Day 0, (Friday 8/31/02)
Monticello to Superior National Forest campground
Russ stopped out about 7:00 AM. I had the canoes loaded up the night before. We loaded up his gear and left to pick Tom and Grant up in Monticello. Grant was at Trinity Lutheran waiting for us (no lutefisk). We left Monticello about 7:30 AM.
Arrived Ely around 1:00 PM. Went outside of town to the Superior National Forest (SNF) campground at Fall Lake and set up tent on the lake side ($12/night).
We went to the Wolf Center to get SNF day permit, which is needed to get on Moose Lake. Ranger asked where we were going; I said we have an entry permit to Canada for the next day. He asked if we had our Remote Area Border Crossing Permit (RABCP). I said it wasn’t needed, since we’d be going through customs at Prairie Portage. He said that they closed down the customs center at Prairie Portage a couple of years ago. I asked for confirmation; he called Canadian Immigration and let me talk to them. We were told to go to the nearest Canadian Customs, which is International Falls (2 hours away).
Went to International Falls, where we walked over the bridge and waited 3 hours to get our permits (included the customs officer’s 1 hour supper break).
Crossed back over to US side. The customs officer asked where we parked; we were told by the toll bridge person to park by the customs building. The customs officer said we were lucky we didn’t get towed, since that was too close for current regulations!
Went to the Firehouse Restaurant and had the “last supper”, then drove back to Ely and the campground for a good night’s sleep (finally).
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