Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Crab Lake 2 Guys and 2 Dogs
by TomT

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 09/01/2020
Entry & Exit Point: Crab Lake and Cummings from Burntside Lake (EP 4)
Number of Days: 12
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
Me and my friend Bob each in solo canoes take our dogs to a wild and less visited area of the Boundary Waters.
Day 1 of 12
Tuesday, September 01, 2020

We meet in Ely around 3:00 pm the day before our start. Bob wants to get the dogs acquainted so we take them for a walk on the north side of town. My border collie “Luna” is 9 years old and Bob’s “Jake” is a 5 year old Visla. Jake is a working therapy dog. Luna could be one also as she loves people more than playing with other dogs. After the usual smells they seem to be indifferent to each other. Perfect!

I’ve known Bob for a handful of years from a couple of online canoeing forums and have met up with him at the annual Canoecopia paddling expo every March in Madison, Wisconsin. He replied to a post that was an open invitation for someone to join me on a rugged bushwhack type canoe trip into Quetico Park in Canada. Our plans would have to change because of the border being closed due to the pandemic.

We settle on doing a loop in the little visited, far southwest section using Crab Lake as our entry. This would be new territory for me and Bob’s 2nd time here. I had always avoided this area because of the few very long portages between some of the lakes. It’s also known to be an area that a large wolf pack frequents. We would have to keep a close eye on the dogs especially on the portages. I’d be lying if I said this news didn’t make me nervous.

We stay the night at Ely Outfitters in their comfortable bunkhouse. Another forum member we both know from Canoecopia stops by for a beer. Rich AKA "Pineknot" is starting a solo trip the next day about 10 miles to our north. We turn in fairly early as we are tired from our long drives.