Tippy Canoe & Broken Soles (EP 23)
During the mid to late 1990's our family took 5 trips to BWCA. We all found that we loved the outdoors and the pristine wilderness and always had fond memories of our time. The last trip we took was in 2000 just before my senior year of high school. Once I graduated, things became hectic and we never pinned down another trip. We all talked about returning one day and finally, one day last winter, we decided that it was time to make our return!
We typically like to enter and find a small, dead-end or lightly used lake with just one or two sites. Somewhere that we can base-camp and spend lots of time fishing. We also like to venture to an area where we have not been before.
After much deliberation, we decided to enter at Mudro and make our way through the Boot/Fairy/Gun route to Moosecamp where we would spend at least the first several days before deciding what to do next. We reserved our EP 23 Permit for entry on Tuesday July 26th with plans to exit on Saturday August 6th (total of 11 days). We also reserved PMA nights for the Tick Lake PMA for August 1st, 2nd, and 3rd with hopes of at least exploring the area.
Our next order of business was to replace our two Old Town Penobscot 16s with something a bit lighter. Mark and Cheryl looked for an Ultralight Kevlar and ended up finding a great deal on an 18' 1984 Wenonah Jensen which, although it is technically a racing canoe, seemed to work well when tested. I, on the other hand, was looking for something a bit more rugged. I am a big guy and wanted something that would offer a bit more support and could be banged around a bit.
I settled on a 14' 1974 Radisson Lightweight aluminum canoe that weighs about 40 pounds stock. I was a bit hesitant to go with the shorter 14' due to the fact that shorter canoes don't usually track well, but this one worked like a charm. It kept a straight line and I had very little trouble keeping up with my parent's canoe. This canoe is foam lined so you don't get the noise of a typical aluminum canoe and with a 38" beam, even purposeful tipping took some effort.
We spent the next several months making preparations and, with the excitement building during the last week, got everything packed and ready to go! We set out from Carrollton, Ohio at about 5:45a.m. on Sunday July 24th for the 1000 mile trip to Ely. We pushed our first day of travel and stayed at a hotel near Munising, MI in the UP. An early hotel breakfast the next morning, and we were back on the road.
We arrived in the Ely area at about 3:30 which gave us plenty of time to stop and pick up our permits and fishing licenses and then get checked into the Adventure Inn for the night. We then hit up the Stony Ridge Cafe for dinner. We were just looking for a burger, but these were inhuman! Massive does not even begin to describe! (Beware the sausage! It will light your mouth on fire!) After a delicious and VERY filling meal, we browsed the Ely Surplus Store (next to Piragis) for some last minute items and souvenirs.
We returned to the hotel where we discovered our first lesson of the trip: "Always ensure that you have everything when you leave a hotel room... Especially the two goose down, traveling pillows you just left in northern Michigan!" Went to bed early totally stoked for our entry the next day!