Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Mosquito Fiesta
by aproehl88

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 06/16/2024
Entry & Exit Point: Moose/Portage River (north) (EP 16)
Number of Days: 6
Group Size: 8
Trip Introduction:
5 Ohioans, 2 dogs, and 3 Washington state dwellers met up at a campground
7 adults, 1 12yo, and 2 dogs ventured into entry point 16 on Moose River in 3 aluminum Gruman canoes and 1 Kevlar canoe rented from Piragis. 3 in the group are female, so we were well provisioned (baggage). We camped at Indian Point campground the night before. Hosts were fabulous, mosquitoes were ferocious. We did 145 rod portage to Moose River, then hopped in our canoes. The miniature Australian shepherd adapted right away to the boat. The big Australian shepherd was curious and befuddled. Tried 3 different boats until he settled down, nestled in front of our largest paddler. The weather was great on Sunday. 2 more short portages, and we made it to Nina Moose Lake. We took a couple of short breaks for water and trail food, but paddled about 6 hours before setting up on a campsite on Lake Agnes. The hubs started catching fish once we got to the campsite. His go to lure was a Whopper Plopper. He started off catching Northern pike and Walleye. We stayed at the Agnes campsite all day Monday to rest and fish. On Tuesday we set out for Lac la Croix. At some point it started to rain. We were committed to making it to our chosen destination. It started to pour, so we pulled off for a little while to let the weather settle.... It did not. Thunder rumbled and there were no campsites on the river, so we paddled on. Lightening was cracking, but we felt like we had to push on. Thankfully the wind wasn't gusting, so we didn't start getting waves until we were about 100 yards from a campsite. Most of our stuff was pretty wet. We did get a fire started so we at least had a hot meal. The rain splattered on through the night. In the morning, I thought it was still raining but it was all the water that saturated the treetops that kept drip dripping down. The fishing was really good on Wednesday. Hubby caught a really big bass that got it's revenge by driving one of the treble hooks on his Whopper Plopper deep into his hand. He usually throws bass back, but he decided to eat this one. The mosquitoes were horrible in the mornings and evenings. We spent a lot of time on the big shore rocks during the day; relaxing, swimming and napping. Hubby brought in several walleye and a crappie from below the portage in the Boulder River. He was using quarter oz. jigs and twister tails, along with various shaped lures. We decided to leave on Friday. I had enough cell service on Thursday to receive a flood alert that said it would be active through this coming Tuesday. We found that some of the portages we walked a couple of days before had swiftly flowing water over them. Since we were now paddling upstream, several places had currents that were deceptively swift. The deep water hid the flow speed. Once the river pinched in you could see what you were actually paddling against. The portage between Agnes and Nina Moose was spitting out white foam because portions of it were a waterfall. Our 12 year old paddler is tall for his age and sturdy. By the end of portage he was getting really tired. We made it out safely thanks to 2 recently released Navy mechanics and a UPS loader. They did a lot of heavy lifting and scouting dangerous water, making sure we could all get through. My husband and I are in our 50's. We had some experience to lean on, like knowing when to walk our canoes along the shore with rope, rather than try to outmatch some of those currents. Our 2 younger adult ladies did plenty of heavy lifting as well. And the Aussies herded us the whole way. We couldn't let them think they failed their herding duties, so we had to hang in there together. The mosquitoes feasted on us all the way back to our vehicle. Hubs started it with the spare key I kept in a fanny pack the whole time. He lost his key in the water of BWCA. We left behind a piece of our hearts, a lot of blood in the mosquito population, and my husband's favorite truck key, but we are still scratching mosquito bites today thanks to good old fashioned guts and resilience. Be safe out there friends!