Annual Paddle With The Boys
Kawishiwi to Alice. Extra work, lost gear.
We rented one canoe from Sawbill outfitters and utilized their shuttle service over to Kawishiwi for an 8:00 a.m. start. This group, four college buddies in our late twenties, doesn't mind putting in the work to get away from it all but also appreciates base-camping for a few days to relax and target some fish. Day one we decided to haul our way to Alice - 15+ miles of paddling and 3+ miles of portaging.
We took an early break to climb the overlook in the burnt area between Square and Kawasachong - to our delight, the blueberries were popping and we were surrounded by our second breakfast. I imagine the entire area hit by the Pagami creek fire of 2011 was much the same.
We made good time through the Townline portages and Lakes Polly and Koma with a goal of lunch on Malberg. That's when the extra work began. When we arrived at the Malberg end of the portage from Koma, there were a few other canoes partially unloaded and a few more off to the side with a group swimming underneath the rapids. This made for a crowded portage and a bit of confusion while trying to clear out and be on our way. In the confusion, we inadvertently left a pile of fishing gear at the portage (the author carries a majority share of fault and would be tremendously grateful if said gear was found by a forum reader and returned - otherwise the author will experience a lifetime of paddling trips with his friends heckling him about this day *not all bad, what a day*).
We paddled two thirds across Malberg before stopping for our lunch and realizing our mistake. What's an extra 50 minutes of paddling, anyway?! Unfortunately, the gear was nowhere to be found and we went the remainder of our trip down three fishing poles and a couple nets.
The rest of the way to Alice went quickly enough and before long we had a private beach campsite set up and ready for three nights of lounging, fishing and exploring.