Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

A Perfect Trip
by pastorjsackett

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 05/23/2015
Entry & Exit Point: Moose/Portage River (north) (EP 16)
Number of Days: 3
Group Size: 4
Trip Introduction:
For the past four years, my brother in law and I have been doing trips with our sons, born just three days apart. We started when his son, Alex, and my son, Colin, were fourteen. This year they graduate high school Over the years we have had many laughs and great times in the bwca--trips to Stuart, Jordan, Knife and this year: Agnes, via Nina Moose. To say we looked forward to this trip each year would be an understatement. We love it and really enjoy ourselves. The boys have grown before our eyes and we've become a great tripping team. I know we are building great memories together on these trips and our sons make us so, so happy. This year was to top them all.....
Day 1 of 3
Saturday, May 23, 2015 On day one, after staying at Big Lake Wilderness Lodge, we hit the EP at 6:00 a.m. The folks at Big Lake were very helpful and even upgraded our lodging from bunkhouse to cabin--we wondered if they were overbooked in the bunk but we did not care. They were very nice and took good care of us as usual. The wind was at our backs as we got going early, moving down the Nina Moose without too much trouble. Well, there was the beaver handiwork and this: on one of the portages, Mike and Alex decided to shoot the rapids. Colin and I were more cautious, and as he went to walk along and see how the others were doing, I began to portage the packs. I cracked up as I walked hearing Mike and Alex yell out, "Hey! Watch out! Ahh!! No!! Don't do that! Ahh!! Ahh!" and so on. They made it through, but we had a good laugh at their expense. Near the entry to Nina Moose, Colin and I were out front by a little ways and MIke/Alex got a close up look at two moose. We were bummed that we missed that, but we were happy for them. We tripped along, making good time..the upper part of the river was wide and easy for paddling and Agnes gave us a tailwind (which she does not always do)! Along the way we passed a couple of nice guys who were also headed to Agnes. We were a bit worried that Agnes would be crowded due to the holiday weekend, so we pushed on past them. Our fears were unfounded. As we left one portage, a group came through saying they had just left the center site of the three on points at the north end and they urged us to go get it, which we gladly did, pulling up and astounding ourselves to realize it was on 10 a.m.! Amazing time! The speed was mostly due to the fact that our sons are powerful portage packers, always taking a canoe and pack and leaving us the scraps to carry. I can honestly say I did not left the canoe once. Once at our site, we set up shop and pushed back off to get in some fishing. We had cut this trip from three nights to two (the boys had to be back to wrap up they school year) and we were eager to get out. We immediately got into fish--walleye on jigs and leeches, bass, northern. At one point Mike and Alex again shot a rapids (Boulder River) and when we tried they were shouting instructions of where to paddle. "The middle! The middle!" As we approached, I said, "The one thing we don't want is to turn sideways." And of course no sooner had I said that when WHAP we swung to the side and got stuck. But only for a moment. More laughs. The fishing was so good that we stayed out all day and never made it back to camp until it was almost dark! What a day. We took the mudhole portage (115 rod) back from Boulder River to our Anges site, arriving tired, muddy, happy and hungry. We had our traditional first night meal--no name steaks and mushrooms, and we fell into our tents and passed out cold, the dads snoring and the sons elbowing us in the ribs every so often to shut us up. What an amazing, full first day. It felt like three! We were loving this.....