Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Kayaking Trip 2004: pre-BWCAW

Added 11 August 2004

pre-BWCAW | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

This page covers events leading up to actually getting to the boundary waters. To skip straight to the boundary waters part, click on the Day 1 link above.

This witch didn't have her radar turned on.Before Shannon and I went into the boundary waters, we spent a little time at my family reunion. We flew in to Minneapolis, got our rental car, and made our way westward to Lake Koronis, the site of my family reunion. As we passed by mile after mile of farm fields, we passed the sight you see at right. I got a big kick out of it and had to turn around and go back to get a picture of it.
The family plays in Lake Koronis.Being Minnesota, EVERYTHING is on a lake, or so it seems. So we had a little bit of water fun before even making it up to the boundary waters, which I thought I would include here as well. On Sunday afternoon, while most of the rest of the family was swimming and playing on the water trampoline, Shannon and I took one of the camp canoes to "first island", about a mile off shore. There was a small beach to land on but the island is privately owned, so we didn't go onto it and instead simply rowed around it and back to camp.

Shannon and I paddling towards 'First Island' Shannon and I paddling around 'First Island' Here I am enjoying the shade along the shore of 'First Island'

On Monday, my mom wanted to go on the paddle boats, so Shan, Mom, Aunt Janet and I all piled on to one boat. It was . . . challenging. Those boats weren't really designed for four full-sized adults. We ended up having Janet sit between Mom and I on the front seat because the space in the back seat was too small for her. The process of verifying that fact was a source of both humour and horror. At one point I thought Janet might go right into the water. We finally got all of us in and started paddling.

It had been a long time since I'd been on a paddle boat, but I didn't recall peddling them being anywhere near as difficult as it was to get the clunker we had to go. It was definitely a work out! Part of the problem for me was that the cranks were so short that the radius of the peddling circle was only about four inches. To make matters worse, the rudder didn't seem to work very well, so steering was difficult at best. What made it harder was that the steering controls were in the center, in front of Janet, so they were hard for me to reach. After a while, I relinquished control to Janet, but she could never quite master the art of leading the controls, so we wandered all over the place.

They're laughing now, eyeing easy victory, but they know nothing of the hidden firepower aboard the USS Barely Floating.While we were out, Val and Cindy also got a paddle boat and decided they were going to intercept us, for the apparent purpose of wreaking havoc on our ailing vessel or it's occupants. We turned to them in a game of aquatic chicken, or perhaps duck. As the two speeding ships hurtled towards each other at alarming speed (alarming, that is, for something as speedy as a snail . . . or piece of grass), we turned broad side and I began the ranged assault by splashing the would be pirates with a mighty torrent of water. They quickly turned and fled in terror.

The view of Lake Minnetonka from my cousin's place.We left Lake Koronis first thing Tuesday morning and headed back towards Minneapolis where we spent the day an that night at my cousin's place, aka the Lee Mansion. Though I have no idea what it's actual size is, it is huge. It's three stories are each probably larger than our house, and beautifully done. And of course the house is, you guessed it, ON A LAKE! Lake Minnetonka to be exact. So of course there was more water fun in store. For playing on the lake, they have a fairly large sport boat (which we didn't take out), two jet skis, a water trampoline and a floating slide.

The family plays on Lake Minnetonka. Cousin Kristin zips my mom around Lake Minnetonka

My mom had a blast on the jet ski with Kristin. My second cousin Eric blasts the revelers on the water trampoline (at the urging of those of us on shore)We basically spent the afternoon down by the water. While human powered watercraft are definitely nearer my heart, I couldn't resist the opportunity to try out one of the jet skis. It was a three person jet ski, and with only me on it, that thing would get up and MOVE. I was rather surprised. I took it out for awhile then gave others a chance to use it. Soon I was back on it though, this time with Shannon. She was a bit apprehensive at first, but once we got out there and started speeding around she really started to enjoy it. After a short time she drove for a while and had a great time. After switching back, my cousin Doug was out on the lake on the other jet ski with one of the boys. So I started chasing them around. At one point, I snuck up on them from the side, turned sharply and gunned it, spraying them profusely with water. Apparently I gave Doug quite an earful, which he kept bringing up for the rest day.

The next time I went out, it was to take my sister Tam and my only niece India out for a ride. India is about 2 and a half years old and is very apprehensive about water. For a short while I didn't think we'd get her on the jet ski, but eventually she relented. (Ok, she was forced.) We tooled around slowly and I kept looking over my shoulder to see how she was doing. She looked a little frightened, but she wasn't crying. Always with an eye on her, I would slowly increase the speed, and she seemed to get less scared as time went on. We never got going fast though. When I turned around to head home, a wave hit us broadside and everyone's weight shifted. We were going so slowly that we didn't have enough momentum for me to keep the jet ski upright and it did a slow roll over and dumped us off. India went into an immediate and prolonged scream and I quickly righted the jet ski and pulled her on board, then helped Tam get back on. Once we were moving again India calmed down ever so slightly, but was still crying when we got back to shore. I felt so bad.

I've had a hard time winning her over and with that little mishap I probably traumatized her for life. I spoke with Tam several weeks later after she had been away all weekend visiting friends. She said that when she got home she asked India how her weekend was. Her reply went something like, "Little boat tip over. Got all wet." Great . . . Maybe if I shave my beard she won't recognize me as the jet ski driver . . .

Anyway, after India calmed down a little bit, I took Tam out on the jet ski so that she could get a faster ride. We played on the lake until early evening, then got cleaned up for the evening. My cousin Randy (of Lee Mansion fame) chartered a dinner cruise around Lake Minnetonka. The lake is completely developed, so the main sights on the lake were the huge houses and mansions that lined it's banks. At any rate, the dinner cruise was enjoyable, but not entirely my cup of tea. I kept thinking about how much I was looking forward to being on the lakes in the boundary waters in a kayak, under my own power with no sign of civilization in sight.

The family boards for the dinner cruise. The family enjoying a lovely evening out on the water. The family enjoying a lovely evening out on the water.

On Wednesday morning we loaded the car up and headed over to the Melin's for brunch with the entire family. After brunch, Shan and I started the drive up to the boundary waters. The coastline drive along Lake Superior was very nice. We almost stopped at a couple of places along the way, but decided to keep moving to make sure we got to Grand Marais before Bear Track Outfitters closed. We needn't have worried. We got to Grand Marais at around 4:30 and stopped in to Bear Track to pick up our rented kayak, an Aquaterra KeoweeII. She said that it was too early to pick the kayak up, and that if we got it right then she would have to charge us for an extra day. When I asked when we could pick it up without that extra day charge, she said "Oh, in about 45 minutes." So we had to wait 45 measly minutes to pick the kayak up. I was patently not impressed with that. It was ridiculous to make us wait 45 minutes to pick up a kayak that no one was going to be using during that time span. Unfortunately, they were the only place I could find that rented tandem kayaks. I guess other than the 45 minute thing, I am happy with Bear Tracks though.

Ready for any adventure.  The all new all-terrain Impala.So during our 45 minute wait we went into the center of town ordered a pizza and Sven and Ole's, then wandered around the shops while we waited for the pizza. When we were done eating we went back to Bear Track, strapped the kayak to the top of the ol' champagne colored Chevrolet Impala and headed up the Gunflint Trail to our lodge. The Impala looked awfully trek worthy with the kayak on top, let me tell you.

Passing the boundary into the boundary waters.We made it to Moosehorn Lodge at around seven o'clock Wednesday evening and were greeted warmly by Dave and Paula, the owners. Paula showed us our room and retired. The view from our room at Moosehorn Lodge.Our room was very nice and very spacious. Moosehorn Lodge sign We had two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a kitchen/dining room area that opened up onto our second floor balcony overlooking Gunflint Lake. It was gorgeous.

pre-BWCAW | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4