Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

First Solo - Hunter Island Loop
by bobbernumber3

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 09/07/2023
Entry & Exit Point: Quetico
Number of Days: 12
Group Size: 1
Trip Introduction:
This was my first solo canoe trip and something I had wanted to do for a long time.
Wednesday 9/6/2023 I pulled in at Seagull Outfitters at 6pm after 9 hours of driving. The trip across the UP was gray with drizzle on and off all the way. I made stops for last grocery items, gas, and a phone call to Mom. I ate peaches for lunch as I traveled and stopped at the Gunflint Tavern which was full at 4pm on a Wednesday. I had a great burger, the Tavern Traditional with blue chips and garlic chili aioli. Yum! Fall colors are starting to show on a few of the maples. 49° now, but the Ely forecast looks fine for the first 3 or 4 days. I hope the winds are calm! Weight at departure, 202 lbs. I did some final re-packing and everything fits into my packing plan. I still have some extra food packaging which I could have gotten rid of to save weight and space. I threw in a couple spare plastic bags. As usual, I forgot my refrigerator items (2 apples, beef sticks and jerky) at home.

I checked phone messages and Debbie is busy tomorrow so my tow boat will be delayed until 9am… sleep in! Also, a message from my doctor, who I forgot to call back. Groups are rolling into the bunkhouse for the night.

Day One: Thursday 9/7/2023 15.3 miles, 1 portage  Hook Island to Saganagons

48° this morning. I decided to bring my 25° bag that I used last night and leave the 40° bag in the truck. Also decided to bring pajama bottoms rather than sleep in my clothes. This should be the last re-pack of the Duluth #3… hope I can get it all back in!

High temperature for the day was 60°. I made my stretch goal distance today and I am at “Kirk’s Leech” site. Thanks, Kenny for the Christmas present hiking chair. I am loving it right now. Debbie left a message yesterday and needed to move my 8am tow to 10am. She later juggled the schedule and I left about 8:10am and headed away from Hook Island about 9am, arrived at Cache Bay Ranger Station 10am, across Silver Falls by noon. Set up camp at 4:30pm. Winds decreased all day with no rain, but cloudy, damp and cool. I stopped at the Desert Site and ate an orange and snacked on pistachios while paddling. A planned stop for a break at the Mutiny Site was skipped as a couple was camped there! I stopped on an island west of Boundary Point a short distance from here. Plans for a trip report with lots of photos has been cancelled... Standing on the beach alone at Hook Island, I attempted to take a picture of all my gear before loading… only to find no SD card in my camera!! UGH!

I spent almost on hour with Stacy and Peter at Hook Island. While Stacy checked me in, Peter gave me many excellent points about my route and burned areas where sites are not available. They are finishing the season and will be gone in a few days. Same for Jason at Prairie Portage when I get there. Past Silver Falls, I was starting to feel overwhelmed by the size of my ambitious trip plan. Being passed by a speedy 3-man canoe didn’t help. After my break, I realized that this is my own trip on my own schedule. Slow and steady will work just fine. Plan each day as it comes. Be ready for obstacles and difficulties. Today was a success. I’m outta gas now. One portage today, Silver Falls. I got the canoe over the Rock Ledge and a ways, then realized I didn’t have my Gecko pack on while carrying the canoe, so I went back and got that before completing the first crossing. Second crossing with the Duluth #3 and two buckets was a heavy load, so I rested 3 or 4 times. The loads will get lighter, but I have 7 portages tomorrow on the Falls Chain headed to Kawnipi. Saw 10 people today in the park. Two guys ahead of me at the Ranger Station, the 3-man canoe headed to Agnes, two people behind me on Cache Bay just appeared/disappeared, one person on an island campsite, and two to the Mutiny Site. I made a last-minute decision to change out my packed 40° sleeping bag for my bunkhouse 25° bag. As I sit here and the temperatures are cooling, I thing that was a good call! And I’m glad to have a sleeping hat. Predicted low tonight is 40°. 14,600 steps today.

Day Two: Friday 9/8/2023 11.7 miles, 7 portages Saganagons to Kawnipi via the Falls Chain

Seven portages today on the Falls Chain and I arrived at Kawnipi. I found a great campsite right at 4:30pm. I checked a possible campsite on a point just 1000 yards away and decided I didn’t want to bushwack. I got back in the canoe and the next point was a beautiful site. Lots of room, open, and two large fire rings. There were no campsites in the last two or three miles. Navigation was tricky after the Falls Chain. I changed maps and I think the scale is different and less details. Stretch goal was Rose Island and I’m a couple miles short of there. That’s okay… I’m beat. Great day for paddling with light winds and everything cleared off after the Falls.

I saw 7 people today. Two guys at Four Falls (found my gloves for me), the 3-man crew from yesterday caught up and passed me on the portages, Koko Falls (Paul from the Twin Cities) and 2 guys half a mile away just as I first looked out from camp. They didn’t see this site and drifted over to an island bushwack I had also considered. Now just as I put my pen down, I see they are back in their boat after 15 minutes ashore. They drifted back east out of view. The stretch across the south end of Kawa Bay was confusing to me… map is the same scale. Five portages to Russell tomorrow.

My first trip difficulty occurred this morning. My burner leaked, flamed and melted the valve. All hot meals will have to be over the fire, no grate. Tonight will be Red Beans & Rice. We’ll see how that goes. 18200 steps today. High temperature 72°, low 53°. Filtered water below a falls and heard a big splash 10’ away and thought it was a fish. As I filtered, I heard breathing sounds and looked up to see two beavers swimming about 20’ away. One seemed amorous. They circled, and chased and got quite close as I finished filtering two bottles. I sure hope my Sawyer filter is able to take care of giardia… I should know in a couple days. Note: Beavers mate in January and February.

Day Three: Saturday 9/9/2023 15.6 miles, 3 portages Kawnipi to Keats on the Poet’s Chain

I knew that cloud was headed my way! Oh well, the tarp goes up quicker in the rain. I left Kawnipi at about 7am just as a light rain started and it rained most of the day as I headed to the Poet’s Chain. Shelley was mostly burned from the fires of 2021 that burned 14% of Quetico. I am really exhausted and realized I need to eat more. After Have a Smoke Portage, I decided to take the first site that I came to… only there was a guy camped there. I paddled another 1/4 mile and found a site that will work fine. Keats Lake. Tarp is up, I’m journaling and the rain has stopped again. A few tiny, end-of-season mosquitos keep me swatting between sentences. My plan was to get to Russell today. Chatterton sits between here and there, so Sturgeon will be my goal tomorrow. Wildlife today was a weasel and three swans.

I got turned around a bit today. The water is so low, it’s hard to tell falls from rapids on the map. So I followed the current, only it was a back-wash eddy. In a minute, I’m paddling upstream! It took me ten minutes to get oriented. Sometimes you’re not lost, you just don’t know where you are. Lots of damp gear, but it won’t dry tonight I’m afraid. I don’t know if I’m on an island or a point so I’m not sure which way to take off in the morning. North is the next portage. High temperature today was 68°, low 48°.

Day Four: Sunday 9/10/2023 14.2 miles, 2 portages Keats to Sturgeon via Russell Rapids

I found an amazing 1/10-mile beach site on Sturgeon Lake. It’s like a county park with room for 25 tents. Nobody is here. I saw 14 people today. Six on Chatterton, 6 on the portage to Russell and 2 above Russell Rapids. Nobody on Sturgeon. Very good paddling today with low winds. Almost calm here in camp. I have things hanging out all over to dry while I sit and look at the map. I’m considering staying here 2 nights as it looks like I could cook over the fire. Maybe make some meals ahead? I just scouted the neighborhood… 5 miles the way I’m headed, 2 miles the way I came, and a mile across. Not one person around. I put up the tarp, so it’s looking like a zero day tomorrow. 18800 steps today. Looks like my Garmin watch will be dead tomorrow. I’ll start checking time by the sun.

Russell Rapids was a nice paddle through and no portage. I pulled into the bay on the north side of Russell just as two fishermen arrived to check out the bay. It looked like a dead-end bay, so I drifted around an island, checked the map, and verified my location. This had to be it, so I headed north and found the slim opening into Russell Rapids. Those two fishermen probably wondered what I was doing.

Day Five: Monday 9/11/2023 0.0 miles, 0 portages   Sturgeon Lake layover

Success! Breakfast this morning was a double hot chocolate with marshmallows and a packet of coffee mixed in. The propane burner works! It still leaks, but I think if I run it slow and low it won’t catch flame where it leaks. Thank goodness for LNT or the burner would be on the bottom of Saganagons and the two propane cans would be buried behind that campsite. Overcast, breezy, and cool this morning with the wind at my back. It would be a good traveling day, but I’ll rest up and get reorganized. 53° this morning. Scalloped potatoes cooked well at the campfire. There are 5 cast iron railroad track brackets on top of the fire ring that, when heated up, work great for cooking and boiling water for cleaning. One thing about a solo trip, you get to do it all.

I keep looking west wondering what’s ahead and where I would be if I had traveled today. I look to the east wondering if anyone will come by today. My thanks to whoever left this nice little pile of firewood by the ring. It is going quickly and I’ll be unable to leave such a nice amount for the next traveler. I’m hoping it warms up to 60° which I decided is necessary to go swimming and get cleaned up. We’ll see. It’s a bit hard telling the time by the sun on a cloudy day. But I’m camped so it doesn’t matter too much. While enjoying my campfire after collecting more wood, I notice rain down the lake a couple miles west. I had 2 minutes before the rain sneaked up on me from the east. Everything and me are under the tarp for a while now. If it lasts long, a nap might be up next. But I do have a nice view of the lake from the tarp setup.

Sitting under the tarp, I start to study the surrounding trees. The oldest tree probably fell first. Its twisted trunk attests to its age, but the roots never gave free. Its bark and limbs are gone. As it fell, it slide up against and uprooted its neighbor son, a nice size majestic offspring. That tree survives as a living leaner, but its years will be numbered. It too fell westerly onto a third-generation tree which has a slight curve from the weight of its forefather. Eventually, it will straighten as the elder trees fall to earth and pass away, with only a bend in its truck to remember the previous generations. I hope when I fall, it’s a clear shot to the ground.

Low temperature 47°. I fell asleep under the tarp in the rain. When I woke up, I was chilled to the bone and headed to the tent. It took quite a while to warm up. The toe of my sleeping bag was damp. Saw 2 people today. They paddled by and I watched them out of view. I’ll take that same heading tomorrow morning.

Day Six: Tuesday 9/12/2023 16.0 miles, 4 portages Sturgeon Lake to Tanner Lake and Maligne River

I stopped today one portage short of Lac la Croix. When it got to quitting time, I detoured to look at a possible site, but it was a bushwack. I was tired, but not desperate. There was no rain and the wind was at my back, so I continued on. On the Trip of a Lifetime, why settle for a shitty bushwack. I deserve a 5-star bushwack. Half-an-hour later, I have a nice site with a little sun and the sound of Twin Falls just ahead. I saw one person today at a camp on Sturgeon. Nobody on the Maligne. I backtracked a short way when I noticed my water bottle missing on one of the Maligne portages. I must have not loaded it on the previous portage. What a shame as that bottle has been on all my trips.

I had a fall on one of the Maligne River portages while carrying the canoe. It was a sloping rock that was fairly smooth and wet with a little moss. I went down fast to the right with the canoe above me heading to the left, so no injury. Slightly shaken, I left the canoe there off to the side and headed back empty for my food and pack. I came back for the canoe and finished the portage.

I am starting to do pre-emptive repairs on the water filter bag. I had patched 4 leaks with duct tape. Now I have a tear where the nozzle is attached to the bag. Thank goodness for duct tape. Nothing like a campfire to lift the spirits of all the guys in camp. It’s better than going to bed before sunset. And it gives me some time to write. I noticed while looking at the map, that while I’m less than a mile to Lac la Croix Lake, it is about 10 miles to the LLC Ranger Station and Indian village (if I need supplies?). I suspect when I get on the Border Route, I’ll start to see more people, at least on the American side. I watched a beaver swim by in front of camp. He glided down the shore and got out to dine on some bullrush roots. There goes beaver number 2. They must not be friends, as this one turned and went down the middle of the river (looks like a lake right here). I just noticed that there are no mosquitos at this site. I watched a colorful sunset, so put away gear and go to bed.

Day Seven: Wednesday 9/13/2023 10.2 miles, 1 portage  Maligne River to Lac la Croix

34° this morning. I had a great night sleep and I feel well rested. My mattress must have been inflated just right and before retiring, I put on a long sleeve knit shirt. I added my sleeping hat during the night. When I got out of the tent, I was surrounded by a blanket of fog. The sky looks clear (?) what I can see, so I think the fog will burn off in a couple hours. No sense traveling till I can see to navigate.

Stove okay again this morning. Breakfast was a double hot chocolate and a breakfast bar. I sat overlooking the water and watched a beaver swim by and disappear into the fog. They always seem to be headed somewhere directly. Except, then beaver number two got to the middle of the lake, took a sharp left turn for 10 yards, then a sharp right for a bit and dove down out of sight.

Arrived at camp on Lac la Croix mid-afternoon. I skirted Bell Island on the south side narrows and was able to sneak thru a boulder field about 1/4 mile long only about 4 feet wide. Lac la Croix winds were zero, so I had no problem as I headed west toward bigger water. My Chrismar map omits a lot of detail and a lot of islands. Eventually, I realized that I needed to ignore the map and head South… back-tracked about 1/2 mile and picked my way south. It took an hour or more before I was sure of my location when a big bay on Coleman Island opened on my right. Minutes later as I looked for my route ahead, out popped Injun Joe driving back from Black Robe Portage. I waved. He didn’t. Many years ago, he dropped us off on a tow across LLC. A man of few words. Note: need to keep journal book drier.

Heading south, I noticed a large sand beach on the north side of Irving Island. It took me a while to decide and check this out… it was not on my route. Then it seemed someone was camped there, so I turned off. It didn’t seem right, so I decided to go there again. It is an old resort or outpost, 2 buildings, large shed, pier and other run-down junk. I’m sitting on a picnic table. Two towboats went by to Bottle Rapids. Two hours later they go back (to Zup’s?). As I write, two fishing boats pop out of the bay by Hilly Island. Mitch, Al?

I am on Irving Island and change my route plan a bit for tomorrow looking for fewer islands and known territory. Wonderful swimming beach here and it feels food to be washed-up after a swim in 70° water. Looking for the best tent spot and noticed, WHAT THE HECK!! This site even has outhouses! His and Hers, no TP… must supply your own.

Dinner was hot Suddenly Salad with Star-Kist Chicken from a foil pack at the picnic table. I moved it over to the fire ring and camping area. But the conference room chair is much more comfortable here by the fire ring. Oh, the amenities of Lac la Croix! LNT’ers… I left a trace. My partial propane can ran out while boiling the pasta. I threw the empty in the abandoned boathouse/shop/pumphouse.

Weather was clear, bright, and sunny all day with little wind. A bluebird day in Quetico for sure any time of year. I saw a pair of Gray Jays, whiskey jacks, around the picnic table earlier. They are a curious, inquisitive bird but didn’t attempt to steal any of my supplies. (Mitch: think of our Raven friend on the North Country Trail in May!) Watched one other fishing boat while enjoying my campfire. People seen today, 9. Injun Joe, 2 fishing boats, 2 tow boats, 1 fishing boat.

I have to remember and ask Allan about the story Injun Joe told us and how he happened to tell us in six words, “I seen her. Not too pretty.” Who are Joe Meany and Vera Meany… names and handprints in the concrete footing of the pier?

I’m on the Border Route. Thank goodness the Water Tribe Yahoos are past and gone. What a waste of an enjoyable canoe trip to hurry and paddle thru in a rush. I much prefer traveling at my own pace and enjoying the wilderness. High temperature today 61°. I went down to the lake to get water to filter and noticed a jet flying east. Wondered where they were going. Two jets going east. One going west, no, three going west. 5 jets! What a busy world.

Note: Joe and Vera Meany were the Quetico Park Rangers at the Ranger Station on Lac la Croix for 26 years, from 1971 to 1996.

Day Eight: Thursday 9/14/2023 10.6 miles, 4 portages  Lac la Croix to Crooked Lake

42° this morning. I need more practice making oatmeal. It is a little soupy like porridge. As I sit on my conference chair, I wonder what Jill is having for breakfast on her Canada Capitals Tour this morning with her sister. It would be hard to exceed instant oatmeal with this view.

I had a good day of traveling and I ended up further than I expected. Due to no good campsites, or no campsites. I took the first confirmed site and it has been little used if at all this year. There are no level spots to pitch a tent, even my small solo. That’s something to ponder while I sit here writing and watching the weather. I’ve set up the tarp and moved all the gear under. Some rain drops got me moved in and now the wind has gone calm. This is much different than the sunny, windy morning I had traveling south on McAree into a strong south wind. The wind has picked up and I see rain coming across the lake. I sneak back further under the lean-to-tarp and put on another shirt and Tom’s down vest (a trip award-winning piece of gear for sure!) and my Red Lake Outfitter baseball hat. At least I could travel all day and not get wet with rain. Dinner tonight is shoestring potatoes, Tuscan Trail Mix (Wal-Mart), hard salami (Aldi) and whiskey with lemonade. I have enough food for another two weeks. Snickers for dessert. I visited with a group of seven camped at McAree Rapids this morning. The portage goes right thru the campsite there as I knew from a previous trip with Allan and Mitch. I retrieved two lines for Jeffery that were snagged below the rapids. He invited me to meet the entire group and we sat and talked for half an hour. Jeffery, Robert, Ken, Amy, and three other women. One couple was from Rural, WI. I thanked them for the apple and they sent me on with two mandarin oranges. I make a classy departure as I slipped and fell on the rocks while launching my canoe. I’ve done that before right there (same damn rocks) but at least this time I didn’t break a finger. They were going to make a day trip to Rebecca Falls, but I bet the wind changed their plans. I didn’t find the shortest portage at Rebecca Falls as I used the wrong landing. But I swear somebody has made the Curtain Falls Portage three times as long! I saw canoes at a landing but knew there was a shorter route. Half an hour of paddling and I was back… couldn’t get to the short-cut landing. Geez. Thought I was hiking back to Cache Bay. And where is the old car? Curtain Falls was pretty. People seen today, 18. Three in Lund Mercury outboard (a woman in the boat said “He’s not afraid of anything. No, really.”), seven at McAree Rapids, 8 on Curtain Falls Portage, 0 at a campsite on Iron. Nobody on Crooked.

Note for Mitch: It’s getting lighter in the West! No, really!

Day Nine: Friday 9/15/2023 13.4 miles, 0 portages  Crooked Lake to Crooked Lake

I paddled all day on Crooked Lake and only got lost once for 20 minutes. I was camped last night north of Sunday Bay. My morning travel was east past Saturday Bay and Friday Bay. I checked several alternative routes to get to Thursday Bay… my third route worked just fine. I forgot to jog north around a point marking Thursday Bay. I had lunch on Wednesday Bay and was tempted to stay at that nice site, but it was too early. I have a nice open site just south of the pictographs a short way from Lower Basswood Falls. I just looked up to see two canoes paddling away north, 4 people. Saw a couple trolling and one other canoe far way. And an empty canoe at a camp. Eight people total sighted for the day. I don’t have pictographs or campsites marked on my map, but I thought this would be a good place to look for pictographs. Saw a hand print, tally marks, animal, and a bird. As I started to paddle away, a BURST OF WINND blew me 100 yards across the channel. That was strange! I landed on the opposite shore and realizing the wind was coming up, I reloaded the canoe front heavy. I pulled away from the shore and a BURST OF WIND blew me back across the channel toward the rock cliffs. I thought of looking again at the pictographs, but decided to get the hell outta that area. There was something not right with the Native Spirits and this solo paddler. I hope this wind dies down or tomorrow there will be no crossing Basswood Lake. I still have 4 portages to get to Basswood.

Day Ten: Saturday 9/16/2023 16.5 miles, 4 portages  Crooked Lake to Basswood Lake

I completed four portages and paddled across Basswood, so a Big Day traveling. Basswood has a lot of big open water and I have had good weather and favorable winds. I stopped short of Prairie Portage by about a mile. My target camp site was occupied so I take the next. I’ve been concerned with each big lake and wind for the entire trip. Kawnipi, Sturgeon, Lac la Croix, Crooked, Basswood. I’ve had good traveling on all the big lakes. McAree was the toughest with a steady headwind. I met Duane on the portage before Upper Basswood Falls. He says he has been in the Quetico since July 4 with some time off for this and that. He seemed like a nice fellow with a grain of salt. Definitely not a weekend warrior. Saw 5 campsites below Lower Basswood Falls. Two people, 6 guys on Upper Basswood Portage, 2 guys fishing by Green Island, 2 canoes as I came onto Basswood, one guy at the site I wanted, 2 tow boats. All told, about 15 people. Looking ahead on the map, I’m not too worried about the rest of my travel route. The lakes are generally smaller (long and narrow) and a northeast headwind would be unusual. I’ve got about 5-7 miles left of new territory, then all familiar lands and route back to Hook Island. I found a water bottle on Upper Basswood Portage… still feel bad about the one I lost. That portage was about a mile long.

The sky is often a confused mess of clouds as it is now. Clear mostly to the west with a few high clouds for a colorful sunset. Gray and wet looking to the south. That cloud passed over after sneaking up on me from the north and wetting all my gear while the sun continued to shine. Blue sky to the east. Temperatures are cooling off. I passed up two nice sites on the English Channel and am glad to have kept going in case of bad weather tomorrow. Big Merriam Bay was pretty to the north, and BIG.

Day Eleven: Sunday 9/17/2023 14.2 miles, 6 portages  Basswood Lake to Knife Lake

49° this morning. Breakfast was a double hot chocolate with marshmallows and instant coffee packet and double Maple & Brown Sugar oatmeal. I visited with Jason at Prairie Portage. It was his last day of the season and he had six groups entering. He will head home to Atikokan where he is the head ice maker at the curling clubs (six sheets). I didn’t mention our first meeting at Cache Bay, May 2001. I also talked with Jim from NW Indiana heading in for a six-day trip. Lots of activity with the motor crossing.

Four or five groups of canoeists got bunched up on the portage from Birch to Carp. I figured we would be leap-frogging each other on the next four portages to Knife. They each left me in the dust. I’d see an occasional person grab a last pack and disappear. By the time I got to Knife, I never saw them. I saw an occasional canoe on Knife every couple miles. I traveled further again today than expected with good wind and temperature. Tired, I pulled in to the first good campsite. I’ve been here before with Tom (2004). It was kinda dumpy then and 20 years hasn’t helped much. But it will be just fine for and overnight. It’s the big island east of Beaver-Fisher-Mink-Martin. Note to self: Don’t camp here again in the next 20 years. I did check a spot 15 minutes prior, but it was a no-go. My map has a grid that I thought was about 5-mile squares. They are actually 10,000 meters, or 10k, or 6.1 miles. I’ve been doing about 2 squares per day, or 12 miles. 6 portages today. About 60° for a high temperature today. But no rain.

I shouldn’t imply that this is a bad campsite. It is just little used. So, the open space is small and the lake view is obstructed. I have a nice level spot for my solo tent. And the fire ring is very useable. For one person, this is just fine. A group of four would not work here. Every site in Quetico is naturally different. This one is small. Actually, this is a classic Quetico campsite. Small, hard to find, little used, good for an overnight. As a wilderness campsite, this had everything a person needs. A campfire sure makes a camp site feel comfortable.

Day Twelve: Monday 9/18/2023 12.0 miles, 3 portages  Knife Lake to Saganaga Lake

I finished the last three portages of the trip: Little Knife, Monument, and Swamp. I hadn’t intended to portage at all today, but my target campsite on Ottertrack was not too attractive. Again, weather conditions were favorable and so I pushed on. I talked to a group of four on Monument Portage who were getting picked up at American Point this afternoon by Way of the Wilderness Outfitters. I gave them my info on Swamp Portage and a note for Deb at Seagull Outfitters for a 10am Tuesday pick-up (2 days early!). I’m camped at the Grassy Knoll… no fire ring and a mountain of unburned TP. Sitting on a bucket as I’ve had a failure on the Alps chair. Bent frame needs two parts replaced. I must not have had it assembled right last night and bent it. Funny to not notice it then. Of course, then I had to break a piece trying to bent it! With a little field revision, I was able to get the chair together and useable for tonight.

Happy Hour entertainment has been to watch a First Nation family, couple plus grandma, fishing in front of my site. Finally, the person up front pulled in a nice fish. Most fun has been watching grandma light up smoke after smoke, rummage in her gear, get a drink of water, re-light a cold ciggy, cast out, etc. She’s got a pretty good cast. It’s a snaky northern. Looks like they are starting to catch some walleyes. Offered me a fish when they left.

Day Thirteen: Tuesday 9/19/2023 2.6 miles, 0 portages Saganaga Lake to Hook Island

At Hook Island. The Grassy Knoll campsite was okay for an overnight, but nothing special. No fire ring and no trees for hanging a tarp. I was up early so got packed and on the last leg of the trip. Saganaga was calm as I started and I was able to watch the sun rise over American Point. The wind has increased now, so I am glad to be off the water. We will see how well the Moccasin Telegraph works and if Deb can fit me into her tow schedule. If I’m still here at 2 pm, I’ll paddle to Sag Landing. There is the tow boat… right on schedule

Gear Notes: • Alps Mountaineering Axis chair was great to have even though it sits very low which makes it hard to get in and out. I bent two pieces and then broke one while attempting a repair. Ordered a couple replacement parts. Thanks for the Christmas present Kenny! • Kelty solo tent was light and packed small. It is just a few inches short for a 6’2” paddler on an air mattress. This was a gift to me for officiating Holly and Matt’s wedding. • Cheap Wal-Mart sandals worked fine around camp. I had shoe-glued the soles before I left and they held up fine. My routine at each camp was to set up my chair and change out of my boots at the end of the day. • Need to replace my Coleman single burner stove. I knew it leaked before the trip, so I should have replaced it before leaving. I used it sparingly as I thought it was a bit risky. • Sawyer filter worked well, but the bag developed 5 leaks within 24 hours. I was able to make duct tape repairs to get by. Sawyer is sending a replacement, no charge. • I lost an old favorite water bottle and only had a 500ml cheap water bottle. I ended up drinking about 25% of my water unfiltered. I’ll shop E-bay for a replacement. • Homemade fire starters worked well, as always. • I liked the Star-Kist White Chicken in a foil packet. Added this to a pasta dish. Bought at Wal-Mart. • My canoe needs work!! I developed 3-4 holes, it has a broken front deck board, and has several worn spots into the Kevlar. I’ll be learning epoxy repair this winter, I believe. • Cheap compass!! I’d be lost without it so I kept the security string tied to the yoke pads. • A hand-me-down down vest from my son was always comfortable. Add to packing list for future trips. Thanks, Tom. • Surprised that my map case leaks. Maps and journal got damp. • Duct tape. Used to repair water pouch failures and canoe leaks.

Forgot List: • Refrigerator items. This is on my checklist… need to read checklist before leaving. • Call back to doctor. Opps • Camera SD card. Be sure to take a couple pictures at home before leaving on a trip.

Should have brought: • JB Weld or other two-part epoxy for repairs. • Air mattress patch kit.