Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

The Three Bears
by frogge

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 08/09/2005
Entry & Exit Point: Seagull Lake (EP 54)
Number of Days: 3
Group Size: 3
Trip Introduction:
Once upon a time there were three bears. A papa bear, and two baby bears. The babies had wandered far from home(maybe to get away from adventures with the papa). The Papa disguised himself and got on a plane and flew to the prairie home of the babies. They all decided to go for a canoe ride and swim.
After a long journey the three bears came to the end of the Gunflint trail. Their most famous cousin (smoky)had failed to prevent the fire that was burning on Seagull. The bears were unafraid and took a long swim at the Voyageurs dock. Unfortunately they all had to keep wearing their people outfits to avoid discovery. The outfitters were very nice and treated them just like humans. ON the first day Papa refused the usual truck ride to the launch on Seagull and headed out down the seagull river. Reading maps was never his strong suit and soon the bears were having a pleasant walk down a paved road. A nice man in a pickup truck noticed the good looking girl bears and offered to keep Papa from making them carry everything for another 3 mi.. He set them straight.

They paddled a 20 ft canoe across Seagull. Smoke was in the air, and near the western end the fire jumped to an Island. Several trees lit up the sky. Papa bear had to ignore the GPS cause they needed to go to Rog Lake on the way to Alpine. Some nice rangers pointed out the portage after the bears had a relaxing map study.

They followed a well worn route from Rog to Alpine To Jasper to Kingfisher to Ogish. They had a floating picnic while waiting to use the portage. Although there was a gentle rain their spirits were high. Two disasters avoided already. One of the baby bears decided to go swimming as she got into the canoe. The other canoeist at the portage thought this pretty funny. A family of otter played on Ogish as the big canoe ghosted past.

Portage into Mueller was more fun than they expected. Nice hills and rocks. They decided to save the trip to the bridge on the kekebec trail until the trip out. It was getting to be nap time and the babies were hungry so they decided to camp on Agamok. The papa bear reads too much and thought the campsites on Agamonk were suboptimal,but they found a nice one with a large rock face to lie on and nap.

All the bears went for a nice swim. They cook spinach paneer from some Whole Foods store that the vegetarian cub liked. It was great having a gourmet meal at the camp. The older cubs birthday was celebrated with blueberry cheesecake from a pouch. Excellent.

The baby bears retired to their tent and Papa to his hammock. He snores. Papa has to get up at night cause he is getting on in years,but was rewarded by several meteors in the clear sky. One of the cubs was scared that some mean bears might be about and got up to see the sky.

After a breakfast of ramen, the bears headed out for some exercise. They all have educated themselves into being ready for hibernation at any time.The short portage into Gabi was a nice break and the beautiful big lake fairly calm in the morning. They glided across and made the two short portages into Little Sag. What a wonderful big lake. Another floating picnic and a short race with some other canoe brought them to Mora. The cubs got distracted eating blueberries on the portage. Tarry to Gillis. Gillis to Fern. Fern to French. Just names but Gillis was the nicest. Peter, a long lake with a head wind. The tired but happy bears were glad they were on the last leg of the loop.

The GPS had developed a memory lapse,but the cubs were good with the map. Into Gabi at last. Wind really blowing now makes for a fun paddle upwind. They meet some funny humans who ask if they are camping. Of course one cub says yes and the other no. Doesn't' matter cause the wind drowns their reply. Good thing they all can swim.

Back into Agamok and all the bears are thinking of dinner. Just befor the campsite they see a mom swimming with her cubs. They wonder if they have had dinner already!

At camp all is well and they settle down for Miso soup, noodles and peanut butter. Tastes alot better after paddling all day than it sounds now. Pistachio pudding and chocolate pudding finish the meal. The cubs go for a swim.

We have a great campfire and talk about the old days when the cubs were even smaller. Papa tells a story about the shadow men and watch meteors before going to sleep.

They pack their friendly camp up and with mixed feelings head back. They are happy to have had such a great adventure,but sad that it will soon be over. The portage to Mueller isn't hard at all. They take the short hike to the bridge on the Kekebec trail. What a wonderful spot. More blueberries.

More floating picnics at the portages. This time no problems finding stuff. A baby snapping turtle entertains at one of the portages.

The last Portage to the Seagull River is new since they missed it on the way out. Papa tries to play a joke and tell the cubs they are yet again lost. The days have brought them close again and they don't fall for the ruse.

Back at Voyageurs dock they take one last swim before heading for home.

A final surprise is found in Grand Marais(The Big Swamp). The Angry Trout on the water serves an incredible supper and the bathroom has turtles in the floor.

The bears take off their people suits,return to their respective homes, and to the kind of hibernation that forms most of our lives.