Disappointment Lake
by fitgers1

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 08/09/2010
Entry & Exit Point: Snowbank Lake (EP 27)
Number of Days: 6
Group Size: 4
Day 1 of 6
Monday, August 09, 2010 Our trip began by leaving a day earlier and staying at an 80 year old log cabin on Round Lake north of Grand Rapids. We had to stop there to pick up Gary's oldest son. The owner of the cabin has about 300 acres with trails. We walked some of them. It was great being back in a northern MN forest. That night the boys tried for a very long time to make a fire in the lakeside fire pit. They were using tinder and matches. It was hard as the wind was blowing out their fire as soon as they got it going. Finally after 45 minutes or more, a raging fire was in the pit and the sun was setting. Oh yeah, and the clouds were moving in. We had a fire for about an hour before the rain began to pour. Inside the old cabin we went. Beautiful inside and out. The owner was there. I believe he was in his late 70's as he was in the military in the late 40's. He told many stories of the old days when he was young of running around the northern woods. The roadless area (BWCA), the north shore and other parts of Minnesota. He and his friends hunted, fished and camped. I loved his line about five of them getting a cabin for two-fifty for the weekend up by Isabella. I thought that was kind of high back then. Then he said, "That was 50 cents a piece for the cabin" he said. We woke up early and left the cabin at 7:20 en route for Vermillion Lake. We traveled east to Hwy 65 and then north. We found a lot of construction on Hwy 65 as the road was being re-done for many miles. Arriving at Tower-Soudan we drove up to the south shore of Vermillion where we picked up Gary's Grumman canoe. We strapped it on the roof next to mine and we were off. At 40 miles an hour the loudest, crazy vibrating hum started. We stopped and checked the straps and tightened them up. Continuing on, the noise started again. A second time we stopped and re-did the straps. Success! The noise was gone. We arrived in Ely and stopped at Zup's. I ran in and grabbed enough ham and Swiss for a couple meals of sandwiches. A stop at the Ranger station to check in proved to be valuable as we learned about the Disappointment bears. I had read about the bear on this web site, however, we did not know that there were cubs involved. Off to LaTourells on Moose lake to rent a couple more packs and two bed pads. Bought a couple pounds of leeches as well. Originally we were going to rent three as I did not have one yet (untill a week or two before the trip). Gary got three and we drove away. A couple miles down the road he said "You bought a pad didn't you?" Yes I did I told him. Crap! Back to LaTourells to turn one back in. They were kind enough to cancel the charge right away. A quick side-note here...While there I spoke with Missy for a while. She knows my brother as he worked Prairie Portage while he was attending Vermillion College back in the 90's. On the road again. We arrived at EP 27 about 12:30 and started loading. We were the only people putting in so we had a lot of room to lay stuff out and get ready. Loaded boats, 87 degrees and no wind, we started out for Parent Lake. I should add, we also picked up a pound of leeches at LaTourells. They all fit (barely) in the leech container. We arrived at the 85(?) rod portage to Parent. Parent was calm as could be. We spied the two north side campsites and continued on. The boys thought we should stop there and camp. They didn't want to do another portage. The portage into Parent had a few steep spots and was pretty rocky. I think they felt that was enough for one day. Now these boys are mid and late teens so Gary and I knew they could handle another. As we arrived at the portage to Disappointment we met two guys coming into Parent. We talked to them for a while. They stated they had been going all day and were going to take a site on Parent. They asked if we could please tell the rest of their group behind them they would be on Parent. We portaged to Disappointment. At the shore, we met the rest of the group. They were very unhappy portagers from Iowa. They were burned out. Looked like a guy in his 20's, a girl around 20 and two kids - very early teens. They told us the first two guys were pushing them all hard. They were about to make their 14th portage for the day. Many were short, however, there was a long one after they left Alice Lake. Our portaging consisted of two trips a person. We decided to go a little heavy on the gear and food as we would be basing out of Disappointment and not moving camp everyday. We found a great site on the west tip of a peninsula at the south end of the lake. Best one on the lake that we could figure after seeing the others. We made camp and relaxed. Took a bath in the lake and was still sweating afterward. Still hot out! Way too hot! That evening as the sun was going down we had a baby otter run across the rocky beach in front of us. The boys caught a northern off the shore. The sky was beautiful as the sun went down. A clear sky allowed us to see every star in the universe. Just beautiful. The loons were calling all over the lake. We had a baby loon and its parents by the site all week. Still hot as we all went to bed. We complained back and forth through tent walls about the heat. I found it hard to fall asleep in the heat. I was really hoping to have some cool northern MN nights. They would come later in the week. Too be continued...on Day 2.