would be our friend as we head east to Brule and as we cross Brule and head up into Cone Bay. It is there that we meet a pair of kayakers, the first people since leaving Kelly Lake. There are campers on Middle Cone and daytrippers, on the short portage into North Cone, returning from a day of fishing on Winchell. I had come through this area in June and floated all the Cone portages but today we haul gear over all of them. After crossing North Cone, we find the lightly used, grass covered portage landing. This 176 rod portage is steep and rocky at the start before leveling off into a dark pine forest with a very open understory. Numerous game trails cross our path along the ridgetop before the trail eventually drops gradually down to the shore of Davis Lake. We pause for a brief celebration upon reaching this, our first namesake lake.
It is then that we notice the west wind strengthening and the clouds gathering as a small front rolls in. The weather stays unsettled as we paddle West towards the mid-lake campsite on Davis and we arrive there around 4:30. The weather is just bluffing and things settle down as we set up camp and prepare some steak fajitas for supper.
As the night gets calmer, it gets cooler. The fire feels good and as we are enjoying a nightcap, Ted notices a wake in the moonlight reflection. Suddenly a voice from the dark lake asks, "Do you know if there is anyone else at the other campsite?" Somewhat suprised, we take a while to reply that we doubt it and add that our mystery paddler is welcome to stay with us should the other site be occupied. As the fire burns out, Ted and I wonder what this paddler encountered on his trip into Davis in the dark. It was hard enough on us in the daylight. As it turns out, we never meet or see our mystery paddler again.