Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Big Slim
by TuscaroraBorealis

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 06/07/2013
Entry Point: Big Lake (EP 7)
Exit Point: Slim Lake (EP 6)  
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 2
Day 2 of 5
Saturday, June 08, 2013

A breakfast of bacon & pancakes was enjoyed under a clear blue sky. The plan for today was to retrace part of our route from yesterday, then head for the sand beach of Big Moose lake.

Before we headed out, Clay decided to take a dip and clean up a little. Big Rice is a very shallow lake. Still, with the late spring, the snow & ice hadn't been gone long enough for my comfort, So, Clay braved it alone.

Since the wind was staying down, we kind of arc'd our way around Big Rice back to the mouth of the Portage river. Just downstream from the portage, on the east bank, is a large stone that I believe is a Dolmen. I noticed it yesterday, but now stopped to take a closer look.

Regardless of it's official classification, it was a unique stone to see in the midst of this large bog. Just after paddling into Lapond lake we scared up a whitetail buck deer. Then, just after re-entering the river we seen a pair of mallards up on the same high rock knob as yesterday. (we would see them on our return later this day as well.) Seemed kinda weird they would hang out up there versus somewhere on, or very close to, the water.

Once again, the bog laurel covering the shorelines really made paddling down the Portage river a special affair. And, the sun being out in full force really heightened the color explosion.

Expecting complete solitude as we worked our way down the Portage river towards the Duck lake portage, we were absolutely stunned to run across another canoe heading up river. Never the less - we informed them of the campsite situation in the area & wished them well as they paddled by.

One nice thing about paddling through this type of environment, is that anywhere that has been trodden on - sticks out like a sore thumb. Consequently we had no problem locating the portage to Duck lake.

Obviously, this trail started out as a bog walk. Though, I was surprised how quickly it morphed into the more traditional (solid ground) type of trail. For the most part the trail was a faint, somewhat overgrown path. But, we had no problems navigating our way to Duck lake where a unique large granite slab served as a landing.

Since Duck lake was mostly surrounded by a large bog I thought we might have some trouble locating our next portage. Fortunately it was also very easy to locate.

Vickie & I had brought Aurora across this trail when she was only 3 months old. It still ranks as one of our most memorable trips. And, this trail was a big reason why. For example, remembering bouncing on the bog or the opening just past Duck creek where Vickie had changed Auroras' diaper..... Needless to say I was a little nostalgic as we passed through.

Also, since we presumed the 2 guys we'd passed on the river earlier were going to claim the Lapond lake site, we decided to have our lunch near the Big Moose lake beach. (Having recent experience with this portage, I knew there was a large opening just off the main landing and we wouldn't interfere with anyone who was trying to access the trail.)

Once there, it was amazing how much higher the water was! Never the less we cleaned up a bit in the sandy waters & had a nice lunch of rice & sausage before heading back.

On the way back to Big Rice we stopped & lingered at the portage for awhile. I thought the rapids at the downstream side were sort of unique.

Weather wise it had been a long over due - gorgeous day. So, after arriving back in camp, the better part of the afternoon was spent in the hammocks reading our books and then eventually napping. There was enough of a breeze to keep the bugs at bay, so life couldn't have gotten much better.

Our last night on Big Rice was spent lackadaisically milling about camp. With the Hook lake portage prominent on the agenda for tomorrow, we both decided to turn in early.

Big Rice Lake, Lapond Lake, Duck Lake, Big Moose Lake