Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Homage to the Spartans and other paddling friends
by TuscaroraBorealis

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 05/23/2021
Entry Point: Cross Bay Lake (EP 50)
Exit Point: Missing Link Lake (EP 51)  
Number of Days: 10
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
Over the years, I've been blessed with getting to know a number of incredible people who share my passion for paddling and camping. Realizing how fortunate I've been, I thought I'd pay homage to some of those who provided various inspirations for this trip. Please understand this is by no means a comprehensive list, nor are the folks mentioned in the report necessarily my best/closest friends. Just some special people who have positively impacted my life over the years and provided motivations/inspirations for this trip.
Day 1 of 10
Sunday, May 23, 2021

Having been afforded the rare opportunity to personally attend one of Aurora’s soccer games yesterday, (She scored a goal and had a show stopping assist, which I thought was the play of the game, in a 4-1 victory.) and a brief visit with some good friends who happened to be watching their son’s baseball game in Woodbury (which was sort of on our way home.) Today we participate in the Holy sacrifice of the Mass at Holy Spirit parish where Father Brandon’s typical inspirational, and timely, homily speak about how the Holy Spirit will rain down graces upon us – if we are willing to ask. (Luke 11:13) It was by happenstance that we landed here several years ago but, I've been so grateful to have had this vibrant parish to call home during that time. Which has proven to be a bottomless wellspring of 'living waters' that has provided cherished access to a Covenantal/Sacramental relationship with my Savior who has been a constant aide in me faithfully navigating the troubled waters in my life. God knows what He's doing. Even if I don't! "Jesus I trust in You" is more than a catchy feel good mantra - it has become my way of life.

After Mass, we swing in to the Eveleth Subway to grab a quick bite to eat before heading off to the Gunflint Trail. The drive up is mostly uneventful; only highway 61 through Grand Marais still being ripped up is the only cause for concern and, we turn off early to avoid the worst of it.

The plan for later tonight is to meet up with our friend Jodi at the Poplar Haus. But, after checking in at Tuscarora Lodge & Outfitters, we have some leisure time between now and then. I was hoping to use this time to hike back to Magnetic Rock but, Aurora wants to try some fishing out on Round Lake.

The fish being uncooperative, we instead settle on the hike that starts near cabin #2 and winds around the east side of Round lake. It’s a well-worn trail and there are a few nice overlooks along the way and, a rope ladder hanging down to the waterline in one spot where the hired help must swim after a long hot day.

Afterwards we motor to Poplar Haus to meet Jodi. Along the way we spy a chunky beaver just off the Gunflint Trail on a miniature island in a small pond and, stop to watch him munch on a fresh branch. Once at Poplar Haus we soon discover that Jodi is running a bit late so, wanting to try a new drink, I order a Foggy Geezer IPA; which proves to be very tasty.

Jodi eventually arrives and we have an enjoyable reunion and visit. She recently returned from a trip in through Hog Creek, and regals us with exuberant tales of the great time she had, and how good the walleye fishing had been. We recall the sordid details of her very first BWCA trip and how she sat in front of my canoe and squealed with joy exclaiming, “this is like riding a roller coaster!” as one gigantic wave after another continually washes my apparent bow paddleless canoe back from whence it came. And later escapades like the big storm we 'survived' on South Temperance, cliff jumping on the Granite River and many other fond remembrances. The torch is definitely being passed to a new generation of paddlers as Jodi now has her own YouTube channel and, several excellent & informative short videos about wilderness adventures in the area clearly indicate her passion for wild places. Next year she even hopes to start guiding women into canoe country! Sounds like she has a well conceived detailed map to follow for her future and it’s great to catch up. After our visit, I wish Jodi well as Aurora and I linger to play a couple games of pool before we head back to our bunkhouse for the night.

Aurora & I didn't make it back to Magnetic Rock today but, I thought I provide a link to Jodi's excellent mini-documentary about the trail.