Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Reconnecting: 2 weeks wandering in the BWCA
by straighthairedcurly

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 07/17/2021
Entry & Exit Point: Moose Lake (EP 25)
Number of Days: 13
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
With our son off on a 29 day BWCA trip with Camp Menogyn, my husband and I decided to take a trip with just the 2 of us. Before we married, each of us had taken numerous canoe trips with other people. Since we married, all our trips have been with family or friends (or solo). Time for just the 2 of us to travel together. I can't think of a better way to shed the distractions of everyday life and reconnect with each other as we enter the empty nest phase of life.
Part 1 of 15

Our EP was supposed to be Mudro on 7/17. Originally we planned to leave the Twin Cities early in the morning of the 17th. However, plans changed at the last minute when my brother asked to get together at my sister's cabin on the 15th/16th. So we drove to Grand Marais, and camped at her cabin on the 15th. The next day, we did a short hike and started the drive to Ely.

Due to the last minute changes, we were concerned about finding a place to camp. At Fenske Lake Campground, we were given the "overflow" spot, then the site manager put up the "no vacancy" sign. Whew!

We drove back to the ranger station to get our permit. When we pulled up at the station, there was Nancy Moundalexis sitting on a bench. Who is Nancy you ask? She is the ranger in all the permit videos, of course. This is as close to a movie star as I will ever get, but I resisted asking for a photo with her. We chatted and she warned us that our permit may have some issues.

Inside, they explained the upcoming closure for Mudro on the 17th. We were given the following choices: Go in at Mudro this very afternoon (it was already 3pm), Stuart River, Moose, or go try our luck in a different district. Yipes! On the spot decision! We had already set up at the Fenske campground and it felt too late to enter today. Besides, if Mudro was closing, how would we be able to return to our car in 2 weeks? Stuart River was on the wrong side of the closure for our planned trip, and I definitely didn't want to drive to a different district. So we went for Moose. My husband was appreciative that I have become such a BWCA geek and knew where everything was without having to do research.

With a Moose permit secured, we headed into town to explore and get some food. Decided to put a deposit on one of the used Piragis canoes. Our current canoe choices are an '80s Old Town Tripper (80+lbs) and a '80s Mad River Kevlar (64 lbs). It is time to get a modern lightweight canoe for next summer. Then we had a delicious early dinner at The Chocolate Moose and retired to the campground for a restless night of sleep in a 2-person tent with leaking sleeping pads (we kept our regular trail gear packed for a quick morning start).