Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Kings (and Queen) Of Kawnipi
by NorthwoodsHeaven

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 08/02/2013
Entry & Exit Point: Quetico
Number of Days: 8
Group Size: 5
Trip Introduction:
I told myself I would do this immediately so I wouldn’t forget anything that happened. Well the trip was 3 weeks ago, and here I am just getting started. It’s probably better this way. The fish we caught are probably already a few pounds bigger in my memory than when they were caught. … The trip was Cache Bay to Kawnipi and Back. The crew members, 3 brothers all in their 20s, the man who sired them, and the mother who birthed them (ages 62 and 60 respectively). It was an all family affair. This is our story, from the viewpoint of the youngest child. It has been 5 years since my family first went north together. About halfway through the summer I realized there was no way I was going to let it become 6. I had been leading my friends on trips (and my brothers came when they could) the last 4 years, to replace the absent family trips, but it just isn’t quite the same. Originally we had planned it just being the Solfelt men on this trip because we wanted to take 7 days and go deep into the Q, but as the trip approached it became clear that our dear mother was not going to be left behind. And it’s a good thing too. She was, as all mothers tend to be, invaluable. In planning, my father and I had decided we would head for the mighty waters of Kawnipi, if we could get the proper permit. This was a fishing trip after all, and legend has it, there are few places that have as lively waters as Kawnipi. (I do feel that the Lord wanted us to take this trip because I called just about a month before we wanted to enter and one of the two permits per day into the falls chain was still available on that day. Everything was set)
Day 1 of 8
Friday, August 02, 2013

Although our family is incredibly close emotionally, we are not so close geographically. The eldest brother Dan came in from Virginia, Erik the middle child flew in from Texas, and my parents still live in our childhood home outside Madison, Wisconsin. I myself am ashamed to say (being a cheesehead) am living in Chicago. Somehow we all rendezvoused safely, within minutes of each other in Duluth, MN, at 10 pm the night before the trip, and we arrived at our hotel in Silver Bay at about midnight. Here marked the first, and really last time, I was worried about my mother on this trip. In the short walk from the car to the lobby of the hotel my mother developed a foot cramp that caused her what appeared to be intolerable pain. She barely made it to the room. If she can’t make the portage from car to bed, how is she gonna portage herself all the way into Kawnipi. This may not end well. But we were pot committed…