LIS North to Lynx, August 2016
This was a 3 night trip with my wife and 8 year old son. We had also taken him on a trip in June that was impacted by burn are, storms, impassable portages, and wind. We were hoping to give him a much better experience this time.
We planned to enter at LIS North, and head straight to Lynx for 2 nights, then backtrack to Lower Pauness for the last night. We were able to stick to this plan.
Saturday: We headed up to Ely after lunch and ran some errands and picked up a few last minute supplies. Then we swung by VNO to get our MN III rental canoe and some leeches for the trip. From there, it was dinner at the Steakhouse and then to the bunkhouse to finish packing up and get some sleep.
Sunday: On the road by about 6:45 after yogurt and granola for breakfast. We arrived at a very full parking area at the EP. There were a couple of larger groups and one other family hauling gear. We moved fast and got on the water ahead of all of them, and stayed ahead the rest of the way.
Smooth sailing on the river, but some traffic coming out at the portage around the rapids, as well as the portage between the Pauness lakes. Nice to have all the beaver dams far enough submerged to just paddle over. There is a big eagle’s nest on the lower side of the Pauness portage, and the eagle was very vocal as we were loading up. Was surprised to see how much the rice bed had expanded near the portage to Shell. Looked like the water level on the lake was down a good 2 feet from last time I was there. This continued to be the case at Shell.
Very mucky at both ends of the portage to Shell, and of course the now familiar paddle across the beaver pond. Actually found loading and launching to be very difficult at the end going into Shell. The muck was thigh deep in places and went out a long way. Wonderful aroma when churned up, too….
We made good time across Shell, and made the easy portage to Little Shell. Then from Little Shell to Lynx we were able to easily paddle through the channel, so no portage required. We were aiming for the middle site on the east side, as it is a favorite and looked like it would have the breeze. It was open and we grabbed it.
Tangent, here… Seems like everywhere we go in the BDub, there is much more undergrowth than there used to be. This is a site with a lot of rock slabs, but it still seems more dense than when I have been there in the past. Anyone else have similar observations?
We got camp all set, filtered water, hung the new hammock up, and relaxed until it was time for our usual night 1 dinner of mac and cheese and smoked sausage (and red wine). Then a little fire and a good night’s sleep.
Monday: I was up before the rest, as usual. Grabbed a fishing rod, some jigs, and the leeches and some Gulp minnows and worked my way up the shore. Lots of little smallmouth and a couple little walleye were cooperative on the leeches, but nothing of size. Switched to the Gulp minnow… 3rd cast and it “hit bottom” way too soon. I took up slack and set the hook. Thought maybe I had hooked a log for a second, until it took off and peeled line. 8 or 9 good runs, and a few jumps later, and a 22” football shaped smallmouth was on the rock. Dashed back to camp to show it to the kid (only about 50 yards) then released her for the next guy. Lots of fun.
After lunch we did a little daytrip back to Little Shell and fished for a few hours. More small ones, and nothing for dinner, unfortunately. Saw some deer on shore, and to our amazement, the calm water was teeming with what appeared to be jellyfish. I was not sure if it was possible, so we did some research when we got home. Google “Craspedacusta sowerbii” if you want more detail. They were a couple of feet below the surface, by the hundreds. The BWCA always surprises.
Relaxed in the shade back at camp because it got quite warm. Did some reading, and tried a little more shore fishing before dinner, but settled for my home dried cheesy hamburger rice for dinner. Had another little campfire and some bourbon before bed.
Tuesday: Up pretty early to head partway back. We had a little wind, but nothing serious. We were on Lower Pauness by a little after noon, and again got the site we wanted (high up on the point). We had lunch, set up camp, and then headed over to Devil’s Cascade. Hiked up for the view, then back down to the mouth for a swim (hot day).
Back to camp and I did some fishing but with no success. We had salmon – potato chowder for dinner instead. Right at sunset, Beth and I took another swim and the kid headed to bed. We wanted an early morning so we could have lunch in Ely. Slept like a rock.
Wednesday: Up at sunrise to have coffee, eat, and break camp. Another uneventful paddling day, but that portage back to the car gets steeper every time I do it (or I keep getting older). Returned the canoe, had a beer and a shower, then had lunch at Boathouse before continuing on to the rest of our vacation.
Can’t wait to go back.