Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

A trip of many firsts.
by georgiaphisherman

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 05/28/2011
Entry Point: Mudro Lake (EP 23)
Exit Point: Moose/Portage River (north) (EP 16)  
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 1
Trip Introduction:
The long awaited trip to the Boundary Waters was finally upon me. All of the planning and dreaming was finally here. While driving from Georgia to Ely, I had many thoughts running through my head. What am I going to see/catch/experience? What unexpected challenges would I encounter? Bugs? Weather? Am I crazy for going solo on my first trip to the BW? The original plans for the trip included 3 other guys, and one guy who was questionable. A divorce was the cause for the first guy to cancel, then a job change claimed the next, a baby claimed the next, and the last guy (a week prior) had a flare up with a recurring illness. In the end, it was just myself. My biggest concern wasn’t going solo, but how was I going to convince my wife that I should do this alone? When I first started planning this trip, my wife said to me “As long as you have someone to go with you…” Well now I had a week to convince her! I decided my best shot was to buy a PLB, which would be useful for me on the trip, as well as a good bargaining chip. After many discussions, she finally relented and the trip was on!!! I drove a straight 24 hours to Ely from Atlanta. The combination of energy drinks and adrenaline fueled my drive. As I approached Ely, I got a glimpse of a lake from the highway,and all of my trepidation about going solo disappeared. What a beautiful place! Next, I contacted Mark at Jordan’s Outfitters to let him know I was in town. I met up with Mark at his place, and we chatted about my plans, went over maps, fishing spots, best campsites, etc… Everything was set for my morning departure.
Day 1 of 5
Saturday, May 28, 2011 Before entering Mudro Lake, there is a nice small meandering creek, which was perfect for me to get accustomed to my rented Q16 Solo canoe. This canoe was exactly what I wanted in a canoe for my first trip to the BW. Yeah it was a beast in the wind, not incredibly efficient, but was very stable and fast enough. Leaving Mudro, I entered Sandpit, then Tin Can Mike, on my way to the Horse River. While on the Horse River, a thunderstorm passed over. This was interesting because I had to get off of the water in the middle of the Horse. Luckily, the storm passed after about thirty minutes. I have to admit, sitting in the woods with a thunderstorm directly overhead is definitely unnerving. After gathering my gear, I set out to find an open campsite. I found an open campsite on Horse Lake, just across from Lower Basswood Falls. On a side note, I would definitely recommend this campsite for a great vantage point for watching the sun come up in the morning. After setting up camp, taking some photos of a rainbow, and eating, I started to fish. My goal for this trip was to take a route that would enable me to get a good sample of the BW, and to catch a walleye, smallmouth, and a northern (the BW hat trick). Well, after fishing for 15 or so minutes I caught a small Northern. This was my first Northern. I fished for a little longer before hitting the hay. So far, the Boundary Waters is everything I hope it would be: boundless beauty, awesome fishing, and a paddler’s paradise.

Day 1 Summary: Mudro-Sandpit-Tin Can Mike-Horse River-Horse Lake I put in around 9:00 a.m. and was at camp around 5:00. There were a few points along the Horse River where I had to portage around some rock gardens that were exposed, due to low water. If I were in my own canoe I would have paddled through the rocks, but I wanted to baby the Kevlar canoe.