Eighteen Hours on Cherokee
by RainGearRight

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 05/18/2013
Entry & Exit Point: Sawbill Lake (EP 38)
Number of Days: -1
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
Regardless of weather, my wife and I were heading to Cherokee for three nights to fish and relax. Both accomplished, kind of.
The weather looked less than ideal for the fours days our trip to Cherokee and back. My Aunt and Uncle were planning on meeting us at noon on Sunday, we were entering Saturday. Light rain and fog followed us from Cloquet, all the way to the Sawbill landing. We shoved off around one, paddling North, hugging the Eastern shore. No wind helped our travels although it rained off and on. Thick fog hid most of the lake as we paddled.

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The portages from Sawbill to Ada Creek and the creek to Ada Lake went smooth, although pretty muddy. A short paddle on Skoop and we hit the portage to Cherokee Creek. This was more of a creek walk than a portage. Standing water and long stretches of mud found us wet and sloppy at the end. On Cherokee Creek we were escorted by a pair of mergansers right up to the lake.

After checking a few camp sites and seeing a few others taken, we settled on a site on a point, west side of the lake. It was pretty beat up, with lots of trash in the grate. We were wet and tired and didn't care since we figured we would move the next day.

A change of clothes after setting up the lean and a few cocktails helped brighten the day and our moods. We had a quick dinner of pita bread with summer sausage and cheese warmed in a pan. My new dragonfly stove worked great after an initial fireball. We took our drinks and fishing tackle and headed for shore. It was getting later on in the afternoon and the Makers Mark was going right to my head, so we decided to skip fishing in the canoe in forty five degree water. After a few casts, my wife said, "I've got a fish! It's a big one!" Her first lake trout.

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[/URL] No luck on my end. It got dark and cold and even more wet so we hit the rack. We were nice and dry in the lean and we crawled into our bags to sleep. Sometime in the night Di woke me up and said she was freezing. Turns out her BA pad had a slow leak and she was on the ground. We switched and she warmed up instantly and fell back asleep. I stayed up for awhile listening to the rain and finally drifted off.

The next morning I was up at six, had a cup of tea and fished from shore for a bit. No luck. I decided to solo our Souris River in the back bay while Di slept. After effing around with the new fish finder and getting it set up, I started to troll down the western shore and within five minutes I had picked up a laker. After a quick release, I picked up up another, also returned to the lake. I fished around a few islands and the bay by our site for a few hours, catching two more trout on a two different Little Cleos. I managed one more trout just in front of camp, a few minutes after a big thunder boom. I cleaned the fish in a downpour.

My Aunt and Uncle arrived shortly after noon. They brought with a poor weather forecast. Twenty mile an hour winds with gusts up to forty. I wanted to stay, but as I watched my Aunt tell my wife about the Jacuzzi tub rooms at Bluefin Bay I knew I was leaving. We decided to pack up and exit while the weather was agreeable instead of fighting the wind the next few days.

We made a sloppy pack up and headed for Cherokee Creek. I felt terrible about my Aunt and Uncle making the eight mile trek into Cherokee, only to have a Carl Buddig lunch meat sandwich, turn around, and head right back out. They were packed for a four night trip, double portaging, only to do a 180 and head back. They are good shit.

We packed up and met them on the portage to Skoop, more muddy than when we entered. We helped on the portages and made it to Tofte around six thirty. After looking at the map,I figured my A&U traveled about eighteen miles, with gear for four days, to have lunch!

My A&U put us up at a Lutsen condo where we demolished our trip supply of booze and had a great dinner. The wife and I played tourist in Grand Marais the next day and had a fantastic time. We're happy we din't capsize and die and have decided to move our trips to the fall, with the Q in our sights next fall, health permitting, ours, not the Aunt and Uncle, they could do laps around us.

It was the shortest BWCA trip I have ever been on, but it will go down as one of the the most memorable trips I've taken.