Boundary Waters, Day 4: Wednesday
Today was our one “non paddle to make ground” day! Any paddling that may happen today was simply for fishing or exploring. It was pretty nice to set up camp Tuesday and make ourselves at home, knowing we wouldn’t be up and moving again for 2 nights. It also left me feeling a bit sad, knowing how much I was really enjoying the solitude of paddling and feeling of accomplishment each day that we covered new ground, passed the miles and entered different lakes.
Alas, we would all enjoy the ability to sleep in without worry. Thanks to our friend Zach loaning me a sleeping pad that slept like a Westin bed (even Derick was jealous when he rolled onto it at one point), I slept great every night but this morning we didn’t emerge until almost 8.30 am; all of us! It was pretty sweet. All four of us, even little Will, enjoyed coffee and a lazy morning, with no urgency to break camp. We didn’t even get around to our oatmeal until close to 10:30!
Derick and Will headed off late morning to provide nourishment for the family (—>fish), while Dad and I bummed around the campsite. He found a fix to our massive filtration bladder, as we had borrowed a double bladder system which could filter 1/2 gallon of water, but we were missing a piece; so of course Dad rigged a wire to hold it and hung it in a tree so it could work on it’s own. When you are not getting clean water endlessly from a sink, it’s ongoing work to keep the supply full! I enjoyed my first lake swim. We had a small bay next to our site, and I swam back and forth in the bay for 30 minutes or so. Late morning Dad and I sat down and recounted the past few days while I jotted down notes about our adventures thus far; in detail so I could recount them later. Derick and Will came back with their kill at about 1pm. They had caught 2x Pike (which we didn’t keep, were told ‘too many bones’) and 4x Smallies (small mouth bass). Looked like we would finally have our first fish dinner! That afternoon we tried to keep the little guys in as cool of water as possible (I am guessing my swim was done in 75-76F degree water?) so after they cut and cleaned the fish, they were put into a zip lock bag and rigged over our site, weighted down with a large rock so they would drop down a few feet. Over lunch (PB Honey Wraps for D&W, Tuna Packs & Crackers me and dad) we discovered Derick had a bloody toe. He had picked up 2 very tiny leeches. I had flashbacks of watching Stand By Me, but those ones were legit; these guys were tiny, but they still suck a lot of blood! He tried to throw them on me; I screamed. Slimy little fuckers. Finally once the leech throwing and lunch were over with, we all headed out to fish a few hours mid afternoon.
Derick and Will came back empty handed, but we had plenty for dinner. I caught 2 small small bass, Dad and I caught a snake (that being a snake made of a long grass weed), and dad tried to snap a picture of me and some lily pads with yellow flowers only to drop his camera in the water. Despite a quick retrieval and letting it sunbathe thoroughly, the camera ate it (RIP) but thankfully the SD card survived. We moseyed back to our site, I enjoyed a Lake Bath (my favorite kind!), and our appetizer for dinner entailed watching 2 bald eagles and 1 sea gull fight over the fish guts which we had tossed aside in the bay. I have to say, this is a hell of a lot more interesting than staring at a computer screen, that’s for sure. The sea gull was persistent, yet smart; departing when the eagles swept in but staying close to it’s dinner. Finally the eagles gave up and Mr Sea Gull enjoyed a feast.
Just as we did! (only ours was fish meat, not guts). Dinner tonight was potatoes (finishing off our 5 lb bag), 12 sticks of butter, pan fried bass, and dried edamame & spicy veggies mixed into the taters. Brown water rounded our evening, Derick’s cigar, my weak attempts at the ‘gar which thoroughly entertained everyone (I just don’t get the inhale but don’t inhale part), and another beautiful, peaceful, fresh-air filled day had come to a close.
It seemed to be about now within our trip where I was enjoying this routine so much I started to become sad that we were halfway through. While sure you may look forward to some comforts at the end (ie: IPA), you truly cannot beat (nor adequately explain) how your mind and soul begins to change, relax, and embrace this kind of life.
Photo 1: Kelly & Will hanging at campsite
Photo 2: Breakfast for 4 days! When it’s all you got, it tastes pretty good.
Photo 3: Me & D.
Photo 4: Men at work. (I love this one)
Photo 5: Lunch site (day prior)
Photo 6: Lunch naps (day prior). All days should come with these. Preferably in this setting.
Photo 7: Dinner! Well done Will.
Photo 8: Filtration system rigged. This was a lifesaver! Truly. We would have died.
Photo 9: Once a fish…
Photo 10: Evenings. That’s all.
Photo 11: Kids are happier when outside. This is way more fun that Fortnight.
Photo 12: Bald eagle evening entertainment.
Photo 13: Fish dinner! Fish fry. Nice job Chuckles.
Photo 14: Stogies. I just don’t get them, but I try.
Photo 15: Evening views. Heaven to the senses.