Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

first solo
by nicole

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 08/14/2013
Entry & Exit Point: Lizz and Swamp Lakes (EP 47)
Number of Days: 7
Group Size: 1
Trip Introduction:
My first (of hopefully many) solo trips. I planned & researched a lot before the trip so I'd be prepared. I got out in a solo canoe before to test the waters ;) I packed super light. My camping style is leisurely. I do like isolation...but for my first solo, I wanted to be somewhere that might have a bit of traffic. I did rent a SPOT that made my family (and me) feel better. I had a rough plan to head towards Horseshoe and possibly beyond depending on how the water moved me. It was awesome and not nearly as difficult or scary as I was anticipating. I'm hooked and planning to do another as soon as possible.
Day 1 of 7
Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I had driven up from Minneapolis on Tuesday, picked up my permit (haven't seen the bear video in a hasn't changed), and picked up my Prism from Rockwood. My parents happened to be staying at a cabin on Little Ollie Lake - on the SE side of Poplar Lake. I stayed with them, had a sauna, a good meal, and went to sleep early. I didn't sleep well. My head was swimming in 'what ifs'.

I had a delicious breakfast and pushed off from Little Ollie at about 8am. I took my time getting to the portage on Poplar. Along the portage to Lizz, I was hauling two packs - one in front, one in back - heard a loon that sounded like it was about 3 ft from my head...almost lost my footing. Lizz Lake - there's a sign as you're entering that says...ok you're in the BW now... for some reason I thought that was amusing. Took my time on Lizz, portage to Caribou. There was a lot of traffic. More than I remember seeing in the BW. I suppose it's a busy time of year and busy lakes.

Mike at Rockwood told me about a site on Horseshoe where a mama moose and her calf had been spotted frequently. So that's where I was headed. I pushed off from the Caribou-Horseshoe portage quickly and prayed it would be open. It was. Happy Nicole. There is a mound of firewood here waiting for me. The Gods are smiling on me :)

I get to camp and make offerings & ask for blessings from the guardians of the land there. Horseshoe has a really feminine energy, mothering. It feels like it envelops you. It's warm and lovely and a bit fierce. I liked it. I wanted to stay.

I canoe out to the middle of the lake to pump water. There is a mama loon and her chick. She's teaching it to no avail. She's underwater. My canoe is quickly drifting towards the chick. The chick is curious about me. Chick is in front of me. And mama pops up about 2ft from the back of my canoe. She screams at me in that way loons do that chills your bones. I almost peed my pants. She slowly paddles by giving me the death stare the whole way. I think she was debating knocking me out of my canoe. She probably would have one. I slowly and submissively paddled away. I get it mama, you own the lake. I'm just visiting.

I crawl in my mosquito-less haven of a tent to watch the sun set without getting blood drawn. It is lovely. I watch two otters swim by together. I'm asleep by 9pm. Night jitters what?