Bushman goes back to the BWCA
4am I arise and jump in the shower, it's hot and feels great. It will be the last one for some time. Dressed and ready to rock I wake up the guys and head next door for coffee. Back at the bunkhouse the guys are preparing for the day ahead and I greet them with steaming cups of coffee.
We make sure the room is tidy and nothing is left behind including the steaks in the freezer. The truck is already loaded. The steaks, encased in ziploc freezer bags I drop into the food barrel and off we go. There is hardly a soul awake in this wonderful little town and it seems as though we may have the jump on everyone else.
I rocket down the Echo Trail and before we know it we are unloading our gear at the portage head of Moose River North. It is just beginning to break daylight. I park the truck and head back to the portage. We almost need a flashlight!
On this trip we will be double portaging. We have restricted Dad to only carrying the small lunchbox sized tackle box and 2 paddles. While his heart is beating in rhythm it doesn't pump the blood near as good as it used to. His heart only works about 30% as good as a normal person so his physical activities are slow and deliberate. No problem for us and I welcome the chance to double portage so I can enjoy the portages without a canoe over my head. Dad keeps pace well enough that he is waiting at the canoe after Joe and I return from the second portage.
We head down the Moose River trying to gracefully maneuver the 20' Seneca around the tight, twisty bends of the Moose River without much success. Joe was in the bow and I the stern and we flat out sometimes just couldn't make it turn fast enough without losing speed or back paddling.
Somewhere along the river I think it was shortly after the second portage I reached into my pocket to get out my phone for picture and as I drew it out I heard a plunk in the water. It was my billfold. I forgot I had it in my pocket for driving and now it was at the bottom of the Moose River. There was no hope for recovery. The water was more than paddle deep at that point and blacker than the darkest of nights. Oh well.
We had all agreed that if needed we would stop on Agnes if we had bad weather or if it was too much for Dad but we hit Agnes pretty early and everyone was feeling great and it was only one more portage into Boulder Bay so we paddled on.
We took the 118 rod portage int the Eastern side of the Boulder River. The Boulder River side of that portage was quite marshy and while soft we managed to load and board without too much trouble. I can only imagine what that side is like when it has rained a lot or in the spring.
We paddled down the Boulder River and into Boulder Bay. We passed the the first two sites on the Island in Boulder Bay as our goal was Tiger Bay. We made it up to Tiger Bay and all the sites were taken. I was anticipating this as it is very popular. We began to backtrack and pretty much all the sites in that vicinity were occupied except the island site # 173. We didn't really like it at first and spent some time paddling around looking elsewhere but the distance to other campsites was lengthy and the shadows were growing long. It wasn't worth the risk so we climbed the hill up to what would be a really cool site for a few days. We set up camp and rested the remainder of the day away. The steaks hit the grill that evening and we sipped Sangria from tiny tin cups.
As the sun began to set our yawns grew more and more frequent. It had been a very long two days and I was spent and I'm positive dad and Joe were too.
The skeeters drove us into the tents before it was completely dark and well frankly I don't remember how the night went and that is a good thing.