Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Kawnipi or Bust
by Captn Tony

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 07/28/2017
Entry & Exit Point: Quetico
Number of Days: 7
Group Size: 3
Trip Introduction:
About 15 years ago were going to Kawnipi with Lyonty and some friends to experience some of the areas best eye fishing. We got a late start and made it to Saganagons and no farther. We did take a day trip up the Falls Chain and still didn't make to Kawnipi. My back went out on a trip 2 years ago and I realized I wasn't getting any younger. So the goal was to get to Kawnipi off my bucket list.
Day 1 of 7
Friday, July 28, 2017 Took off the 27th after work and got to Gran Marias about 3:00 A.M. after driving through the night. Slept in the parking area by the lighthouse in the Adventure Van. Woke up about 5 A.M. to get donuts at The Worlds Greatest Donut Shop and they were closed!! So picked up crappy food at the convenience store and headed to Seagull Outfitters. Got there as they opened loaded the tow and headed to Hook Island. We wanted to be the first to the customs. As luck would have a big family group had already left by the time we got to Hook Island. We loaded as fast as we could and powered to customs island. It took us 30 minutes to get there but the other group had too much of a head start and beat us there. But they were having trouble finding there papers so we got to go ah head of them. I forgot to let my credit card company know I was going to Canada and it wasn't excepted, crap now what and I was the only one with a credit card. But it this wasn't the first time it happened apparently as she entered it by hand and it went through. I don't what we would have done if it hadn't been excepted! But we were on our way in about about 20 minutes. Our goal was to get to Kawnipi day one. I figured with the 3 man canoe even if we doubled portaged we should be able to make it. Wrong again! On one portage met a group that had left their fishing gear back at the outfitters and they weren't going to goo back to get the stuff? What's with that, food or tents I can understand. But not going back to get your fishing gear, makes no sense?? We motored didn't take time to look at the scenery but it was 3:00 by the time we got to Bald Rock Falls. I wanted look for a campsite but Lyonty convinced me to keep going, we had 3 short portages so we should be able to make Kawnipi in time to set up camp. But the portages were 2 to 3x longer then what the map showed because the water was high so we took the long route, and they also weren't the easiest portages I've done. The first was about 3x longer then the map and my back was not liking me at this point. We had a mud hole to wade through with bowling ball size rocks in the water which we couldn't see. The next portage was rough with a gully in the middle that was so steep that the front and the back of the canoe hit the rocks when you stood in the bottom of it. I was just getting to the end of the portage and was thinking "at least I didn't have to walk a rocky bottomed mud hole", turned the corner and there was a rocky bottomed mud hole. On the return the I asked Foodnazi what she was thinking and she said I didn't want to know what she was thinking. Well anyway by this time it was 7:00 and we decided if this next portage was 3x longer then on the map like the last two it would be 8:00 to 9:00 by the time we started looking for a camp site so we decided to take the first site we saw. There is a camp spot on Kenny and it is a mosquito infested rock quarry. I don't like to put on deet before bed so set up camp, cooked supper without any on. Foodnazi kept laughing because I was covered with bugs. I had to sleep curled around a couple of rocks because I couldn't find a camp spot without rocks and roots in it. I was so tired I slept like a baby. High points were seeing a mature cow moose 1st time ever while actually canoeing and the water was glass the whole day. Low points not making it to Kawnipi and not getting any fishing in.