Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Eleven and a half glorious days and one terrible awful, rotten half a day.
by billconner

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 08/25/2015
Entry & Exit Point: Moose Lake (EP 25)
Number of Days: 11
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
The thread in General Interest titled as this trip covers the noteworthy and I’m sure most memorable event of the trip, but a little more detail for those interested below. My son (22) and I (63), SR Q17. Mostly self outfitted, a few items and services by the ever wonderful folks at Canoe Country Outfitters.
Route: We entered on Moose #25 around 2:00 PM an paddled up to Sucker and into Birch. Very little motor traffic - maybe 3 or 4 each ay along western shore and we were on east. Has never bothered me like some folks. Camped on Birch (1287). Headed to Knife for night 2 (1463) and to American Point on Saganaga for night 3 (2072), and onto to Ogishkemuncie for nights 4 and 5 (790). From thee headed to Pan (1048) and Thomas (1185) for one night each and last to Disappointment (1385) for remaining 4 nights, which was to have been three with last on Sucker but after the half day decided to just cool it. Head out through Snowbank and portages through Flash to EP25. Almost 90 miles of paddling and near 8 miles of portaging (single - I singled mostly, my son doubled, some variations) plus some wondering into wrong bays looking for a portage, a 6 mile day paddle trip on day 8; and the ill fated hike on day 9 with 1.5 mile paddle and probably 8 miles of “hiking”.

Campsites: Generally, all seven were pretty clean and nice. Being only one tent didn’t put much demand on site. We had a fire first night but rest of time was fireless. No reservations about any of the sites otr going back, just wish they were more exposed to sun morning and evening - love that drying effect.

Food: We live to eat, so don’t single portage. I’d guess our food pack was 45 pounds to start. First dinner on Birch was Zups wild rice brats, french bread, and dehydrated baked beans cooked on grate.  Other than first day where we had two brats left and cooked them with some eggs and left over french bread, breakfasts were all Tang, coffee, grape nuts (generic) with almonds, craisans, and Nido. Traveling lunches were cheese, summer sausage, crackers, peanut butter, tortillas, and drid fruit. We dried our own pineapple and apples and wil do more of those in the future. Loved the pineapple. Some layover days or early camp days we ate scrambled eggs.  Started with two dozen, ate last four on last full day, no cracks. Medium size, cardboard carton, and a couple of wraps of bubble wrap secured with a bungee dealy Bob. Haven’t lost an egg yet in over five years of carrying like that. Had quesadillas two nights, JMO pizza two nights, eggs at least one night with JMO cornbread, Bear Creek navy bean (lunch and dinner) with JMO biscuits, generic hamburger helper stroganoff with dehydrated ground beef, and the new hit was dehydrated ground beef in McCormicks brown gravy over Idahoan mashed potatoes. JMO brownies and a JMO gingerbread (dessert and on trail next day); and then a JMO cake. We had made a batch of the fruit cake cookies that drbob pointed to me to and ate them at all three meals. The JMO mixes were all Jiffy. Since we can’t find them all in stores near us, we ordered on line - a dozen mixes for $12.00 - took 8 or so - including the chocolate fudge icing for the cake. And we’re going to look into making our own pizza dough mix - probably yeast and mix in morning to rise during day in pack.

Gear: All food cooked on an MSR Dragonfly with a Bernie Dawg Dragontamer. Heating the generator with alcohol makes this a dream system for cooking, with great very low simmer to full on and nearly no noise.  Carried 5 - 22 ounce tanks, used almost 4 full ones. 2 ounce bottle of alcohol was too little for comfort. Big Agnes Copper Spur 3 UL - great in a wicked midle of the night thunderstorm Ogishkemuncie. I have an inexpensive Campmor nylon tarp I can’t kill as bad as I want an excuse for a CCS tarp. I carry pots and pans as need - just one 3 l pot and a 9" GSI fry pan on this trip and 3 GSI Fair share mugs - great. A CCS Deluxe food pack, a CCS Pioneer, and one of our first used from outfitter Kondos #3. Big disappointment was my Exped Synmat UL7 went flat on night three and could not find the leak in two attempts in the lake as I had a patch kit. Bummer. Will try to reach out to Exped for help.

Weather and bugs: Few bugs and despite one middle of the night thunderstorm - the kind where lightening lights up the whole tent brightly and the thunder is a one - one thousand - two - one th....BOOM away; and despite two other middle of the night light or very light rains, we never need rain gear once. Pretty amazing 11 days. 

No special lessons other than as reported on the half day. Great half-day in Ely after - our usual laundromat visit after showers at CCO motel, some cold drinks - love that first pint of cold milk - and a great dinner at Ely Steak House where our eyes are bigger than our stomachs - and we both got queen size portions. Even walked to Red Cabin Custard, formerly Sharry’s, for dessert. Skipped the night cap at Zaverals this year. Nice driving home on Sunday of Labor Day weekend - much less traffic than most Sundays between Madison and Chicago.