Kawishiwiw Lake - June 2007
I was up at 5:30 a.m. The night was on the cooler side. As it turned out, it was coldest night of the trip. Up north the sun sets later and rises earlier this time of year than back home. I woke at 3:50 a.m. to birds chirping at the first gray light of pre-dawn. By 4:20 a.m. we had full daylight.
At 6:30 a.m., we started the day with our normal breakfast – oatmeal and hot chocolate. Then proceeded to get ready to launch. It took a while to pack up my tent, roll the sleeping bag and pad, get the canoe off the car, park the car, and generally just get organized. By 8:30 we were paddling.
This was a "two solos" trip, so Jim was paddling his Bell Magic. I had sold my Wenonah Encounter earlier in the year and had not yet bought a new one, so I was paddling a Wenonah Prism that I rented from our local canoe shop in La Crosse, WI. It was a Kevlar flex core, which according to Wenonah’s website, is 44 pounds. It felt like that was accurate.
I paddled a Prism many years ago and didn’t like it. Well, I have changed my mind. I like it a lot. It handled well, was rock solid, and had great glide. I thought maybe it was because I was paddling with gear this time, but later in the trip I paddle it empty and still liked it a lot. I wonder if the gel coat makes a difference. I paddled a skin coat before. I wonder if the gel coat stiffens the hull?
Today we paddled down stream through Kawishiwi Lake, the river, and across Square Lake where we reached our first portage, an easy 20-rod. That was soon followed by an 11-rod portage that we lined through. This second portage was not on my 15-year-old map but was on Jim’s newer one.
I love that kind of paddling, that is, those intimate rivers and creeks between the lakes. The Sawbill area has many of them and I have paddled many recently. Last year one of my trips originated at Baker Lake and another at Sawbill Lake. Those trips included the Temperance River, Ada Creek, Kelso River and others. Another trip from last year included Little Indian Sioux River. I do like the rivers.
After Kawasachong Lake came the 189-rod portage, the pond called Townline Lake, and then the 95-rod portage to Polly Lake. The portages were fairly easy, although they had a bit of length and were a little muddy. It didn’t matter to me, but dry footers would not have been happy.
We reached Polly at 12:30 p.m. – four hours from when we launched. I thought that was pretty good considering we weren’t in a hurry at all. In fact, often we were just drifting with the current looking for wildlife, etc. At one point I floated right up to a deer. At first I didn’t see it and Jim, who was behind me, had to say something so I’d notice. She still had her winter coat -- that gray color opposed to the reddish brown coat they have in the summer. She looked big, too, like she was still carrying a fawn. Spring happens later here.
We began looking for a site on Polly and decided to take the island site in the middle of the lake (#2013). It was a nice, wide-open site big enough for a large group. We had lunch, set up camp, got water, gathered wood, and took a quick dip in the water to cool off. The only down side to the site was that the water was shallow, which made it tough for swimming and fishing from shore.
The day had turned hot. By 3:00 p.m. the wind had started, and by 4:30 p.m. it was blowing hard. The wind continued to blow for the rest of the trip. Also, the temperature got hotter. For the rest of the trip the daytime highs neared 90 degrees.
Jim is da man! He makes just the best meals on our trips. He gives a lot of credit to his wife, Rachel, so I tip my hat to her, too. That night we had a Knorr Sides Plus dish called Roasted Chicken Rice to which he added a foil package of chicken (more chicken stuff). Yum!
OK. Here is the moment you have been waiting for ….. after supper, about 8:00 p.m., I caught a fish! A smallmouth bass to be exact. Yahoo!
At 10:00 p.m. it was still light enough to read the writing on my coffee cup. It has big letters granted, but I could still read them. Let’s see, it was light before 4:00 a.m. and light until 10:00 p.m., so that is 18 hours of daylight and it is not even solstice yet!
I went to bed at 10:30 p.m.