Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Memorial Day Heat--Moose River North 2018
by pastorjsackett

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 05/26/2018
Entry & Exit Point: Moose/Portage River (north) (EP 16)
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 4
Trip Introduction:
Memorial Day tripping is our recent tradition. For the past six years, I have gone on a trip this weekend with my son, Colin along with my brother in law, Mike and his son Alex. The sons are now 20 years old and college seniors in the fall but when we started they were not yet driving. Every year they've grown in confidence, experience and strength so it's a trip I always look forward to sharing with them. We have so many memories of all our trips, I knew this would be more of the same--just pure fun. We all knew this entry point well--it was our third visit to the Agnes/LLC area. Here we go.....
Day 1 of 4
Saturday, May 26, 2018

We are fortunate that we have a good friend with a house in Ely and he lets us stay at his place the night before entry. Over the years, staying at Dan's house has become a big part of our tradition--like going to your grandma's house.  We can relax, shower, repack our gear and run to stores for anything we still might need. Mike and Alex had work obligations so Colin and I drove up by ourselves, arriving in Ely in the early afternoon. of the 25th. I have another friend who has a cabin on White Iron so we spent part of the evening with him, out for a quick, fun boat ride. Before long, our partners hit town--we grabbed some dinner and headed back to Dan's house. 

Saturday morning came early, and the weather looked fine. We stopped for bait and dry ice at Skube's before heading up the Echo Trail to Big Lake Wilderness Lodge for our canoes.  Chuck was ready for us and we were off to the entry by shortly after 7 a.m. We hit the trail and before long found ourselves paddling the calm river. 

We met five different groups coming out so we felt confident that a good site on Agnes would be available. Here's a theme of the week--it was very very HOT on that first day. We passed one group on the way in so that build our confidence as well--we would be welcomed on Agnes. Unfortunately, once we got the lake, all the sites were taken...even the group we had passed had sent two members ahead to claim a primo spot so we slipped over the small site on the west side of the lake that we've used as a last resort before. I said the site was a bit of a misfit among all the popular Agnes sites....Alex replied that maybe "misfit" suited us. Nuff said. We needed four tent pads because us dads are known to snore quite loudly...luckily we squeezed out four semi flat spots along with room for two hammocks, a CCS tarp and Nemo Bug Out. By mid afternoon we were set up, fed and paddling off to the trickles on the north end of the lake for some fishing. That was our main objective. The fish were somewhat cooperative...not as good as it's been other years but still quite good. Colin caught a number of large crappies (16") and it's funny--we hem and haw about keeping walleye but when a slab comes in the canoe there's no question you'll be eating it. Colin also caught a nice northern on the way to our spot. Trolling produces. 

Once we returned from our evening of fishing I was horrified to see that I had forgotten my cooking utensils, flashlights, headlamps and....matches!!! Where was this stuff? I felt silly and Alex commented later in the trip that it seemed we may be getting "lazy" compared to early years of tripping. Was this true? I reflected on it quite a bit throughout our stay. Luckily, Mike brought an extra lighter and we fashioned a "flipper" from a stick and a "spatula" from a twig, cardboard and duct tape. All well and good for a laugh but still....was I losing my edge here? We all seemed more tired on this first night than in past years so we turned in a bit early and all went to our respective tents.