Trip Recall -- Bear got the food we got carrot sticks & Jolly Ranchers
by Rob Johnson
We awoke to a light drizzle. No Power Bars back then and I didn't have a camp stove so oatmeal required a campfire. We had a warm breakfast but we also had another late start.
We headed further east on Knife towards the portage into Bonnie Lake. It was just before the Bonnie portage that I got a very sobering reminder of how scary the BWCA could be. A pair of canoes came paddling over to us. A dad and son were in the first canoe and a wife and daughter in the other. You could see from the look on the dad's face that something was wrong. He was lost. Completely utterly lost and asked for my help. I remember asking him where he thought he was and he pointed to the wrong spot. I asked for his map, rotated it 180 degrees, then handed it back to him and showed him where he was. I pointed out several landmass markers for him to identify and you could see the relief wash over him.
At the time I remember feeling proud in front of my girlfriend. My navigational skills were good enough to help someone else. Today, as the father of a family that fits that of the lost dad, I can't help but admire the dad for doing the right thing. He checked his ego enough to ask for directions. I only hope I was decent about it when I set him straight.
We made our way into Bonnie. More mosquitoes and more single portaging (had to keep impressing the girl you know). From Bonnie we portaged into Spoon and from Spoon into Dix.
We had hoped to make it to Vera Lake and set up a base camp there but 2 late starts in a row prevented that from happening. We portaged into Skoota hoping to grab a site there and save the big portage into Missionary for the next day.
Both sites on Skoota were taken so it was back to Dix. We chose the island campsite there. Clearly this site didn't get used much. Long grass was everywhere. The result of the long grass was a tick check that revealed more than 10 ticks per person including some in some very private areas. As boyfriend/girlfriend one would think that might be kinda fun but when your girlfriend is a little put off by ticks and you are both dead tired it isn't exactly sexy. For obvious reasons we dubbed that campsite Tick Island. It was the only night of the trip where it didn't rain.
Knife Lake, Bonnie Lake, Spoon Lake, Dix Lake, Skoota Lake