Quetico Solo with/Dog through Louisa, McEwen, Falls Chain, and Emerald
“My adrenaline wouldn’t let me sleep and I kept waking up in the night so at 1:45 AM I decided it was time to go. I did all the things like eat, make coffee, shower, and wake my wife Mia. The truck was previously loaded and my preparation was good this time but there’s so many details that go into a trip like this I was still unsure if I wasn’t forgetting something.”
I am taking my two year old Border Collie “Luna” with me and it is a first for both of us. She has experience riding in the canoe on local lakes but has never canoe camped. This is my 14th overall trip to the Boundary Waters and I’ve never had a dog with before.
The clock reads 2:58 as I pull out of the driveway after our goodbyes with Mia. Luna hopped in clueless and we took off in the dark.
I love traveling at this time of the morning. The anticipation is high and there’s no traffic to frustrate us as I sail through the one lane construction zone up to the Wisconsin border. Our goal is the small ex mining town of Ely Minnesota. Outside the window it‘s black and the air is warm and humid. The radio is playing oldies from the 60‘s and ‘70‘s. “At one point I catch Luna studying my face for clues, as if trying to find out what this is all about.” She’s a little restless in the truck but after I walk her at the first stop for gas we both settle in and make good time arriving in Ely at 1:15.
It’s hot out, around 85 and sunny. I shop in Piragis (local canoe outfitter with awesome store), pick up my SPOT locator from Voyageur North Outfitters, then get a fantastic double cheeseburger and chocolate shake from DQ. Being a border collie of two years Luna needs to run after our long drive, so I grab the frisbee and throw to her in the downtown park. She loves it but the heat takes it toll on us and we soon rest under a shade tree. We sit and watch the tourists and trucks roll by with canoes strapped to their tops. Luna, we’re not in Illinois anymore!
Soon we are off down the Fernberg road and pull in to William and Hall Outfitters on moose Lake where we will spend our first night in their bunkhouse - basically a room with bunks and a shared restroom in the hall.
Luna seems relaxed and I let her off leash as we meet fellow trippers on the back deck. She greet them all and loves the attention. We talk about our upcoming canoe trips and everyone is in good spirits. We turn in at dusk and I’m glad the room had a large window fan as it’s still warm and humid. Around 9:00 a serious thunderstorm with wind blows in and shakes the place. Luna is not a fan of thunder and she cowers under the bed. We find out the next day that some trees are down with lots of debris scattered about. It was quite a scary storm there for a bit and I wonder how my tent would manage something like that.