Thursday was another early start for us, but it probably wasn’t necessary. We started off from Loon Lake and followed Loon River to Little Vermillion Lake. We only had one portage, and it was pretty easy. Just filled with mosquitoes, like everywhere else in the Boundary Waters.
Compared to Wednesday’s challenges, the Loon River was a breeze. A meandering river separating the United States from Canada. We had a hard time finding a beach to stop and have lunch at, so we pulled off to the side and held each other’s canoes while we ate. We were technically in Canada, even if we didn’t get out of the canoes.
Further on, we saw a bald eagle hunting! It was amazing and beautiful. I don’t think any of us got pictures of it, but we were all very present in the moment, and I love that.
We made it to Little Vermillion Lake just in time for the rain to start pouring down. We quickly got off the water and huddled in the woods, attempting to stay dry. We weren’t planning on staying at the first campsite, but the rain took long enough to stop, that we decided to set up camp. Everything was damp, but we managed to get a fire going. We had a lovely chat around the fire. It was really nice to get a chance to know each other and bond.
I also got to set up my hammock tent. Yeah, you read that right, a hammock that is also a tent. It was wonderful! I loved swinging in the breeze while being protected from the bloodsucking mosquitoes.
Since we had a short trip planned on Friday morning we slept in just a bit. It was nice to take it easy for the morning. We canoed from Little Vermillion Lake to Sand Point Lake. We arrived at our camp site on Friday right around noon. It was so wonderful to have a nice peaceful place to spend the Sabbath. The camp site is on a small strip of land between Sand Point Lake and Lake Makooda; we camped on the Makooda side.
Besides having access to running water, an inside toilet (basically an outhouse), and bear boxes (no floating our food out on the lake for two whole nights!), we also had a lovely visit from Ms. Marlette Kielczewski. She brought us a really beautiful salad, hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, and cookies. You can’t understand the joy of freshly prepared food until you’ve subsisted on freeze dried meals for a week.
Which is the perfect segue for talking about food. If you’re considering taking this trip, or one like it, there are some tips I can recommend.
First, you want your food to be as light and as nutritious as possible. Second, know yourself. I know this seems silly, but sometimes you bring food because it’s convenient and it’s something that has been recommended, but if it’s not something that you like to eat, you’re going to end up carrying extra weight for no reason. Also, the less clean up the better. For example, I expected that I would eat oatmeal for breakfast each morning. It’s easy, and will stick with you for awhile. I didn’t eat oatmeal until the Sabbath. It just wasn’t worth the time and effort to have to wash dishes after breakfast. So I would eat an applesauce pouch and some beef jerky. Quick and easy.
We had planned to eat peanut butter on tortillas for lunch, but again, it was a pain to pull out the utensils and things needed to make them. We ate nuts, applesauce, and beef jerky for lunch. Lewis would have a peanut butter tortilla as a snack while we set up camp, so it wasn’t a total waste of space and weight. Tuna or chicken packets are another great choice.
For dinner Lewis and I would share a Mountain House meal (I’ll link their website at the bottom). These meals are great, just make sure you follow the directions and use enough water, and let it sit long enough, otherwise you’re going to have crunchy chicken. If you need a little boost, instant cheesy mashed potatoes are always a good option.
One of the other participants carried little sandwich bags of pre-portioned lunches in her fanny pack. It was perfect, she had cheese, nuts, and dried fruit. I would highly recommend doing something similar. It makes eating lunch on the water much easier. I was a little weirded out by the unrefrigerated cheese, but she lived, so I’m assuming it was fine.
I highly recommend having Gatorade powder to mix in with your water. It helps with the lake flavor, and it replaces electrolytes. If you drink coffee or hot chocolate, bring enough packets of both. I hate coffee, and love hot chocolate, and I found even the coffee drinkers would ask if they could have some of my hot chocolate packets.
The tent I bought:
WintMing Patent Camping Hammock with Mosquito Net and Rainfly Cover https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XGFLJ58/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_kWkmFb92KC9HA
Mountain House freeze dried meals: