Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Pine Lake 2014
by x2jmorris

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 06/15/2014
Entry & Exit Point: Pine Lake (EP 68)
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 4
Day 2 of 5
Monday, June 16, 2014

We wake up and eat pancakes and smoked white fish for breakfast. We are on the road at 7 am which is close enough to the time we planned on. The drive up is shorter than I thought it was going to be and we are to the lake around 0830 am. The parking lot is empty so it looks like we will be able to take any campsite that we want. We unpack the car and we are on Mcfarland Lake at 0900 and the winds are against us, but it is a gentle breeze and is easy paddling. At the end of Mcfarland we realize we forgot our Porterhouse steaks back at the house so that was a downer however we have enough food to make up for it plus we will catch fish so it isn’t too terrible. My wife and I make it to the small channel connecting Mcfarland to Pine first and paddle across it without any difficulty as the water is really high. Once we are on Pine however the wind is a lot stronger and is going to be quite difficult. My dad and sister catch up and we are off to find a campsite. The paddling quickly wears us out as we are going against white caps the entire time and occasionally the wind gusts get up to around 25 mph we are guessing. We pass the second campsite (if you are counting the one that is on Mcfarland/Pine) and decide to keep going. Not too long after passing that campsite I decide I need a break so I we veer toward the north shore which was a terrible idea. As soon as we hit shore the waves really start to rock us and we almost flip before I push us backwards and start paddling again. Looks like we are not going to get rest, so slow and steady paddling is all we can do. As we paddle I am looking for the point on the north side that has an island hoping we can get some cover around there. We finally make it to the point and we are able to get some cover. My dad and I get out and walk around just to stretch before continuing on. My initial plan was to get the fourth campsite however I am now leaning on taking the third one which is the one on the north side in the bay just past the island. The reason being I do not want to paddle a whole lot more and this one seems to be just around the point. Back in the canoes and around the point and the winds are still really strong. We are able to get behind the island and spot the campsite, almost there. Before we make the final paddle I tell my wife that we are going to be sideways in the winds so don’t over react when the waves hit us as this is when canoes will flip she says she knows and we are off. Halfway across and she spots loons and forgets about the wind, near flip but we hold off and safely make it to the campsite. My dad and sister are not too far behind. We all agree that it is a good campsite and start to make camp. There are two decent spots for tents with maybe a third. We set up 2 four-man tents, we packed heavy because we didn’t have to portage otherwise we would normally have far less. We also set up 3 hammocks; this site is fairly large given what we normally encounter. We are eager to fish so we cast off from shore and my dad catches a nice small mouth bass right away so fishing looks promising. We put that on a stringer just in case we don’t catch anything else to make up for the steak. After a while the wind dies down and we all go out to try fishing. My dad and sister head for the bay while my wife and I head for the island. I catch a decent small mouth bass right away that we keep, however the wind is back at full force so we head back in.

We encounter a snake that is quite friendly while we are getting the fish ready. Cook up some fish with red potatoes and onions over the fire. Then my dad and I have another best of 3 Cribbage match, this time I win 2-1. We are now 1-1 and now it is time for bed.