Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

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by hobbydog

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 06/15/2015
Entry Point: Other
Exit Point: Other  
Number of Days: 14
Group Size: 1
Day 2 of 14
Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Getting started 12.5 miles 1 portage 175 meters

I am up at 5AM and have a big muffin and some juice. Not really hungry but it will be a while before I eat again. It had rained overnight and there were some low hanging clouds. There was lots of activity when I got to the dock. A busy Monday in the outfitter business. It was not long and my gear was loaded and Randy (the pilot) let me know he was ready to go. For those that have never flown on a Beaver it is an incredible flying machine. The sound of the engines, the vibration, the power….it is a fun ride. As we taxied out Randy was asking about the trip. Like everyone, they question the solo thing but he said he spent winters in the Caribbean and enjoyed soloing in his sailboat. He understood. It was about a 50 minute flight over some really cool looking country. It was an interesting perspective as the next couple weeks the perspective would be a couple feet above the water. We docked at Jackson’s outpost on Artery Lake. There was a group of guys from Winnipeg waiting on the Otter to pick them up in a few hours. One of the guys helped me with my gear and I had a short conversation with him. He was wondering where I was going. His response was something like…”really, you can do that?” It was not long and I was on my way.

A cool front had just passed and it was clearing but a decent NW breeze. I misplayed that a little and took the south side of the lake as I headed east on Artery. Probably due to the excitement and just wanting to get going. Not a big deal though, I was soon at a small falls that has a short rail sled for outpost boats to hop over. I portaged the old fashioned way. At the top of the falls I dropped a line for the first time. Within a few minutes I had caught a couple of small walleyes. I kept moving though. The plan was to make it to Mary’s lake and fish a little in the evening. Next up were the pictographs on Artery Lake. As I paddled on Artery I noticed the birch trees were just starting to leaf out. I thought that was strange but soon realized there was an army worm invasion and everything was defoliated. For the next several days I would be dealing with them. They were everywhere. The pictos were easy to find, you can’t miss the mural. It was as impressive as described. I spend some time there trying soak it in and contemplate their meaning and significance. I fish a little as I move upstream. I catch a few smallmouth along the shoreline. The sky has cleared out and it is a beautiful day with temps in the mid 60s. I am soon at the north falls out of Mary’s Lake. I fish a little at the bottom of the falls and quickly catch a few walleyes. Then I decided to try the falls about a half mile south. Shaun had said there is an eddy on the far side that can be full of walleyes. This falls has a larger drop and the current is stronger. I was able to find the spot he described and tried my luck. Nada….nothing. I tried several other spots but caught nothing. I could not see a portage over the falls either so I decide to head back to the other falls, catch a few fish and have a shore lunch. After a good walleye dinner I was on my way. I found a campsite on an island on Mary’s Lake. Once I got camp set up I took a short snooze. With sunrise at 5 AM and sunset at 9:40 PM, the days were long and I liked being up for the sunrise and sunset. A short afternoon snooze became a habit on this trip. It was a nice campsite and good fishing from shore. I fished around the island and small walleyes were easy to catch, nothing of size though. It had been a long day I was ready for the tent by sunset. The final thoughts for the day were….I am here, I am really doing this. What a great start to the trip.

Landing on Artery

Falls On Artery Lake

The Pictos on Artery Lake

Taking break on the Bloodvein

South Falls out of Mary's Lake

Fish Fry at rapids into Artery Lake