Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Opasquia 2014
by MagicPaddler

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 06/21/2014
Entry & Exit Point: Other
Number of Days: 14
Group Size: 3
Part 2 of 2
Downstream end of portage. Canoe has bit hole in bottom. 219
Boat Stash 221
Rapids 228 The rapids were impressive but we could not get any pictures that did them justice. We notice some huge beaver houses. This one extended about 8 ft above water.
Big beaver hutch. 234
Canoe landing Joint Campsite. 236 6/28 Moving day.
Rapids Cocos to Joint 242 The first fast water we came to had an island in the middle of the fast water. We ended up portaging on the island.
Portaging Joint to Cocos 247 Wayne holds there canoe while Jim maneuvers my barge to where I can load it. We waded out to the edge of the visible rocks to start paddling.
GPS tracks on Google Earth screen shot. Portage.JPG We came south through the rapids shown above and then I went to the west end of the cove and found what I suspect was the original portage around these rapids. Once on Cocos the wind came up making travel difficult. I could only go almost directly south into the wind or stay near enough to shore to keep the wind down. By using a combination of the to ways of travel I eventually got to the portage into the eastern part of Cocos. This portage was up a rock garden that would have been rapids in higher water. We took a camp site near the fast water.
Cocos campsite. 256 This is the only campsite on the trip that I had trees big enough to hang my hammock without bracing one or both of the trees. The only area suited for our sleeping quarters were all in one spot so we were close to each other.
Cocos camp 258 We had a nice breezy point to set on and a good canoe landing. 6/29 Our plans were to explorer the arm that goes southwest from our camp. The wind was too strong so I ended up back in the cove where our camp was. I paddled over to the shore next to the fast water we had portage around yesterday and found walleye.
Swift water between Cocos and Cocos 260 This was about 200 Ft from our camp.
Jim dressing fish 265
Wayne taking pictures 268 The above 2 pictures were taken from our camp. Wayne is setting by the fast water. 7/1 moving day. We are headed to the camp we stayed in on our 4th and 5th night in the park. We had one portage today. It was marked on the map but no one had confirmed that it was there. We found it with little trouble but it sees little use. One section had a lot of blow down we bushwhacked around. 7/2 Moving day I get out of camp ahead of Jim and Wayne and am rewarded with my only moose sighting in the park.
Moose 287
Jim and Wayne approach portage. 303 Because I am so much slower paddling solo I try to get out of the portages ahead of Jim and Wayne. When I got out of this portage the wind was starting to gust and it ran me int to the rocks a couple of times and I knew I had big water ahead. Then the wind layed down and I knew that was only temporary so I tried to make miles while the wind was slack. I had crossed much of the big water on East lake and I looked back and could not see Jim and Wayne. I moved into a protected location to spend a little time to see if I could see them. I could see several miles back where I came from and I cannot see them. I double check my map and GPS, I am on the correct course. I pull my camera out and zoom it as far as it will go and scan the water where I think they should be. Got them.
There coming 304 They are a couple of miles behind but they are coming so I head on.
Last Camp Mosquito hell. 317 We chose a area to camp in that was flat but had little breeze so the bugs were bad. After moving lots of dead fall we were able to set up camp.
Eagle 314 We had an eagle nest near camp and the 2 parents were always bringing food. 7/3 lay over day Spent the day fishing and exploring the area. Wind made me do all of my fishing from shore and I was able to catch a couple of small eater walleye. Wayne made us fish chowder which was delicious. The sky was starting to cloud over so we made our way back to camp by midafternoon. We heard one loud clap of thunder and then there was a smoke plume.
Smoke 324 After a couple of hours the smoke went away. 7/4 paddle out day I convinced everyone to skip breakfast and get an early start before the wind came up.
No wind 325 With our early start the wind is low as I approach the first portage.
Smoky waters 329 Shortly after the first portage the smoke was thick enough to cause some discomfort. By the time we got to Central Lake the wind was starting to come up and we had some bigger water to cross. At my urging we ate our lunch snack and skipped lunch to make miles before the higher winds arrived. Some of the stretches were a challenge do to wind but at a little after noon I arrived at Big Hook Central Lake camp. After a shower and a beer we ate breakfast. We were able to spend the night in one of Bighooks worker cabins. We put our sleeping bag on their bunks and had a good night but had to fight the mosquitoes. 7/5 fly out day. Big hook was all a buzz with this being the day all of their guests were being flown in and out.  
  Jim and Wayne taking off 330 The flight I was on took off 30 minutes later. The plane was heavily loaded and the pilot kept patting the dash encouraging the plane to leave the water. With a little rocking the plane it made it and then climbed out at a reasonable rate. Once on Wasaya plain I looked out the window and I see what I think is the ice road to Sandy Lake.
Ice road 359 Odometer 1894 Total miles driven. 940 miles to Balmertown. 30.9 mpg going. 27.9 mpg coming home.