Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Hog Creek memorial day weekend

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 05/23/2014
Entry & Exit Point: Hog Creek (EP 36)
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
Our first trip of a planned at least once a month for 6 months BWCA odyssey. In at Hog creek after work on Friday, home on Monday.
Friday May 23:

I had to work till noon, so we had packed the night before and my husband loaded up the car and drove to pick me up from work. We were out the door and on the road at noon. We live in the Twin Cities and made great time up to Tofte, picked up our permit at Sawtooth, watched the film, and headed on to the back roads. We were horrified to see 17 cars and trucks at the put in, but made it onto the water by 5:00 PM. Hog Creek was very high and had a noticeable current, we had a lot of fun paddling it to Perent. We checked out the first 5 or 6 sites on Parent, all full, and decided to head to the west end to see if we would have better luck there. David got a migraine aura from all the glinting water and paddling straight into the sun, but we pulled up to a nice available site before the migraine hit, and had the tent set up and him in his sleeping bag pretty fast. 

Saturday May 24:

We had hash browns and scrambled fresh eggs for breakfast, and were on the water by 7:30. We stopped at all three west end sites to evaluate them, and decided they were all fine for fall or spring, but would be a bummer in summer, though shady. No good breezy rocks to escape the bugs. They go in descending order of niceness from the portage east.

We crossed the portage and began our river adventure. The first few sections of the river are lovely, really amazing scenery. The portages are pretty nice, and my Chota boots kept my feet warm and dry. Then we entered, left, and finally re-entered the Pagami Creek fire area. It was interesting, but heart breaking.  This must have been one of the nicest routes in the whole BWCA before the fire. We had lunch at a portage in the burn down that would have been the most beautiful campsite before the burn. The best part of the burn down was it seemed populated exclusively by very loud melodious frogs, and more than the usual water fowl.

We kept thinking we would get to a site outside of the burn area, and kept going way further than we had planned, 12 portages and all the way to Boga lake. I have never been happier to see green trees. The site (I’m not clear if it’s still on the river, or on Boga, my maps disagree) right after the burn is fantastic. Good sitting rock, nice fire area, 3 tent pads, one very protected, one very breezy, and good hammock hanging places. We had a great afternoon lazing around the site. We had curry chicken noodles for dinner.

Sunday May 25:

We had a cold breakfast and an early morning because David was worried about fighting the current all day. We headed back into the burn. But in the event, other than a few places the current was not noticeable and we made great time back over all 12 portages. We took the site closest to the portage on Perent, and had another pleasant lazy afternoon of lying in the hammocks, reading books, and napping.  We did attempt to swim, but I could only make it thigh deep, David actually got all the way under water and then basically sprinted to shore. The portage has a nice sandy beach for times when the water hasn't been recently frozen.

We had Red Beans and Rice with home dehydrated chorizo for dinner, and got to bed early.

Monday May 26:

I wanted to sleep late, but I ended up awake by dawn. Took some pictures but the bugs seem to have noticed the 80 degree weather and finally hatched. We packed and ate pretty fast, enjoying our corn pan- bread and coffee while pacing the site. We decided to tour all the sites we missed on the east end of Perent, and wow, there are some great looking sites over there. We will have to come back earlier in the day on a non-holiday or weekend to get one of those fabulous sites. The creek was a bit lower, and the current manageable. We got back to the EP by 11. Stopped to visit some friends at their cabin, but were still back home by 5. 

This new concept we have of driving up and going started last year by accident, my son and I decided to pack and go on a whim, and the only permit we liked was for that same day, so we drove straight to the EP and jumped in the water. From decision to go to campsite in under 8 hours. Somehow this makes a trip seem much more doable and less overwhelming. 

I also had my new Chota knee high 4 mil boots with. I went back and forth about them, but I think they are a good thing. They were comfortable to portage in, kept my feet warm and dry, and I didn’t overheat even with the crazy 80 degree weather. My husband had .5 mil neoprene socks and his keen sandals and that worked great for him. I would say if you are prone to cold feet and squeamish about wading through puddles on a portage the Chota are for you. If you suffer more from heat and don't mind rocks in your shoes, my husband’s solution would work better. I can't wait to have the Chotas in October.