The Year of the Beaver
by toonces300

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 09/13/2011
Entry Point: Little Indian Sioux River (north) (EP 14)
Exit Point: Moose/Portage River (north) (EP 16)  
Number of Days: 7
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
2011 : The Year of the Beaver ** Matthew and I had been looking forward to this trip for well over a year. We had seen some of our route previously, but were excited for what the week held in store for us -
Day 1 of 7
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - ** Day 1 ** We unloaded our gear from the Suburban around 7-7:30 on this windy, clear to cloudy, and cool morning. After making short time on this first short 40, we got to the river. Thankfully, I hadn’t slipped and torn up my knees on this first portage like I did several years back on a slick rock face. I took that as a good sign! Here at the water’s edge, away from all the day-to-day “stuff”….Matthew and I could finally take that first deep breath we had waited over a year to take. >>   With a prayer, and a quick load, we pushed off into the Little Indian Sioux. It was somewhat breezy at times, but we ignored it and tried to hide the excitement pulsing through us. There was no hiding the smiles on our faces though, and we made our way up and through Upper and Lower Pauness Lakes. We paused at the campsite above the Devil’s Cascade for a brief scenic overlook, only, there was no cascade. It was very dry, unlike the last trip through here, where the water was pounding down the rocks. Still, we took the opportunity to check out the campsite for notes, and continued on towards Loon Lake. The wind had really picked up by now, and in setting out across Loon, the rollers swelled and challenged us as we struck out, and turned to the East. At times, the waves lapped as high as the canoe sides, occasionally splashing our Duluth packs, and others, pulling us broadsides between the waves. We were constantly communicating with each other, staying focused on the direction of the wind, and the waves, and the increasing and ominous clouds. Our steady pulling and nearly an hour of hard work got us around into Little Loon. After a brief respite, we encountered another 15-20 minutes of sheer headwinds, before reaching the portage up to Slim. At one point, in changing my paddling side, an unexpected gust almost blew the paddle straight out of my hands! We unloaded under a canopy provided by the trees there at the portage mouth, and what had begun as a very light rain, became a tad heavier, and steady. Matthew looked at me, and me at him. Both of us shrugged. “I guess we break for a sandwich?” That worked for me. Unlike our normal moving speed, we sat down and enjoyed the small break. We made a few sausage sandwiches and mixed up something to drink. After lingering for about 20 minutes, the rain seemed to slow again, and we got right back on track. In no time, we had loaded up and pushed off into Slim, but the rain threatened again. The plan had been to shoot for the upper camp on Slim, if it was available, and it was. We set up fast hoping to beat more rain, and just did. We rested for an hour or more, in and out of the tent, holding our breaths for a little break. There seemed to be more patches of clear blue in the skies, and the air was getting noticeably cooler. Finally, there was a small window between showers that we jumped out to cook some dinner. Afterwards, we gladly set out to satisfy our itch to get some first-fishing in. Last year’s results had been awesome, our best ever, and we hoped to top that. We paddled up the lake a bit, looking for an inviting shoreline to work. As soon as we got into position with the wind to work back towards camp, we began to actively eye a dark wall of clouds that was building, and seemed to pick up speed out of the Northwest. There was soon a race back to camp – The rain cloud won. The wind had really picked up just before the downpour came, whipping across the water, and blowing the sheets of rain at nearly a 45-degree angle across the surface. We reached the shore, pulled the canoe out of the water – up near the trees – and rolled it over all in one seemingly, fluid motion! I ran after Matthew up to the tent to wait this out. It lasted for awhile, so we grabbed some rest we desperately needed, mostly to regroup from the Loon crossing. A bit later, after some light hail that had us laughing like kids in their first snowfall, we emerged. We found clearing skies, really cool air, and….the most beautiful, completely-full, DOUBLE rainbow that either of us had ever seen, or may ever see again. The best part? It was RIGHT there in front of us. We both nearly knocked each other down scrambling back into the tent to get our cameras, and then ran back out to the edge of camp. Here the lake formed a channel between us and the East shore, about 30-40 yards across. The two left legs of the rainbows emerged right out of the channel off to our left, about 10 yards apart. They rose up above our heads and arched back down into the lake on our right. Both were completely intact, from water to water, one just under/inside the other. I took several pictures, while Matthew took some video on his little flip camera. After, and as they began to subside, we just stood there beside each other, equally in awe at the beauty before us. The colors were as vivid and bright as they could be, and we knew that no one else was seeing this sight but Matthew and me. It felt as though God put that there – just for us. I smiled and thanked Him for this rare moment spent with my son. It reminded me of times in years past when I saw wonder and amazement in his eyes as a child. But, sharing it with him as a young man, made this moment even more special. We fished from the camp shoreline later with a bit of luck, then turned in around dark, with the wind blowing through the trees above us.
Upper Pauness Lake, Lower Pauness Lake, Loon Lake, Little Loon Lake, Slim Lake, Section Pond, South Lake, Steep Lake, Eugene Lake, Tesaker Lake