Seagull Outfitters Paddler’s Tales
By: Steve Volkening
Something about Quetico’s Lake McEwen appealed to me. As I planned a tandem trip with my good friend, John Woodard, a night on a small island in the middle of this lake became my goal. During the long winter prior to our launch, I spent a lot of time looking at this long, narrow lake on the map, and imagining what it would really look like.
When we finally pulled up on the gravel beach of that small island, I was not disappointed. We had the entire lake to ourselves. There were large logs next to the fire ring to use as backrests. There were plenty of flat places for our tents.
By coincidence, we had reached my goal in time to enjoy a full moon. After dark, I attached a small flashing strobe light to a tree to mark our campsite, and we paddled out onto the glass-smooth lake. We glided out to the middle. Then, we just sat. Each of us were alone with our thoughts. The only sound was the serenade of a loon. Neither of us spoke for over half an hour. It was the closest I’ve come to meditation.
Finally, John whispered from the bow that he had started to nod off. If we stayed out any longer, he joked that he was afraid that he’d fall into a deep sleep and fall overboard. Our laugher ended the bliss, and we paddled back to camp.
This fall, John and I have planned a different route through Quetico, and we won’t pass McEwen. We did plan our trip to correspond to a full moon. No doubt, we’ll look back and remember our magical night under the moon on McEwen. Besides that, I have a rock from the beach on my desk, which reminds me each day of my favorite campsite.