12 August 2008
Ah, Oui Voyeguer
A few days ago I completed another trek through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA). This time I partnered up with a fellow named Craig. It was a pleasant experience with very little excitement. I guess that is a little deceiving. There was a broken canoe seat during the first hours of the trip. However, beyond that mishap, everything went smooth albeit Craig was a camping and canoeing neophyte.
Originally, I was to go with Phil (you know the quotable beer guy) and a rather large party. However, Craig wanted to go but could not fit on the permit. Only 9 people per permit are allowed. I then decided to purchase another permit to accommodate Craig and anyone else who want a less "crowded" experience. No one else came forth. So Craig and I launched out from Kawishiwi Lake as the other crew 20 miles west shoved out from Little Gabbro.
This year I added another canoe to my collection. A few weeks before the 15 foot pakcanoe was vandalized at a resort I was staying. The thwart had been broken. Also realizing that my crew would be a bit big for the little canoe I felt I needed to obtain something more substanial. That's when I went ahead and purchased the 17 foot mango Pak Canoe from Pakboats. Its pretty much the bigger brother of my other canoe. (I also purchased another canoe pack, a sleeping bag, and another tent.)
This trip included a lot of river, 3 large portages, pictographs, 3 rain storms, and Mocha Moose Pie and 2 moments of lostness. I'm sure we covered roughly 24+ miles and always got a campsite. However, the wildlife that the guides bragged about was non-existant. A few beavers, a hawk, and some ducks were all I saw. No moose and no bears. Didn't even hear the wolves howl like last year. The route we were on was pretty busy up until Malberg. Coming out I think we ran into every permit holder for the entry point (I think its 9).
Again I am impressed with Ely. This town on the edge of the wilderness never ceases to please me. I didn't get to any of the museums but I did drink a few Dorothy's Root Beers and even got a 6 pack. I always leave Ely longing to return again some other day. I especially would like to spend more time at the Wolf center and Bear place.