Monday, September 27, 2010

Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) Day 4: Paddling out from Hudson to Lake 1

Day number 4 turned out to be a cloudy day just like when we paddled in to the BWCA. At least when we woke up and had to start packing it wasn't raining! We had some Co-Co Wheats for breakfast and packed up camp. :(

All loaded up and ready to go.


It was still a pretty paddle even in the clouds! We were really sore and tired though from the last few days of paddling.



We did the 3 portages from Hudson to Lake 4 and the rain even held off for us to paddle across Lake 4 and 3. We did have a little head wind on those lakes so we started to feel our soreness even more ;)

We stopped for lunch between Lakes 3 and 2 and then we could see the rain clouds definitely moving in. We quick ate and got back in the canoe to paddle some more before the rain started. Somewhere on Lake 2 it started to sprinkle. And then it started to lightening and thunder. And then I was like 'ummm we better get off of the middle of the lake. This is a bad idea!' So, we paddled hard to the portages between Lakes 2 and 1. We had thought we were going to camp on Lake 2 for our last night but since we were getting soaked we decided we might as well just do the two portages and paddle through Lake 1 to the take out.

The end of our canoe trip :( Packing up the car to head to Babbitt to spend the night at Auntie Jean and Uncle Kevin's before making the trip back south to Sartell.

Grant called his Uncle Kevin to see what they were up to and tell them we came out a night early because of the rain. They were actually in Duluth shopping for a car so we killed some time at a couple gift shops and checked out the Ely Wolf Center! It's funny how when you're in the woods you really don't notice how smelly you probably are. When you get back into civilization and see other people suddenly you realize what you really must smell like. Ha. But we walked around town anyways ;)

Sleepy wolves.

There were three wolves and they were all snoozing ;)



It turned out to be a fun, relaxing trip to the BWCA! We'd definitely do it again :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) Day 3: Day Trip to Lake Insula

On day 3 in the BWCA we woke up to frost! We both got a little chilly at some point during the night and when we got up we realized it must have gotten pretty cold. It made for a pretty morning though!

Frosty canoe.


Fog on the lake.


Grant starting some oatmeal for breakfast.


Our tent back in the trees.


We paddled out of camp pretty early for our day trip around Insula. We were able to leave everything set up since we were staying at our spot on the island on Lake Hudson two nights in a row.

Made it through the 95 rod portage from Hudson to Insula!


Another pretty day!


Almost forgot our self portrait!


Navigating.


Pretty sunshine on the lake.


Somewhere around the middle of the day we stopped at a random campsite on the lake and had lunch. When we walked up on the shore we saw a roughed grouse so that was cool. There were also a lot of bald eagles flying around throughout the day.

Just paddling.


It doesn't get much better.








We paddled around Lake Insula to something that was marked on the map as 'The Rock.' If you've ever been to the BWCA you know there are a lot of rocks. I mean you could be paddling around in the middle of a lake and scrape on a rock. It's crazy. So, we figured 'The Rock' must be something impressive. So, we paddled and paddled and got to 'The Rock.' And we weren't very impressed. It looked like all the other thousand islands. Hmm. Why did this one get a special name and mark on the map?



Shortly after 'The Rock' we stopped on another rock to have a little snack ;)





We got back to camp pretty early so had time to relax, read a book, make supper and then start a campfire for the evening.

Back at camp - see the grouse up in the tree?


Pretty sunset from our campsite on Hudson.




Grant making a little fire.


At some point while we were sitting by the fire we heard what sounded like a cow mooing. We thought maybe it could be a moose and Uncle Kevin confirmed that idea when we talked to him after we were out of the BWCA.

It was another fun day in the Boundary Waters!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) Day 2: Lake 4 and Hudson

On day number two in the BWCA we woke up to sunshine! We were glad for that so we could dry out all of our gear from the rainy day before. We spent the morning looking for the bag the bear had stolen from the night before, drying everything on the rocks in the sun, patching the bag the bear tore, and making some yummy breakfast!

Me warming up in the sunshine.


Grant showing one of the tears from the bear.


My nice patch job on another tear ;)


We were glad the bear only got our one bag that was pretty much empty and didn't get our food. We probably would have had to pack up and head out if it had. And we were glad we could patch the bag it did get so we could still use it for portages.

Our bear bag hanging in the tree that survived the visit from the bear!


Grant waiting for breakfast.


We made some yummy biscuits and gravy for breakfast!

Biscuits and Gravy Recipe:
Ingredients:
- Milk powder to make 1.5c
- 3 Tbsp flour
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 12 oz frozen sausage roll (we used Jimmy Dean)
- 1.5c water to make the milk
- 3 English muffins
Directions:
Mix the milk powder and water in a water jug. Fry the sausage in a pan till brown. Push the sausage off to the side, tip the pan and add butter to the fat. Add the flour to the fat, a little salt and pepper too, let bubble for 30 sec or so. Add the milk and stir back into the sausage, simmer until thickened. Split the muffins and grill. Arrange three per plate and divide the sausage over the two plates.

Doing dishes after a filling breakfast.


We didn't have anything to tell time but we figure we packed up and paddled out around noonish.

Beautiful day on the water.


Grant Walter doing the navigating.






We paddled through Lake 4 (where we had camped) and got a little confused trying to find the first portage into Hudson Lake. We had gone off our one map and were trying to find where we were on the next map. So after going to one dead end and turning around, we started down another spot Grant thought might be the way. A little muskrat kind of animal flopped up right beside our canoe and scared us as we started down the new path! It was looking pretty shallow and was getting narrow so we were doubtful. But we kept seeing scrapes on the top of rocks so we knew other canoes had gone that way. Then, we saw a spot in the woods that looked like a pretty worn path people had taken. We stopped and decided to walk it and see what the deal was.

Grant trying to figure out where we were.


Isn't it pretty??


We walked up the path and checked out the rapids.


After repeatedly cursing the map makers and wondering why they would make a gap between maps (we thought we had to be in that gap and that's why we couldn't tell where we were on the map) it dawned on us: THE MAPS OVERLAP!!!!! hahah! The land wasn't looking right because we had already gone past that point on the map - they overlapped by about an inch! hehe ... so we actually were on the first portage between Lake 4 and Hudson! Ah ha!! So, we packed up and did the first 10 rod portage into Hudson.

Grant manning the canoe. That sucker is tricky to portage. I tried to do it once and about fell over backwards. Grant just said 'this isn't going to work' and took it back ;) Well, I tried.


We did three portages from Lake 4 to Hudson - one was 10 rods, then 25 rods and then another 10 rods.

Grant and the canoe.


At the end of one of the portages we sat down for a minute (you're not actually supposed to sit on the portages so you're out of peoples' way but no one else was coming). As we were sitting there several birds that Uncle Kevin calls Canadian Jays decided to join us. Grant tried to get one to sit on his hand but it just wanted to hop around on the rock next to him.

Grant and the bird.


We made our way across Hudson and decided to camp on a little island. We thought it would be more difficult for the bears to get us there ;)

Grant thought it would be easier to just climb the tree to rig up the bear bag instead of trying to throw it over the branch!


After we got camp all set up we went for a walk around the island.

Grant doing a little fishing. He ended up catching one northern on the other side of the island.


Grant walking up ahead of me into the sunset.


After our walk we got in the canoe and went across to get some dry wood for a fire. We cooked chicken alfredo for supper (with canned chicken so it didn't have to be refrigerated), did dishes, made a fire and layed around looking at the stars when it got dark. As we were laying there we saw something big and colorful fly across the sky. I thought for sure it was fireworks at first but that didn't make any sense and there was no noise. Then we realized it was a shooting star! Maybe some kind of debris entering the atmosphere or something? It was humungous and bright and like a tealish blue color. It was crazy! I'd never seen anything like that!
We had a great second day in the BWCA!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) Day 1: Lakes 1, 2, 3 and 4 AND a Bear in Camp!

Grant and I went on a four day, three night trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA)! On Thursday, September 23rd we drove up to Grant's Auntie Jean and Uncle Kevin's house near Babbitt to spend the night before heading in.

Everest really wished he could go with.


Packed up and ready to make the drive north to Babbitt!


On Friday, September 24th, after staying the night in Babbitt, we had some breakfast, visited with Auntie Jean and Uncle Kevin and then headed for the BWCA!

Uncle Kevin and Grant chatting in the rain.


On the way to our entry point we were enjoying the pretty leaves and then had to stop as this baby bear walked across the road in front of us! Little did we know - this was a sign for later that night.




We checked in at the forest service building just past Ely and then headed for entry point 30 on Lake 1 of the Kawishiwi River.

Here's Grant all ready to go!


And here's me. Yes, it was still raining ;)


Row, row, row your boat.


The scenery was still pretty despite the dreary weather. Luckily we were with the wind here ;) It's hard to tell in the pictures but it was actually very windy. We had a couple portages between lakes 1 and 2 but they weren't bad. The first was about 25 rods and the second was 36 rods (16.5 ft in a rod).

We stopped at this spot between lakes 2 and 3 to have some lunch.

Lunch time!


I was slightly disappointed to see people on the lakes and at the campsites. It's the BWCA - there aren't supposed to be people there, right? Well, I guess we were there! But, as we got through Lakes 1 and 2 we started to see fewer people. By the time we got to Lake 4 there were a lot fewer people.


We picked this campsite in a little bay at the west end of Lake 4.

When we first got to our site I was freezing so we set up the tent and I went in to put some dry clothes on (after being in the rain all day it was soaked through our rain gear - note to self for next time - get better rain gear and tall waterproof boots to keep your feet dry). Somehow Grant toughed it out and went to start setting up the bear bag. By the time I was changed he was pretty much done with that so we just had to make supper! We made some little pizzas which turned out really tasty! Here's the recipe:

Pizzas
Ingredients:
3 English Muffins (three pizzas per person)
Pizza sauce
Shredded cheese
Pepperoni slices (four or five slices per pizza)
Instructions:
Cut english muffins in half and lightly grill inside surfaces in pan on camp stove (we put a little butter in the pan first). Turn muffin halves over, add pizza sauce, pepperoni, and shredded cheese. Put cover on pan and let the toppings heat up and then enjoy!

Grant getting the stove ready while enjoying a little dryness under the tarp we were glad we brought.

After we ate and cleaned up the dishes we hoisted the bear bag up into the tree and headed for our tent to warm up and stay dry. We forgot to bring a watch with and our cell phones had gone dead already so we didn't know what time it was the whole trip ;)

I think we fell asleep pretty early this night - it might have still been light?? At some point in the night I woke up to a 'chhhhhh chhhhhhh' sound that was really loud and I swear it was right by our tent. I elbowed Grant and was like 'WHAT WAS THAT??' He hadn't heard it so shrugged and then we were both really quiet trying to listen. We heard a few branches breaking back behind our tent so then I said 'oh no something's messing with our food bag!' We were quiet again for awhile and didn't hear anything. Then we heard one of our canoe paddles fall over. Grant jumped up and out of his sleeping bag, grabbed his headlamp and opened the tent door to see what was going on. 'IT'S A BEAR!!!!' were his next words ;) he started yelling at it to get out but it really didn't phase the bear. So, Grant got his shoes on and went out to try to chase it out of camp. The bear really wasn't scared of him at all until Grant started running after it and then threw a rock at it. That's when I had peeked out finally after not wanting to get out of my sleeping bag because I was scared! But, I did see the bear running out of camp and Grant throwing a rock at it ;) It was a pretty big bear - SCARY!

Then we both started walking around to see if the bear had damaged anything. We realized one of our big dry packs was missing. We had two big packs with that we put all the smaller stuff in to make the portages easier. And now one of them was gone! Dangit - our portages were going to be a lot more difficult without that pack! We looked all around and couldn't find it anywhere. But, we did check our food bag and it hadn't bothered that so that was good! We went to bed hoping we'd find the pack in the morning.

All night we were pretty on edge. Every little noise we both jumped and asked 'what was that???' We kept hearing this 'CERPLUNK' sound and couldn't figure out what it was. I was envisioning the bear by the lake throwing our stuff in. Finally we got up and put our headlamps on only to see two beavers swimming past our camp ;) Then Grant remembered the sound from growing up - it was beavers slapping their tails on the water! After that I think we finally fell asleep ;)

Here's our tent - see that red bag - the bear didn't mess with that one. Our green bag was farther away from the tent over by our canoe by the water and that's the one it stole! Our food bag was hanging on the trees a ways back behind our tent.

The next morning we searched for our bag and finally found it back behind our food bag where we had heard the branches breaking! It was tore in about three places all across the back but we were able to repair it so we could still do our portages!

Whew - it was an interesting first day and night!
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