Border Lakes 1

Pierre Girard

Curious about Wooden Canoes
Beginning of last weekend, Wing said we should go to the BWCA. "Good luck getting a permit," I told her. Like everything else she does - Wing is certainly competent at getting permits. She picked up the one and only permit availabe for that area for a week - starting Sunday, which is when we wanted to go.


We were headed for a small lake named Paradise. We passed these fellas on the way:


If you want to get to Paradise - you have to climb this portage - which we've dubbed, "The Stairway to Heaven (yes I know - bad joke)." It is quite a bit steeper than the photo shows:


We found a great campsite and soon had everything set up. Wing has a thing about this large tent which the kids call "The Summer Palace."


We were soon out in the canoe and Wing caught a couple of walleyes and a northern for supper. She kept us well fed and we could have left quite a bit of our food at home:


The local scenery was something like this:


We found a loon nesting:


Wing's bounty over the fire:


We tried to get some photos of a beautiful blood red moon rising over the trees and reflected in the water, but we are both such amature photogs we only got two large red circles with a black backround.

We settled in, after a long day and slept well to the wipporwill's lullabye.
Nice trip! where exactly are the Border Lakes (other than the natural response of on the border)
dboles said:
Nice trip! where exactly are the Border Lakes (other than the natural response of on the border)

Lakes between Ontario and Minnesota, the old "Voyageur's Highway," which are today's Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota and Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario.

Border Lakes 2

We relaxed around camp most of the next day and checked the portage into Jackfish Bay (a huge body of water, arm of Basswood Lake) and the portage into Range. We had a nice siesta in the afternoon, and went fishing in the evening. Wing caught all the fish. We had one pole, Wing was having fun, and I never interfere with a good food source.


You'll notice on the above photo, we've moved off the forest service grill and built our fire between two rocks. The forest service grills waste too much firewood when cooking.

The next day, we set out to the north across many portages and small lakes into the Horse, and up the Horse River to Frolic. We padddled (and portaged) about 22 miles.

Horse Lake and entry to Horse River:


Horse River can have as few as three portages and as many as 11. We were lucky and ran all the rapids with no problem and only had three portages (on the Horse).


These are not bad rapids, but they are all full of stones which can rip the bottom out of your canoe. Wing was supurb as avant, and quickly steered us around every stone. She was also great on the return trip where we had to paddle and pole up the rapids. she's not real strong, but she knows exactly what she's doing. I thought we would have to portage several times, but Wing was up to the task - unlike some of my much stronger male canoe partners! Wing knows what to do - and exactly the right time to do it. It is just a joy to paddle with her!


Tree growing out of a rock![/IMG

Irises (guess who had the camera for this shot)


We were headed to the Basswood River and took shots of some of the falls and rapids there:



How's this for a strainer?


On the Wheelbarrow Portage we came across two newlyweds. We did the same thing on our honeymoon, but we packed lighter. They must have had 1000 pounds of gear in a very huge and heavy canoe. We helped them portage part of their gear (but only one carry - they had a screen house along!). We got no photos.

More falls:


When I was young and foolish, I ran some of these larger falls and rapids - much to the detriment of my canoe. I wouldn't do it today. It is many long miles to the nearest trailhead and kind of tough to be without a canoe.

As it was, we got caught in the current in an area where two falls empty into a basin at right angles to each other, and it was only some quick paddle work, and the hand of the Creator, that kept us upright.

We paddled back through the Horse, and just as we reached camp, it began to pour (we'd had no raingear with us). We jumped in the tent, dog tired, and after the rain we saw this:

We spent another day fishing and hiking, but we were out of photos, except for this one:


End of the last portage.

Once we got in the canoe, a strong warm tail wind came up and we sailed the entire length of this long narrow lake without a paddle stroke. I guess we were in no hurry to leave....