Gutting It Out On Gabbro: Taking A Hard Fall On A Fall Trip
We awoke to a cool, cloudy morning. After a quick breakfast provided by our outfitter, we started the canoeing portion of our trip with a pleasant paddle east from White Iron Lake to the BWCA entry at Farm and then onward to the Kawishiwi River. By the time we reached the first portage we were ready for a change of pace and to work some new muscles. This portage brought us south into Clear Lake which we passed through to a portage that took us again to the river. By now it was time for a lunch stop but our plan to do this soon at an open campsite was thwarted by sites that were already occupied so we continued on.
As one travels south here, there is a small rapids that needs to be negotiated upstream with a fair amount of paddling power. Our first guess at the proper channel was wrong (be sure to take the south channel closest to the island). We got hung up on some rocks before almost getting pinned sideways in the current. Fortunately, we were able to back out to try again on the correct path without taking on any water or having to get out in the current and walk the canoe upstream through treacherous footing. When that obstacle was behind us we were able to continue on to the last campsite before our next portage. The site was open and we took advantage of this to finally have our lunch. Our last portage of the day was a pleasant path that brought us further south into Little Gabbro from where we turned east toward Gabbro.
Once on Gabbro we proceeded to the first campsite that is found just south around a point and that sits on the western shore. This site had a great view east across the main part of the lake. It features a nice landing and a fire grate that is built up on a pile of rocks, kind of like a cooking "alter". This would provide for easy fire tending and food prep without a lot of stooping. When we spotted some tent pads that would work well and the latrine checked out, we pronounced it home for the next day or two. After setting up camp we did discover that the openness of this site to the lake provided for a breezy locale, which with the cool temperatures, chilled us just a bit extra. I was also surprised at the number of still-active mosquitoes given the time of year and the cool temps (about 55 degrees F). These were minor imperfections, though, that were overcome by the general pleasantness of the site including the healthy population of busy and energetic squirrels that we found quite entertaining. Once settled at the site, we did try some shore fishing with no success. In spite of that we still had a great evening just hanging out, feasting on a steak and potato supper and sharing stories around a cozy fire that concluded our first awesome day on the trail.