Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Quetico 2012:Beaverhouse, Q, Jean, Burntside
by Mad Birdman

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 09/20/2012
Entry & Exit Point: Quetico
Number of Days: 7
Group Size: 6
Trip Introduction:
Our group is accustomed to an early to mid-June trip, but this year family commitments intervened, so we used the opportunity to give September a shot. I’ve heard so many good things about September tripping (no crowds or bugs), but they were tempered a bit by thoughts of cooler temps, shorter days (i.e. less time spent on the water), and uncertain fishing (would we hit the dreaded lake turnover?). Either way, it was new to us, and that’s part of the adventure, right? We wanted to get back into Quetico Park after our foray into Woodland Caribou last year, with the shorter drive and some unexplored areas of Quetico being the most compelling things in our decision. I had always wanted to check out northwestern Quetico, specifically the Beaverhouse entry, to get into Jean, Quetico and Burntside Lakes. Knowing this is a much-traveled thoroughfare, I thought fall might be the time to go there, with the smaller crowds of September. Group size was limited to 6 for us once we selected a boat shuttle across the border and a car-ride from LLC to Beaverhouse. The shuttle was not able to take more than 6, and once Pete committed to come (even less than a month after his wedding!) from El Paso, TX, the team was set.
Part 1 of 8
Day 0: Friday, September 21

Brian bought a canoe this year, so we switched it and the canoe rack to my truck at Brett’s house in Sun Prairie, WI at 11:00am. Southern WI (like most of the Midwest) was in a deep drought this summer and early fall, and we get about the strongest rain in months just at the time we are strapping Brian’s canoe and rack to my truck. We made it to Duluth to meet up with Greg and Pete (who flew in there) at Gander Mountain to pick up some last-minute fishing supplies, and then convoyed to Virginia to have dinner at the SawMill. Had rain on and off during the day, with some pretty heavy stuff as we headed towards Crane Lake. We made it to the Pine Ridge Hotel/Anderson’s outfitters by 9:30pm, and started our gear sorting in the cabin there.

While sitting on the couch there, I smelled a distinctive smell. After looking underneath, my eyes verified what my nose was telling me: dead mouse. We tossed it out, and this (a rodent encounter) would prove to be a recurring theme throughout the next week.