Boundary Waters Canoe Area Paddle

Trip participants: Bill Armstrong and Gary Boehle (Co-Leaders), Diana McClure, Cathy Schuler, Chris Jordan, Lukas Fakner, and James Kendall.

The trip started from Greenfield, Indiana. A stop was made in Wolcott, In. to pick up Chris and then on through Chicago, all
of Wisconsin, and through Duluth and up to Ely, Minnesota by 7:00 PM. The club van runs great!

Sunday morning found us paddling our Kevlar canoes east up Moose Lake to the Boundary Water Canoe Area (BWCA). Lunch included fresh northern pike and bass filets caught by James. Five portages later (with Gary carrying about 3 packs at a time) we were in the west end of Knife Lake looking for our first campsite. Several good spots were already taken and we settled on one on top of a steep rocky climb that was just big enough to accommodate our
seven tents. Steak kabobs and veggies for dinner were enjoyed by all.

Monday morning sunrise through the fog was enjoyed by the early riser, Cathy. We all packed up after a breakfast of freeze dried eggs and bacon and moved east to Thunder Cliff. A beautiful overlook of Knife Lake was viewed and a short yoga session on the cliff edge was performed by Bill, Diana and Lukas. The Blueberry picking was also great up on the cliff. We then proceeded to the south arm of
Knife Lake to a fantastic camp site with a wrap around beach and a rocky point for sun bathing. A warm sunny day encouraged all to wade and swim to cool down. The first of three homemade dehydrated meals prepared by Chris were devoured
by all, with another sampling of fresh caught bass.

Loons with their fluffy, downy babies were seen on every lake. Many Bald Eagles, ravens and seagulls filled the skies. One beaver and a few mergansers were seen but no bears nor wolves. Pesky
chipmunks and red squirrels scampered about the camp sites trying to steal a bit of food and a small rabbit, (or hare) lived at one campsite. Mosquitoes and biting flies were only a minor nuisance
generally.

Monday sunset and Tuesday sunrise were both beautiful with clear starry skies overnight. James provided stories about the constellations that had us all spellbound. We spent the next day at the same site. Cliff jumping, swimming, fishing, book reading and exploring waterfalls (Eddy Lake) filled up the day. Gary’s dehydrated bar-b-que and more fish then filled us up for dinner in the evening.

Hard rain and strong winds woke us up in the night but only one tent was slightly damaged and by morning the weather cleared for another hot sunny day on Wednesday. After pancakes, we reluctantly packed up and left this 5-star campsite and headed out of the south arm of Knife Lake to another fantastic 5-star site looking out over Knife Lake toward the West. More swimming (watch out for the leaches, Cathy), fishing, napping and firewood gathering were done and Lukas (“Put Another Log on the Fire”) provided us with plenty of fire in the evening. What a beautiful view of the sunset could be had while sitting high on the “throne“ up on the hill from the camp. The forester that dug that pit must have been laughing the whole time about the site placement.

After a restful night and an oatmeal breakfast, we packed up and started to head in over the portages again. What proficiency and skill was shown in our mastering of the portages this time! No triple trips were needed by anyone. An unsuccessful attempt was made to find the root beer lady’s memorial rock prior to the portages. Lunch was enjoyed on Carp Lake Point and several fish were caught, including two at the same time on one plug. After the final portage, another fine camp site was located and we all settled down for our last evening in the “wilderness”. Thimble berries, red currants, and
some kind of high bush blueberry (or were they huckleberries, I don’t know?), were picked at this site. Bill managed to pick up a water snake along the shore for all to see, maybe a little too close for Cathy though. Chris’ spaghetti dinner with James’ bass filled us up again in the evening.

On Friday morning a short “shopping” trip was made at Prairie Portage, including viewing the waterfall, and then we all headed down to Moose Lake and back in. The afternoon was spent cleaning up in the showers, touring the town. Some went to the International Wolf Exhibit before pizza at the Italian restaurant. More shopping and some cold, locally brewed blueberry ale at the Boathouse ended the evening.

Saturday’s trip home started at 5:00 AM. A morning drive along the north shore of Lake Superior was followed by an afternoon tour of Chicago with former tour bus guide, James, providing the commentary. What a great unscheduled addition to the trip!

Chris left us at Wolcott and the rest of us got to Greenfield on August 9. (Just 137 days till Christmas). Sunday morning came early as Lukas had to catch a plane to South Dakota by 7:00 AM. Lukas came over from Germany to take our canoe trip and the go work with a church group with American Indian children for three weeks before returning to his first job as an electrician in Germany. Good luck Lukas, glad you could join us!

What a wonderful trip! Everything worked like clockwork. No one got stuck with jobs that they didn’t want to do and everyone cooperated with all the tasks needed for a smooth camping/canoeing trip. Thanks to the CIWC for providing the van, equipment and the opportunity to go on this wilderness trip.