Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

3-day out-and-back to Fraser Oct. 2017
by NotSoFast

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 10/09/2017
Entry & Exit Point: Snowbank Lake (EP 27)
Number of Days: 3
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
Enjoyable but brief get-away.
Day 1 of 3
Monday, October 09, 2017 Tammy and I drove up to Ely late on Sunday, kept alert by frequent deer sightings along the dark highways. We napped in the van, then by 5 a.m. on Monday were boiling water for coffee. It was in the mid-30s, and moonlight in a mostly clear sky helped us unstrap the canoe and pack our last bits of gear. We pushed off from the canoe dock at Snowbank (27) about 6:15 a.m., with stars visible above, a light breeze, and dawn a promise on the eastern horizon.

By the time we had portaged to Disappointment, it was full daylight and the wind was strengthening out of the northwest. For most of the morning, it seemed like the sun was racing increased clouds from the southeast, and losing. After a mostly clear start, it turned into a mostly cloudy day.

The lakes were empty as we worked our way toward Hatchet, and our only encounter with other paddlers was a young couple, homeward bound, at the lift-over between Jordan and Ima. They warned us that, "that last lake (Ima) was a real struggle." With the wind at our backs, we had no trouble.

The baggage for this trip was two Duluth packs, neither terribly heavy, in our Wenonah Jensen 18. On all but the shortest portages, we each started off with a pack. At the halfway point, I would leave my pack to the side of the trail, and return for the canoe; meanwhile, Tammy completed the portage and then retrieved the mid-portage pack.

Our plan was to camp on Hatchet, but because neither site offered shelter from the cold wind, we pushed on to Thomas. There we took a right turn out of the portage bay, and set up camp at the first site (No. 1680), which was nicely sheltered. We changed into warm camp clothes and spent a couple pleasant hours by the fire before an early supper and then bed about 6:30 p.m.