July 22, 2023
The day starts off for me around 3AM, and it’s not gentle…. I awaken with a migraine, and its beginnings were starting when I went to bed. Rather than take some meds to combat the migraine I thought sleep was the answer – Wrong! I try to quietly make my way from the hammock over to the dining fly where we have everyone’s day packs and PFDs stored, as I have water to drink and a dose of Ubrelvy in my backpack. I take a sip in preparation of taking the meds when it hits – waves of nausea. I’m going to throw up. I kick aside the duff as best as I can and spit out a few mouthfuls of bile, yuck, but at least dinner didn’t come up. After the nausea passes I rinse out my mouth with more water, cover up the spot where I threw up, and then take my meds. By this time I see a light on in our guide’s tent and I wonder, ‘Did my throwing up wake him up?’
I get back to the hammock as quietly as I can and try to fall back asleep. Thankfully, I’m still sleepy despite everything that just happened and I get a couple more hours rest before the alarm goes off at 6.
Oddly, I’m actually up closer to 5:30. I don’t know what it is about canoe trips but I often wake up before my alarm and usually it’s set for far earlier than at home. What is it about the woods that causes me to get up so easily? I ponder this a little while swaying in the hammock as I get dressed. I’m the first one up officially out of our group and thankfully, blessedly, the migraine is gone.
Our guide is second up, and I ask if my middle of the night retching woke him up and he thankfully says no, he just happened to wake up around that time.
Everyone gets up eventually, with the Scouts taking the longest, which is not unexpected. We get the food bags down and get going on breakfast, which for the life of me I cannot remember what we had that morning.
I can say for sure, however, we had coffee…. beautiful, black, stinky, caffeinated liquid that it is. There are some serviceberries that are ripening around our campsite. They look sort of like blueberries that grow on trees. I’ve never tasted them before and the really dark purple ones are ripe. They’re sweet but have a thick skin as well as seeds inside so eating them is more like ‘suck out the goodness and spit the rest.’
We’re packed up and loading the canoes around 10AM, at least an hour later than our target. It’s ok, everyone is still new at this and still getting used to the program. We bid one last goodbye to our campsite and set our targets on a good mileage day today. We’re on Basswood, one of the largest lakes in the BWCA. It’s covered with massive bays and wide stretches of water. Our route follows the US/Canada border all day, and the best part is there’s no portages so we really should be able to make tracks.
The day dawned with clear skies, but by the time we’re underway the sky is speckled with puffy clouds. We only get about an hour into our paddle when insistent thunder and looming dark skies force us to seek shelter at a campsite across from Norway Point. We end up occupying this campsite for nearly two hours, as first the thunderstorm passes through and then the lake gets kicked up to the point where there’s whitecaps and it’s unsafe to paddle. This gives us time to have lunch as well as some of us take the opportunity for a nap. Me, on the other hand, I take a video of this poor, tiny, unused campsite that has green moss growing in the fire pit. The video is at the bottom of this page. I hope the weather clears and the lake calms down because there’s no way our group would be able to fit in this site. I can’t find any trees that I can hang my hammock and tarp from, and I’m not about to go to ground back in the marshy area back by the thunderbox. In all, we end up being waylaid for about 2 hours at this campsite before we can get going again. Stupid thunderstorm!
Back on the water, there’s no way we can make our target for today so we are now shooting for the beach campsite after United States Point. It’s still a good 7-8 miles away, so we gotta get a move on. We paddle, and paddle, and paddle some more. Soon we’re out of the motor zone and in the paddle only part of Basswood. I feel myself getting tired and surprisingly, I kinda want to be done for the day. In hindsight I probably should have eaten more of lunch but I just wasn’t hungry at the time.
We get around United States Point and start looking for campsites. We’re at least 1/2 mile ahead of the other canoes in our group and it’s not looking good for our team. The beach campsite is occupied as well as every other campsite along the North shore of Basswood after US Point. Disappointed, we keep pushing on despite the mounting weight of the paddles in our hands. We come to Hanson’s Island and figure it is going to be occupied too, but to our surprise and delight it is open! It’s not the easiest canoe landing, with slippery submerged rocks and a drop-off not too far from shore. We get unloaded, tents up, and get about making dinner. We get to camp about 6PM, way late for getting a campsite in the Boundary Waters.
Dinner was quick and easy, and some of us opt to take a quick swim to rinse off. Closer to sunset, the boys decide to wet lines but all they catch are rocks which steal jigheads and lures. Smoke from wildfires in Canada gives us a hazy sunset which seems to go on and on.
Lakes paddled: Basswood
Miles paddled: 12.9 today, 21.9 total
Portages: 0 today, 1 total