Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

A Border Lakes Birthday
by Makwa90

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 08/14/2020
Entry Point: Seagull Lake (EP 54)
Exit Point: Saganaga Lake (EP 55)  
Number of Days: 6
Group Size: 5
Day 2 of 6
Saturday, August 15, 2020 It was a sunny start of the day and the roar of the jet boil was a welcome sound to hear as I peeled the wet tent fly open. Coffee! We tried to dry out the tents a little as we went about our morning tasks. Everything we stashed under the canoes had created dams that collected all sorts of debris that washed down the bank. So the life jackets took a quick dunk in the lake. Sage kept jumping in and out of the boat as we packed camp as if wondering what the heck was taking us so long. With a gust of wind that blew us to the other side of the channel we were off. Our layers were quickly peeled off as we went underway. We paddled the north shore of Ogish surrounded by high hills and small islands. None of the portages are over 25 rods today!

We hop, skipped, and jumped through small beaver lakes and portaged along the swiftly flowing creek into Eddy Lake. A bit of limbo skills were required to get the canoe under a leaning tree. But despite the bench pressing, the portage was beautiful and rich with mountain maple, cedar, dogwood, and polypody fern. As we rounded a point in Eddy Lake, the wind picked up to a new strength. People coasted past us and cast piteous glances in our direction as we were the only ones paddling against the wind. We were just about to the South Arm of Knife Lake: one of the largest on our trip. The roaring stream along the portage lead us into the turbulent lake. The landing was less than ideal: slick sharp boulders in deep rough water. Loading the boats was a tricky and wet business. Finally we were off full steam ahead towards the nearest island to catch the calm waters on the lee side. I tried to distract myself with the magnificent rugged scenery until we all rafted together and took a breather. Sage was a little unsettled but he did well.

We scoped out a nearby campsite to break for lunch and we may have stayed here if not for the terrible tent pad options. A sand/gravel beach and a raised rocky opening with unmatched views down the length of the lake. We munched and lounged watching loons and chicks fishing nearby. Energized, we headed out again looking for home. The lake was calming down nicely and we zigged and zagged passing by occupied sites and those not to our liking. As we paddled further west the lake narrowed up and we began to tire. One more site was nearing and we were happy to call it home as we were fairly exhausted. It’s a small island site on the south shore surrounded by more fire scarred forest. A shrubby trail lead up to a park like opening complete with short lawn-like grass. Trees were sparse but we made due. We had to hobble into shallow rock waters to go for a quick dip, but it was worth it! Beavers, otters and loons oh my.

As evening came on, we were treated with the best stargazing I’ve ever experienced in the BWCA. We saw many shooting stars as we sat by the fire and ate my birthday cheesecake and sipped bourbon. Although more lighting strobed in the far distance…again. ~Ogishkemuncie Lake, Annie Lake, Jenny Lake, Eddy Lake, Knife Lake