Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

First Quetico Trip... The Epic Journey
by hexnymph

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 05/28/2004
Entry & Exit Point: Moose Lake (EP 25)
Number of Days: 8
Group Size: 8
Trip Introduction:
This is lengthy! The day before the trip everyone, except the Cookie, converged in Ely at the Chocolate moose for a beer. Two rookies were in our group this year. The oldest was 67, who, I was assured, knew what he was getting into…. We picked up our canoes, (Three Itasca’s in addition to my MN II) got settled in the bunkhouse (Thanks again Lynn), arrange our gear, purchase the final supplies, and packed the food. Cookie eventually showed after a long night of worrying and pbr consumption…. Then we finally settled in.
Day 1 of 8
Saturday, May 29, 2004

Inlet Bay (Basswood Lake), Bayley Bay (Basswood Lake), Burke Lake, ? Lake, North bay (Basswood Lake), South Lake, West Lake, ? Lake, Shade Lake, ? Lake, Grey Lake, Yum Yum Lake.

   We decided to save some time and get to Prairie Portage early by taking a towboat across Moose lake and we did. We arrived at the put in at about 7:15 and were at PP around 8. As if on-Q the black flies made their presence known to use with a warm welcome into Quetico. This was our first trip to Quetico and we were not sure what to expect at the ranger station but all in all it only took about 20 minutes per group to get through. We managed to get about 5th in line so we didn’t have to wait long. By approximately 9:30 – 10:00 we were on our way. 

The weather was nice, and strangely the wind was at our back seemingly pushing us into the depths of Quetico. In the past, nice weather and wind at our backs was an omen of tough travel ahead. The trip across Inlet bay and Bayley bay was pretty uneventful besides the larger waves and speed we made it across. One smallmouth was caught and released right before the portage. After we got the first portage under our belts we were flowing fairly smoothly. At end of the portage onto North Bay we decided to do lunch at the island right there. Mmmm meat and Cheese. We then decided to take the northern rout to Kahshapiwi for two reasons… Possible pictographs on Shade Lake… and we were told to avoid the portage from Yum Yum to Kahshapiwi… So we had to see why… LOL. After lunch the wind continued to push us north and the sun continued to shine through south and west lake, an unnamed lake, and into Shade Lake. We paddled over to where the pictograph is marked on the map but were unable to find it (That doesn’t mean it’s not there, we might have missed it).  This was the last time we saw other people for a couple days but up until the next lake there were several people around at all times.

   We headed over to another unnamed lake and then a portage into Grey lake. We ran into a little trouble here. When we got down to the lake and put in, the map indicated an island that we couldn’t see. I was taken for another loop after looking at the compass and north was in the opposite direction. We managed to come back to the same lake we just came from about 50 yards south of were we took out. I was a little disturbed but what could I do, I was just following the guy in front of me…. So, we took the portage again with a little more searching and found the correct rout, through a bog of probably bottomless muck of course. That made the 128rod portage a little more than 128rods.  After that little bit of confusion was over we made it into Grey and Yum Yum lake just fine. 

   That night we ate hearty meal of Yum Yum lake soup and a whole watermelon. The idea of packing a watermelon has been a running joke with the foodbag guy since January. When the Cookie showed up late Friday before the trip with a watermelon it was only natural for some late night shenanigans to get the watermelon into the food bag. By Yum Yum lake the foodbag guy wasn’t about to carry it any farther. In fact, he suggested stopping an eating it about every time he had a chance to. At about the time I got into the tent and laid down on a therapeutic root and/or pinecone, the rain started and fatigue put me to sleep.