Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Wabakimi - Attwood River from Attwood Lake to Peninsular Lake
by goatroti

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 08/19/2019
Entry & Exit Point: Wabakimi
Number of Days: 9
Group Size: 6
Trip Introduction:
We returned from our trip Tuesday past. We lasted 9 days (the weather was closing in for day 10, so we left a day early.) Our plans called for 100 miles over 10 days. We managed 44 miles over 9 days (really 7 days, we stayed a couple nights on our 3rd and 6th campsites. We started with 8 people but ended up with 6... a couple flew out for a family emergency on day 5). We had a few days of rain and a few thunderstorms, but all in all the weather was okay. Fishing was great, 4 big walleye dinners and a birthday party in the middle of it all. Our initial plans were very ambitious, but aging knees and joints, overgrown portages and the inherent slowness of 5 seniors combined with some sketchy weather. We were not disappointed, it was a great trip. We covered Atwood Lake, Hurst Lake, Austin Lake, Guerin Lake and Peninsular Lake, all on the Attwood River. Several sets of rapids were run, no spills, some close calls, up on rocks a few times on the Attwood River... a few scary moments. On the last day a 40 knots breeze was blowing up Peninsular Lake towards our beach campsite. The first Beaver landed and drifted 200 yards while the first two paddled out to it in 2 foot high chop. It took off without incident. Then the second landed as the wind picked up a little. We headed out to the rendezvous point, slamming over big waves, straight into the wind. We managed to unload the canoe, but the pilot asked us to paddle about 100 yards ahead in the empty canoe. The Souris River Quetico 17 handled like a charm even when empty. As we got way out ahead of the plane a gust caught the bow and swung us 6 feet to the left. Knowing I'd never get it headed straight into the wind again, I called for about 8 draw strokes as I turned her 180 back towards the plane. We got back to the Beaver and hopped in. The pilot struggled with the canoe as the forward thwart was on the ladder and he couldn't secure it. We drifted about 400 yards with the wind. We just got to the rocky shore when he managed to tie the canoe with a rope to the pontoon (unfortunately snapping the mount on the left pontoon rudder) and we started up the Beaver and headed into the wind slowly for about 500 yards. Then the pilot hopped out and flipped the canoe 180 degrees and then managed to tie it down. He started us up an got us out of there. While we watched the pilot struggle with the canoe, the first Beaver returned for the last two of us. We watched out the windows as the guys made it about 60 yards into the breeze and flipped. Their stuff was lashed to the canoe, so they drifted back to the point near the beach, dumped the water out then tried it again. Their pilot drifted back towards them, they got aboard and got the heck out of there. Both pilots deserve a medal for working in those conditions. An hour later we were all back in Armstrong.