EP 33 - Two Kids Under 7 Tackle the BWCA
by KennyBustalker1969

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 08/02/2012
Entry & Exit Point: Little Gabbro Lake (EP 33)
Number of Days: 3
Group Size: 4
Trip Introduction:
A family of four from Georgia make an epic adventure cross country to visit friends and family in Minnesota. The middle part of the adventure includes a planned four day/three night voyage into the BWCAW. The family includes two children making their wilderness camping debut. The six year old is high energy and loves fishing. The four year old boy has a family reputation as a wimp but is still excited about the trip. Dad is a lifelong hunter/fisherman but has only one previous wilderness camping experience under his belt; an amazing week long adventure into the Quetico. The heart and soul of this trip is mom. She is a former wilderness instructor and former Ely resident who has logged hundreds of days leading canoe and dogsled courses in the BWCAW.
Day 1 of 3
Thursday, August 02, 2012

We wake up bright and early at the Adventure Inn in Ely and load the last of the gear in the van and make our way to the entry point. Two friends have arrived early and taken two of our packs down the .75 mile portage before we arrive.  They make a second trip with us when we arrive. One of our biggest challenges with this trip was having two out of the four people in our party under seven years of age since they would be unable to carry much. We paddle out after saying our goodbyes to our friends and a couple of pictures. The weather is perfect! It is partly cloudy and around 70 degrees. One of our first observations is people! We met someone coming out at the portage and saw quite a few canoes on the water. Our goal with the two little ones was to base camp on Gabbro Lake and not push the kids very hard. We scout the map and start looking for an island campsite since the six year old is really pushing for one.  Every island we paddle to is taken. We finally stop on a small island for a snack. We soon realize that every campsite is taken. We push on to Bald Eagle Lake out of necessity. The first campsite is open! Should we push on or take it? We paddle past it but soon decide to turn around and take it. It proves to be a good choice since future explorations lead us to realize that this site is the best of the four sites on the west end of Bald Eagle. (in our opinion) We begin the long process of unloading the canoe and setting up camp. The going is slow due to the demands of the kids. The six year old is especially needy since she wants her fishing pole set up for fishing right way. After getting the six year old set up fishing we begin to set up our two tents, one for mom and the four year old boy and the other for the six year old girl and me. We set up camp and enjoy lunch on our own slab of granite next to the water. The light breeze keeps the bugs off. Mom and the kids soon get in the water to enjoy some swimming. I am a wimp and won’t get in past my knees. Those 90+ degree Georgia summer days have thinned my once thick Minnesota blood! We take a short paddle after the swim to explore some of those other campsites. This gives us an opportunity to try some casting and trolling but no luck. We get back to the campsite and mom works her magic around the stove and makes everyone dinner.  This is followed by a quick fire so the kids can enjoy some smores. We then get the kids in their pajamas and read them stories in the tent around 8 o’clock.  Mom and dad relax next to the water as the sun sets. Dad wets a line and enjoys a cigar and some Crystal Light laced with vodka. Who would have guessed a warm drink could taste so good? The wind has now died and this brings out the mosquitoes. The wind will not be in our favor the rest of the trip and the bugs are about to become an issue from here out. Mom and dad finally call it a night and get some rest before the next busy day.