Gutting It Out On Gabbro: Taking A Hard Fall On A Fall Trip
After meeting and getting loaded up at my house in St. Cloud, MN we departed for Ely at about 11 AM on a warm, sunny day. After an uneventful trip we arrived at our outfitter's on White Iron Lake by late afternoon. By the time we arrived, we had already made a number of adjustments to the original trip plan, the biggest of which was scrambling to fill out our group after one of our original members left us in the lurch with very little time to find a replacement. As the "elder statesman" of this crew, I had looked forward to traveling with some younger guys to carry a lot of the load including Kirby--a strong-as-an-ox 29 year old, David--a mountaineer who has climbed the highest peaks in the western hemisphere and his friend, a rather fit ex-marine. It was David's (now former?) friend that suddenly decided just a couple of days before our departure that obligations he knew about weeks beforehand were going to keep him home. If I sound a bit annoyed at this it's because we all were since a group of three was going to be just a bit awkward--especially as we had made all of the plans for four guys all along. Enter my 26 year-old son Paul who was available but while he had also been to the BWCA with me before, he's not particularly confident in his abilities, it's not really his thing and he was reluctant to join us. Thankfully, after an anxious day of trying to find somebody (ANYBODY!) he did agree to go and I knew he'd do just fine.
Once checked into our accommodations for the night at the outfitter, we zipped back into Ely for the traditional first-night pizza at Sir G's (always excellent) and to do some exploration of the town. I was grateful for the chance to briefly visit with Bob Olson at C.C.O. and looked forward to maybe doing the same with TGO from this forum when I picked up some live bait. However, I was shocked and saddened to find out that TGO had passed away earlier this summer! I did not know him very well but still enjoyed the playful banter he always had ready for you when you patronized his bait store. May he rest in peace.
Once we had finished up in town, it was back to White Iron Lake to do some final packing and settle in for the night before hitting the water the next morning.