Paddle - BWCA, Quetico, Sylvania, and other paddling places

Second Guide Trip

By Riley Smith Print Icon Print Report View/Leave Comments (0)
Dates:July 8-13, 2018
Entry Point:30 - Lake One (BWCA)
Lakes:Adventure, Ahsub, Alice, Cacabic, Cattyman, Disappointment, Four, Hudson, Ima, Insula, Jitterbug, One, Parent, Reflection, Snowbank, Thomas, Three, Two

Part of how our guiding outift worked was that our supervisors assigned us our entry point, and then we plan the trip. Unfortunately I was assigned Lake One this week. Let me be very clear: I AM NOT A NUMBERS CHAIN FAN. I am sure there is a redeaming quality somewhere, but I just don't like them. The high traffic and burned scenery just don't appeal to me. I pushed our group hard on the first day to get as far as possible so we wouldn't have to stay on the numbers. Day one as a guide is important because it sets the pace of what the group is capable of. On this day one I began scaling back the trip some. We ended up spending the night on Hudson. We had our choice of campsites, but all of them were bad. The burn had taken its toll. All of the sites we found were horrible. We ended up spending the night at the site next to the Insula portage (#1363.) It wasn't a good site. Thick brush, no shade, and an ungodly amount of Mosquitoes were all the reward we recieved for the hard day's paddle. It was a good sunset though, and the blueberries were in abundance.

Sunset from the Insula Portage

The next morning we climbed over the hill to Insula. Once we began paddling on Insula, something happened that never happens to me: I got lost. Maybe it was the endless islands, or the burned over landmarks, but we wandered around awhile before finding ourselves and eating lunch at a really nice island site (#1332.) We pressed on into Alice and looked for a site near the North end of the lake. We looked at a site on the West end first that wasn't very suitable for our group, though the big island next to it is covered in giagantic pine, and is a place I badly want to explore someday. The beach site (#1175) was cool, but, again, didn't fit our group. We spent the night at #1174. It was a pretty nice site. My group went for a swim. It would have been a very akward site had my clients not been an all guys group as the biff is right on top of the only tent pad.

We headed out the next day and took the long portage to Thomas. This is where my group spiralled out of control. I knew the length of the portage would test them a bit, so I went ahead with a canoe and a pack and was planning on coming back to help. There ended up being a ton of water on the portage. I finished and began working back to pick up the pieces of my group. Almost everyone fell. There was blood, sweat, and tears spread out across the portage. It was a mess. We got lunch on Thomas and made it to Ima by early afternoon. By some stroke of luck, we got the campsite I most wanted on Ima. A boy scout group was just clearing out when we arrived. It is the site on the North end of the island (#1195) and it truly didn't let us down. It was a great site and all the fruit was ripe to eat. As per the norm, the mosquiotes were incredibly bad (just that time of year), but we enjoyed the site.

Teaching Canoe Lifts in Camp - Ima Lake

The next morning we had amazing pancakes as there was Blueberries, Strawberries, Rasberries, Current, and Saskatoons here to add. It was wonderfull! We headed out, not knowing how rough of a day we had ahead. We worked our way through the little chain of lakes to the West, stopping for a break at Cattyman falls. The weather was turning worse, and it was raining pretty good by the time we hit Jitterbug. The Jitterbug portage proved really tough to find. Once we cleared that we stopped for lunch on the amazing Western site on Ahsub (#1206) which is uniquely perched on top of a nice cliff. From there, well Disappointment truly proved to be a Disappointment. We worked down the lake only to find each and every site full, except the last one. The last one was a swampy mess of a site, choked off, without much for tent pads. Had it been me, I would have made camp, but I think my clients were tired of the bugs, and they voted to keep moving. We portaged into Parent, but both of those sites were full as well. A strong tail wind pushed us quickly across the lake. We portaged into Snowbank and began paddling North. The first site there was also full, but we found a nice site (#1477) that was open, and spent the night there. A collosal wind storm had been by in the last couple years that had really levelled the surrounding region. Two of us set out for the island site to the North (#2083) but found it obliterated by that same storm. There was almost nothing left of the site. We spent two nights at 1477, day tripping up to the North end of the lake and attempting to hike back to Wooden Leg. We made our pick up at the Snowbank boatlaunch the next morning. Great trip.

Rainy Day in the Narrows

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