Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Little Bass
by lovesofgr

Trip Type: Paddling Kayak
Entry Date: 08/15/2016
Entry & Exit Point: South Hegman Lake (EP 77)
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 1
Trip Introduction:
1st trip to the boundary waters. Hegmans and little bass
I had the privilege (and blessing from my bride) to make a solo trip to the Boundary waters, and although they discourage individuals going by themselves, I told a little fib and was granted my permit from the Ranger. I was on the water by 8, with images in my head of racing some poor family in an overloaded canoe to one of 3 available campsites. I knew I could never turn an entire family away, so I just planned on making an extra 1/2 mile portage from North Hegman lake into Little Bass Lake. I planned on a Thurs-Sunday trip and packed 4 foil packets of tuna, 2 Lipton chicken soup packages, 1 foil packet of chicken and a rice packet. I was lean on supplies, but had a pretty rich summer, if you know what I mean. I paddled past the first 3 campsites not looking to see if they were occupied. It would be hard to continue past an open site, when rumors of an all day portage and paddle, could lead only to full campsites. I marched on, and arrived at my 3rd portage feeling strong. I pulled on my pack and loaded my kayak to find nothing but downed trees ahead. Discouraged, I set everything back down and discovered clear sailing after the first 200 yards, so I bucked up and trudged on. I surveyed all 3 sites on Little Bass and found I was the only brave one. I picked the East site due to the great lookout and close proximity of the fire grate to the water, set up camp, and rested. The first day I found myself constantly checking my out of range phone, especially as small showers passed by. WHY- it wasn't like I would do something different if the sky promised more rain? I plugged in my now dead phone and set out to catch supper. The Blue Fox number 5 didn't disappoint. As I reeled in my 4th delicious bass, I watched a bear lumber into the water and swim across the bay not 100 yards from me. Fascinating, I didn't know those suckers could even swim. I went back to camp, ate and turned in. I heard every noise that night, and kept my jackknife pinned to my shorts pocket in the case I would need to spring into action and cut off a bears toe like that guy in "Legends of the Fall", eventually I fell asleep. As the days went by, my phone became less of a factor, and I just kept looking at all of the things I missed while hurriedly paddling in. I kept hearing Andy's voice from the "Shawshank Redemption" stating "You will find a rock that has no earthly business here" as I saw rocks of all different colors and shapes in odd places and wondered what really took place here through the centuries. I saw huge rocks that split, and had somehow defied gravity landing above their mates. As the nights went on, sleeping was less of a problem, fishing was fantastic (if you like bass and northerns). I did portage and paddle back to Hegman on a day trip to capture the pictographs on the rocks. The pictures don't touch the real thing, but never do. Four days of seeing no one was one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done, and although it is hard to pull the trigger on something like that, I believe in this age of instant everything, you gotta stop and smell the roses, and wonder WHY and HOW did this get here? It was a great trip and the clock is reset. I feel a trip like this is a young mans trip. I am no longer young, and I cursed myself often for not taking advantage of the opportunity only two hours drive time from my front door. I prepared almost solely from a book I bought called "20 great BWCA Trips" by Van Jordahl and Gerald Strom.