Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Murdo entry - Intorduction to BW for two of my daughters
by fishinbuddy

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 05/30/2005
Entry Point: Mudro Lake (restricted--no camping on Horse Lake) (EP 22)
Exit Point: Mudro Lake (restricted--no camping on Horse Lake) (EP 22)  
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 3
Trip Introduction:
This year I decided to spend some quality one-on-one time with each of my three daughters. In February I took one daughter to Texas to move a friend. I then planned on taking the youngest to BW for a father daughter trip. Emily, my youngest, came to me and said, "I really would like Ellen to go with us." How could I refuse and after a few days my wife said, "just book the trip for all three of you." I called and reserved a permit into Mudro. The girls talked about exploring the woods, the adventure of traveling the wilderness, being self sufficient and they were excited. I had not been to BW for almost 10 years but, I was confident in my skills and made sure I packed enough to provide a good trip, even if it meant an extra trip over the portage. What I failed to remember the portages into Fourtown were rough.
Day 1 of 5
Monday, May 30th, 2005
Mudro entry, Mudro, 40 rod, 104 rod, 15 rod, Fourtown.
Breakfast – Journey’s End café in Ely
Lunch – Lunchmeat, cheese, candy bars, tortillas
Dinner – Chili, baked potatoes, cauliflower, jiffy pop

Monday we were awakened by the sound of canoes being loaded onto vehicles. We had driven all night so we tried to sleep some more but finally our stomachs got us out of bed. We went to Journey’s End Café for our last meal then spent the morning getting last minute equipment and forgotten items. I am now the proud owner of three canoe anchor bags, this was the second time I forgotten to pack one. We then loaded our canoe and started our drive to Chain Saw Sisters. When we arrived, there were several groups coming out so we paid and got our stuff ready while they cleared out. We loaded and pushed off into the current, down the small creek we went. However, in my haste I forgot to give last minute instructions to the girls about paddling. Well let’s just say it was interesting; we hit a rock got turned backwards and went down the creek looking over our shoulders. We hit the marsh and were able to finally turn around. We did get a compliment from someone on the shore, he said, “I have never seen anything like that”; at least I think it was a compliment.
We had a nice paddle across Mudro then, things went from good to bad. I had forgotten how rough those portages were. The girls got their boots wet on the first portage. They were carrying too much gear. We had tested the packs around our house but I should have backed down on weight to allow for rough trails. Their packs were medium ALICE packs with a light stuff sack tied onto the bottom. There were a bit awkward for them and a little too heavy for the rough trails. We had an ‘OH NO’ moment, I put the canoe in on one portage and it promptly squirted away across the pond. So there stood Dad the great protector watching the canoe floating across the pond. Fortunately there were some people coming in and they retrieved it for us. I could have gotten it with a fishing pole and lure but it gave the girls something to laugh about. I promptly tied a painter line onto the canoe and I did not loose another canoe for the trip.
We spent the next 2 ½ hours getting across the trails and it really wore us out. The trails have several elevation changes and are difficult. I greatly miscalculated the energy it would take us to get over. Well we hit Fourtown exhausted and claimed the first available campsite. I set up camp while the girls explored and dipped their feet into the lake. I did not bring swimming clothes, next time I would bring aqua shoes and swimsuits so they could wade and enjoy the water.
Dinner was interesting; at home when I go camping I usually bring wood. I keep a good stack of seasoned oak, which burns well and leaves coals to cook over. Well the pine found in BW provides a good flame but does not burn down to coals. Cooking was going to be an issue since we had decided to cook all of our food over a fire. That meant we would consume lots of wood each meal. It was time for a lesson; I went over how to gather wood away from camp and how to find the good dry wood. I would cut and stack the wood if they got it to camp. So off they went to explore and get wood.
The end of the day found us in the tent early and too tired to write in our journals. We decided to spend the next day at the same camp and relax.

I learned I can really push my body and I surprised myself having the energy to get over the portages. We also came up with a revised menu; we would consume the heaviest food first.