Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Rainy day people
by TuscaroraBorealis

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 05/28/2016
Entry Point: Skipper and Portage Lakes (EP 49)
Exit Point: Cross Bay Lake (EP 50)  
Number of Days: 8
Group Size: 3
Day 3 of 8
Monday, May 30, 2016

Today we get to enjoy a sunrise. It’s a travel day, so we just have a quick oatmeal breakfast. Our portage reconnaissance yesterday pays dividends today as we make it across the tough Sebeka trail without any difficulties. As we approach where we anticipate the landing for our next portage into Ross Lake should be, we are momentarily confused and scan the shoreline for a tell tale sign. Just then a moose cow pokes her head out not 20 yards in front of us, and we simultaneously point out that we’ve located where the portage is. I tell Aurora to watch close because there’s probably going be a calf close behind. Sure enough there is and, while we do get a good look, they move on rather quickly before we can get some good photos. Still we feel blessed, and are grateful for the encounter.

This portage isn’t quite as precipitous or muddy but, it is considerably longer and more overgrown. Fortunately we’re traveling in the right direction and get to travel down the biggest hill near Ross Lake. There are some impressive cliffs on this side of the lake and, as a whole it, is quite scenic and not as boggy or low lying as we expect. The mosquitos are intensifying their attack as we begin our next portage. This trail is similar to the previous, just a little more muddy and it has a short boardwalk. And like the previous trail, it is easily followed but overgrown. The problem we encounter here is that the overgrown branches are right at face height for Aurora and they cause her no shortage of headaches, both figuratively and literally. However, a tiny inch worm helps to take her mind off of her struggles. Cave Lake is a tiny lower lying, boggy lake and we have no difficulty locating our next portage. The plague of mosquitoes reaches Biblical proportions here, especially on the Long Island Lake end. This portage is a bit muddy and has a couple of tiny hills but, really isn’t too bad. But, when you consider it along with the other 3 (that must be done when moving camp between Banadad and Long Island) the cumulative effect definitely begins to add up. Thankfully the water was shallow at the Long Island end and there was plenty of sand for Aurora to play with while Vickie & I took turns finishing up the portage.

We thoroughly enjoy a relaxing paddle across Long Island Lake as we head for the west end in hopes of finding a nice site. Aurora capably shows us where the fire boundaries are and points out various waterfowl and birds as we travel on. Having spent the previous couple of nights at a less than marginal site on Banadad Lake, we are eager to claim a quality camp and find the western most site (#569) much to our liking.

This is a sprawling peninsula site that offers sandy landings at multiple spots and Aurora instantly settles right in as Vickie & I begin to set up. Unlike our previous camp, there is plenty of room to roam here as this is a near 5 star site and Vickie even goes so far as to call the large jack pines providing shade & shelter on the outer fringes, her ‘palm trees’. Traffic & the loooong walk to the latrine are the big detractors.

It has been a pretty tough day, so we take full advantage of the remainder of the gorgeous weather. Aurora swings in the hammock while we kick back with cold drinks and savor the eminent beauty and tranquility basking under the radiant illumination of starlight well into the evening as the seeming silence slowly transforms into a cacophony of a wilderness orchestra.

Banadad Lake, Sebeka Lake, Ross Lake, Cave Lake, Long Island Lake