Canoe Trip Report

Boundary Waters – Ottertrack Canoe Trip

Entry Date: August 2, 2010
Trip Length: 2 Days
Permit Required: Saganaga Lake (#55)- BWCA
Group Size: 2
Submitted by: Liz


liz-katelynWhen I came to Seagull Outfitters to work for the summer, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was six hours away from home in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people. It ended up being one of the best and most memorable summers of my life. Looking back on my summer, I know one thing for sure. I know that I never could have imagined I would leave at the end of the summer with such good memories and such great friends.

Katelyn and I had become basically inseparable during the first two months of the summer. We worked together, and spent every waking moment we weren’t working together too. With our constant laughter and chatter, I know for a fact that we at one point or another drove everyone else living with us crazy. We realized early on that the chances of us getting a day off together were very slim. The summer was starting to wind down when we finally had a day off together. (Thanks Deb J ) We decided the border route would be a great trip for the two of us to take, and it was.

Monday, August 2, 2010:

We left immediately after work on Monday, and Ethan towed the two of us and the Escape out to American Point for a bit of a head start. After a few hours of paddling, we found a perfect campsite, so I thought. Within five minutes of being on land again, I saw a snake, slithering right in the perfect area to pitch our tent. It took about ten minutes for my blood pressure to return to normal and for Katelyn to convince me that it would be ok for us to camp at a campsite in which I saw a snake. And so the adventure began. After the snake fiasco was settled, we were just enjoying some time to relax and be in the water. I was floating in a life jacket when Katelyn discovered she had a little tiny leech on her foot. She was fine with it (a big improvement since the first time we baited our hooks with leeches in June) until she looked closer and realized there was not only one, but dozens and dozens of leeches on her foot. I’m sure people anywhere within a mile radius could have heard her yelling. As much as I would have liked to, I couldn’t watch her freak out for long and helped her peel each and every one off. The rest of the night was pretty uneventful; we just enjoyed spending the evening with a great friend in such a relaxing and beautiful place. We had no idea how relaxing the next day would be.

duskTuesday, August 3, 2010:

The next morning, we were woken up by the wind. Perfect. Absolutely perfect. We were even more thrilled when we got out of our tent and saw the white caps. By the time we got to the second portage, we honestly wondered if it would even be worth it to keep going. After much contemplation, we got back in the canoe and started paddling against the wind. As miserable as the conditions were, we still managed to enjoy our day on the water; for the most part. I didn’t enjoy falling in the water, or being waist deep the absolute most disgusting muck I have ever seen. And I know Katelyn didn’t enjoy falling in the water, and she certainly didn’t enjoy our time looking for the portage in Lake of the…Clouds. As if those things weren’t enough, I have never been so scared in my life as when we were in the middle of a lake with giant white caps parallel to our canoe. We decided enough was enough when our canoe started to collect water. We ended up being wind bound on Sag for about three hours; until the sun went down. We finally, after thirteen long hours, made it back to American Point to camp for the night before being picked up the following morning before work. We even got the chance to witness the Northern Lights and a meteor shower out of the screen of our tent. It was the perfect end to a great trip. The trip definitely didn’t end up as the nice relaxing two day trip we had planned. It sure wasn’t perfect, but looking back, I feel as if the imperfections during our trip really made it more perfect in the end. The best stories and the best memories didn’t come from what we had in our plans, but from what went “wrong.”

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