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The Lowdown, Trip Planning

Forest Fires and the Sunset

July 25, 2011
A Bombardier fire plane lifts off the surface of the lake.

Imagine this: your boat is full of canoe packs and pushing hard westward into the setting sun. Both the fishing rod and the camera are out as you try and grab a few walleyes and some great shots of the amazing sunset. It is almost time to find a campsite, but you just aren’t ready to leave the water yet. The sun dipping below

the horizon has captivated you and your bowman, both.

The sky is full of reds, oranges, and pinks as if it is ablaze tonight. And in some ways it is on fire tonight, or at the very least fires are contributing to the brilliant sunset. What is creating these vivid sunsets are the fires burning in Canada, specifically Ontario. As the smoke fills the air and drifts into the U.S. it creates the crimson and other colors you see as the sun goes down in the evening.

As of July 24, 2011 there were 118 fires burning in Ontario, with new ones reported each day. At the present time there are fire restrictions in the northwest portion of the province. Currently, those restrictions do not include Quetico Provincial Park, but the Ministry of Natural Resources is asking everyone to be vigilant about fire prevention.

In terms of the “Made in America” fires, not so many are burning at the present time. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) saw two small fires burning on Kekekabic Lake, but those are now winding down and should be no threat to paddlers.

Remember to keep your campfires within the fire ring, and under control. Please put your fire out completely before going to bed, or leaving the campsite for the day. And while the BWCAW has been wet this season, it doesn’t take much for a fire to get out of control and cause a lot of damage.

Enjoy those colorful sunrises and sunsets, and get out on the water!

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The Lowdown, Trip Planning

Minnesota state parks set to reopen

July 22, 2011
SplitRock

The long national nightmare is over.

Ok, not so much, but the Minnesota government is back up and running which means the state parks will be opening for visitors again this weekend. It will take some time for all the parks to come back to full strength, so we will have to be patient in the days to come.

In the meantime, ready your Wanderer and Ramble pack for the parks that are open. Here is just a sampling of state parks near Duluth, which are beginning to reopen again.

Cascade River is open

Gooseberry Falls is partially open

Grand Portage is open

Hill Annex Mine is open

Jay Cooke is partially open

Judge C.R. Magney is open

Savanna Portage is open

Split Rock is open

Temperance River is open

Tettegouche is open

Please realize you may experience partial services and other deficiencies in areas that are not fully open just yet. If you have questions about any other state parks or campgrounds please refer to the link below for information straight from the DNR.

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/reopen/index.html

Good news is: all the state trails are open or partially open for business. Get out there and enjoy those. Also remember, the Superior Hiking Trail never shut down, and you never need a permit, so keep using that trail up and down the north shore.

Additionally, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness never shut down. Permits to the BWCAW are continuing to be issued, including at the Duluth Pack store in Canal Park. I took just a quick peek at permit availability, and while some popular entries are booked up, you can still find other good entry points through August.

Get those canoe packs loaded into the boats and get on the water, plenty of summer left. You can never see too many sunsets while in the Boundary Waters or Quetico.

 

The Lowdown, Trip Planning

Superior Hiking Trail experts at Duluth Pack

July 11, 2011
A hiker takes a lunch break while hiking the SHT

The Duluth, Minnesota area has several crown jewels of recreation. The lakes, the rivers, the state & national parks, and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, to name just a few, are priceless. One of these up and coming masterpieces in our own backyard is the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT).

When fully complete, the Superior Hiking Trail will be a 277-mile footpath in northern Minnesota. Created in 1986, the trail follows a rocky ridgeline that roughly parallels the north shore of Lake Superior. As the SHT climbs and descends you can’t help but be awed by the many magnificent vistas and overlooks.

The trail begins south of Duluth near the town of Carlton, and winds its way north toward Canada. The trail ends with a link to the Border Route Trail north of Hovland, MN near the U.S. and Canadian border. The Border Route trail continues to the west linking with the Kekakabic trail and ending near Ely, MN.

Along the way you will find 82 wilderness campsites and a trailhead about every five to 10 miles. Hikers may enjoy adventures all the way from a variety of day-hikes to complete trail through-hikes with everything in between. Neither permits nor reservations are required on the SHT, and dogs are allowed on leash only.

The trail was built with blood, sweat and volunteers. They are the ones who originally cut the trail and the ones that keep it open. Present volunteer opportunities can be found up and down the trail, including work to close a gap in the Duluth area. If you or your hiking group would like to help on the trail check into the Superior Hiking Trail’s Association website at SHTA.org.

The Duluth Pack store at 365 Canal Park Dr. is the go-to source for all information pertaining to the SHT. Not only are there experts on staff to help you learn more, but many have hiked the trail around Duluth and up the North Shore. They can also help you find trailheads in the city and ones nearest the store. The SHT Association sells a complete set of maps and the book “Guide to the Superior Hiking Trail.” All the above, in addition to special edition t-shirts, can be found at the Duluth Pack Store.

And the most important thing to remember is that the Superior Hiking Trail is open for business. While the Minnesota State Parks are shut down during the budget impasse, the SHT remains open.

Go grab your Wanderer or your Rambler pack and get out on the trail!

Hike me on back to DuluthPack.com

The Lowdown, Trip Planning

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Open for Fishing

July 8, 2011
A nice smallie resides in a fly fisherman's net

A nice smallie resides in a fly fisherman's net

In last week’s blog I gave you an update on bear reports coming from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. As of this writing not much has changed, and no new problem bears have been reported. Keep your camp clean, protect your food pack, and all will be good.

Here in Duluth we have one curious bear making news and that is Dylan the Bear out on Park Point. Seems Dylan swam across from Superior, WI sometime in May and has been raiding the local bird feeders. Other than a few upset robins and finches he hasn’t been much trouble. However, there is a live trap set for him in an effort to relocate Dylan to a less residential neck of the woods.

The news I have for you today is two-fold; first, the BWCAW is open and unaffected by the state government shut down in Minnesota. Second, the fish are biting, and it is time to get out on the water. After spending some time roaming around at recreation.gov (that’s where you reserve your BWCAW permit) it is apparent there are still permits to be had for good entry points. Book a permit today, and then choose the Duluth Pack store in Canal Park as your permit issue station.

The bait shops in Grand Marais are reporting that fishing is good in general in the east end of the BWCAW. Walleyes are starting to slow down, but if you know where to find them a shore lunch is in your future. Smallmouth bass are being caught while still in shallow water in the lakes. Fishermen are finding surface lures and very shallow runners are catching these smallies.

The report out of Ely is a little bit different; walleyes are being caught at a pretty good pace in 12 to 18 feet of water. In the evenings they are coming shallower onto structure in the eight-foot range. At the present time anglers seem to be having the best luck with leeches. Smallmouth bass in the Ely area are running a bit deeper than their eastern brothers. Fisherman are catching smallies in five to eight feet of water on Rapalas and other shallow to medium running lures.

If you are a fly fisherman, and would love to see some flies tied this Saturday, July 9, head on over to the Duluth Pack store at 365 Canal Park Drive. EJ from the Great Lake Fly shop will be there from noon to 3:00 p.m. demonstrating his tying abilities with flies and streamers made to entice the big ones. As always there is no charge for the fish stories or other lies told.

Get out there and enjoy the adventure!

I am completely hooked! Take me back to DuluthPack.com

The Lowdown, Trip Planning

Hudson Bay Bound: Part Three, Finale

May 9, 2011

In my last two articles I told you about Ann Raiho and Natalie Warren who are going to be paddling from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay this summer. On the map it lays out as an adventure of approximately 2250 miles, through distinct and varied terrain.

After they graduate from St. Olaf College in late May their plan is to get on the water June 2nd near Fort Snelling on the Minnesota River. And, if all goes well, and Mother Nature smiles on them, their canoe will meet the Hudson Bay at York Factory the first week of September.

Their trek recreates the 1930 trip of Eric Severeid and Walt Port, a trip that was recounted in the book “Canoeing with the Cree.” At one point in their journey the frustration reached an apex and the guys came to blows. The fight ended when each realized that he needed the other to complete the odyssey.

It begs the question: “do you think women resolve conflict differently than men?” And, “have you Natalie and Ann thought about resolving your conflicts?”

They both laughed.

Apparently women don’t immediately go to the Mike Tyson card to settle things.

Ann and Natalie explained to me that they have written letters to each other as reminders. First, written as a method to share with each other why they are embarking on this adventure. And second, as a way to remind the other about the great friendship they share.

Then I asked them to dream a little bit, and posed: “money no object, what is the dream trip when this one is complete?”

Interestingly enough both want to embark on a bicycle adventure.

Ann would like to return to Rajastan, India and revisit the area by bicycle. She would peddle the northwest of the country and see the Thar Desert and the Aravalli mountain range. Natalie also would like to go on a two-wheeled trek and visit Ireland and Scotland. Maybe after all the paddling using the legs has some appeal.

My hope is the winds and the rains will cooperate and their canoe meets the Hudson Bay in September. If you would like to learn more about these two adventurers, their expenses, or the specifics of the trip check out their website HudsonBayBound.com. You can also find them on FaceBook searching the same tag.

Best of luck ladies!

 By: Brad Putney. “Captain” Brad Putney considers himself an inland waters guru after spending 40 years on the lakes of Minnesota. The Captain likes to say he has been at the helm of everything from a ten-foot inflatable to an America’s Cup yacht. Mr. Putney can be found at the Duluth Pack Store, helpfully dispensing free advice. He has degrees from Gustavus Adolphus College and the University of Minnesota. Please contact at: [email protected].

The Lowdown, Trip Planning

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness: Canoe vs. Kayak

April 14, 2011
joannakayak on on the St. Louis River, MN

Kayaking is hot. From fishing kayaks to sea kayaks to the short, white water kayaks you see folks taking over waterfalls. These little boats are easy to paddle and a fun way to spend some time on the water.

But this is canoe country. Will the kayak replace the canoe on of our lakes and rivers, which we like to think of as their domain? Let’s compare and contrast, and you can tell me what you think.

Kayaks are easy to learn, easy to paddle, and fun to use. Kids take to them quickly as do adults who don’t have a lot of experience on the water. With their low center of gravity they are pretty stable once you get down into the seat.

But, how about packing and portaging a kayak? First, packing a kayak is like putting together a floating puzzle. You must pack into small dry bags and then stuff them into the limited areas under the deck of the boat. And when it comes to carrying all that gear you are going to need a lot of hands for those multiple bags.

Second, portaging a kayak may not be the easiest. The best way to carry the boat is “two-man,” which means one person grabs the bows of both boats and the other grabs the sterns. Good for short distances, tough for narrow 200-rod portages. I realize there are portage yokes made for kayaks. But, when I turn that boat upside down, and put my head inside the cockpit I can’t see a thing.

What are kayaks built for? They are great for big, open water with very few portages. If you are going to do a five-day exploratory of the Apostle Islands sea kayaks are perfect for your trip. It is ideal to pack small dry bags into the hatches and handle them once in the morning and once in the evening. Pull the boats up on the beach at night, no portaging needed.

Canoes will always be the gear haulers and the preferred boats in the Boundary Waters. Big, old Duluth Packs jammed between the gunwhales, and a portage yoke on the middle thwart will be the scene for many years. Canoes are easier to pack, easier to portage, and while the j-stroke takes some time to learn, it is worth knowing how to make a boat track straight.

As an outfitter I have sent groups out with kayaks. And they really enjoyed their trips, portages and all. But for what it is worth I am going to fit the boat to the occasion. Kayak for the big water, and canoe for the Boundary Waters.

 

Photo and Article by: Brad Putney. “Captain” Brad Putney considers himself an inland waters guru after spending 40 years on the lakes of Minnesota. The Captain likes to say he has been at the helm of everything from a ten-foot inflatable to an America’s Cup yacht. Mr. Putney works at the Duluth Pack Store. He has degrees from Gustavus Adolphus College and the University of Minnesota. Please contact at: [email protected].

 

Trip Planning

Guide Or No Guide On Your Wilderness Trip?

April 12, 2011

What entry point are we going to use? Where is the portage? Which campsite is going to be the best for wind and sunsets?

Plotting and planning a Boundary Waters or Quetico canoe trip can be an overwhelming process the first time. The map briefing alone can leave first time adventurers rethinking their decision to head into the woods. Don’t fear there are lots of people out there to help you.

Let me suggest that you might want to consider the option of hiring an experienced and professional guide to head up your trip. Guides can be an invaluable resource to canoe trippers, especially those who might be a little bit green on the trail.

Guides provide expertise and knowledge that they have gathered over all their years of paddling, fishing, and camping. A good guide will show you how to load the boat, the most efficient paddling stroke, and choreograph the portaging process. I have told canoe clients that it takes even experienced trippers three or four portages to get into a rhythm after the bow touches the beach.

And the fishing, for the majority of groups this is most important question once they are on the water. Where are the fish? You might spend days hunting the sunken islands and rock structures of a given lake and come back empty-handed. A guide who fishes the water regularly can put you on fish, and a lot of them.

Maybe you are an experienced traveler and have been taking trips for years. Well no, a guide is not going to be advantageous for you. All that hard fought knowledge and expertise resides somewhere in the dark recesses of your grey matter already. But, if a friend came to you and inquired about a guide, shouldn’t you remember how enjoyable it was to huddle around the fire in the rain? If someone in the group would have known to bring a lightweight tarp, right? It was a learning experience. It was fun!

Before you get too convinced, let me share a couple of things a guide is not. This is the Boundary Waters, not an African safari, Bwana. Don’t expect your guide to do all the paddling, all the portaging, set up the entire camp, and do all the cooking. You will be expected to help out on the trip, grab your pack and away you go. Your guide is happy to teach you and show you the way. But by day two or three you should be up to speed helping out and doing dishes.

Finally, when your trip is over, and your group owes the guide some gratitude, please show them your appreciation. This is their job

See you on the water.

If you have more questions or would like a guide recommendation, please contact me at the email address included below.

“Captain” Brad Putney considers himself an inland waters guru after spending 40 years on the lakes of Minnesota. The Captain likes to say he has been at the helm of everything from a ten-foot inflatable to an America’s Cup yacht. Mr. Putney spends time in Ely, MN working as an outfitter to the BWCA. He has degrees from Gustavus Adolphus College and the University of Minnesota. Please contact at: [email protected].
Canoeing, Techniques & Advice, Trip Planning

Solo Canoe Trip Across the BWCA – All the essentials

May 13, 2010

 

solopaddle

Boundary Waters Crossing

Before moving to Duluth, I spent minimal time in a canoe, preferring to be hiking in the mountains.  My wife and I quickly embraced trips on the water and were hooked after our first canoe trip to Voyagers NP.  As Duluth Pack’s Marketing Director, every trip with friends ended up including a photo shoot for the Duluth Pack catalog.  We had plenty of weekend trips in the Boundary Waters, but whenever the opportunity for a longer trip came up, we headed out west. When I felt my time in Duluth nearing an end, I started dreaming up a Boundary Waters crossing.

I enjoy leisurely trips in the outdoors: taking naps or reading in the canoe, cooking great food and playing games with friends by the campfire, but I always plan one trip a year where I push myself to my limits. I’m curious what I can do, how fast and far I can go. I had never gone further than 9 or 10 miles in a day on a canoe trip, but knew if I went by myself and went light, I could go much further. I had 9 days of vacation, so I knew to cover the almost 200 miles I would have to paddle over 20 miles per day. View the route here.

vermilion-riverSolbergs on the Vermilion River

I dropped Molly Solberg (Duluth Pack customer service and social networking guru) and her husband off on the Vermilion River. They were going to paddle out to the boat launch where I was starting at Crane Lake. I told my wife that I didn’t know how, but somehow I would find a way to contact her to let her know when and where to pick me up. By some miracle, she was game.

My 10’ish essentials.

Here are some highlights of what I brought: (or you can read the whole list here)

Clothing – Crocs (these were perfect for the longest portages, odd I know), Buzz Off shirt and hat (very glad for these and yes they work), Icebreaker top for warmth,  Filson hat for the rain (every canoeist needs one of these)

Gear - Bell Magic canoe (this boat is incredible for high miles), #4 Deluxe Duluth Pack in Waxed Canvas, Bending Branches expedition paddle, map case to keep one of the ten maps I took dry

Food - I’m a whole foods kind of guy and needed all the energy I could get, so I took a lot of bulk grains and made sauces to go with them. My favorite was protein laden Gado Gado quinoa.  Quinoa, peanut butter, soy sauce, oil and dehydrated veggies.  You can read my menu here.

Below are notes from my daily journal.  You can view all my photos from the trip here.

 

Day 1 – Crane Lake to Loon River

I didn’t get on the water till 7 PM.  I rushed off without checking the map and got confused as to where I was.  This was not a good start, and I set my mind not to let this happen again.

loon.loonriverLoon before Loon River

I took a break on a small island on Little Vermilion Lake to watch the sun go down and watch a loon swim around.

After the sun set, I paddled into the night down the Loon River. Both sides of the river were lined with fireflies. The sounds of loons, frogs and beaver tails slapping the water filled the air. It is quite an experience to have a beaver slap its tail on the water right next to your canoe in complete darkness.  I would have thought after the first ten slaps I would have gotten used to it, but each time I filled with adrenaline.  I ran into a beaver dam which clued me in that I was off course.  I was going with the “current,” but the river on the other side of the dam was higher than me.  I pulled over and set camp, surprisingly bug free.  I went to sleep thinking “maybe the bugs aren’t so bad in June.”

Day 2 – Loon River to Crooked Lake

mirroredloonriverMirrored Loon River

After an early wake up at 6 AM, I quickly got on the water figuring out where I got off course.  If you don’t get up early to enjoy paddling through a glassy lake early in the morning, you are missing the best part of paddling.  Trust me, it will make a nap in the afternoon all the better.

PICT7228.JPGYou are here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

pictographsPictographs at Warrior Hill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

curtainfallsCurtain Falls

Weaving through the hundreds of islands on Lac La Croix demonstrated how important it was to always know where I was at all times. It would be very easy to get lost out there among the myriad of islands without topography. I passed by pictographs of hands and moose on Warrior Hill and portaged around Curtain Falls.

After I paddled as far as I could (this was the longest distance day, 40+ miles), I headed towards a campsite.  I heard the sound of motors in the distance, but knew no motors were allowed in the area.  I turned on my headlamp and saw a cloud of bugs, the thickest and loudest cloud of bugs I had ever seen. I went to shore and quickly started a fire with some cedar.  The bugs dissipated and I quickly went to sleep after a sip or two of whiskey. Whiskey is key for solo trips.  You don’t need much to take off the edge that makes you think every mouse running around is a bear coming to maul you.

 

Day 3 -Crooked Lake to Basswood Lake

crookedlakeMmmmm….. glass on Crooked

I mostly paddled with a kayak paddle for mindless speed, but whenever the water was calm I switched to the canoe paddle.  There is nothing like silently and effortlessly gliding over mirrored water.

 

Turtles on Crooked Laketurtle

I watched an otter scurry along the edge of a cliff, saw turtles basking in the sun, heard more beaver tails slapping the water, watched an owl take off, eagles soar, fish swim under the canoe, and a deer coming to the water for a drink.  They supplied me with grateful breaks to just sit and watch.

Longer portages slowed me down and I saw many people around Basswood Falls.  A loud and strong thunderstorm whipped up and supplied a nice change.  I enjoy canoeing in the rain. As a photographer, I love the saturated color and diffused light.

 

basswoodstormstormy waters on Basswood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

campsite on Basswood LakePICT7285.JPG

I lazily paddled across Basswood Lake with a rare tail wind.  I rounded American Point and found an almost tropical looking sandy campsite.  I had to call it quits early thanks to a migraine.  Took a long nap and cooked up some Gado Gado.  I love the way you view food on a trip – fuel.  When you need a refill, you eat.  There is no eating according to the clock.

 

 

Day 4 – Basswood Lake to Saganaga Lake

eaglekniferiverEagle over Knife River

The lakes I paddled through on day 4 are my favorite of the lakes I have seen in the Boundary Waters – loved the little duck through at the end of Ottertrack.  I started really zoning out, humming a cadence to the kayak paddle strokes.

 

Campsite on Sag
sagcampsite

I navigated through the maze and finally made it into Saganaga Lake.  Dove into my tent exhausted after another long day.

Day 5 – Saganaga Lake to Gunflint Lake

Saganaga ended up being my least favorite lake.  I’m generally not a fan of the big lakes and prefer the coziness of the smaller lakes. Thanks to the blow down, Saganaga looks like a bomb hit it.  Toothpick remnants of trees silhouette the horizon.

 

graniteriverBlowdown on Granite River

I walked the canoe up several rapids.  It would have been great fun going the other way. All the portages were designed for those headed west.

 

Wild strawberry
PICT7318.JPG

I gorged myself on wild berries, but every time I stopped to glean, mosquitoes feasted on me.

I figured out how to paddle up smaller rapids. I would have never guessed it was possible.

I didn’t get one section of the map, relying on a map from a guide book. Bad idea, it is amazing how many options nature provides when you aren’t confident in exactly where you need to head.

I found my way out and paddled out to the Gunflint Lodge.  A Guinness and a burger did wonders.  I’m always surprised at the change in my social temperament after coming out of a long trip.  I’m always much slower, much quieter and say much less.  Too bad this fades so quickly after re-entry.

I was able to figure out my exit point and day, so I contacted my wife. I paddled down the monotonous length of Gunflint Lake and felt my batteries fading, so I pulled over to camp.

Day 6 – Gunflint Lake to Mountain Lake

By day six, I felt like I was wearing down.  I’m glad I’ve navigated out of the east end of Gunflint Lake before.  The map shows a very large opening coming out of the lake, but in reality there is only a very small opening.

I am a backpacker, and a 2 mile hike sounds like nothing, but when carrying a canoe and pack, two miles feels like 20.  I jogged down the trail, zoning out, when I almost ran someone over.  I hadn’t seen many people on the trip and did not expect to run into anyone on the ‘Long Portage.  The guy mentioned it was going to be rough up ahead due to beaver activity.  The trail was flooded in several sections which made for welcome breaks of paddling and pulling the canoe along the trail and over dams.

ladyslipper

 

Lady slipper orchid

At the end of the portage I spotted a wilted lady slipper orchid that looked like I felt. Exhausted, I didn’t make it much farther before making camp.

 

 

 

Day 7- Mountain Lake to Pine Lake

Mergandser taking off on Royal River
royalriver

I reached the eastern edge of the Boundary Waters at North Fowl Lake and looped back to make it a shorter driver for my wife to pick me up. I was cheered on by a family as I paddled up some rapids under a bridge at the end of the Arrowhead Trail.  An elderly man motored beside me for a ways on McFarland Lake, measuring my speed – 3.4 mph.  I headed back into the wilderness and down most of Pine Lake.

I really enjoyed the variety of scenery in the Boundary Waters.  In the western end, there is little to no topography, lots of swamps, islands everywhere and amazingly huge white pines.  In the eastern end are towering bluffs and long narrow lakes bordered by large hills.

pinelakeEscaping the bugs on Pine Lake

I spent a lot of time out in the canoe that evening, escaping the bugs that engulfed the shore.

 

Day 8 – Pine Lake to East Bearskin Lake

I awoke earlier than normal to wind, lightning and heavy rain.  I headed into a strong headwind for most of the day.

 

 

 

johnson fallsJohnson Falls

Found the unmarked trail up to Johnson Falls.  I’m surprised you don’t see that on the map.

Went past an amazing campsite on Little Caribou that I’d come back to for a catalog shoot.

Portage out of Caribou Lake portage

Caribou and Little Caribou lakes reminded me of New Zealand, thick carpets of green everywhere.

Amazingly, I arrived at the boat landing at East Bearskin Lake at the exact same time my wife was pulling up.  I told her noon. I finished four minutes late at 12:04.

Nick Kelly is the Communications Director for Christ Community Church in Omaha, NE where he, his wife and 2 boys drive endless miles to enjoy the outdoors.

Techniques & Advice, Trip Planning

Always Be Prepared – Voyageur’s National Park

July 2, 2009

Voyageurs National Park is the only National Park located in Minnesota and is unique because it is a water-based park. Leave your car at a Visitor’s Center and explore by boat, houseboat, canoe, or kayak.

For this trip we chose kayaks. We left on a beautiful, calm, summer day.  Make sure you obtain navigational maps of the area. Very important! And a
compass
too!  After a few hours of paddling we found our own private island to camp for the weekend. Our own private slice of paradise.  We also had the bonus of a great fishing spot!

Our second day the wind started to pick up. We weren’t too concerned since we weren’t leaving for another day and wind usually dies down in the morning.  All night long the winds seemed to get louder and stronger. It was looking like we weren’t going anywhere soon.  The lake changed from serene to turbulent. After 26 hours in a tent we decided to try to make a break for the car, we were going to seek shelter behind islands. The last 3 mile stretch to the car was straight into 30-40 mph winds. We were stopped in our tracks! We had to set up our tent in a make shift campsite. We were lucky that we always pack a spare change of WARM clothes and by chance we happened to pack an extra meal.  We were trying to get out to make it home in time to meet family and head back to work.  We learned it is more important to arrive SAFE.  ALWAYS be prepared for the worst! Do you have an “always be prepared” story to share?