A week of R & R on Little Loon
by Arkansas Man
We are the first ones at the Entry point, we quickly unload and are paddling at 6:35, and our trip has officially begun! It is not until after Elm portage that we see the first groups heading out. Dour looking young people (looked like some Scouts) that appeared to have had all they wanted. The next group is a father and two sons. Then we are on Upper Pauness heading for the 40 rod portage which is somewhat muddy due to the rains of the week. On the Lower Pauness side, Kim finds a rock that has a cross embedded in it of a different material! It is cool looking and we take it as a good sign for our trip!
A short paddle and we are at Devil’s Cascade, we pass two other groups on this portage and on the way back for my double I help one group carry a pack up to where the hiking trail crosses the portage trial, as they are leap-frogging. Our portages done for the day, nothing left to do except for paddling. The wind is minimal and we reach the chute into Little Loon by 11:00 and as we pass through it we see that the “good fishing” site on the left is taken so we head the final mile to the northern most site. We reach our destination at 11:15 am. Miles travel 11.85, paddling avg. 3.4 mph, and overall average 2.2 mph. I had planned it were Kim would only single portage and I would double. I gave her the camera on the way in so she could take pictures from her perspective of the trip in, and allow her time to look around a bit as I finished my double.
Camp is quickly inspected, tent pad selected, tarp placement decided, and to pick where would be the best places to hang the two hammocks we had brought for our relaxation times. The tent is up, tarp placed, and hammocks are hung. Food pack placed by the fire pit, coffee pot and cookware removed and situated for easy access. It is lunchtime and we both are hungry so, I dig into the food pack for an 8 oz roll of Petit Jean smoked summer sausage, a package of string cheese and a roll of Ritz crackers… all of which did not last very long!! It tasted so darn good! Now Kim unrolls the sleeping pads and sleeping bags and organizes the tent while I place the TP bag on the latrine trail and start to clean up camp.
The campsite is a mess, cigarette butts everywhere, limbs and pieces of woods scattered all about the campsite. It looks like an adult who sat around and smoked cigarettes had allowed the unrestrained kids with him (with hatchets, no doubt) to run wild. You could not walk without tripping over a piece of wood, or a branch cut from a tree. I even found where a green tree about 3 inches in diameter had been cut down! It is sad to see this type of behavior!!
Things are finally organized and put away, and the site is clearer you can at least walk without tripping over a limb or piece of wood. The wind has come up a bit so we decide to hit the hammocks… I truly have to believe that the time spent in a hammock looking out across a BWCA wilderness lake, adds hours if not days to your life!! Temperature is in the low 70’s and Kim actually gets cold with the breeze blowing the way it is, so she gets her sleeping bag and covers up. We both really needed this time away for some rest and relaxation! Thank you Lord for letting us be here safely!
The next thing I know is that it is 5:00 and I am hungry again; time to get a fire going to cook up those rib eyes! Kim boils water for the Idahoan Golden Mashed potatoes, while I grill the steaks! All I can say is WOW! I see now why so many of you do this first night tradition! It has now become one of mine. Two ¾ lb rib eyes and a pot of mashed potatoes disappear in no time. Not even cutting the steak with the lexan knife slowed us down!
Dinner over the wind lays a bit and we decide to try the fishing out. I put a white ¼ oz. buzz bait on my rod and a Mepps Black Fury # 3 on Kim’s ultra light. I figure she will catch a smallie or a northern for sure, and she does before she stops fishing and starts watching the top water action I am having on the buzz bait. Northerns are hammering the buzz bait, one so close to the boat that it splashed water all over Kim when it hit! We finish fishing, no fish are kept we head back to camp for an early bedtime. We are in the tent and going to sleep well before 9:00!
As the normal sounds of the evening start I think back to the highlights of the day. The great sense of relief of being here again. Completing the trip in with no problem, best physical shape we both have ever been in! The great meal for dinner! Hearing Kim’s laugh as she got splashed by the northern! Kim talking to the little squirrel which was sitting on a log by the fire pit when we got there. Thank you Lord, for these many blessings I have been blessed with today!