Seagull Outfitters Paddler’s Tales

 Cache Bay Venture

By: B. Petermeier

A trip across Cache Bay will allow you to understand that you are now crossing a line that only the venturous will travel.

I’ve been here before. Seagull outfitters has been so kind to drop me off at “Hook Island”. Although this can be a feat in itself. I’ve always had good weather with a simple and painless drop in. A quick check of the gear and about a 30 min paddle to the Ranger Station gives me my introduction. I’ve been here before and every time it just seems to be perfect.

From Seagull’s Base camp we take the early departure. This allows us to see the sun come up, enjoy a hot cup of coffee and a brisk ride in a flat bottom boat. As we weave through the Chain of Lakes, I’ve wondered if I’ll ever be able to find this place again. History surrounds us as to who was here before and what has happened recently. From the massive cuts into the time tested rock to areas burned by a not so distant fire. I wonder…

There’s a line drawn in the water. I can’t see it. But it’s there. Drawn with a crayon from a boy scout or an old trapper, or some other possible artist. When we cross the line I feel it. Seclusion, abandoned venture, excitement. I’m not sure, but something makes me want to return year after year. You won’t find a city bus, apartment complex, busy market place or a single billboard here. You’re on your own.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACache Bay is Big! I’ve been on big lakes before. Don’t get caught on big lakes when the wind begins to blow. It can get ugly. A beautiful Bay that teases you as to what lies ahead. Part of taking a trip is the planning that starts months before. Now as the planning is actually happening you know “Silver Falls” is just around the bend. I’ve been here before.

I don’t know much about the Zen of portaging. But I do know this. I like to make as few as possible. Making it through Silver Falls allows this. A nice carry through a wide and maintained trail helps you feel like you’ve really worked at something and accomplished what you set out to do. A little sweat, but the rewards outweigh the pack. Once through The Falls we become attached to a body of water that seems to go on forever.

Now we come to the fun part. If these trips should whet our appetites to return time and again. There is one thing that should always be etched in our minds. It’s got to be the Fishing. I know some people don’t have the “Luck” but if you go at the right time of the year “Luck” has nothing to do with it.

As soon as I get through Silver Falls, all bets are on. I’ll bet I can catch a fish within 10 casts. I know some people like the weather to be nice and warm, sunny, 80’s maybe. But if you are willing to get here at the right time. You are in for a treat. I don’t get the time to do as much fishing as I’d like during the year. (As many of us probably) But when that time comes, I like to enjoy catching fish. When you can add the scenic value, solidarity, and good conversation with fishing companions. This just makes the trip ever more enjoyable. I know of a place that a large northern pike lives. He’s there every year. I make it a point to have someone new in the party cast a big top water or flashy lure in his neighborhood when we arrive. The look on their face is unbelievable as the water explodes when the lure hits home. You’d think they’d drop their pole.

Cache Bay Ranger Station

Cache Bay Ranger Station

Honestly we generally have sore arms when we leave. Although some of that is from paddling, I’d like to think it’s from cranking in the big ones.

I’m not going to tell you all my fish stories but they involve “Big Bass” and a lot of Walleyes. I almost enjoy watching people catch fish as much as catching them myself.

Maybe it’s the Moose that swims by our campsite during an afternoon lunch. Or, possibly the mother Bear teaching her newborn cubs how to swim at the waters edge. These I believe are just Icing on the cake.

I try to schedule my trip around the full moon. An added attraction, the moon gives you some great pictures at night. And it seems, to make things come alive. Or maybe it makes the animals act strange. I know. My son was born on a full moon.

An event that occurs is something I call “The Bedding of the Loons” As we sit by the fire with our bellies full from a great meal. A lone loon calls out to whomever will answer. Twice you hear this tenor make his call. “I’m sleeping over here” A distant reply tries to outdo the lone camper. “Well I’m sleeping over here”. Soon there seems to be song breaking out like the choir overhead in a big church. It’s either a song or one big conversation. On my first trip I found myself wanting to shout. “Now you kids go to bed” But after years of going to this area, it’s become natural. Once everyone’s sleeping reservations have been confirmed, quietness settles on the water. A distant “I guess I’m sleeping by myself” creeps across the water like someone adding his or her final two cents.

These are some of the memories etched in my mind. They allow me to rest and relax my mind and soul. It seems as soon as I’ve come out of the backcountry had a nice hot shower and enjoyed a cold beer. I’m ready to make plans for the next trip.

Enjoy your trip. Remember to pack out what you pack in.

Paddler’s Tales