My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Perfect Day

Cold, rainy, cloudy, windy? YES. Warm calm, sunny? YES. We had a pretty full spectrum of weather while on our first trip into the Boundary Waters. We ended up doing little or no paddling on two days, paddling because we had to on one - day - to get in, and then paddling on a very changeable day. We also paddled out under lowering skies just before another big storm struck.

But Friday!  Now that was a day!  We had beautiful weather, light winds, the prettiest lake of all, and wildlife. And of course the high spirits of the four of us kept us laughing all day.

(Several of these pictures will be easier to see if you click on them to get the larger picture.) 

Day Paddlers

Just another beautiful view - think this is of a camp site near ours

Beautiful day and happy paddlers
 Below is a map showing the lakes we passed through.  Our trip started from our campsite on Gaskin Lake.  If you look on the east side of Winchell and then up the portage into Gaskin lake, you will see a green pin.  The red pin to the right was where our campsite was. The area around the corner from our campsite and down to the portage is moose habitat.  We didn't find a moose there but heard one splashing one night.  Winchell is the biggest lake in the area, and with its east to west orientation, sometimes gets big waves.  Bob said it is not too popular for camping because you can get wind bound and have to just sit the winds out in camp.

Our route: Gaskin - Winchell- Omega - Otto - Omega - Hansen - Gaskin - Camp

Our trip continued through most of Winchell to the portage to Omega Lake.  This was my favorite lake of all.  It has arms and islands, so you have to travel through it to see all of it.  It had some beautiful bluffs and a few stunning campsites  Probably the best one was on top of a high rock.  It was occupied so we didn't get to explore it.  The guy camped there was swimming, something we never managed to bring ourselves to do. We continued to explore the lake until we found another campground, this one above a low rock.

Rocky bluffs in Lake Omega

"Hey guys - lets stop and explore this beautiful camp site. "

Checking out the campsite and enjoying the views
 We decided it would make a great lunch stop so landed and immediately started taking pictures.  A higher rock ledge seemed made to set our cameras on. Natalie declared this was the perfect spot for a group picture so lined us up, started the camera and ran to here place in the lineup.  Then I had to do the same.

But that Andrew - he suddenly dropped to his hands and knees.  Bob responded by sitting on him. After racing to my place, I decided to try and sit on Bob. Then the camera flashed.  Now's it's obvious that I should have aimed for Bob's lap.

Wild things
 After all this exertion, we were ready for lunch.  It was about this time that I had to shed my pants legs -  this was the only time I had to just wear shorts on this trip. After lunch, the warm rock seduced us into taking a nap.

Layabouts and still-working Bob - my hat and life jacket mark my resting spot

Finally we, (actually probably Bob) decided we should leave so we could finish our exploring agenda for the day. We slowly collected our gear and loaded up to continue exploring the lake. Then we went on to explore Otto and Hansen. (Lakes.)

Back to the boats after lunch
I can't remember exactly where we were when we saw an adult loon and a large baby but it was after lunch.  The adult was repeatedly diving and catching tiny fish and feeding the baby.  We watched, entranced, as the adult repeatedly feed the youngster, sometimes only feet from our boat. Then the adult called and another youngster came from maybe fifty yards away to get its feeding.

Young loon waiting for parent to bring food - sometimes it stuck its head under the water to look

Parent with food
Parent feeding youngster

Yum!  More!

Parent swimming off with both chicks
A few minutes after this encounter, we saw two mink swimming - one obviously a baby.  But seconds later, we could only see the mom who swam back and forth in front of us, apparently to distract us from her child.

Mink? - paying a lot of attention to us

We got to enjoy a few more lakes and portages.  Natalie and I were grateful for our canoe haulers.  Neither of us could have survived balancing on rocks and hauling the canoes, even though they weighed only forty-two pounds.

Bob puts our canoe in the water while Natalie boards her canoe

Almost done with a very good day
 Both Bob and I had hauled our hammocks and I was really craving some hammock time. But the days had been too cold to lie out.  This day, we got home in time for me to enjoy about an hour in the hammock before it was time to cook supper. I did have to add my fleece pants and jacket, though.  This was  the icing on a cake of a day.

Reading and swinging - two of my favorite pastimes combined

Friday, September 27

 Here at the Bison Range,  I finished pinning bees yesterday and started cooking the chilli for the Big Sit today.  We don't have many people signed up, but I'm afraid that, if I don't prepare for crowd, I'll have lots of hungry people. So I'm going to cook way too much food and then feed the  leftovers to the staff. I'll be closing tonight, then working in the visitor center the next three days. Hopefully, I can also get the database finished so I can get the bee labels made.  Then putting a label on each bee will keep me out of trouble for many more hours. Off to buy more groceries.