Canoe Trip Report

Boundary Waters – Ester Lake Base Camp Canoe Trip

Entry Date: June 4, 2011
Trip Length: 7 Days
Permit Required: Saganaga Lake (#55)- BWCA
Group Size: 4
Submitted by: Evan Cure


I’m Evan Cure, an 11 year old boy from Plano, Texas. I came to the Boundary Waters with my Dad (Trey Cure), uncle(Scott Schulik), and cousin(Josh Schulik), expecting hard core camping and survival. We talked to an employee named Nick. He was super informative and told us everything we needed to know. When he explained our food, he named all the snacks, desserts, and meals we would eat. I thought to myself, this sounds like a luxury campout where great food is given to you. That night, I sort of thought it wasn’t going to be that hard.

Saturday, June 4, 2011:

We got loaded off the boat that dropped us at American Point. In my mind, I thought nothing would go wrong and everything would be easy and relaxing. I still wish I never thought that because I was super wrong. We paddled around a point on Lake Saganaga. In front of our eyes were huge waves with white caps. My Dad and I had a rough go at it until we used a little strategy to get going. It took us two hours to canoe one mile until we finally got to an island. We took a break and then paddled to Monument Portage. It was a fairly good sized portage but nothing we couldn’t handle. There was a dock that marked where it was. Along side the dock, there is about 6 inches of water. I wanted to cool my feet off so I stepped in and mud…and went up to my stomach. But on we went. We arrived at a beautiful campsite on an island on Ester Lake.

Sunday, June 5, 2011:

The next day, we fished on Ester, the fishing was ok and my uncle and cousin caught two nice smallmouth for dinner. The fish tasted great!.

Monday, June 6, 2011:

The next day we paddled to Link Lake where fishing was not as successful. We had a good lunch which contained sandwiches and snacks. My father and Cousin went to go look for the portage for the next day to Bullfrog. I was struggling fishing the top waters so my Uncle gave me a brief lesson. On the way back to the island, my father and I fished and brought two smallmouth back for dinner.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011:

Tuesday, we woke up at 5:30 and paddled to Bullfrog Lake. After the rough portage from Link to Bullfrog, we got into our canoes and fished Bullfrog. The first 30 minutes, the fishing was OK but we didn’t catch any keepers. It started pouring rain and lightning, so we took shelter on the shoreline under our canoes. It took about an hour for the rain to calm down but then we got back onto the lake. My dad caught a 30” Northern Pike on a Beetle Spin without a steel leader and my uncle and cousin caught several keepers. It started pouring again, so we took shelter under our canoes one more time. After another long wait, we got back on our canoes and fished some more. We caught a few more keepers but lots of small ones. I caught a 2.5 lbs smallmouth bass to end the fishing day. We portaged and canoed all our gear and fish back to the island. During one of the portages, I slipped on a log and belly flopped on my fish. Luckily no damage. We had a giant fish fry which had seven fish involved. I learned it affects the speed of your canoe when you are dragging a stringer of fish.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011:

So, the next day, we woke up to wetter, windier and cooler weather. We tossed a football, played a game of baseball “camping style”, played cards, and took a nap. After seven pieces of salami, I was not feeling well but nothing a few meds could not solve…or so we thought. We ate dinner but then I got sick again. Because I was dehydrated, I became hypothermic with the cold damp weather. I laid in my sleeping bag cold for the whole night.

Thursday, June 9, 2011:

In the morning, I started drinking warmed water and got into my dad’s sleeping bag. If it weren’t for my dad and his awareness, I might not be alive. We broke camp and headed back to American Point. On Ottertrack, the fishing was awesome. My dad got me a topwater bait ready and casted it just to make sure it worked well. He pulled in a small fish. The bait was still in the water as he was handing the pole to me only to catch a giant small mouth which was probably the dumbest fish in the lake. I started fishing, got lots of bites, but didn’t catch anything. I handed the rod to my dad, and, with his luck, I thought he could catch a fish. On his first cast, he landed a keeper. What a surprise. So, we fished some more. My uncle caught a small fish but was too lazy to get pliers and hooked himself deep in the finger. We were all nauseous as he pushed the hook the rest of the way through his finger. He got it out finally and he fished the pain away catching a lot more fish. We got to Monument Portage with five fish on our stringer. It was a busy portage but the company was nice. We got to a campsite close to American Point. It was a long paddle getting there but my dad was very nice and paddled a lot of it because I was tired. The campsite was amazing but I didn’t get to enjoy it long because I was tired. I went to bed at 7:30 and did not get to enjoy fish.

Friday, June 10, 2011:

When I woke up, I was glad I went to bed early. We headed to American Point while fishing on the way there. I caught a good sized fish and my uncle caught three. We got to Honeymoon Island and our tow boat ride was waiting for us. When we got to Seagull Outfitters, the service was great. They let us take hot showers and helped us unload our gear to help us get on our way home. The people working there were very interested in our trip and listened to our stories. I would recommend them.

I learned that being prepared for the worst is very key. I learned that persevering will help you reach goals. I got a lot better at fishing. I learned how to recognize hypothermia and how to treat it.

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