Sunday, 9/25/22. Day 8
The weather radio’s prediction for overnight came true, and it rained while we slept. Around 5AM I got up to use the restroom and discover that there’s a slow drip falling almost dead center in the tent, in between Joe and I. My bag is a little damp, Joe’s bag is a little damp – a concern because they’re both down insulated and feathers don’t like water. The rain has collected in a little pool on top of the tent rather than shedding off, and the pool is then causing the damp underside of the fly to make contact with the mesh panels in the ceiling eventually making the drips. I have a microfiber towel in the tent for these reasons, and so I mop up the floor, our bags, and the roof as best as I can and zonk out for a few more hours.
Out of the tent I immediately notice something is amiss with the tarp – apparently my pitch last night didn’t shed the rain very well, and now it hangs low in 3 or 4 spots due to the weight of the water pooled in it. After some laughs we empty the tarp and I go about correcting the pitch.
Today’s forecast calls for a mixed bag – decent temps for late September, but thunderstorms are still included. The clouds are full of drama, as a battle between seasons is happening overhead. Robin’s egg blue skies and rolling gray clouds clash for dominance. Warm sunlight streaks through the occasional opening and momentarily highlights features on the opposite shore from us. The winds near the ground today seem to be fighting on behalf of summer, and it is especially apparent in the time lapse I take in the afternoon. It is incredible to watch from camp, and we have no intentions on going anywhere today.
We spend the day eating, drinking coffee, and enjoying the show that mother nature puts on for us. I adjust the tarp multiple times, as each time a shower comes through is an opportunity to perfect the pitch. The weather delivers on the radio’s promise, and by midday there is thunder both distant and a little close. Our view up the lake lets us call the weather sometimes as much as 5 minutes in advance…. Its a fun game we play. 🙂
At some point, Joe has the big brain idea to try to move the hammock from the open and under the tarp as well. It fits, and fits pretty decently at that. I had never considered the possibility that on future trips I could possibly set up my camping hammock near the fire pit. I wouldn’t do this on group trips, but maybe if I ever go on a solo trip…..
Now, I do not recall anywhere in the forecast the word “hail” being used but we were treated to two different rounds of it. The first round was maybe a minute or so in length, and the hail was maybe pea-sized. The second round, which came maybe 20 minutes later, was far more significant in length and featured stones maybe up to marble size. So much hail fell that immediately afterwards the ground was white.
Joe and I try our hands at fishing, and the only taker today is a smallie that needs to get bigger before I can release him into a pan of oil so it goes back into the lake. The camp sits at least 6′ above the water, and the lovely granite slopes leading down to the edge quickly become slippery when dampened. While Joe and I are both fishing, a mink appears along the shore from the woods to my right. I think had I not reacted it is possible the mink would have just kept ambling down the shore. Instead, as soon as I said, “Joe! A mink!” it looked at me, then changed course into the water and swam a lazy half circle down the shore & past us, seemingly without a care.
That night we plot our next moves. We have one more night after tonight in the backcountry and are about 16 miles from the exit. We have two-ish choices – our next campsite will be on Oyster or if we get to Oyster early enough and are feeling it, we will push on to Agnes. The “ish” of course being that there are campsites along the way, as well as past Agnes, but we don’t want to push that hard.
Our campfire dwindling, as we managed to burn just about all of the wood we collected earlier, including some pretty massive logs, we close the night by finishing off the wine. Joe may have complained about carrying it, but I maintain that the wine was worth the weight and bulk. I probably would have never considered box wine had the guys at Tumblehome: A Boundary Waters Podcast not gone on so much about it. I feel that wine may be even better than liquor, because you can drink a swallow of it after a long portage and it is fortifying. Take a big swallow of liquor after a portage and you’re probably about to catch a buzz – probably not ideal for heading out into the unknown. Of course, drink enough wine and you’re in the same situation, but it takes a lot more to get there.
As we’re getting camp shut down Joe has an encounter with a snowshoe hare back by the giant rock.
I can feel the end of our trip sneaking up on us. I try to ignore it and pretend like we’re here as long as we want. 8 days in, other than the cracking skin on my fingers I’m doing great and feel like I could go another 8 days easily.
0 miles paddled today, 35.2 total; 0 portages today, 14 total; 0 rods portaged today, 1587 rods total; 0 additional beaver dams encountered today.