Solo Trek into Quetico - No Country for Old Men
[/URL] I actually only came close to capsizing twice when I had the wind at my back and was surfing in on the final leg …when the canoe is balanced Stern to Bow on the rolling waves, stability is at a premium. I reached the Isabella River, paddled upstream and across the same Beaver dams my son and I had seen when we passed thru here in 2003. [URL=http://s54.photobucket.com/albums/g96/Beemer10/?action=view¤t=P6170026.mp4]
[/URL]The wind continued to howl and gust, but sheltered as I was on this little river it only seemed a bother when trying to portage and discovering that the canoe wanted to weathervane on my shoulders and twist off. Several portages in I was starting to get my rhythm when I heard a sharp crack…. and froze in my muddy tracks. A 50' Birch Tree - blown by the relentless howling winds - crashed to the ground in the forest not 20 yards from me. I continued on the portage with a weather eye (and ear) peeled. At the end of the muddy portage into Isabella I found that this Northeast - Southwest oriented narrow glacial lake was naturally another howling mess of whitecaps and windblown spray…. This time I was destined to head straight into the jaws of the storm. By the way - this amazingly windy day was sunny, bright and cool. I stayed close to the West shore and battled my way a mile or so up Isabella to a beautiful campsite perched high on a bluff at the narrows overlooking that long Gem of a lake.
I tried to rig my tarp and hammock with absolutely no success, the winds - even higher on that bluff - would have none of that! I eventually retreated to a more sheltered area down from the commonly used campsite on the crest of the bluff and was able to set up a gypsy camp successfully. No fires today under any circumstances! I tried my hand fishing the narrows from shore - attempting to battle the wind with heavier lures. I walked around the edge of the lake on the lichen covered rock looking for a better place to cast. And slipped, falling 3-4 feet into the (fortunately) deep water off shore - it happed in a nanosecond, but I wasn’t seriously injured and my fishing rod and reel were retrieved with no effort or damage. Wow - that happened fast - watch your step out there! I ate a quick freeze dried meal on water heated on my Jetboil (I love this thing!)