Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Wind, Waves, and Karma
by naturboy12

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 08/08/2020
Entry Point: Saganaga Lake (EP 55)
Exit Point: Seagull Lake (EP 54)  
Number of Days: 7
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
My 12 year old and I return for our 2nd BW trip together.
Day 1 of 7
Saturday, August 08, 2020

Saturday is drive day. We leave home in Wisconsin around 8:00am, have an early Culver’s lunch near Chippewa Falls and head north through Superior/Duluth. As we follow the North Shore, the inundation of people looking for outdoor outlets due to Covid restrictions is impossible to miss. Every tourist area parking lot along the North Shore is jammed full of people. It’s always busy in August, but this was nothing like I had ever witnessed before. The long drive was filled with lots of planning and questions about our route, as well as reminiscing about Jaden’s first trip last year. Only one year later, he is a much more confident and mature kid, and even he laughs a bit at how nervous he was for his first trip last year.

We hit the Gunflint Trail around 4:00 and head to Trails End Campground to relax, get into the right mindset and hopefully sleep some before our entry in the morning. After eating dinner and setting up the tent, I have my first “dumb Dad” moment. I had promised my wife that we would use the inReach to check-in from Trails End after we were set up. I went to turn it on, and it won’t work. Oh shi...did I forget to charge it? Oh shi...I don’t have the charger cord? We are over an hour drive from cell service with a dead inReach, about to start a 7 day trip where we send “all clear” messages once a day to keep the “mom anxiety” low, and I have no way to communicate. Great.

I swear about it. A lot. I fume, pace, swear some more. I’m about to pack the car and drive back to Grand Marais, but first sheepishly approach the neighbors in the site next to us to see if they have a charger that will work. They do! The day is saved! I get the cord, go to plug it into my car, and then realize I am a complete and utter moron who just spent the last 30 minutes experiencing brain lock. I decide to actually push the correct button (this is not a complicated device, it only has 4 buttons), and to no ones amusement, the unit powers on at 100% battery life. Hey look at that, pushing the proper button makes it work. Brilliant. I bring the power cord back to my confused neighbors. I make some dumb excuse about the battery having been loose- not possible, it’s built in, but hopefully this guy doesn’t know that. He smiles, takes the cord back, and we part ways. Good to know I would have been able to charge it if needed, better to just remember how to use it in the first place...

After the inReach fiasco ends, we get our gear ready for the morning, then lounge around our site until well after dark, cheerfully noting the complete lack of mosquitoes. I finally drift off to sleep around 11:00 dreaming of the trip we are about to begin.