My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Five Fast Days in the Boundary Waters

 Dateline: September 15, Ely, MN 

Neither fires, nor rain nor wind stopped us from having fun in our six days in the Boundary Waters, but we did have to change our plans a few times. 

Rain was the least of our problems since the only two times it rained was at night.  But we did have to set up two camp sites in anticipation of rain and put up a fly. 

Fire stopped us from going through a series of small lakes which we planned to do on our way back. And when the rangers came around to tell everyone that they were closing the east end of  Knife Lake, due the the Canadian fire, they didn’t see us, so didn’t stop to tell us that they were closing our area and that the other area was now open. We learned about it at the first portage back, after paddling west on Knife Lake.
We could see the smoke from the Canadian fire from our second camp which was almost across from part of the fire. 

Ben hauling us through three lakes
Loading up at the first of seven portages
First of two hauls at every portage - second was food barrel and handheld stuff

The reason for portages
View at the fifth of the seven portages
 And the wind!  The strong west winds were helpful on our way out the first day but were even stronger the third day.  We decided that we probably should not be paddling, especially since the boat would be so light and the winds, which were producing white caps early in the morning,  had several hours to increase. So we spent our third day bound to one small island.  But I enjoyed bushwhacking over the island and finding little views and also taking a picture of the Canadian fire which seemed to be at it’s worst that day. But the winds favored us on the way back. The first day of our return, we had no to very light winds and the  last day we had mostly side winds or we could paddle in the lee of some land on flat water.

My first tent site
Open for "bidnes" -toilet paper marks the "door" to the bathroom

Room with a view
A well deserved first day sunset
Bob fishing at dawn
We enjoyed ring-billed gulls, eagles, two immature ospreys fishing, sharing our island camp with three chipmunks – who modeled just how fast they could get into our food. I’m going to make up a Power Point show to show to the Houston Area Sea Kayakers.  I was discussing with Bob, what would be good pictures and we thought a picture of our food barrel – which protects it  from bears with some of our food spread out on our “table cloth” would be interesting. On chipmunk showed up as soon as we started arranging the food and went scooting and rooting under a bag of gorp.  Then it took a quick bite out of the bag while Bob was yelling at it and I was yelling to not scare off my model before I got good pictures.  They were obviously used to campers feeding them and would come and sit on our feet even if we weren’t offering them food. One took a Cheerio from my fingers and another ate the last sun-dried tomato from our supper.  And just as we were leaving our camp this morning, a mink swam just in front of us to an arm of our campsite.