Father / Daughter Trip
by Woods Walker
As planned we were up at 5:00 am & on our way to the EP, after we arrived & had our gear staged, car parked & were ready to start the 160 rod into the Moose River a truck form Wisconsin pulled up, it was a fellow BWCA.com member strom2127 we had a short talk & I seen their plan was to drive to LIS entry & drop the truck & then ride a bike the 8 miles back to start the trip. We wished them good luck & a safe trip as we headed down the portage. I asked Jessica, if she wanted to wait while I drove them to LIS & back, but she didn't want to be stuck with a bunch of canoes & other guy's on the portages. If strom2127 would have asked, I would have done it anyway. But they were in great spirits & it seemed the bike ride was going to be part of their adventure.
The 160 rod, is on the long side, but fairly flat, straight & wide going up through a really nice stand of aspen & pine. We were on the Moose River by 7:00 am. It is a short paddle to the next portage (its only 10 rod & isn't on my map), I seen it is just a big beaver dam & some rocks, so we just pulled over it & floated through the rock garden easily. The next two portages 20 rod & then 25 rod are also fairly flat & easy.
I spotted four Otters playing in the water ahead of us & had Jessica stop paddling while I quietly got us closer. We managed to get fairly close to a couple of the younger ones, which then barked back & forth before scrambling up the bank & into the tall grass that this section of river is dominated by. About a half mile later we spotted another family of Otters, five this time, we paddled hard to try & catch up to them but they can move really fast. They finally moved up the bank & out of sight. As we slowed to look for them, they popped out right in front of us & crossed before being gone again. They did this hide & seek game with us for about 1/8th of a mile. They are a cute animal for sure.
The only campsite open on Nina Moose when we paddled through was on the southeast shore. We stopped on the north shore sandbar for a snack before continuing up the Nina Moose river. On the 70 rod portage, we ran into our first people heading the other direction & it was a pleasure. They were a group of 18 - 30 year old grandkids from Utah, coming back from a week on Agnes with their 80 year old grandpa. He was a retired botanist & awesome to talk to. Man I hope I can still make a trip like that at age 80. Great family! The 96 rod portage goes all the way along the rapids, with a few good spots to walk out on the rocks.
We noticed the wind had picked up quite a bit. When we got to the mouth of the river flowing into Agnes there were white caps on top of the white caps! big 3 foot rollers coming staright at us. I decided we would try to make it to one of the campsites on the south west end. We paddled with everything we had to get out in them big rollers & seen that all the sites were taken. We fought on & after 1 hour 20 minutes of hard, brutal work, we made it to the Oyster river portage & took it.
The 220 rod Oyster River portage has a long uphill & then levels off before dropping a little steeper to a muddy landing. I would hate to try that put in without the submerged log walk. The portage had several trees across it, but none made it much more difficult. We stopped at the top of the 1st hill on a nice slab of granite & had a nice lunch.
The Oyster River alone was worth the work getting there, we noticed that the Oyster river was flowing south, where as the Moose rivers were flowing north. We found that odd, as they flow into each other. This section of river was beautiful, all the lily's were in bloom & the water level seemed higher so no muddy banks. The 60 rod into Oyster is another gem, with great stands of huge Norways, White Pines & Cedar. By far the nicest portage on the trip!
We took the campsite just north of the portage on the east shore. It has a nice flat rock that sits about 4 feet above the water. There is a great canoe landing, with shade available when you wanted it at any time of day. I got our hammocks set up & then we went for a swim. It is about 8 feet deep right off shore, so jumping off the rock worked great. Only draw back was the need to swim to the canoe landing to get back out. BWCA.com rates this a 3 star, I would give it a 4. We spent the rest of the day & evening relaxing in hammocks. The wind finally died down toward sunset.