Four Solos - Visions Of Sin Trip
by Bannock

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 10/08/2010
Entry & Exit Point: Little Indian Sioux River (south) (EP 9)
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 4
Part 2 of 6
Friday, October 8, 2010

We got up at 5:30am at which time Jim and I got to meet Greg. First stop of the day was Brittons for breakfast at 6:15am. I don’t remember what I, or anyone else, had. It’s always good though and gave us a chance to get further acquainted with Greg and catch up with Steve.

After breakfast we headed over to VNO (7:15am). We visited with John for a bit. He, too, told us of the bear problem on Lake Three and the moose hunters in the area. We decided to enter at Little Indian Sioux River (LIS) South instead. LIS South was of interest to me because I have never done that entry point and I like paddling the BWCA rivers.

We arrived at entry point at 8:30am and were on the water by 10:00am. Well, those times are just guesses because there wasn’t a watch among the group. Later in the trip we discovered that Greg’s GPS had a clock so some of our later time estimates are better.

There was a car and a truck with a boat trailer in the parking lot. We may see other people. It’s ironic because during the “Season”, there is only one permit available every other day for LIS South. It could actually be more crowded in October that in July. Between October 1st and May 1st.the quota does not apply. All we needed to do was to fill out a self-issued permit.

LIS South, like LIS North, is a beautiful paddle, perhaps more so because it is used less. We paddled quite awhile before we came upon a hunting camp just before the BWCA proper. A motor boat was pulled up on shore and there were two tents – a larger cabin tent and a smaller four-man tent. We didn’t see any people. We figured they were out hunting.

Shortly after the hunting camp we came upon a sign stating that we were entering the wilderness. We took notice that in addition to bikes and motors, the sign stated that hang gliders were forbidden.

Next came Sioux Falls, which was the first portage of the trip. I should say that there are few opportunities to get out of the canoe because much of both the Little Indian Sioux and Little Pony Rivers are through swampy bogs – i.e. no solid land. The Falls are beautiful and the portage around it short. It is slightly tricky exiting on the downstream side of the falls, but we did OK.

The branch off LIS to the Little Pony River was easy to spot. However, the Little Pony is much narrower than the LIS and things got tough. In many places the water was very shallow and we were poling with our paddles to get through the muck. There were also thick weeds to fight through and narrow spots and very tight bends, all of which made for tough going. But the worst part was the false portage. We obviously weren’t the first people to try to take it, the landing was so worn. This false portage took us through a bog. It was exhausting work. Then we had to backtrack and walk our canoes upstream through a very narrow, rock-lined opening, reload our packs at the bog, and then continue for a few rods before we landed again to take the real portage.

That portage was very tough. The map said it was 60 rods, but I believe it is at least twice that long. I think all of our strength was pretty zapped by the time we finished and we still had a good distance to go before we reached Bootleg Lake.

By the time we reached the last portage, another 60 rods, we were exhausted from heat which must have been near 80 degrees. That’s right, an October trip and we had 80 degrees and were wearing tee shirts. The portage was a little uphill, but not too tough – thank goodness.

We made it to Bootleg Lake about 5:00pm and took the north campsite. I was dragging, but the site had a nice sand beach landing which made things easier. I liked the camp site. It was in among trees and had plenty of room for our four tents, though they were fairly close together. There was room for a tarp. The legs on the fire grate were broken, but we just supported it with rocks. Someone had built a small camp table big enough for a small camp stove and work area. The latrine was close to camp, perhaps too close for some, but it didn’t bother us.

We took it easy setting up camp. We needed to rest a bit and get rehydrated. Still we were set up by dark.

At one point I looked up and saw another canoe heading to other site. So much work to get here, and in October no less, and we didn’t have the lake to ourselves.

We ate dinner by headlamp. Jim’s wife had made beef stew for us. It was delicious! And Jim had carried it in frozen. Thanks Jim and thanks Rachel!