Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Return of the Cousins Camping
by BonzSF

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 08/18/2022
Entry & Exit Point: Mudro Lake (EP 23)
Number of Days: 11
Group Size: 3
Day 2 of 11
First day on the water Friday, August 19, 2022 Slept like a rock and was up around 6:30AM. This is it! the day I waited for the last 1 year 11 months and 24 days. Not that I was counting. We got up to overcast skies but no rain. Had a quick breakfast and got all our gear together and hit the road for the hour drive to Mudro. So we got paddles in the water at the crack of 9:30. You know, let the crowd clear away. Me in the solo and the others in the tandem. I'd been reading about solo canoeing on this site and really wanted to try it. With the brothers used to paddling together, they were fappy in the tandem. I figured to start in the solo and switch out if I got tired of it.... or too far behind.
I quickly found the advantage of the solo. It draws less water and is narrower. I was able to scooch through the beaver dam on Picket creek while the tandem had to dismount. We cruised across the lake with cloud cover and mugginess. That made it very quiet and calm. Then onto the hard portage to Fourtown. I had read about it and seen the ratings so I was expecting difficulty. As we all know, it's three portages with a couple of ponds to cross. so with the triple portage option that we had chosen, we didn't finish until about 11:30.
Horrible rocky portage with lots of up and downs. And that's just the first of three.
Naturally this is the beginning of the trip and we're fully loaded with food water and fuel. It's just as bad most of the way with the nasty put in on Foutown. Don't do it. if you walk another 60-70 feet, uhh 5 rods(?) there's a much better entry/exit. All in all a thoroughly beautiful portage. Heading across Fourtown it became apparent that the tandem was quite a bit faster with two experienced paddlers than I in the solo. Even with a kayak paddle! It worked out okay though. While they headed on a wrong vector I just paddled along and changed my angle when they turned their course 90 degrees to the left. I made a lot of time up there.
If you zoom in on the picture, you can see my cousins ahead. We got to the short portage to Boot and huffed our gear across. It looked super threatening so we ate a quick lunch and put on our rain gear. Then we heard some thunder and decided to wait out until it moved on. The thunder stopped which meant the rain started. The wind was minimal. The weather report said it wasn't supposed to shower until 4 or 5. It was 2 and coming down pretty good. To me "showers" in August meant a slight sprinkle like we get out of our drought mandated restricted shower head in CA. A slight dampening of the landscape to keep some of the dust down. Not a deluge with no sign of a clear patch of sky. I didn't enjoy the rainy paddle but it wasn't terrible. And a new BW experience for me. Our original target was to make it to Gull or Thunder. That changed to the next unoccupied site that didn't suck. That was #1093 on Boot. Didn't look like much from the lake but actually a really nice site with great trees for tarp and a spot out of the rain.
We scoped out the two hammock hangs and one tent pad. Steve hurried to get his tent out and all set up while the rain continued to fall. I had faith in the "showers" prediction and thinking it might slack off, hung out under the tarp for a while. It stopped raining and started some clearing as soon as Steve finished getting his tent completely set up. That gave us time to set up our hammocks and get dinner going.
Lesson learned that the kayak paddle is great for a center pole in the tarp. Finished eating, hung the food and were treated to a glorious sunset for the first night.
This is what I came for! I think it's going to be all right. "Red skies at night...." Oh yeah, almost forgot about the mosquitos. Very few until just after sunset... then the swarms came out! We had to run to our tent or hammock to get away. They were just layered on the underside of my tarp waiting for me to get out to pee. I heard them under my hammock sounding like they were in my ear. Though I didn't get bitten through the hammock but made it hard to get a peaceful sleep. uhg Certainly wasn't like my last (first time) trip where I slept under a open lean-to with no screen and had no problems. ~Mudro Lake, Fourtown Lake, Boot Lake Total people/groups seen. One family unit in a triple canoe on Picket Creek Four groups going out on the Mudro-Fourtown portage. We had the all the lakes to ourselves! But most of the campsites looked occupied. Hmmm that should have triggered the newbie radar