Day 1  (Saturday 09/11/04) – Moose Lake to North Bay

 

The day started cloudy with sprinkles.  After a quiet night, we got up at about 5:00, breakfast at 6:00 (Hardees in Ely) and back to Moose Lake landing left Duluth at 7:00.  Tom drove back to Fall Lake and got a ride back to Moose Lake from Fall Lake host ($20) – had a nice talk with him.  We loaded up the canoe and on the water at 7:45 in cloudy weather.  Good tailwind for this leg!

 

We reached Prairie Portage 1-½ hours later, about when the sun came out.  We picked up a few things at the store and were back on the water at 10:15.  There was a different ranger (red-haired) this year from the previous two years – much more talkative.  She said we could expect longer portages due to the low water levels this year.  I had arranged our entry point for Basswood, but it should have been for Sarah (whatever is closest to where you are going).

 

We passed 12 groups or so coming out as we were going through Prairie Portage.  The wind was NW (port bow quartering) with choppy water through Bayley Bay, where we portaged the 84 rods into Burke Lake (fairly flat).  We had lunch at the end of the portage into Burke at 11:30, and back on the water a half hour later.

 

It took us about 40 minutes to cross a fairly calm Burke Lake, followed by an 18 rod portage to the short, narrow lake that follows.  Portaged to North Bay (of Basswood) at 1:00, and arrived at the north end campsite (same as 2002) a little after 2:00.  There were a fair number of campers on North Bay this time (about 6 or so), but none on the north end. 

 

We set up camp and did a little exploring up into Lost bay and caught a few small bass.  We brought a solar bag shower this year as an experiment – worked great today!  Air temperature was in the low 70s most of the day.  Both of us experienced a few aches (my left shoulder, Tom’s right forearm).  I can't say that the "arm chair" was worth it, however.

 

Dinner was couscous & tortillas with cornbread (made in the bake packer) with feta – excellent!  A few noisy/nosy chipmunks were running around, along with distant wolves, geese and much closer loons.  We left the rain fly off at night and were quite comfortable.

The end of a nice day.

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