Monday, 9/26/2022. Day 9
It’s a cool morning to start today, our last full day in the BWCA. I slept with the water filter down in the foot of my sleeping bag so it wouldn’t possibly freeze overnight. The filter tech doesn’t like being frozen. Development of ice can rupture the membrane allowing unfiltered water to pass, which could possibly lead to us getting sick. Lots of people drink straight from the lake and don’t get sick, but I’m not at that level of risk taking.
We’re up & out of camp at a decent time today. The whole trip we will not leave camp before 9, but today’s the closest we get to that goal. Maybe it’s because we know the distance that is left. Maybe it is because we’re finally firing on those cylinders. Maybe it’s for none of those reasons. We’re on vacation, after all……
North winds today are on our backs as we basically head due South across Ge-Be to the portage to Green. The portage is a good warm-up for the day, and about 3/4 across my first carry I’m not paying attention to where my feet are going. I stumble on some slippery rocks and then go down off the right side of the trail. Thankfully it’s not a cliff edge or anything, and the only thing hurt is my pride. Joe helps me get out from under the canoe & we finish the first trip without the canoe. I’ll pick it up on trip 2.
I’m making some videos today, in addition to Joe. I discover that the chest strap on one of the portage packs makes a good phone holder and so I shoot some footage of crossing portages all the while narrated by my sniffling and rambling on about stuff.
On Rocky, I make the mistake of not looking at the map or GPS where the non-published location of some minor pictographs is clearly marked. Joe and I do a couple long, slow passes across the front of a rock face during our search for the pictos. We eventually move on to another, further South, rock face and then they’re right in front of us. These pictos are a bit more mysterious, as no one exactly knows what they’re supposed to mean. There are no recognizable shapes or figures like the Lac La Croix ones.
Joe and I decide to call the day when we get to the isthmus campsite on Oyster. We hope the extra daylight will give opportunity to fish, but first I have to fight the wind and tarp so we can have some shelter from the NW winds coming right in to camp off the lake. Sadly, no fish will be caught. I do a fine job of annoying Joe, though…. I head over to the lee side of camp to get out of the wind, then start working down the shore a little in the direction of some heads that I keep seeing heading across the lake. There’s a very active beaver lodge in a little inlet maybe 50 yards down the shore. The annoying Joe part comes in when he also walks over to the lee side of the island, fresh cups of coffee in hand, trying to find me. Not knowing his hands were full, I opted to have him follow my voice to find me only to be greeted with grouchy Joe. Double fail because we didn’t really eat anything for lunch again today…..
A coffee and snack later and things are better with the world. It’s still blowing in towards the fire from the lake, but food helps in most situations.
We spend the evening sitting around the fire feeding it sticks, trying to stay out of the breeze. After dark I head over to the quiet side again to try to catch something. Maybe 20 minutes later Joe comes by and asks if I’m also taking photos, and if I have looked at any of them? There was this weird greenish cast on one of them which I blamed on my headlamp, to which Joe said that he thought the Northern Lights were out.
I scrambled back to the other side of the isthmus, by the campfire, and sure enough! The northern lights were indeed out!
I have never seen them this far North, neither had Joe. We both ended up staying up way too late watching in awe and taking photos.
What we saw was not as colorful as what the camera captured – modern digital cameras have much better low light and infrared sensitivity. That’s Ok, I’ll take the camera-enhanced photos!
Joe retires before I do, staying up another 45 minutes in awe at the sight.
5.6 miles paddled today, 40.8 total; 3 portages today, 17 total; 275 rods portaged today, 1862 rods total; 0 additional beaver dams encountered today.
Ge-Be-On-E-Quet Lake > Green Lake > Rocky Lake > Oyster Lake