Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

8th Trip for the Winona Group
by rideride2

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 07/27/2023
Entry & Exit Point: North Fowl Lake (EP 70)
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 8
Trip Introduction:
We started as 4 guys from college in 2009 and now have increased to 8 guys going on our 8th bi-annual trip - most of whom have graduated from Winona State University. We keep making the trip as we love the comradery, memories made, and quietness this place provides.
Day 1 of 4
Thursday, July 27, 2023

Prior to the start we stayed at the Hippie Hostel outside Grand Marias which we highly recommend. There we formulated the path we would take on this trip with our goal to make it to Little Caribou campsite on day 2 in hopes to get lucky to stay a few nights. Day 1 started by putting in at McFarland Lake around 7:30am and heading to the Royal River. We decided to avoid the portages and run the Royal River instead as we received quite a bit of rain the previous night and it didn't look too bad. This overall wasn't too bad of a decision but often found ourselves walking the canoe through the rocks. After the first "portage" we quickly came across a young Moose cooling off in the river and were able to get some nice pictures of. After navigating the weedy Royal Lake we "portaged" the next session and found ourselves finally at our lake.

Here we ran into large water and lots of paddling which thankfully wasn't a headwind yet. We got to the 130 rod portage to Moose which we double portaged but wasn't too bad, bits of mud here and there. Moose was another longer paddle but we made good time as the headwind slowly picked up.

We felt that the 140 rod portage from Moose felt significantly longer and more difficult than the previous 130 rod portage. This may have been to a lack of nutrition and not stopping to eat other than some GORP here and there. During the 3 portages from Moose to Mountain, morale was getting lower and lower, especially for the 2 virgins of the trip. When we landed to Mountain lake it was decided that no matter what campsites looked like, we would be staying on Mountain to rest before the next day. We ended up staying at site 721 for the night before moving on. No fishing was had this day.