Tippy Canoe & Broken Soles (EP 23)
Entry Day!!! We arose at 5:50 and made our way to Britton's Cafe for breakfast based on recommendations found here on BWCA.com. The stuffed hash browns were great for a last meal! After only one short wrong turn, we arrived at the entry point at about 8:45 and were on the water (so to speak) by 9:30. We carried our gear over the short smooth/level entry portage to Picket Creek and loaded the canoes.
I set off as my parents finished loading and about 100 yards down the creek, I came to our first obstruction. A fairly small beaver dam that required a simple lift-over. My parents walked the section as it was very shallow and sandy and lifted over. In the process, our cook kit bag fell overboard but luckily we did not lose anything. A quick rearrange and another 300-400 yards of walking and the stream bed dropped off to canoeable depths.
We ran into a couple of more small pull-overs just as the creek enters Mudro where just getting out of the canoe and floating it through the rocks was sufficient. Finally at our fist lake, we breathed in the awesomeness of Boundary Waters and slowly canoed our way across to the portage. Here we learned lesson number two: "Make sure you have your map accessible" We pulled up alongside each other and dug out the map just to make sure we were at the right place.
The series of portages from Mudro to Fourtown are a rather unique lot. The first 30 rodder is basically a boulder field and, while short, could end a trip very early. Tessa got to carry her pack for the first time and it took her a bit to get used to it. When we first put it on her, she stumbled around a bit, rolled a few feet down a hill and promptly fell in the water! She quickly righted herself but still seemed quite unsure about this "thing" on her back. We all had a good laugh and made our way to the other side with me and Mark double portaging for canoes.
We loaded up for a quick 150 yard paddle and came to the 140 rod middle portage. This portage is a strenuous one with several good rocky hills and plenty of ankle grabbers. We took our time and enjoyed the 100 foot drop off on one side in the middle of the portage. Tessa had figured out her pack by this time and seemed to be enjoying herself.
Another quick load for a 100 yard paddle and we were at the last of the three. Luckily the water levels were down a bit so we were able to take the first left and walk down the stream bed for a bit rather than having to negotiate the 20-25 foot cliff (for lack of a better word) at the other end. I would hate to do that when it is wet!
Finally!! We got to paddle for awhile! We made our way down the short stream into Fourtown and encountered a mild head-wind. (We always seem to have the wind in our faces!) We took a leisurely pace and arrived at the portage to Boot at about 2:00. Realizing that it was still quite a distance to Moosecamp we decided to stop for lunch and re-assess. We prefer to be in camp between 3:00 and 4:00 to allow plenty of time for setup, swimming, and relaxing so we decided that we would find one of the sites on Boot to stay for the night. Here we also learned our next lesson: "Make sure you get the camera out of the glove box before you leave the entry point!" (Sorry for no pictures!!)
We made the very easy portage to Boot and began the campsite search. We settled on Site 1094 which is the middle site on this lake. It was a very nice site with a decent canoe landing, a couple of good tent pads, and plenty of bear bag trees. There is one tree near the fire grate that is partially uprooted and leaning at a strange angle into another tree. I wouldn’t pitch a tent under that one! We got camp set up and took a quick swim. A quick and easy dinner of Old El Paso Tortilla Stuffers and a Black Bean Soup and we were all ready to relax. As usual the mosquitoes came out at dusk and we headed to bed (Tessa Sleeps with me in my Marmot Titan 3 Tent.)