Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Father-Daughter trip to Iron lake via EP16 Iron lake
by Eric7753

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 08/27/2015
Entry & Exit Point: Moose/Portage River (north) (EP 16)
Number of Days: 9
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
Prologue, this was my 7th trip to the BWCA and my daughter, Elizabeths first. The previous year, I had taken a trip with her twin and this year it was her turn to discover the beauty that the Boundary Waters holds. Our trip was originally scheduled for later in the fall with the coveted EP23 reserved, but my daughter's leave from the Navy was altered and so our trip dates changed and the EP became 16 on the short notice. Living in Indiana, the trip is half the battle. My ideas on a BWCA trip is, any vacation day not on the water, might as well be a work day. With that said, my trips generally start at 6:00 PM EST with the loaded car and an 806 mile journey ahead. After a 13 hour drive, the familiar Ely water tower is just ahead at 7:00 AM CST. And so begins day 1.
Part 1 of 10
August 27, 2015 - Day 1 of 9, actually a long continuation of day 0 and the 13 hour drive with little sleep, we made a stop for breakfast in Ely then very quick stop at Voyager North outfitters to pick up our canoe and night crawlers, and we were off on the 26 mile drive up Echo Lake trail to EP16.

I had forewarned my daughter of the initial 175 rod portage and she was looking forward to the challenge. Once the gear was unloaded and the first of two trips ready to begin, I explained the portage process. One trip was the personal pack and misc. gear then the other trip was the 58 lbs. food pack and canoe. Being the fit 5' 2" 100 lbs. challenge taker, she chose the canoe. She did very well and made the entire length of the initial portage with no problems. I took the opportunity at Nina Moose River to point out the canoe resting point about half way through the portage, she was not impressed with the afterthought information. By noon, we were finally on the water.

It was a beautiful sunny and warm day, especially for this time of year. The high was near 85 degrees and made for nice travels. With my daughter being in the Navy, it did not give us any chance to take part in a practice trip or work on paddling techniques. This was a bit of a challenge, but was easily overcome quickly. OJT is the best teacher, good thing we had calm waters and good weather to learn in.

Once we were seated in the canoe and ready to take the first stroke, I explained to Elizabeth the most valuable piece of gear we brought with us, the map. Just as my dad had done with me so many years ago, I explained the fold, placement and constant referencing of the map to always know where you are on a lake. I believe it is always easier to stay found that to get un-lost. (That phrase is from a forum user, I don't remember who, to give proper credit). She was in the front seat, so therefore, the role of navigator was hers. We would make periodic stops just to validate location.

We negotiated the two additional marked portages, the one unmarked (fallen tree) portage and several beaver dams that we were able to drag over. We made it to Nina Moose Lake and set up at camp site #1789 by 3:00 PM. We got the needed gear unpacked, fire going and had a well-deserved supper of hot dogs and mac & cheese.

It was a beautiful cloudless evening with a nearly full moon. Given the previous night’s drive, it was a very long day and even with the excitement of actually being on the water, it was very easy to fall into an early sleep after the 8:30 PM sunset.

Elizabeth on the first portage, 170 rods. First and last portage taking the canoe.

Get in, I am ready to go...

First night on Nina Moose lake with a nearly full moon.

Nina Moose Lake