Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Quetico 2022, Playing in a New Corner of the Park
by TrailZen

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 08/26/2022
Entry & Exit Point: Quetico
Number of Days: 10
Group Size: 2
Day 2 of 10
Saturday, August 27, 2022. Cirrus, Kasakokwog, McAlpine Lakes. 2 portages (950 and 50 meters). 12.5 miles total.

We were up at 6:30 for coffee and breakfast. Broke camp and were on the water at 8:30—the two hours between getting up and getting on the water is pretty typical for us. We looked forward to having the wind at our backs as we paddled east on Cirrus and Kasakokwog, but the wind played with us all day, blowing from the east, the south, or not at all. While we frequently saw patches of blue in the sky, it was mostly overcast and comfortably cool—great paddling weather. We checked out a simple pictograph on Cirrus, then made the 950 meter portage into Kasakokwog. At the start of the portage we found a map case with a couple Fisher maps inside, and hoped the owner had a second map along. The portage alternated between dry rocky 'high ground' and mud/muck. We entered Kasakokwog near its midpoint, then paddled east to McAlpine Creek, where we saw lots of water lilies and water shield.

It was easy paddling until we came to a beaver dam where we unloaded packs onto a platform of sticks, lifted the canoe over the dam, then reloaded the canoe. At the upper end of McAlpine Creek we portaged into McAlpine Lake, where at the end of the portage is a very high (7+ feet) beaver dam.

We stopped for a late lunch at the first campsite on McAlpine Lake, then looked for a pictograph on McAlpine. We didn't find the picto, but while paddling slowly along the north shore of McAlpine we spotted a beautiful black bear at the water's edge. When it saw us, the bear quietly and quickly ran up the bank and disappeared into the trees. A few minutes later we heard a splash, then saw a beaver about four feet under water on the left side of our canoe. I had marked a campsite on McAlpine for tonight, but its condition didn't match the rating I'd found online, so we paddled to another site just past the portage from Canal Lake—very nice. After dinner we read Patrick McManus stories and played Farkle, but were probably asleep by 8:30. Woke a couple times to heat lightening/thunder, then it got very windy around 4:00 am.