Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

East End of Brule
by Dbldppr1250

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 08/05/2014
Entry & Exit Point: Brule Lake (EP 41)
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
Our first trip together a year ago was a big success, and George and Dave decided to do another this summer. We were trying to schedule this trip around Dave's move from St Louis, MO to Winston-Salem, NC. My (Dave's) year-old grandson was the beckoning call from Winston-Salem, and future trips will be a much longer drive but will not keep me from my annual trip to God's country. Packed and tanked up, I left St Louis on Sunday and had an uneventful drive to Sliver Bay, catching a quick night's rest at the Mariner Motel. The next morning, I drove to Grand Marais, walked around a bit, and sat down on the harbor's edge to continue reading my first Pendergast book, "White Fire." I then drove ~ 5 miles up the Gunflint Trail to George and Lesley's home. It was great seeing them again, and we caught up on our year's experiences quickly. I had brought with me as a gift for them my entire collection of William Kent Krueger's Cork O'Connor books. The murder mysteries are all written about murders in the Boundary Waters, so it would be great reading for them during their long snow-packed winter. My wife Barbara had thrown in a bottle of red wine from Missouri for Lesley, and I also had about a dozen lures to give George, mostly rapalas and rattletraps. George presented me with a couple books, the first of which I will be reading shortly, "Canoeing with The Cree." George and I went back in town to get our entry permit and my fishing license. I decided to get the week-long license this year, and we also spent some time looking around the Northhouse Folk School. We then went back to George's home and packed our gear. We went through my packs to check for lots of gear that would be redundant. I, as usual had over-packed many things that George already had, so it was time well-spent. This year we decided to base camp on Brule, mostly because we love to fish but also because I'd had 2 recent surgeries in the past 4 months. I had a laminectomy and fusion of L 4&5 vertebrae, and I had a hammer-toe surgery. The recuperation was still on-going, so less portages and more day-tripping was our goal. We packed George's truck, got the canoe tied on, and then it was dinner time. I took George and Lesley to The Trail Center for a wonderful dinner which included my new brew for this year's trip, Bent Paddle, which I will be drinking often in the future. Got back and snugged up for a nice sleep before our early start in the morning. Early in the morning Lesley had prepared a great breakfast including some moose sausage. She is truly a culinary expert! We were now ready to head for EP 41! ................................................. North House Folk School
Part 1 of 5
Tuesday morning was beautiful - sunny, little wind, and cool. After Leslie treated us to a wonderful egg casserole and moose sausage, we drove to EP 41 hoping we'd see a moose crossing, but only a deer and and a fox. We quickly geared up our canoe and George parked his truck. Nice parking lot with plenty of room. We set off from the EP at a bearing of due north at about noontime, looking for a campsite on the northeast somewhere near the portage to Echo. Our plan was to base camp and fish the east end of the lake as well as Echo. It was a very calm day, and paddling was easy, as it was the entire trip. Our goal this year was to make it doable with my back fusion and hammertoe surgeries. Although the conditions were perfect for an easy paddle, it was still a tough workout for me. George was on the stern and his paddling skills our at the expert level, so he more than made up for my recuperating condition. Brule Lake is simply beautiful, and the islands dot the east end nicely. I'd love to explore the entire lake one year, but this was not the year for that. We paddled north and passed a few camp sites that were taken. We wanted the camp site # that was nearest the portage to Echo, just to make life easier for a day trip the next day. Our bearings were a little off, but when we turned the corner at a point, we knew immediately that we were in north bay. As we turned right around another bend we saw our camp site, pretty well hidden by some trees. It was camp site #938 and was open. As we beached our canoe we noticed how it opened up some and made our stay a nice one. In order to enjoy the sunset we just had to move our chairs down to the shoreline and sit there. We worked on setting up our camp site and I filtered enough water to fill my 10 liter dromedary and found enough wood laying around for some nice campfires. We were ready to do some fishing by about 4:00, and we set out to see the bay in its entirety and do some casting and trolling. We had packed some brats for dinner, so our plan was not to have to catch dinner. We paddled around the north end of north bay doing some trolling and casting. About a half hour later as we neared the portage to Echo we saw a huge tree in the water by some rocks at a small point. George and I knew this was an interesting spot (I think George's eyes must have got very big). He casted right at the base of the tree, and BANG! After a nice fight with a couple jumps, George had our first fish of the trip, an 18-inch smallie. We looked at each other, and it didn't take us long to decide to save those brats for breakfast. I put his smallie on the stringer, and we moved on. We passed the portage and stayed on the side of our camp site. This bank looked a little steeper, so I decided to change to a deeper running lure and troll at about 10 feet. I caught a bass and a couple real nice walleye, and George also caught another bass and a walleye. nothing huge, but good eaters. We now had plenty of fish for dinner and were able to release George's 18-incher. At about 6:30 we went back in and went for a quick swim. It felt so good, and I was surprised how great it felt. I'm used to going in June, so I was expecting very cold and only got cold. Changed into my dry clothes and hung clothes on the clothesline that we had put up. George cleaned fish, gave me a refresher on cleaning fish, and I gathered more firewood. George started our stove. We used my double-burner Coleman stove this year, and it worked perfectly. Had a nice dinner of fish and a mountain of peas with Lesley's magic New Zealand seasoning. After gorging ourselves, we cleaned up and sat around watching the sunset. Oh, I hit the sleeping bag earlier than George and read my book I brought for the trip. My meds help knock me out and I sleep well. George went to his tent about a half hour later. I heard some distant thunder far off, and about a half hour later it moved in on us. We got a nice thundershower for a few hours that night. It was the only rain of our trip. Perfect timing!