Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

January trip to Ely for a canoe
by Wables

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 01/16/2016
Entry & Exit Point: Other
Number of Days: 1
Group Size: 5
Trip Introduction:
Friday morning I learned that we got a bonus at work and the gears started turning...I have been paddling cedar strips exclusively for the last 6 years, but the trips have been becoming more aggressive and I am not getting any younger. The thought of picking up a Souris River Quetico 17 has been on my mind for a couple of years to ease the load on the portages, especially with kids in tow. I checked some Ely outfitter websites, and there were some Q17's available and ran it past the wife. She reluctantly O.K.'d it, and I ran the idea of ditching the wood canoe this year with my traveling partner. Both of us agreed that this years Quetico trip would be better served paddling in Kevlar.
 We picked the coldest weekend of the year to head up to Ely. Hockey for 2 boys and work schedules meant that this was the only open Saturday to go to Ely until late March...too long to wait! I spent Friday evening getting the canoe hauling stuff on the truck, straps and ropes ready, and doing some last minute research to make sure I wasn't making a bad decision. 

 Saturday morning I called most of the Ely outfitters to see about the availability of Q17's and waited for the arctic freeze to warm up... high of -3 with 15 mph winds. Piragis was the only one that I talked to that had any ready to look at. Dave and I, along with 3 of our boys, left Duluth about noon for the drive up north, burdened only by a quick stop for gas and burgers in Virginia.

 We hit Piragis at about 2:oo, and Adam showed us the 3 Q17's that they still had, along with a couple of other boats that I was considering. The second Q17 that he showed us spoke to both Dave and I, no repairs, no scratches into the kevlar, gunwales in good shape, seats good, etc. We negotiated a price, and the deal went smooth. I was initially concerned that the boat was a bit smaller that we are used to traveling with, but after getting it in the basement with a food barrel and some packs, I think that it will handle our load with room to spare, and be a great addition to our adventures!

 All in all a great ending to a whirl-wind weekend!!!