Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Half solo, half family trip
by BlueSkiesWI

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 08/22/2015
Entry & Exit Point: Clearwater Lake (EP 62)
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 3
Trip Introduction:
This trip was the last 5 days of my summer before I went back to college. I wanted to go on my first solo, but also wanted to trip with my parents. I found a route that I could do both, 2 nights solo and 2 nights with them. We entered at the same point, but they went to Pine lake to base camp and I did the Pike loop to meet them on the third day, then came out with them. My goals for the trip were to catch a few fish, single portage everything, spend some time with my parents, get my first taste of solo tripping, and get away from everything before heading back to school. All 5 goals were accomplished, so despite the less-than-perfect weather this trip was awesome.
Day 1 of 5
Saturday, August 22, 2015

Friday night after work, my parents and I packed up the car and drove the almost 8 hours up to Clearwater Outfitters. We spent the night in the bunkhouses there to get an early start Saturday morning. We ate a great breakfast cooked by the lodge, loaded up the 2 canoes, and took off on Clearwater Lake around 8. I was paddling a prism and my parents had a bell evening star.

After paddling for a little while solo, I thought of how weird the silence is. You stop moving and don't hear anything except the waves and the wind and a few birds. You keep expecting something to make a noise or someone to talk, but it just stays quiet. Throughout my solo trip, I really learned to appreciate this.

I got to the first portage (Clearwater to West Pike, 211 rods) and had to figure out how to portage. The goal was to single portage everything this trip and there was a learning curve. After figuring out how to get my 53 pounds of gear and 34 pound canoe on my back, I started walking. I talked to a few people on the other side of the portage while catching my breath a little, then paddled out across West Pike.

I was aiming for the island site and luckily it was open. I set up camp there, then went out fishing. Rumor that the smallmouth fishing between the island and the mainland was pretty good. Well on the first cast, I caught a nice 17 smallie (turned out to be my biggest on the trip). I caught probably 20 smallies in that spot between 8 and 14 inches after that. I found a little firewood on the mainland, then went back to camp. I cooked up a delicious steak, onion, and mashed potatoes for dinner. I relaxed watching the storm roll in that night and went to bed. Between being my first night ever solo tripping, the storm rolling in, and mice crawling up my tent all night, I didn't get a ton of sleep.

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