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Boats & Gear

Boundary Waters Gear List

Bell Wildfire (Royalex)

Blackhawk Ariel

Mad River Independence (sold)

Wenonah Prism (sold)
-cane seat installation
-thwart replacement

Custom portage pads

Seat-mounted portage yoke

Outside canoe shelter

Inside canoe storage



BWCA - June 2010

Page 4: Days 7-10
Tiger Bay to Lake Agnes and home


Day 7 – Sunday, June 13 – A Tough Day

After several weak attempts at consciousness, I wake up for good around 9:00.  It’s great to sleep in, and sleep well for a change. I putter around, take some pictures, and tweak the tarp to deal with the rain that’s starting.  I follow a trail to the north campsite on the island, finding some beautiful mosses.



There's a photogenic little bay along the shore.

Island bay


And there’s a nice view of my campsite.



The rest of this exciting day goes like so:

Watch loons cavort and run on the water (mating displays?)
Watch a merganser fish.
Note people in the area.
Find a tick on the chair and do a thorough self-inspection.
Wait out a downpour in the early afternoon.

The sky clears in the early evening and makes room for some welcome sunshine for the first time in several days.  It creates nice light for photography.

Sunset in the grass


This little bluff is the lake side of my campsite. It's a nice place to sit as long as you don't look down.

Sunset on the rocks


It’s a nice sunset ...

Sunset on the water


Sunset in the sky


... and it lingers until at least 10:00.

I leave the tent fly open tonight to enjoy the nice light and not seal myself off from the real world.


Day 8 – Monday, June 14 –Hello, Agnes

I break camp and head out around 9:00.  I've been thinking about how to go home. If I spend my last night on Nina-Moose Lake I'll be able to paddle out and get home the following day. If I stop at Lake Agnes I'll have a full day's canoe travel ahead of me and I'll need to stop somewhere. Will Voyageur North have room? If not, will the other outfitters be full, too? Will I have to ... ? You get the idea. After several bouts of this argument I realize I have 2-3 extra days' worth of food, and anyway I'm on vacation. I finally rope and tie the dogie in my head and decide to just take it easy. It's mid-week in mid-June and I'm in a most wonderful place and what's to worry about anyway? Hello, Agnes. It will be nice to spend some time with you.

I follow the Boulder River and really enjoy it.  The Independence, being the solo version of the famous downriver racer, the Malecite, is clearly in its element here.  It’s so sensitive that sometimes I can turn it just by changing how far it’s leaned over.  That has its drawbacks when paddling upstream, but I manage OK.

At one point the river splits and cascades over two flat slopes.  I get out on river-right (the left side in the picture) and line the boat upstream a few rods.  Continuing on, I paddle through rock gardens that remind me of quiet sections in Wisconsin's Wolf River.

Line-through rapids


Entering Lake Agnes I’m hoping site 26 (C1803) is open.  My son and I stayed there our first night in 2008 and I remember it as a 5-star site.  It’s occupied but site 29 (C1804) on the next point is open.  It’s a great site, although frequent use has left it fairly rooty and completely lacking in anything legally combustible.  I’m quite happy to be here and, anticipating more rain, set up the tent and tarp snugly.  The arrangement enables me to leave the tent fly open again.  It’s very cozy and convenient - and uses every bit of rope I have.

Lake Agnes tent setup


It’s overcast and cloudy most of the day, clearing somewhat in the late afternoon.  The entertainment here consists mostly in watching the chipmunks and squirrels come close and run away.  They’re quite cheeky and I wonder if they’ve learned that bipeds = food. I hear very few loons, which makes me wonder about habitats and the fish population. I hear occasional calling from the east, possibly Batista Lake, which suggests that they might prefer more secluded waters with more protected shorelines.

Camp processes (what some might call chores) are starting to seem normal.  Have I been out here too long, or not long enough?

Fragrant air of pine woods,
purple ripples of evening.
Flies don’t bother me any more.

A person could become a poet out here
if he isn't careful.

At sunset a man and (I assume) his pre-teen son paddle by looking for a site.  He says the one he just passed is unoccupied but he's looking for one farther down the lake.  Later I realize there is no campsite before this one, i.e., between here and the 100-rod portage to the Boulder River.  They paddle around slowly for at least a half hour before heading out of sight to the west.

I enjoy another long, lingering dusk with my fly open. I mean the tent.

Day 8 summary:
Total distance 8.5 miles in 3:45
1 portage of 26 rods in 15 min.


Day 9 – Tuesday, June 15 – Things Left Behind

It’s raining lightly at about 4:00 a.m. and I go out to adjust the tarp to prevent the water from pooling.  I get a few mosquito bites – the majority of the bites of the trip.

This morning site 26 on the next point over is vacant so I take a walk over there to refresh my memory.  It’s indeed a super site, though perhaps too rooty.  While there I find an empty painted turtle shell.  On the way back I find moose parts: a shoulder blade, an upper palate with well-worn molars, and either a front or hind leg that includes almost all of the three bones.  Just bones.  I offer blessings for those who once animated these Things Left Behind.

This trip’s ear worm is “I Never Felt This Way Before” by Al Dubin and Duke Ellington.  I don’t know where it came from, except maybe that it’s so singable. As much as I like the song, I wouldn't mind if it got left behind, too.

Today’s agenda is challenging:

Adjust tarp
Walk around
Adjust tarp
Adjust tarp
Take photos
Watch squirrels
Adjust tarp
Do crossword puzzles
Adjust tarp

Whew … I’m sure to be whipped come bedtime!

The weather holds until late afternoon, rains for a few hours, stops, then rains some more.  Good thing I planned several tarp adjustments for today; I just hate having to rearrange my schedule.

Today the toilet paper runs out.  Luckily I have a small emergency supply packed with the folding trowel.  Much better than newspaper.


Day 10 – Wednesday, June 16 – Exit

I leave the Lake Agnes campsite at 8:15, check the compass, and head straight to the mouth of the Nina-Moose River.

To the Nina-Moose River


I meet a couple of guys in a short aluminum canoe with sponsons.  They're fishing. I hear banjos. One of them says something about running the rapids instead of portaging.  I decline.

There’s a small cascade at the top of the 70-rod portage that makes me wish I were an otter.  The water may be low but it’s higher than it was two years ago.


Moose River rapids, 2010



Moose River rapids, 2008


The portages go smoothly, thanks in part to having about 15 pounds less food.  It’s overcast with some light drizzle.  I get one mosquito bite on a portage.  Meet a Forest Service crew and have my permit checked.  Have some trouble going upriver due to the boat’s responsiveness.  Encounter some beaver dams but all have openings.

Beaver dam on Moose River


Contrary to my earlier concern, Nina-Moose Lake is vacant except for me and a tandem canoe.  To think I could have camped here and had an 8-hour drive ahead of me today!

I encounter four aluminum canoes with mostly surly-looking young men in various postures. They’ve just finished one of the short portages, and I get the feeling they’ve never done this before.  In the stern of the last canoe is a very solid-looking and fresh-faced 20-something woman who sits up straight, handles the paddle well, and looks like she’s enjoying herself. As we pass I comment, "you look like a trip leader," to which she replies with a twinkle in her eye and the only smile in the group, "that would be me." I can't help but wonder where those guys are from and what it takes to be the leader of their trip. Somehow I suspect she can handle more than a canoe paddle. 

The final 160-rod portage to the parking lot is a pleasant though slightly uphill walk in the park.

Trail’s end:

Trail's end - EP16


Day 10 summary:
Total distance 9.2 miles in 5:15
5 portages of 370 rods in 2:32
- Nina-Moose R. 95 rods, 37 min.
- Nina-Moose R. 70 rods, 38 min.
- Moose R. 25 rods, 20 min.
- Moose R. 20 rods, 15 min.
- Moose R. to EP16 160 rods, 40 min.

VNO has a room and the Boathouse has a good steak and beer.  I sleep well and have an uneventful but fast trip home, setting another record of a little less than 7-1/2 hours.


Next: Lessons Learned


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Last updated June 22, 2010
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