BWCA 2023 Day 4

July 23, 2023

I’m up early again today, awake before 6 and definitely one of the first ones up. I take down my hammock and tarp before most everyone else even emerges from their tents and then I learn the news – after a discussion with the other Scouts Eli, our crew leader, announces that we will be taking a zero day today. We’re staying put. I curse my efficiency of taking down my hammock so quickly and get it set back up. Since we’re not moving today most everyone takes the opportunity to dry out their wet shoes, although now that I think about it what’s the point? They’re just going to get wet again tomorrow.

Breakfast today is a first for me – SPAM and pancakes. Eaten together it almost tastes like a McGriddle if you squint right. Thomas handles SPAM duties and the Scouts get the pancake mix ready.

We have the day to explore Hanson’s Island and ponder – Who is or are the Hanson people, why is the island named for them? Why is there a long bent pipe on the ground here? The water drops off on multiple sides of the point we’re on and it makes good swimming for the Scouts and Thomas joins them. The sky’s milky today, haze from wildfires raging in Canada far away from us. This campsite has a glacial erratic in the form of a giant boulder near the latrine, and the erratic has a pine growing out of it’s side and bent up towards the sky.

There’s a nice patch of blueberry bushes in a clearing not too far from the campfire area and I whenever I wander by the patch I keep an eye out for the deep purple blush of ripe berries. More often than not I get a few each time, but no more than a taste. Every time I walk away from the main camp area I’m looking for firewood to bring back to keep the fire going & coffee hot. It’s a good day for drinking coffee.

Once the Scouts are done swimming the afternoon is spent trying to fish from shore, although Eli and Evan do get sent out on a water run at one point. Clay gets a hammer handle pike on the line and I get called into action to help get it off once landed. There’s lots of interest from the fish, or is that just lures getting lost to the knots of boys and rocks? We’ll never know. I finally tie on a hook and some plastics late afternoon to wet a line and manage to land a small bass… maybe 6″ in length. It’s quickly released after a photo opportunity and that’s all Basswood gives us for the day. 

I do not remember what we had for dinner this night, PoohBah something or other? Some pasta dish? I can’t recall its name although it did use rehydrated corn. Anyhoo, after dinner there was a blueberry cake that the Scouts steam baked in a dish after their first wilderness talk with Thomas. He donned a red Voyageur cap and sash, and uses a candle lantern that he lights and keeps going while he chats with the Scouts.

Sunset is overcast today and the sun disappears behind the clouds by dinnertime. Clay catches a few rusty crayfish which then get turned into a crawfish boil once we’re done with the dessert, but I don’t think anyone actually ended up eating any of them. They’re invasive species, these rusty crawfish, so nobody feels that bad they went to waste.

Tomorrow’s going to be a relatively easy day – we’re headed over to the Horse Portage and hopefully getting a campsite there where we’ll drop gear and continue on with empty canoes to see the pictographs.

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