Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Meeds July 2014
by cowdoc

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 07/18/2014
Entry Point: Meeds Lake (EP 48)
Exit Point: Lizz and Swamp Lakes (EP 47)  
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 5
Trip Introduction:
My sons didn't get a trip in last year, so they wanted one bad this year. Schedules were tight but we squeezed in a short route with some familiar ground and lots of fishing. The boys also took 2 "newbie" friends who had a blast.
We left home at 4:15 am with plans to grab our permit at the GF Ranger station and hit the water right away. The canoes left the Poplar landing at 3, hit the first portage at 3:30 and we were in Meeds at 4:30. The 2 island campsites were taken, so we paddled to the far west site and it was open. Set camp and chopped wood to grill steaks while the boys fished. They caught a fair number of walleyes and Smallies right off camp. Lots of grass in this site. It is not all trampled down. It's an ok site...not great. Departed the next morning and headed east for Caribou to fish a little honey hole we discovered in 2012. We did ok....not a lot of fish, but fun. We didnt stay long. Went to Horseshoe and grabbed lunch. Then headed west through Allen. The creek was a pretty paddle. Hoped to see a luck. Those portages through Pillsbury, Henson, to Omega are mostly flat, but were pretty muddy and buggy. We grabbed the nice site that sits up high on the south shore of Omega. It's a pretty decent site. The weather was a touch cool and overcast, so there was no cliff jumping, just some fishing off camp and in the bay right there with no luck. I baked 3 pizzas in the reflector oven for supper. The original plan was to head west through Long Island then up to Banadad, but the boys looked at those portages on the maps and chose to head somewhere closer for the last 2 days to fish and relax more. We chose to head down and east through Winchell the next morning after pancakes and bacon. While heading down Winchell, we stopped and climbed the big cliff to the show the newbies the view. A nice west breeze blew us down Winchell to the Gaskin portage. Gaskin was a little busy and we had to paddle almost to the west end to get a site. We stayed there in 2012 and really liked it then. With camp set, we hit the water and managed a nice stringer of walleyes with a couple of Smallies. Fish and hashbrowns for supper. The next day was hot and humid and fishing was slow. We hit a lot of the lake with little success. The afternoon was swim time with some frisbee action. The fish bit a little better that evening and we found a spot where the Smallies were stacked. Mac-n-Cheese with spam and hashbrown mix and some fish again for supper. Went to bed about 11pm and the breeze started to kick up. I was awoken at 2 am by wind and thunder. This was the first trip in a long time that I did not take my weather radio. The 10 day forecast looked great when we left. Wow!.....did we get a storm! The rain came in sheets and a couple trees went down around and in camp. Luckily, the tent pads were very sheltered and safe. I stayed awake for a few hours until things settled down, then went back to sleep. Things were all intact in the morning but we packed up wet and muddy. I was just thankful all were ok and the canoes didnt get hit by fallen trees.....they came close. The morning was cooler, still windy and a cold, misty drizzle was falling. The wind blew us east down Gaskin to the portage to Jump. On to Allen, then Horseshoe. There were at least 2 new trees down on each portage that we had to toss gear and canoes through or crawl over. It was a little rough getting around the point in Caribou and a large group of about 8 canoes was trying to launch. They were going to have a rough day heading into that wind. Once they cleared the portage (20 minutes later) we headed to Lizz and Poplar. Poplar was nasty with about a 30mph NW wind....right in our face, but we made the west end, where it was calmer and hit the landing about 1pm after leaving Gaskin at 9:30am. We loaded quick cuz the bugs were horrendous at the landing and headed to Gunflint lodge for lunch and a quick hello to fellow member Mocha. She filled me in on how bad the storm was and told us about some rescues going on in the western BW. After lunch, we headed to Tuscarora for a shower and to check in to our bunks. Ahhhh!.....a nice warm shower washed away the mud. After cleanup and a cold beer, it was off to show the newbies the Trails End area and then we headed for the Trail Center, but first we stopped at Honey Moon Bluff for a quick hike up the trail and some photo opps. Supper was great at TC as usual. Back to Tusc for beers and bunks. Hit the road about 7am and grabbed breakfast in Grand Marais and then pounded the pavement for a 9 hour ride home. We did stop at Palisade Head to stretch and show the newbies the views of the big Gitche Gumee.

photos are in my photo album....BWCA July 2014 Meeds entry