Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Solo trip, following the Root Beer Lady
by Beemer01

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 07/08/2006
Entry & Exit Point: Moose Lake (EP 25)
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 1
Trip Introduction:
Solo trip in my stripper
Day 1 of 5
Saturday, July 08, 2006

Solo Trip Report – July 8, 2006 Moose Lake EP

I reached Ely Midday, secured my permit, a handful of leeches and quickly headed East on the Fernberg Road. My Brother-in-law and nephew were at the BSA High Adventure Camp ready to embark on their first BWCA trip, having journeyed all the way from Charlotte…. and I wanted to say hello. (Naturally both had the ‘benefit’ of me being in the family and filling their heads with tales of this mystical area for years – I just hoped the reality lived up to the expectations I’d set!?!)

The wind was howling out of the Southwest as I pulled into the BSA Base. I easily found them and we chatted for a few minutes – turns out that they were undergoing a crash course in wilderness camping ethics, canoe flipping and so forth. We got the requisite pictures and I headed to the public launch next door to set off on my first true solo canoe trip.

I lifted my stripper canoe off my car, carried her down to the beach, brought down my bags and parked the car.

As I loaded my canoe I again noted the wind swooping down the lake with increasing ferocity and the white caps building. Nonetheless I pushed off into this gale… and decided 15 seconds later that it’d be really smart to wait this one out. I coasted to the island across from the EP, took out my chair, a book and a cigar and started my vacation just feet into the BWCA.

It wasn’t until after 5 that the wind died down and I set off again heading up Moose eventually to Ensign – my planned first night’s camp location. I hugged the lee shore and quickly (I still had a decent tail wind) made it to Splash. The portage here is really lovely as the rapids quietly enter the bay on Sucker Lake.

I decided to skip the liftover portage into Ensign from Splash by paddling up the stream – the depth was right, but the current was strong. I did make it through…. but just barely!

It was nearly eight when I set up camp on a high campsite on an Ensign island. Since the sky was a brilliant blue and the winds had slackened, I decided to skip setting up my rain fly, fixed a quick supper, set up my Hennessey Hammock and went to bed.

Naturally it rained and stormed about 2 AM – but no damage was done.