Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Wildlife with foot fetishes?
by OffMyRocker

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 07/27/2012
Entry & Exit Point: Moose Lake (EP 25)
Number of Days: 6
Group Size: 3
Trip Introduction:
I know it's an odd title for a canoe trip, but I can't deny that my feet were touched, and in once instance worked over, by 2 different species. This foot thing was a small part of the trip overall, but I had to come up with a catchy title. Our trip goal was to complete a loop with Audrey, our 9- year-old daughter. This would be her 5th canoe trip, but the first time with daily travel (vs. base camping). We also wanted to visit Isle of Pines after reading Bob Cary's book about Dorothy Molter. We didn't make firm plans about exactly where we would camp each night, but knew we had six days and approx. 45 miles to cover and we would enter and exit at Moose Lake.
Day 1 of 6
Friday, July 27, 2012 - Moose Lake, Birch Lake, Carp Lake, Melon Lake, Seed Lake, Knife Lake, South Arm Knife Lake.

After a very damp night at CCO campground, we met our tow driver at LaTourell's. The 20-minute tow ride to Indian Portage was well worth the money! The words for today are PEOPLE and SUNSHINE because there was an abundance of both. We've never before encountered so many people in a single day in the BW. As we traveled today, we kept thinking and commenting, "Dorothy paddled this lake," and "Dorothy covered this portage." Wildlife sightings today included a curious otter. There are many, many Scouts in the area and campsites were at almost 100% occupied.

We arrived at Isle of Pines and started exploring. We found some raised beds with flowers blooming - we found out this was in front of the site of one of the cottages used for guests. We also found the ribbon rock with a rusty chain under it. We assumed the chain was a leftover from when Dorothy's nephew put the rock there, but we later found out from Dorothy's nephew Steve that the chain must have been used by someone trying to move or steal the rock. Obviously they were not successful! We sat on a large rock and ate lunch. Afterwards we continued exploring the island and found some piles of old shingles.

Back on the water, we started to feel a sense of urgency about finding a campsite. We wanted the island site just at the point where the S. arm of Knife splits off. Another group ahead of us was also looking for a site. Was it my imagination, or did they start paddling *really* hard when they saw us? They did a whole lot of zigzagging and didn't get too far too fast, but then decided to split up and go in two directions - one of which was the site we had hoped for. They managed to get there first and so we had to forge on.

Next stop was the 2 sites northwest of Bonnie Lake. The second site was wet; the first site proved to have a better layout and a dry tent pad. Everyone felt overheated, so we took a quick dip after unloading gear. Many little small mouth swimming in the landing area. Back in camp, we were visited by Chippy and Chippy 2 - very bold little critters zipping in and out of my feet (foot fetish #1) Dave set up the tent while I handled water and food. We were all pretty beat after traveling today, so Audrey started her bedtime routine. This is the point where our trip could have ended very quickly.

Audrey was skipping on down the trail after brushing her teeth. She tripped and fell, her knee landing square on a rock and taking the full impact of her fall. It was a bad scene, with a large gash, blood and hysterical sobbing from the pain. The good news is that it was me sobbing hysterically and not the patient (kidding!). It took about an hour of hugs and rest before she recovered, and thankfully nothing was broken. After a short talk about watching our steps and being careful, she was ready to head out fishing. Whew! Relief.

I was the only angler in the group to land a fish - a 10" small mouth. This proved to be a sign of things (fish) to not come on this trip!