Last Canoe Trip of the Season
September 4, Day 2: Ben and I woke up at 7:30am. and started making breakfast. After breakfast we started taking down camp and packing for another traveling day. The weather was windy, cold, and dry. We paddled the rest of Fourtown Lake hugging the shore some of the way. Jenn and Marc led the way this time. They were strong paddlers and we were about 30 seconds behind them. As we neared the first portage we were on calmer water and decided to race. Ben and I beat Jen and Marc to the portage but they were at a disadvantage because they didn’t see where the portage was until they were a little ways up shore of it. We walked a 48 rod portage to Boot Lake. Ben, Marc, and Jenn all huddled around the map and figured out where they were going at the end of the portage. Boot Lake wasn’t that hard until we started going north on it and encountered white caps. We paddled through it taking twice as long as it would on a calmer day. We did a short 15 rod portage to get to Fairy Lake. Fairy Lake was easier to paddle on than Boot Lake since it was smaller. After Fairy Lake we did a 50 rod portage to Gun Lake. At the end of this portage we took a break and snacked on our treats and discussed where we wanted to stay. The plan was to paddle for four hours that day and see where we were at. Marc and Jenn decided they wanted to continue paddling to Moose Lake rather than staying on Gun Lake which was our original goal we wanted to get to the first day. On Gun Lake we paddled underneath a Bald Eagle perched on a tree near the shoreline. After Gun Lake we did a 10 rod portage to Bullet Lake. We paddled Bullet Lake to the next portage which led to a 44 rod portage to Moose Lake. While starting the portage to Moose Lake we met another party, a dad and son, who were traveling to Moose Lake too. We chatted with them a bit and asked them what way they were planning on going on Moose Lake. They were going east; we were planning on going east, too, but after hearing this we decided to go west and let them have the campsite to the east. The Moose Lake portage was full of mud at the end. We all got our boots soaked with mud on this one. We paddled over to the campsite just west of the portage and liked it from the start. It had a beautiful view of the lake from the kitchen area and a great landing for canoes. We looked at the the campsite at the far western end of the lake, but it didn't look inviting at all. We went back to the first campsite and unloaded all our gear. Marc and Jenn let us pick the first tent pad that afternoon. We set up our tents and then had lunch. After lunch we all decided to go fishing together. Marc was really excited to fish especially since Ben was going to show him all his pointers this time. We started trolling the west part of the lake with the Farmers behind us following. Jenn had the first bite that day, a small northern. We continued paddling; I reeled in a dinner size walleye at the beginning of a point. After getting it in the boat, Ben and I tried paddling back, but the wind was still very strong, so it was difficult. However, the Farmers were right behind us, and Marc caught a dinner size walleye and Jenn caught another northern. Ben and I decided to paddle back to camp after seeing that we had enough fish for dinner. Marc and Jenn continued to fish. Back at camp, Ben put the walleye in the cage. We relaxed around camp until Marc and Jenn came back. After they came back it was time to fillet the fish. Marc and I decided to do the filleting. Marc cut up his fish different than the way Ben taught me. Marc cut off the entire head and then started on the sides. Jenn helped Marc finishing cutting up his fish. Marc decided he wanted to learn how we filleted our fish afterwards. Ben and I made dinner which included fish, potatoes, and tropical fruit salad with hot chocolate for dessert. Ben and I did dishes afterwards while Marc fished from the front of our campsite. Marc reeled in a small northern. He was so proud of catching something from shore. We all played a game of hearts that night before going to bed.
September 5, Day 3: Ben woke Marc and Jenn up at 6am. because they wanted to go fishing. It was a beautiful foggy morning when they went. We slept in until 6:30am and woke up to make breakfast. Ben and I ate breakfast and watched to fog burn off of the lake. When Marc and Jenn got back a couple of hours later, we found out that Jenn caught a small walleye and northern that morning which they let go. Ben cooked up some pancakes for Marc and Jenn. While we were eating breakfast we heard a loud splash across the lake. The sun was directly in our faces so it was hard to see what it was. Ben said it was probably a loon, but we later found out from the other campers on the lake that it was a Bull Moose swimming across the lake. Jenn was disappointed that we had missed seeing the moose. After breakfast Marc and Jenn said they would clean up camp so Ben and I could go fish. Ben and I paddled around the whole lake without a single bite until we got a few yards from our campsite and Ben caught a Walleye while I reeled in a northern. Ben kept the walleye since it was dinner size. After we got back to camp we had lunch and started packing for our day trip to a mile long portage that led to Wagosh Lake. We were going to fish the other lakes while on the way to Gun Lake where the start of the mile long portage was. On the way we all caught lots of small northerns on Bullet Lake. At the start of the mile long portage we decided to leave one canoe and bring the other along with the fishing pack, one canteen, one life vest, swim suits and all our fishing polls. We saw wolf tracks on this portage well traveled portage. I decided to time ourselves and it took us 18 minutes to walk across. Once we arrived at Wagosh Lake Jenn and I got to ride in the canoe while Ben and Marc paddled to the one campsite on the small lake. Marc wanted to go swimming in this lake hoping it would be warmer than the larger lakes. The campsite on the McKenzie map was not marked right and we had to paddle further up shore to find it. When we got to the campsite Marc suggested a contest between the couples. Each couple would paddle out to the lake and jump out of the canoe and back in while being timed. We all changed into our suits in the woods. Ben and I decided to go first since Marc said we had the advantage. This was my first time jumping out of a canoe and getting in so Ben gave me some instructions. When we were on the water we jumped in at the same time while holding onto the canoe. After that we grabbed onto the bars near the seats at the same time and hoisted ourselves up into the canoe. It took us two seconds to do all that. Jenn and Marc were pretty impressed. I swam back to shore afterwards, jumping out of the canoe again. Jenn and Marc were hilarious to watch. They are a bit bigger than us so it took them a little more effort to get back in the canoe but they did it in 1 minute and 27 seconds. Marc had missed filming us, so I insisted that Ben and I do it again. It took us a little longer the second time, but not by much - probably less than 10 seconds. After our contest Marc and Jenn kept swimming while Ben and I changed and went and fished the lake. I caught a small northern. After we fished some of the lake we paddled back to the campsite and picked up Marc and Jenn. The guys then paddled us back to the mile long portage. After the portage we decided to keep fishing Gun Lake in hopes of catching another walleye for dinner. We paddled up this narrow channel; Ben and I took one side while Marc and Jenn took the other. While trolling near a fallen tree Ben caught a bass that snapped his line under a branch. I caught a bass shortly afterwards near the same spot Ben caught his. We decided to keep mine even though it was small. Marc had wanted to catch a bass all the trip since he had never caught one before. He was eager to see the one I caught when we met up with them. Jenn caught a northern while Marc caught a dinner size walleye. After fishing a little more we started back to base camp before it got too late. Once we got back to camp we started filleting the fish right away. Ben filleted the small bass, I filleted Ben’s walleye, and Marc filleted his walleye (this time the way Ben and I showed him). At dinner the Farmers tasted the walleye and bass along side each other on their plate. Marc preferred the bass since it tasted more fishy. Jenn, though, liked the walleye more. After dinner Marc and Jenn went out fishing again while Ben started to pack up camp for our traveling day tomorrow. After Marc and Jenn got back we had a campfire and cooked smores. We put the food pack up in the dark and went to bed.
September 6, Day 4: We woke up early and packed up camp. The weather was kind to us that day, calm water, little wind and sunny. It took us four hours to paddle back to our entry point. We cut off one and a half hours from the first two days of paddling. Jenn and Marc had a lot of fun and we enjoyed them as traveling partners. We all want to go again sometime next year;)