Day 2  (Friday 09/21/07) – Bayley Bay to Moose Lake

There was more rain that night, and it cleared a couple of times.  Wind died down so you could barely hear the waves slapping on the beach any more.  We got up at 5:00, had a breakfast of scrambled (dried) eggs and bakepacker cinnamon rolls.  We were on the water by 7:00, just before sunrise (no chance of seeing it, however).

The crossing to Prairie portage was OK to start with, but the wind picked up again at 9:00.  The last bit "around the corner" took an hour by itself.  Hard to believe we crossed the whole works yesterday in an hour.

  

We made Prairie Portage by 10:00.  I ran up the hill and tried the cell phone - no good.  A couple of rangers were there and recommended we go over to LaTourell's shuttle service (http://www.latourells.com) and ask to send word for a taxi.  We paddled over there, but her satellite phone also didn't work in the weather; she sent word back with the first boat.  Lots of water going over the dam!

 

 

Taxi finally arrived a little after 11:00.  After loading up, we had a quick 30 minute trip back to LaTourell's.  There dock is quick walk from the Moose Lake parking lot, so I hoofed it over there and got the car.

 

 

 

 

 

You can see Moose Lake is up about 3 feet, probably 5 feet from what I remember last year.  We had the car loaded up by noon, and hit the road.

 

We got hold of a nurse practitioner who thought we'd be OK waiting until we got back to check him out.  On the road, we were able to reach the clinic he uses.  Based on their recommendations, we diverted to Duluth and St. Mary’s ER (http://www.smdc.org/).  He got checked in, started the tests, etc.  They recommended keeping him overnight for observation, so after making sure his wife would pick him up the next day, we left about 4:30.

We got home about 8:00 and sorted out our stuff, then dispersed to homes.

He was discharged around noon the next day - more tests scheduled for the next week at his local clinic.  Word from the doctors is:

  • We clearly were right in returning as soon as possible

  • Diagnosis was over-exertion and having given blood 3 days before the trip - clean bill of health.

He and his wife stopped by late Saturday and got his truck and gear.  He feels really bad that he caused our trip to be short.  I reminded him that he would certainly do the same thing for us.

 

Lessons learned:

 

·         Don't expect the satellite phone to always work - a cell phone is a good backup if you're willing to climb a little.  It may not work in all locations. 

·         Do you have a number you can call for medical situations?

·         Have a plan if one of your crew couldn't paddle.  We considered putting three in a canoe with no gear and leaving the 4th to pick up later.  This late in the season, we didn't see anyone past Prairie Portage.

·         Can you handle rough water?  Do you know when you can't and when to turn back?

·         Is your first aid kit up to the challenge?

·         Be prepared to absorb the cost of an aborted trip.  The Quetico "honor system" camping fees are not refundable.

 

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