Sawbill to Phoebe and back with a bad back and broken tongue
by bapabear

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 06/08/2014
Entry & Exit Point: Sawbill Lake (EP 38)
Number of Days: 7
Group Size: 6
Trip Introduction:
I really needed a "get away" trip after a rough winter. Four deaths in the family between November and March was a little much. When my friends in IL, John, his son Josh, and two grandsons asked me to help fill a canoe with my son's father-in-law again I jumped at the chance. As usual, I was the only "fisherman" in the group but was told one of the grandsons from IL "really wanted" to fish a lot this trip so my hopes were high. The plan was established - go in at EP 38 after spending the night camping at Sawbill Campground. We would travel up on a Saturday, go in on Sunday and leave on Friday.
Day 2 of 7
Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sunday. I woke up after the first night in the tent with a back ache so bad I could not stand up straight. Great. I was able to pack up with the rest of the group after a quick breakfast. We headed down to the canoe landing and I was nervous that I was not loosening up. Through a cloud of mosquitoes we loaded up and were off. Paddling was not helping to loosen me up but I was able to function and soon we were at the portage into Alton Lake. Wow, a fairly flat "superhighway" of a 30 rd portage got us quickly to Alton Lake. It was a cool clear morning which was great for paddling. I had gotten a BB bent shaft paddle at Canoecopia and found it was working well even though I wasn't putting everything I could into my paddling stroke.

The portage into Beth Lake is reallly scenic as you look back into Alton Lake however the mosquitoes made an audible "hummm" in our ears and crawled into those ears, and nose, and eyes, and anywhere they wanted to as we unloaded and started to trek the 147 rds. One of the group took a pic of me with my pack (this year around 52 lbs) and I had a distinct lean to the left but was able to complete the portage and return for a second load. As we departed the shore into Beth Lake the literal "cloud" of mosquitoes followed us out a little ways onto the water but we were able to escape them and continue an easy paddle. At 64 I realize I'm getting older but I walk a lot and bicycle every chance I get so felt I was in pretty good shape going into this trip. The next portage, 280 rods, into Grace Lake really put me in my place. With the sore back I must have been favoring it oddly because my hip started to hurt worse than the back and by the time I got to the end others in the group told me to sit and rest. They could get the rest of the packs. It was a blow to my pride but I really appreciated the chance to rest up. Thank God we had some young and strong men with us this trip!

By now everyone was ready to stop so we took a site on Grace that was on a peninsula on the east side. I found a really soft pad and was able to set up, help with a few camp chores, and crawl into the tent for a nap. A few others did the same thing because when I woke up I could hear snoring from a couple of directions. After supper I took one of the boys out fishing. All we could muster were 4 rock bass. We did have a pretty large beaver circle the canoe and try to lead us out away from the shore. Anyway that's what it seemed like it was trying to do. Terry, my canoe partner took me out to fish near dark. I caught a bass but we just wanted to sit and watch the day come to a close. We all got to bed early as we planned to travel again the next day to Phoebe Lake