Wednesday, September 29, 2010

BWCA 2010: Day 4

Boundary Waters Adventure with Eric Z., Jessica H., and Kate S.
August 9-13, 2010

Day 4 - Back to Day 3 - On to Day 5

We got up around 5:30 and paddled over to a marsh on the northeast arm of Wind Lake, where we hoped to see a moose having breakfast. We didn't see any moose, but we did see this:

Sunrise over Wind Lake

My journal entry from Thursday, 8/12:
Camp 3 again: island in Wind Lake
48.01343 N, 91.53202 W (WGS84), 1370'

Wx: clear overnight, mostly sunny in morning, rained for ~20 minutes at 3:30ish, now (5pm) partly sunny. Hot and humid. Mosquitoes not bad, though many biting flies now.

We got up early (~5:30 am) and paddled over to the marsh on the northeast arm of Wind Lake in hopes of finding a moose. No luck. I read somewhere that moose numbers in northeast Minnesota are declining.

Had a big pancake breakfast after morning paddle, then lazed around camp for a while. Then paddled around and explored the southwest arm of Wind Lake. Saw a raven and an osprey.

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) on Wind Lake

We had stopped in the middle of the southwest arm to filter water when tragedy struck: Eric's bandanna, which had been loosely wrapped around his neck, blew away and landed on the water just out of reach. This was no ordinary bandanna - it was printed with a map of the Grand Canyon, where Eric had found it while rafting the Colorado many years ago. Heavily laden with years of trail memories, it sank into the abyss before we could rescue it. The paddling gods give, and the paddling gods take away. Don't cry too hard - as we passed through Ely on our way home, Eric bought a bandanna with a map of the BWCA on it. Sooner or later, he'll lose it in the Grand Canyon, and the circle of life will continue.

Around this time, we started to notice biting flies. They seemed to especially like feet and ankles; I don't think one ever bit me above the knee. They followed us as we were paddling around the lake, seemingly hiding under the canoe seats and coming out to bite when the air was calm. Back in camp, where we tended to wear sandals, they bit our feet mercilessly. Fortunately, I discovered that my thick wool socks would defeat them. I chose to commit the fashion crime of wearing sandals with socks hiked up as far as they would go rather than submit to the painful bites.

My journal entry continues:
Went to a group of four unnamed islands just southwest of our camp. Had lunch and took group photos on one of the larger islands ("Lunch Island", 48.01242 N, -91.53674 W, WGS84), then landed on others briefly just for sake of completeness.

Returned to camp and fished. Tried 1/4 oz chartreuse Rooster Tail and a small floating Rapala with no luck. Switched to fly rod on a whim (not terribly hopeful after getting skunked at Camp 2). Got huge hit on chartreuse #4 popper, just as on Indiana Lake on Monday. Fish hit next to a mostly submerged log. Landed a nice smallmouth bass.
Smooches for a smallmouth
Later landed two smaller bass. Might try fishing again after dinner; might use floating Rapala on spinning rod to avoid backcast issues as it gets dark.

Mostly clear now with puffy clouds (5pm). Chance for more showers in early evening, then showers and storms likely after midnight. Took down hammock after brief shower around 3:30pm and didn't put it back up.
I spent a good while in the afternoon sitting around camp watching the aspen leaves dance in the wind and the ground squirrels quarreling with each other in the underbrush.

As dusk approached, I grabbed my spinning rod to and tried some other spots on our island where overhanging vegetation would have made fly casting frustrating. Since it was clear that the bass were hitting surface lures, I tied on my Scum Frog Tiny Toad Popper in anticipation of some explosive topwater bassin'. I got several absolutely savage strikes, but I could never set the hook quite right. The package sternly instructed me to wait two seconds before setting the hook, but I still went to bed without landing a fish on the Tiny Toad. Oh well; guess I just need more practice.

That night we were treated to a spectacular sunset.

On to Day 5.

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