Brief April Solo
By the time I get gear assembled, the house picked up and finish the drive it’s 8:40 when my paddle hits the water. Luck is with me, the wind from the WNW is shaped by the lakes to provide more push than push against and I am able to make Prairie before ten. I am passed by two motorboats heading out and one tow boat heading back.
Birch Lake passes quickly. The portage to Carp is void of footprints. I turn away from the border and make my way to Sheridan. In 83 I took my first “non-organized-group” trip to the Quetico with a college roommate –up the Man Chain and back via the border- figure this is a good opportunity to re- visit “the Men”. The portage to Sheridan is beside a sweet cedar adorned falls. On Sheridan the wind is quite brisk, the lake attractive, clear water and a great rise of rock just to the east of the portage.
I give up on the single portage about halfway to That Man, the footing too difficult to make it worthwhile. That Man begins with a fine vista and the wind picks up as my progress gives it room to run. 2/3’s of the way down the lake I’m surfing on small whitecaps, moving fast but having to paddle hard to keep the boat on point. I pull close to the long thin island to scope the campsite and two guys appear on the shore and hail me as I stream by. The campsite on the next NW point is very attractive from the water but too close to company (the first people I’ve seen in my last six Q trips) to consider.
So it’s on to No Man and then surfing down This Man to a site on a tall shoulder of rock with a nice landing (pebble beach), a bit of shelter from the wind, terrific vistas and a soft level tent site. It’s a bit trampled and afflicted with sawed-off stumps but good enough for the night. The wind steadily increases and by 6:00 is howling down the lake blowing foam off whitecaps.
By dark the wind is a gentle breeze. When I wake near midnight it’s dead calm and way too quiet to fall back to sleep.