Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Rookie Couple Tags Along with Old Hand
by Iapsycho

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 07/30/2010
Entry & Exit Point: Duncan Lake (EP 60)
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 4
Trip Introduction:
Recreational Trip with Family
We planned a 3 night 4 day trip entering via Hungry Jack Outfitters. Since we are all close to retirement age, we felt that staying at one camp site versus packing up every day was the right leisurely schedule for us. We intended to canoe and hike around the portage between Duncan and Rose Lakes. At Hungry Jack's, when we inquired about a 'good' site for camping, we were told the best site is often the site that is open. Keeping that in mind, we took off in good spirits. Circling Duncan clockwise from the entry point, the first site was in use, the next site-tucked away in a corner was deemed unacceptable, and the next site was open so keeping in mind the advice about finding a site we settled. This site was full of 'trip traps' with rocks and roots and uneven ground. The loo was up such a steep slope we placed a walking stick by the t.p. Concerned about the predicted rain day during our trip, we started our canoe adventure the next day with an eye toward an 'upgrade' to our site. We found this when paddling by the last site on our way to the Stairway Portage with Rose Lake. The 2 people at the site gave it a good review and were packing up their things. We sent the 'old hands' along to the portage and paddled back to grab some gear and stake our claim. Folding up our 2 person tent with gear inside, we put it in the canoe and paddled back to set it up before heading to the portage.

We had a great time at the portage, exploring along the paths toward both the top and bottom of the falls. Taking pictures, enjoying the mild temps and sunshine, with hiking and a picnic on a path away from the falls. The path was an easy hike with a few good views as you were high above Rose Lake. Exploring the lower falls, I maneuvered over toward the middle and had a great time watching an Ebony Wing Damselfly zip around the rocks and water. Then, this guy came over to me, landed on the leg of my shorts and proceeded to eat a black fly! Amazingly, he ate one end of the fly before rotating it to eat the other end, leaving 2 sets of wings on my shorts before wiping at his mouth and flying off. He didn’t go far, I am happy to report as he moved to a nearby rock and batted his black wings (outlined along the top edge with his beautiful blue/teal color) at me. Wow! What an experience.

Other adventures included paddling near a beaver dam, with a beaver swimming toward middle of lake and our other canoe. Followed by said beaver loudly slapping his tail against the water and abruptly changing course. No moose siting, although we did see fresh moose poop during a forage for firewood. The skies were a beautiful blue with puffy clouds and the lake was fairly calm and good for paddling. No bears either, though we still hung our bear bag full of food (even toothpaste!!) between 2 trees on a line 10' above ground level.

This was a fantastic trip for both the rookies and the experienced couple. Very relaxing, and in spite of the recent isolation at home due to COVID-19, it was a refreshing experience with minimal contact with others.