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Tuesday: Portaging, Cigars & Heroes

Boundary Waters, Day 3: Tuesday

Today was planned to be a longer day. We awoke about 7am, enjoyed our usual breakfast of oatmeal and coffee and cleaned up the campsite, pushing out by 9am. We were greeted with beautifully calm waters! A welcome sight considering the day prior. We headed back to our ‘island overlook’ at the large crossing of Sea Gull Lake to see no white caps, which was awesome. Smooth sailing.

We paddled away, making great time, and began to get hungry around noon. It’s crazy how much energy expenditure the paddling seems to take. We were nearing our first portage which was a fairly long one so we figured best to fuel up prior. Dad mentioned lunch, and suddenly Will’s paddling ability quickly super human. I think the word ‘Oreos’ was spoken. We stopped at a beautiful little island to enjoy our lunch: flour tortillas, peanut butter, honey and raisins/dates/prunes (pick your poison). Tang to drink, apples or applesauce and of course said oreos for dessert. Derick and dad caught a 10 min snooze on a rock and off we went.

Our first portage was a 105 Rod portage (one ‘rod’ is equal to 5 meters). So we’re talking between .25 and .50 mile portage, but mind you this entails unloading your canoe and carrying all items across a rocky and  sometimes muddy trail. You basically load up as much as you can, walk across, drop everything and repeat until complete. This also entails hoisting the 60 lb canoe on your shoulders and carrying that separately. I personally love portages because we get to walk, move and they’re hard work. I guess you can take the ‘pro athlete’ out of Kelly but you can’t ever remove the obsessive nerd.

This portage would take us from Sea Gull Lake to Alpine Lake. All went smooth, and while I *really* wanted to carry the canoe, I let dad do it;  though I followed behind him, watching like a hawk, frequently asking if he needed a break. That ain’t no easy feat, much less at 72 years old and all skin and bones (and muscle). He is one tough Mo Fo! I decided after watching him carry the canoe he was my hero.

We entered Alpine Lake (while all lakes look fairly similar, it feels like an accomplishment to paddle one and enter another) and traveled ~2 miles to our 2nd portage, a short 48 rod rocky trek. Another hour of paddling and we arrived at our new home for the next two nights, at about 3:15pm. This site was awesome! We affectionately called this Big Rock Site (creativity overflowing), as we had a massive rock at the entrance opening up to vast views in all directions. We staked out our camping spots, finding plenty of room to stretch out and make this home.

While Derick and Will threw out a few lines, it was too late; Will caught an 8-inch Smallie (Small Mouth Bass) but we were already cooking dinner. Tonight was red potatoes boiled (so much that they became mashed) mixed with dried spicy veggie mix and deer jerky. Damn good! Oh, and butter, plenty of butter; probably 2 lbs of butter. I complained about wanting a beer, but I quieted down when we had some brown water. Derick had his evening cigar (“to ward off the mosquitoes”), I tried to puff and smoke it like you are supposed to and failed from what I was told, and Dad made Will taste his Jim Beam. Will said it tasted like acetone. We proceeded to set William in a chair with a bottle of scotch and a cigar in his mouth to take pictures of him for his mom. We had some trail mix before bed, and just like that, another day came to an end.

Paddled ~8 miles

Portages = 2

Photo 1: Dad & William starting the day

Photo 2: Kelly paddling

Photo 3: Lunch stop

Photo 4: Portage prep

Photo 5: Our view most of the 5 days…I could get used to this.

Photo 6: Big Rock site views! I loved the Wenonah’s flipped…

Photo 7: Our tent

Photo 8: A boy and his fishing pole

Photo 9: Drip-O-Lator – My dad’s creation of a sink. Coffee can, water, hole with stopper, soap bar, mirror. Pretty amazing really.

Photo 10: Me & Willie-B

Photo 11: Derick, Stogie, Singleton

Photo 12: William, Stogie, Singleton (kind of)

Photo 13: Evening views

Photo 14: Morning send off…. 

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