From A Father to A Son
Father and Son Temperance River Loop
Early Morning Excited Boy
4:00 AM and Jr. wakes the house announcing it is time to go. Jr. is 8 1/2 years old and has not seemed overly excited about this trip. Last year he was with 6:20 AM the first morning of turkey hunting when I shot a big tom. That was exciting! This year he hunted one day and decided Grandma’s house was more exciting than getting up at 5:00 AM.
He is excited now to get this canoe trip started. I took a shower, loaded the truck, we kissed our sleeping Mom/Wife and we were headed north by 4:30 AM. The ride went fast with 101 questions from Jr. First stop is McDs in Two Harbors, for sausage biscuits, hash browns, OJ, and coffee. Filled the tank with gas for $2.81 and bought a couple things at the bait shop next to the gas station.
Tofte Ranger Station 8:00 AM, watched video, answered 20 questions, took a picture of Jr. with the stuffed wolf and filled water bottles. The ladies at the station were really great with the kid.
Sawbill Lake 8:35 AM, paddling by 9:00 AM. My Timex, compass watch died. Junk!! Left it in the truck. Beautiful morning, the lake was glass and temp was in the 70s. It seemed like it took a long time to get to the first portage. It is 80r. to Ada Creek and then 92r. to Skoop Lake. The Scoop Creek is a trickle of water and does not seem possible to float. After taking the Warden/Wife a couple of weeks ago I had a good idea of how to take care of Jr. He had a water bottle of Tang and a bag of trail mix with some extra goodies, like Gummy Worms, Bears, and Sour Skittles. I would send him first with his Mason pack to scout the trail. I would then put on the Army pack with food and supplies, and the canoe and catch up with him or if the portage was short enough he would be waiting for me at the end. I gave him a coaching whistle to wear and we discussed that the only time he could blow it was if it was an emergency. No cry wolf. If anything would happen to me he should blow it until some one found him. He was good about that and I felt good about it also. He would wait with the canoe and packs while I went back and portaged my Mason pack, fishing poles, and paddles. His Mason pack had his clothes, sleeping bag, 2 sleeping pads, water bottle, and the 6-pound Eureka Tetragon 5 tent. The pack weighed in at 25 pounds. We practiced carrying the pack up and down the drive the night before. After the first portage Jr. was left alone with the canoe and when I came back he was crying that he wanted to go home. I didn't understand until I saw all the welts around his neck from the mosquitoes that were attacking him. I sprayed him down with some good bug dope and he noticed they were going away. He was ready to push on. On the second portage we crossed paths with a family heading out. Dad was carrying the big packs and a big cooler, the teenage boy carried the canoes, the 10 year old had the paddles and life jackets, and Mom had a pack. We crossed Skoop Lake and started the 180r. portage into Cherokee Creek. Jr. took this one in stride knowing it was the last one of the day and next stop was camp. Cherokee Creek is narrow but very pretty. We had to do a pull over of a beaver dam. Jr. thought this was cool and the beaver dam amazed us how they are constructed. Jr. saw a bear go through the brush over the ridge I just saw the black, furry butt end for a second.