Last Trip of the Season


By Auralee Strege Print Icon Print Report View/Leave Comments (1)
Dates:September 3-6, 2010
Entry Point:22 - Mudro Lake—Restricted (BWCA)
Type:Canoeing
Lakes:Boot, Bullet, Fairy, Fourtown, Gun, Moosecamp, Mudro, Wagosh

September 3, Day 1

Our alarm clock never went off at the planned time and we overslept until 5:15am. After waking everyone up, we ate a quick breakfast before stepping outside to a blustery, rainy, cold morning. We drove to Ely, MN where Ben picked up our permits while Jenn and Marc watched the BWCA movie. The outfitter told us they were expecting forty mile an hour gusts that day so we knew we needed to get going as soon as possible to avoid the wind. We arrived at entry point #22 on Mudro Lake around 7:45am. After putting on our rain suits and few extra layers, we started a 30 rod portage from the parking lot to Mudro Lake. Marc carried the gear pack and fishing pack plus the canoe while Jenn carried their pack and four canteens. Ben carried the canoe and food pack while I carried our pack and five paddles.
Marc with Canoe
Marc with Canoe

Ben with Canoe
Ben with Canoe

Jenn Portaging
Jenn Portaging

Auralee Portaging
Auralee Portaging

We were able to single portage every time which saved us time. The landing on Mudro Lake was amazing! It was wide enough for several canoes on a level sandy beach, where we were able to load the canoes without getting our boots soaked. Ben and I took the led while the Farmers followed us on the start of a narrow shallow river. While maneuvering our way around rocks and sharp turns, Marc and Jenn quickly figured out how to steer and paddle after a few blunders. We were all paddling well despite the wind and rain on Mudro lake, which was a small lake sheltered from most of the wind. The wind was coming from the north and we didn’t get the full blast of it until later. The next portage we arrived at was not as welcoming as the first landing. There were many sharp rocks; we all had to watch our footing every step of the way. I tried carrying two packs on this portage, but it didn't go well. Marc carried two packs and the canoe for the rest of the portages - at least when Jenn didn't steal the extra pack. Ben hoisted the pack on my back while Marc helped Jenn and we started out together. After loading everything in the canoes we paddled for a few minutes before the next portage. This next portage was 141 rods, with lots of rocks and a small cliff we walked next to. Jenn and Marc did great! They didn’t complain and were ready to hop back in the canoe afterwards. We were all a little annoyed that the next portage was within our sight after finishing the last one though. We paddled a few strokes and arrived at our next portage of 10 rods. The landing at the end of this portage was a steep cliff. Jenn and I had to wait for Ben and Marc to come with the canoes so we could lower the packs down to them. We had to lower the canoes down carefully too.
Steep Portage
Steep Portage

Steep Portage
Steep Portage

Steep Portage
Steep Portage

Steep Portage
Steep Portage

When we got on the water again we started paddling through a river before entering Fourtown Lake. Before reaching the lake we passed several people who told us we should pull into the first campsite we passed and stop. None of us were prepared for white caps, pouring rain, and wind that we were starting to paddle through. Ben and I were doing alright until we looked behind us at Marc and Jenn. Marc was desperately trying to keep the canoe from turning completely sideways while waves were washing in the canoe. They were paddling for all they were worth, as we watched them slowly turn completely around blowing towards the rocks. Once they were touching the rocks they hung onto the cliff while Ben and I paddled backwards to help out. Ben and Marc decided the best thing they could do was pull into a bay and discuss a strategy. Once we pulled into the bay Ben told Marc to rearrange the packs so most of the weight was towards the front. Our next plan was to stay close to the shore and pull into the first campsite. We slowly inched our way forward. Marc and Jenn were doing great! Jenn said she was having fun going up and down on the water as they paddled into the waves. The campsite we arrived at was on an island with two campsites. We looked at the first one and hiked over to the other one to see which one we liked more. After taking a look at the second we quickly decided we wanted to stay at the first which was more protected from the north wind. We let Marc and Jenn choose the first tent pad at the site. They chose a level tent pad enclosed by woods and protected from the wind. Ben and I took the other tent pad closer to the open and wind.
Fourtown Campsite
Fourtown Campsite

Fourtown Campsite
Fourtown Campsite

Jenn and Marc set up their tent while Ben set up the gear tarp and I set up our tent. We all huddled under the gear tarp and had whole wheat French bread, real cheese, sausage, trail mix, jerky, raisins, and crackers for lunch. After lunch Marc wanted to go fishing so Ben showed him how to reassemble a reel and rod. Marc fished for a while from shore before deciding to go back to their tent. Ben and I stayed in the tent the rest of the afternoon reading and sleeping in our warm sleeping bags while it rained. By 4:40pm. the rain had stopped but not the wind. Ben and I bundled up and went out to get dinner started. We had ham, applesauce, and creamed corn for dinner with hot chocolate for dessert. Jenn and Marc did dishes while Ben and I put the food away in the pack. Ben and I both went out together to get water to purify since it was so windy.
Purifying Water at Fourtown
Purifying Water at Fourtown

I purified enough water to refill our canteens. The sun started to come out some that evening. Ben laid down on a rock basking in all the sun he could.
Soaking up the Sun
Soaking up the Sun

Fourtown Campsite
Fourtown Campsite

Jenn and Marc went fishing after dinner while Ben and I went swimming. The water was surprisingly warm compared to the fifty degree weather we were having. After our swim Ben started trying to get a fire going. It took him a long time to get it started since everything was soaking wet. After using an entire box of matches he finally got it started just as the Farmers were coming back from their fishing.
Starting a Campfire
Starting a Campfire

Fourtown Sundown
Fourtown Sundown

The Farmers didn’t catch anything that night. We all huddled around the fire and cooked marshmallows for smores. We went to bed after deciding to paddle more the next day.