Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Solo #4
by noodle

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 09/15/2021
Entry & Exit Point: Lake One (EP 30)
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 1
Trip Introduction:
Continuing the now annual tradition of a solo BWCA trip, with the motto DDSS - Don't Do Stupid S#!t. I'm back to write the trip report so it wasn't entirely stupid s#!t but enough stupid s#!t to have learned.
Day 1 of 5
Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Right. Everything was packed the night before except two frozen steaks for the first night's dinner. Alarm was set for 4:15 am. Goal was to get out the door by 4:30, up to Ely around 9 allowing time to stop for gas and McDonalds in Cloquet or Virginia, get the canoe from the outfitter at 9:30, to EP30 by 10, on the water at 10:30, and to site #2220 by 1, 1:30, give or take.

I'm up at 4:15, out the door at 4:30, and half an hour later I'm about to exit 694 to 35W north when I realize I think I left my nalgene water bottle on the side table by the front door. I call my wife, who is a saint and decided to wake up at the same time as me anyway, and she confirms it's there. So I turn around, she hands it to me in the driveway, I head back out now delayed a full hour. DDSS, Don't Do Stupid S#!t.

Up to Cloquet, gas and McDonalds coffee and hash browns. Up to Ely, get the canoe strapped on, get to EP30. It's a gentle EP compared to a lot of others, no real portage, wide soft landing, and I'm just happy to get on the water. Lake One is gorgeous as always, and I beeline towards the portages to Lake Two, and there's a pileup. Four canoes already on the shore, two more loitering on the water waiting their turn, and a lot of people still coming back and forth on the portage. No worries. I've got all day. I back up a little and take my place in line as the congestion slowly clears.

Across that. Across Lake Two. Into Lake Three. Crossing my fingers that #2220 is open, and it is. Water levels are low - usually there's only one rock above water in the middle of this channel.
And into camp, setting up the platypus water filter to replace the portable TrailShot, because I'm tired of squeezing a water filter:
I fell in love with how simple and fast that was. The minor hassle of backflushing with a bleach and water mixture to clean it after a trip was well worth the time saved of squatting by the side of the lake and squeezing a half teaspoon of water at a time through a filter.

Dinner was the two now-thawed steaks, a package of instant mashed potatoes, pouring the steak drippings into the mashed potatoes for even more flavor, and being semi-proud of myself for not doing stupid s#!t.