Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Oct Gales on Mountain
by ewbeyer

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 10/03/2014
Entry Point: Clearwater Lake (EP 62)
Exit Point: John Lake (EP 69)  
Number of Days: 3
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
October is a great time to catch brookies. When you do, they are in their beautiful "spawning" colors. The trees are equaling spectacular, and there are no bugs. But, it is October, and sometimes the weather is a little difficult.
Day 1 of 3
Friday, October 03, 2014

Drove up from Duluth on Thursday night, watched the first half of the Vikes debacle at Sven and Ole's and drove up to the bunkhouse at Clearwater. Quick trips are better than no trips, and the drive from home is no biggie. So arraigned our gear, hit the rack, and woke up Friday morning to a gathering west wind. Perfect for sailing across Clearwater. It should let up by Sunday....

Made it to the Mountain portage, and watched the clouds grind over the tops of the peaks as we headed the 6 miles or so to the campsite near Pemmican. Before too long, the waves were gathering as we left the west shoreline and I spent most of the time simply "ruddering" to keep us from getting blown sideways. We rode the waves and the occasional whitecaps at a very fast clip. Stayed as near to shore as we dared due to the water temp, but mindful to not get caught in breakers or a hidden rock near the shoreline. Got about half-way down and my partner started to get a bit nervous as the waves grew larger still - consistent 2'+. Again, riding them - alert and attentive - but not worried back in the stern. Campsite was marginal, but a gateway to Pemmican. Lugged the canoe up what was a short, but a candidate for the worst portage in the BW. Steep, deadfalls, brush...did I say steep? SO windy by that time, with rain, that we fished from shore, caught one, with a couple hits. Left the canoe and hunkered back down the hill and took shelter in our tent for the evening.