BWCA 2016 Part 6

Thursday, August 11, 2016

We don’t have far to travel today. Maybe 4-5 miles and most of it is on the water, the last two portages of the trip. I think it started raining again last night after I got into the tent, and no matter what we’ll be packing up at least slightly wet. Ah well.

The usual routine ensues. Me & Matt are up about 45 minutes before we get the girls up so we can have coffee and oatmeal done before they get out of the tents. Evie is doing a better job about waking up when I go to rouse her and not too much longer after I’ve gone to wake her up I can hear the sounds of her packing up in the tent.

Yesterday while we were out fishing we scoped out the surface of the island that we were fishing around & it looks like its covered in berries. If we’re able to break camp quickly enough we will stop there so at least Evie can get out and do some picking. Naturally, we’re done ‘quickly enough’ and after we’ve shoved off its a brief paddle over to the island and a rocky spot where its ok for Ev to get out. Even though she’s wearing the GoPro it’s not taking images & as a result only she will ever know just how teeming with blueberries the island was. While she was picking it gave me an opportunity to study the sky a little & I realized we were going to get rained on, so I had a chance to put on my rain coat. After she offered some of the fruits of her labors to the other canoe & got back in ours I had her don her raingear too.

It was a good thing, too. By the time we got to the Horsetail Rapids portage it had rained on us and it gave me a chance to check on the GoPro.

With the time lapse turned back on it was time to do the portage. On our first trip across we decided to do this portage in stages. Matt & I would take the canoes to the halfway mark where there seemed to be a natural pool between a couple sets of rapids and we’d take the gear all the way across to the end. Once all the gear is across we’ll float and walk the empty boats through the second riffle to the other side of the portage. The reason for this decision is this sloped granite face and generally treacherous when wet finish to the portage:

Our plan worked well, here I am guiding my canoe through the riffle. I’m curious how people going upstream would handle this portage…

Its maybe a 5-10 minute paddle from Horsetail Rapids to Sag Falls. The landing again was a sloped granite face, thankfully this one wasn’t so slippery. We make quick work of the portage and take a few minutes to take in the scenery.

I stop to take a burst shot of Matt & Grace in front of Sag Falls. After I get home, Google turns it into a pretty good animated gif:

And just like that we’re done with portages for the rest of the trip & we’re on our destination lake for the day’s travels. Now, on to the campsite search. We decided to pass on the two sites on the island right after the falls and spend the next hour slowly heading West towards Horseshoe Island and either find the sites we’re targeting occupied or we’re unable to locate the site. Ultimately we circle back some and end up taking the single site on the island between Horseshoe and the mainland. This would prove to be good for us as shortly after we land we discover that the island is a blueberry and raspberry hotspot!

It doesn’t take too long until we’ve got enough for tomorrow’s final layover pancake breakfast. The rest of the day is spent hanging out around camp. Evie fishes a little but the landing keeps eating hooks and jig heads but not before she’s managed to get a nice bass on the stringer. We eventually decide to leave the fish in the water for the night to try to add to it tomorrow during our final layover day.

I got to practice my tarp rigging skills and pitched my best tarp setup to date. Instead of a ridgeline rope I was able to throw the main line high over a branch and tied off to the center loop on the tarp, then stretched it out to nearby trees. It affords almost complete coverage for the fire pit and the best part is not having to duck at all underneath.

The rest of the evening is spent again drinking coffee & cocoa. This would have been the night we planned to stay up as late as possible for Perseids, however nature isn’t cooperating and instead its overcast. Darn. Matt & I drown our sorrows of not seeing stars in the bourbon, it helps.

Once we’re all in bed I manage to freak out Evie by hearing what turned out to be Matt in his tent, maybe rustling the ground cloth inside his tent. It sounded like something was maybe messing with our stuff around the fire pit and I rather rapidly and inexplicably opened the tent door to peer out with my headlamp. After seeing the expression on her face I apologized for scaring her and we talked about what it probably was, then got back to the business of going to sleep.

Lakes traveled: Maraboeuf Lake, Lake Saganaga

Continue to Part 7

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