Sunday, May 30, 2010
A couple weeks ago, we took a trip in via Entry Point #9, just west of Ely. We were staying only two nights, and there were only two campsites within a days range of the entry (both on the same lake), so we planned on just setting up base camp. The distance looked fairly short on the maps, and none of the portages were long, so we decided to haul in the good stuff (cast iron cookware, steaks on ice, etc).
The distance turned out to be a bit longer than it looked, due to the meanderings of the rivers, but it was still worth it for the food. :-)
The first day was an upstream paddle up the Little Indian Sioux River to the Little Pony River to Bootleg Lake. The Little Indian Sioux was fairly wide and deep, but the Little Pony was quite narrow, meandering, shallow, and obstructed with quite a few beaver dams. That first day in was about 15km, we paddled from about 11am to 6pm or so.
Our campsite on Bootleg was fantastic. Perfect spot for a layover day. Nice landing for the canoes, good hammock trees in the site, nice flat tent spaces for three tents, and a good branch for a bear rope. We had plenty of firewood (thankfully no burning ban), no bugs, and perfect weather.
On the way out we hit the water a little after 9am. We decided to take the long portage out at the far end of Bootleg Lake to take us directly back into the Little Indian Sioux River. We did that partially to avoid the Little Pony River, and partly just to see some new scenery for at least part of the way. In any case, the way back was about 24km and we pulled out of the water around 4:30. The downstream current didn't seem to contribute much. ;-)
Notes for next time: The only thing I'd have done differently is to bring one spare Duluth pack for the cooler and grill. Even if we pulled them back out at every portage to repack them in the canoes, it would make for much easier portaging to put those two items on our backs instead of carrying by the handles.
That said, I think next time is going to be a light-and-fast long distance trip. Those are fun too in their own way.