Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Mudro to Horse
by WildernessJunkie

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 10/23/2015
Entry & Exit Point: Mudro Lake (EP 23)
Number of Days: 3
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
DAY ONE...So it all began bright and early in Duluth at 0400 for our venture to Ely. My friend a very inexperienced 22 year old outdoorsman with hopes to understand the wilderness and me a 22 year old outddorsman with a few BWCA trips under my belt and a few other trips also. Around 0615 we figured we must be close.... soon to realize we missed a turn and were now in Silver Bay and an hour out of our way when we are meeting my cousin to pick up the canoe. Shout out to Canadian Waters owner Dan for hooking us up with a nice kevlar canoe and paddles for the weekend as a birthday gift when the store is closed for the season. upon arrival for the canoe we find my cousin half asleep in his truck patiently waiting for us. So far all is good and we get to entry point 23 Mudro lake, weather is nice and no wind. I think as soon as we touched the canoe to the water the rain began to fall. It was not just a light rain but lasted all night and was very steady. The first portage to Sandpit lake from Mudro is an uphill battle. The second portage to Tin Can Mike was a straight shot with no hills and was a very nice walk due to the trees blocking most the rain. The 3rd portage From Tin Can Mike to Horse lake was slightly uphill but was very short and had a lot of cover from the rain. Finally we are on Horse lake and can see our campsite from the end of the last portage. We get to the second campsite on horse lake because the first one was taken by the people we saw that were very cocky about their outdoor skills and how they said they were based out of Ely when ask where they were from. So it is pouring rain and we need to set up the tent. First we put up the tarp so we have a little room to work with so the inside of the tent does not get soaked. Tent is set up all is good until we go to put the rain fly on. I pull it out of the bag and it is a motorcycle cover. So we made a makeshift rain fly out of the extra tarp we had and did what we could to keep what was still dry, dry. We had our fireplace completely covered with wood and rocks to basically have a way to heat our food that is a challenge when everything is soaked already but I got it going. By the time we had our food cooked and tent set up it was beginging to get dark out. So we hunkered into our tent and played cribbage for 3 hours against each other. DAY TWO.... Bright and early! 0645 I am awake. The rain has stopped it is dark but the weather is 100 times better then the night before. So I got get my morning rolling and let my friend sleep a little bit. Lost a few little slimers but that didn't discourage me I just enjoy being out there away from everything. Well 1100 rolls around and my buddy is starting to awaken from his slumber. We are both up and deceide to go do some trolling in the canoe. About 20 minutes of trolling and I lose another little pike. Finally I catch my first fish. A 4 inch perch I snagged underneath the belly.... safe to say it was a catch and release kind of fish. After that we chose to go look for some grouse. So we go grab the shotguns and cases and bring them over to the portage trail we had walked 1 day prior. About 25 yards into the trail I spot my target standing underneath a tree munching on the ground. BOOM! target down and lunch is looking great. Thats all we saw for birds before lunch so I brought it back across the lake and taught my friend how to clean a grouse missing one very important detail. While cooking all the fresh grouse we get the meat on the pan. The legs, the breasts, the heart, and the Gizzard. Well it was all amazing until I realized the step I missed. I bit into that Gizzard that was plump full of rocks and grouse fecal matter. I dont think it could have tasted much worse and realizing I just had grouse poop in my mouth wasn't a good feeling either. In the evening we went out to the island not far away from our camp to do a little shore fishing off the island right before dark. My friend is on one side of the island and I am on the other. I was using a little white jig and tail with a spinner and a little crappie minnow and here I latch onto the biggest northern I have ever fought with. I got it to the edge of the rocks no joke the size of my leg and I am 6 foot 3. Well with no net im holding my pole with my left hand way up in the air to keep tension on the line while I brace myself because I need to get down to the water so I can grab this fish and get it onto the land before it takes off. so here I go to grab and and poof... There I go sliding off the wet rocks right into the water with the monster. I must have scared it because it took off snapping my line so quick There was no second hope for this fish and I was soaking wet now heading back to my friend to explain to him what I just expierienced while he struggles with his fishing pole. We made it back to camp and with coals still burning in the fire to get my clothes dried out before bed and to get the jiffy pop cooked. While I am cooking my friend asked me a very weird question that I didn't notice when coming back to camp. "Did we leave our food and food bag scattered around the camp?" looking up I do then see our food was everywhere and half eaten. Looking for animal prints we found nothing on the ground to show what it was but with all the little holes in the bags we seem to think it would be a raccoon or small coyote that clearly couldnt find anything worth eating except for the banana chips. After sitting by the fire drying out the clothes for awhile we deceided to go to bed around 2000 "8pm" but first I needed to beat him in three quick rounds of cribbage. DAY THREE....Waking up on sunday I was up at 0715 because I thought I heard a grouse. So I got up out of bed and wandered around a little bit until I found the son of a gun. It looked pretty calm so I figured I would wake up my friend who was still asleep so he could get a chance at a bird. My friend has never shot a shotgun before so he got his chance. I watched the bird until he was able to get out of the tent and get his gun ready. I said stand right where I am and ill walk around and flush it for you. DO NOT SHOOT ME! I told him. So I walked down the hill a little ways and there it is about 6 feet ahead of me. I told him ill have to take the shot if it flys but if you can make it down here you can have the shot. He scampers down the hill and takes the shot. Instantly I knew it was a good shot. When I grabbed the grouse I really knew it was a good shot because the grouse no longer had a head or neck. Now with bird fever on his mind we hung that one up in the tree in a bag to hopefully eat with another bird after our hike. We hiked back into the woods behind the camp area and up to the highest point of the island to hopefully get a nice picture while hunting. After getting the perfect photo of Horse Lake from the highest point we deceided to scale the wall down. To our surprise we find a grouse sitting under a pine tree about half way down the cliff side and get our second grouse of the day. We venture back to our campsite with no luck of getting a third bird then clean both birds up remembering to clean the gizzard out this time and bag them for a late lunch. We quick ate some oatmeal with granola and syrup before packing up all of our gear and headed out back towards the car. First portage was a breeze, second portage was a breeze, but the third portage back to Mudro Lake was 1000x worse then it was when it was the first portage compared to the last. Also this way was way more uphill then coming from the otherside so we finished with the hardest portage we encountered but we made it through to the lake. Paddling across Mudro to the little creek at the end we enjoyed viewing a Bald Eagle flying nice and low to give us an excelent view of him and a little muscrat swimming back and forth in the creek looks like it was showing off to us. Made it up the creek and go tthe gear to the car. Loaded up the car felt bad I was leaving wish I could stay forever but had to be to work monday morning. So we dropped the canoe off and then enjoyed some Sir G's Pizza and Beer to celebrate the trip we enjoyed. I couldn't ask for a better way to spend my birthday. Went into the boundry waters at the age of 22 and came out the age of 23. What a good feeling.(: