mudro to crooked to sunday bay to gun to fourtown.. I WISH..
Well, I went on my first trip to the BWCA area back in 1998. A good friend of mine was telling us about this trip that his dad went on with his friends. Well he even had some video of the trip. So we broke out the video and watched it. WE WERE HOOKED. My friends and I made plans to go and we did. We went in 98' and 99'(Just a few days after the big "blow down". Well ever since I have always wanted to go back. I got a few buddies very interested in going. One whom went on both trips with me in 98' and 99'. So we get everything planned out, pick a date, set up with Cliff Wolds outfitters and we wait for September 9th. The day finally comes and we pack up and head out for the 12hr drive from Springfield, IL. We arrive in Ely, MN around 3am and head to the cliff wolds camp site where Ryan, from Cliff Wolds has our tents set up and the gear we need for the night waiting in the tents. we all get a good 4-5hrs of sleep and get up and head back to Cliff Wolds to get things going. Once at the outfitters we pay, get things loaded up and tell the outfitter we need to run and get fishing bait and license (Cliff sells the licence just not bait). A few moments later, most of my group insists that they must go eat a good breakfast before heading out. I speak up and mention that we really don't have the time to go sit down and eat.. well.. 3 voted yes, I voted no.. I lost. not a big deal I guess. By the time we are done with all of this, it is after 11pm and almost noon before we hit the water. Now mind you, my plan was to be on crooked lake the first day, worst case, be on a camp site at lower basswood falls. Well.. we made it to Horse lake. We stayed on the North East campsite, just east of the island and north of the opening to Horse River. The camp site was pretty nice. By the time we had camp set up, it was close to 4pm maybe even 5pm. I do remember that we had steaks for dinner. Man was that GOOD. The evening was great. Did some fishing, broke out the Frisbee and football. Then we started setting up for the night. We packed up what we could and hung our food packs up up and away. Our plan was to head out in the morning. Things start off as planned. We get up, eat and pack up and head out. Horse river started off very fun for us. The water was a little low so we had to pull thru a few spots, but it was fun. Well, We get to the shortens portage off horse river and one of my buddy seems to think we can just take the water way to the left of the portage landing and skip the portage. I said man.. this is only a short portage.. well he insisted and away he went with his partner and canoe. Well about 2hrs later, he makes it out of the other side of the portage. YES I SAID 2 HOURS. So we push thru and end up on stopping on the western camp site of lower basswood falls, across from the falls. Camp site was very very nice in my opinion. We had a lot of fun here. Lots of room for camp, but really only room for 2 tents. which was great for us. I really love checking out new camp sites, its like checking into a new hotel. You just cant wait to see what it has.
We are really enjoying this camp site a lot. Fishing has been ok, we were not trying very hard, but we were catching some small mouth and walleye and one northern. One of our "never forget how much fun it was" moments was..we were playing with the Frisbee and my buddy got it stuck up in the tree. OK, No problem, we will get it unstuck with the football we had. GUESS WHAT? We got the football stuck in the same tree. So now we all scratch out heads and moments later...we are throwing firewood up in the tree to get the Frisbee and the football back. After probably a good 30 min of this, we get the Frisbee and football back BUT BUT BUT.. now there is firewood stuck up in the pine tree. So for the next few hrs your would here a PLUNK every so often.. it was the firewood falling out of the tree.
Then reality sets in for me. So I tell them all, we have a decision to make here. Do we push on and keep going, knowing we are about 1.5 days behind and will have to work our butts off to finish this loop, or do we stop, stay here another night and just head back the way we came and take our time and just enjoy ourselves? We all agreed to just stay and head back the way we came. Which overall, I was fine with. It really ended up working out for the best.
So we stayed another night at lower basswood falls and headed back the next day. we ended up staying on Tin can Mike. We had the whole lake to ourselves. We stayed here for 2 days and just enjoyed everything we could. It was nice. Over all , the whole trip was really great. We had fun, which was our main goal. I got one of the 2 new guys hooked and we are going back May of this year(2012)and we our both taking our sons. Everything that Cliff Wolds provided was very excellent, The tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and the food, THE FOOD WAS GREAT!! I know this is not close to a normal trip report, but its what I have and overall, it is a trip I will never forget. To me, anything in life that you never forget is something special, because it has a "meaning" in your life. I am going to attempt to attach some photos.. it may not work.