Everything is quiet in the campground. It’s 6:00 AM and it’s warm and damp. Puddles are everywhere but my tent is dry inside. I make a quick breakfast of raisin bran cereal, coffee and a bottle of V-8 juice. It’s not raining so I spread all my gear out in the site and organize my 3 packs.
I use 2 duluth packs and a small daypack. I try to go as light as I can but still need to double portage.
I am ready to go and leave for Mudro Lake. I arrive to a crowded parking lot around 9:00 AM. It always takes a while to get accustomed to all my gear and get into the portaging rhythm.
From my journal: “My pack that I carry with the canoe was packed too high and hitting the seat (when I was portaging). So, I adjusted the packs. Man, the blue pack is a beast! And the Duluth pack with the canoe is even worse. So much for going light.”
The entry point to access mudro is a fairly dry creek. I push and pull my way until I reach Mudro. I see a bunch of people making their way out of Fourtown Lake. There are some log jams of canoes and people at these first few portages. The 140 rod portage is especially grueling with a steep up and then finally down.
I meet an older couple on the portage and we rest together. I tell them I want to camp on Moosecamp Lake. They say they are coming from that way and tell me the Moosecamp river is doable but has 3 or 4 beaver dams to pull over. I was going to take a longer route through lakes Fairy and Gun to get to Moosecamp but I now switch my route. A small river might be more interesting and faster as well.
The day is warm, overcast, and very humid. My shirt is soaked with sweat after the portaging to get to Fourtown. The lake is beautiful and calm. I finally sense that quietness that I remember of the BWCA. I paddle through Fourtown and see a campfire off to the right. Two canoes are pulled up on the beach and I see people milling around.
Up ahead, past the Boot Lake entry on the left I see a canoe with two guys fishing the shoreline. We exchange waves as I pass on by. I’m headed for the Moosecamp river at the north end of the lake.
The river has a narrow twisting opening and it invites me in. There is a canoe trail down the middle and on either side it is choked with lily pads. There is not much current so I maneuver around the narrow bends fairly easily. I reach a small dam where I pull over with no problem. At the next one I see a beaver swimming in front of me and he makes his way over the dam before I get there. This ones not too bad either. I get out, unload a pack and pull the canoe over. Moosecamp river
An hour goes by and I’m getting anxious to see the opening for Moosecamp Lake. No such luck as I come upon a massive beaver dam. This has to be around 4 feet high and 30 feet across. It takes some doing to pull up and over in sticky muck. The water is right up to the top on the other side with very little leaking through. It’s really a site to see. Those beavers can be quite the engineers. Big beaver dam
After what seems like another hour I finally see the opening to the lake. There are logs in the river with spikes and chains in them from some different era. The lake opens up and is gorgeous. It’s calm and I paddle to the preferred site near the other portage.
On the way I get very close to two loons who are as interested in me as I am in them. I see it is an adult with a younger one. They dive to feed and surface nearby. They will keep me company for the next two days. I never tire of watching and hearing them.
In the middle of the lake now and I’m hearing strange noises. It’s coming from across the lake on the south side. I see it. It’s a cow moose standing in the shallows. The noises it (or maybe another one) makes are strange grunts and a wailing sound. I stop to look through the binoculars and shoot some video then keep moving. Moose and loons on Moosecamp
There’s no one on the lake. The site I want is empty and is fantastic. It’s 3:00 now and I make camp. The cow moose has disappeared from across the bay but I now hear more strange wailing and grunting sounds. It’s a bull moose this time. I get the binoculars and watch this guy wade into the water then swim along the shore to the north about 40 yards (I estimate that I’m 250 yards away). His rack is just glowing gold. What an amazing sight! He pulls up on shore, shakes off and ambles into the forest. Wow, that’s pretty good for a first day.
Every once in a while I would hear “huffing” and grunts coming from that area but I would never see the moose again. A canoe enters the lake and 2 guys take the campsite down the shore from me. Another canoe enters the lake but when they see this site is taken they turn around and leave the lake.
From the journal: “I made raviolis for dinner, did the dishes and hung the food pack. It’s a beautiful lake but very lonely here. And also a lot of work by yourself. I prefer to go with other people I think.”
As I sit by the fire pit I get some company. A field mouse and squirrel come to say hello and look for scraps. They both dart in and around the fireplace. I don’t mind the company as long as the mouse doesn’t tell his friends.
From the journal: “My shoulders hurt pretty good and I’ve had a headache for awhile now. I don’t smell all that good either. It was very humid and I was drenched in sweat all day. This campsite is really exceptional. I love the high view overlooking the lake. The tarp is over the sitting area and my tent is in a good spot on high ground.
Well, it’s just me, two loons, and a little grey mouse. Tomorrow I’m going to fish the lake. It will be interesting to see what’s in here.”