Thursday, September 27, 2007

Quetico Camping Trip

Each spring, Andy and I dream and plan for the Hunter’s Island 10 day trip we’re going to take in September. Maybe some year we’ll pull it off. This year, it was whittled down to 3 nights in the Quetico. But they were splendid.
We went out with our friends Dave and Nancy again.
This year we took a 4 seater Bell Kevlar Canoe. (we called her Bonnie) She was perfect! Bonnie plowed through the Cache Bay rollers with 4 strong paddlers (or at least 3) hardly taking on any water. We stayed on Saganagons and traveled up and down the Falls Chain in an easy day. I don't have the patience to fish much, but these fish are not crafty at all. A half an hour each day yielded great dinners.
It was a cold and drippy week, but even that was perfect. As outfitters, we need every dry day to button up for winter. Wet days are worry-free travel days. We're also on to the warm-when-wet clothing---how to keep dry and comfortable in the void of all comfort. We pack relatively lightly ( 3 out of 4 of us do), but we all have our little luxuries. Extra weight for the fishing net, for the box of wine, for all of the apples, for the cotton pillow case (this is the BEST new trick for me).
Andy loves to look for old cabins and the evidence of history, Nancy’s favorite moments are when we sit in the chairs and look at the water (never long enough), Dave is a great fish cook, and I 'm just delighted not to be in charge of anyone.
We all were game to explore the 1000+ rod portage that we were pretty sure was there…part way through we came upon a boggy pond. It seemed like we might be able to paddle it, but it was full weeds.. We would paddle up to a dead end, Dave would stand up and look through the maze at what appeared to be flowing water, then we’d use our paddles to all move a floating bog island aside and presto---a passage would appear. Just like Harry Potter. I LOVED THAT PART!

We left Tuscarora under the charges of my father, plus Noah, Jake, and Anna. Who knew that my dad missed his calling as a resorter? Noah should already be running his own soccer camp in the woods, Jake kept everyone’s spirits up with his ‘no worries’ attitude, and Anna lingered in the background with all of the answers. My mother took care of our house and kids, tucking them into tightly made beds and leaving them clearly relaxed and well cared for. This competent crew handled the broken foot emergency during a wind storm. Noah cleared the road of downed trees to rescue a group that had bailed out early, Jake gave a portage lesson to a group of arborists who then gave him a chainsaw lesson so that they could cut their way into Bunkhouse 4. Never a dull moment! We couldn’t have left the place in better hands.

We’ve come home to warmer and sunnier days for some beautiful fall canoe trips for guests! Peak color season, still plenty of water soaking into the woods. It doesn’t get any better.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Smokey Bear says MODERATE!


District Forest Ranger Dennis Neitzke calmly let the town know that USFS resources were maxed out. In his non-panicky underdramatic way---he reported over the radio that overall conditions in the Superior National Forest ranked in the 99th percentile on a danger scale of 100. (YIKES!)

Since Smokey Bear also said conditions were SEVERE, Jake and other staff members spent some time making sure our fire pump worked, watering trees and crispy grass, just hoping to raise the humidity a little bit.

We've had some rain this week---an entire Cross River full one night----a few washed out roads, and a happy Jake could kayak down the swelled river---that was just a trickle last weekend. Smokey says MODERATE. The fire ban has been lifted, water levels are way up. Fortunately, our neighborhood is equipped to handle this kind of rain without many problems---other than a few temporarily soggy people in the woods.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Abundance of Wild Flowers--photos by Daniel

Photo from Round Lake Road on May 5th...
Same road.....Daniel took the photos below on his way to the mailbox on August 30th-----the burn cleared the way for a spectacular display of wildflowers.