Chuck & Tia's 2018 Quetico Adventure
In addition to the lightweight Northwind 17, we're using carbon fiber paddles, and by Newfound Lake we were already hooked—suspect they'll be on the Christmas list. Every Quetico first day starts with a big breakfast at Britton's Cafe, then the drive to Moose Lake. The sky was full of low clouds when we unloaded gear from the Outback and moved to the boat and our portage packs to the lake. We were on the water at 8:30 in a very comfortable 68 degrees, with no other canoes in sight. Checked in at Prairie Portage just over two hours later—the lighter paddles don't make us faster, but our shoulders sure feel the difference. The outfitter had told us to expect to enter Quetico under a fire ban, but at Prairie Portage we also learned that parts of our proposed route were closed to paddlers, and that the poets' chain was open for passage, but not for camping, so we revised our route.
We stopped for lunch on Sunday Island, and were surprised by the level of storm damage there. We also surprised a couple bald eagles arguing over a fish carcass. From Bailey Bay we portaged into Burke via Boulevard Portage, then hit the two portages (and a beaver dam) into North Bay. We single-walk all portages, and passed a couple other groups by the time we made North Bay. We were pleased to find North Bay's surface almost glass—we've hit the bay when it was white-capping. We found a nice campsite on an island near tomorrow's portage. Didn't realize how tired we were until after dinner when we hit the tent for reading, and both fell asleep. Not sore, though, which I credit to the lighter paddles.